Night of the Ninja

RRP: £24.99
Now £19.95
RRP £24.99
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In Night of the Ninja, your mission is to kill the leader of your enemy’s ninja house…if you can figure out who they are! Each round, you choose your ninja role: a Spy or Fortune Teller gains valuable information, but only an Assassin or Blind Assassin can cut down an opponent. To win, you’ll have to trick your opponents, figure out who can’t be trusted, and fight for yo…
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Category Tags , , , SKU ZBG-BGM238 Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Value For Money

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Simple to teach and play.
  • Competitive with only one winner.
  • Handles odd number of players extremely well.
  • Fresh and different to other social deduction games.
  • Would make an excellent entry to social deduction games.

Might Not Like

  • If you don’t like social deduction games I don’t think this is different enough to change your opinion.
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Description

In Night of the Ninja, your mission is to kill the leader of your enemy’s ninja house...if you can figure out who they are! Each round, you choose your ninja role: a Spy or Fortune Teller gains valuable information, but only an Assassin or Blind Assassin can cut down an opponent. To win, you’ll have to trick your opponents, figure out who can’t be trusted, and fight for your clan!

Social deduction games have exploded in popularity over the last few years, leading to a saturation of the genre. Every year numerous games come out looking to displace the front runners but, in my house, we always tend to go back to the old favourites. Games such as The Resistance, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, and One Night Ultimate Werewolf. The new releases have so far failed in their attempts to bring us that new experience. Here enters Night of the Ninja.

As you may have guessed, this is a game that brought us that new experience. One that I am very much looking forward to sharing with new people and exploring with those that I have already taught. So what is it about Night of the Ninja that makes it different from everything else? For me, there is not one specific aspect but several small nuances that really make this game shine. First off, let me give you a brief rundown of how a round plays.

Gameplay

Everyone is given a Ninja Standee. You are each dealt a facedown house card of either Crane or Lotus, numbered 1 through to 5 (there is a Ronin card you would include if playing with an odd number). This is kept secret from everyone else.

Next, everyone is dealt 3 Ninja cards (of which there are 33 in total). Players will draft cards until they have 2 in their hand, discarding the leftover ones. The Ninja cards allow you to do a variety of different things. This could be looking at another player's house card, killing off another player... or changing players house cards, revealing players house cards, and more. The cards trigger off in a certain order (like Citadels or Mission: Red Planet). The order of this is helpfully represented on the back of everyone's Ninja, so they can easily see when their card is revealed.

Naturally, the cards triggering later on in the round are more powerful. But there is equally a higher chance that the player may have been killed before being able to play their cards. At the end of the round, the house with the lowest-numbered surviving player wins. All players aligned to that house (dead or alive) get to draw an honour token - gaining a number of points ranging from 1-4. If you are playing with the Ronin then, if the Ronin player survives the round, they will draw an honour token as well. You then shuffle up everything, deal out again, and it is the first to 10 points. That's right, there is a winning player at the end rather than a winning team!

What is There to Like?

One of the main things I enjoyed about Night of the Ninja is the fact that, although you are playing each round as a team, there is only one overall winner. This naturally makes it more competitive, and also leads to some interesting choices. For example, you find out that you're on the same team as someone who already has a lot of honour tokens. If you win, they could draw a token that could win them the game.

You play multiple rounds, and each time you reset all the cards you get a fresh house card. This means that if you make a mistake or say something that reveals who you are, it doesn't ruin the whole game. It might mean you have messed up that round for yourself and won't score points, but you'll be back in the running for the next round. This makes it incredibly easy to teach new players. You can play a round in 5 minutes, talk everyone through it, and just not score at the end. Do that once, and everyone around the table will know what the game is all about!

Lastly is how the game handles an odd number of players. Instead of creating wonky and uneven sides as other games do, you just add a Ronin card in. There is no need to check the rule book to remember how many of each character you need. You simply add one card in and one rule relating to scoring. This again makes it so much easier to teach and set up each round. Brilliance in its simplicity if you ask me!

Can it All be Good?

To be honest, there is very little that I can say against this game. I love so much of it. The only thing I would say is that when playing with a larger player count, I think there should be a tad more luck involved. That's it. There really is nothing else that I can single out as being negative. This should help to show how much I like it!

In short

At the end of the day, Night of the Ninja is a social deduction game. If this is not a genre that you have a tendency to enjoy then I do not think that this is different enough to change your mind.

If you do enjoy social deduction games then I think this is well worth a look. It is different to the ones that have come before it, and yet retains the simplicity which often makes these games good. It is a small box, a small price but packs hours and hours of interactive enjoyment in it that will keep you and your friends coming back for more.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Simple to teach and play.
  • Competitive with only one winner.
  • Handles odd number of players extremely well.
  • Fresh and different to other social deduction games.
  • Would make an excellent entry to social deduction games.

Might not like

  • If you dont like social deduction games I dont think this is different enough to change your opinion.