Silver Bullet is the second of the standalone expansions to the Silver series of card games from Bezier Games. Silver Bullet stalks along in the footsteps of the One Night Ultimate Werewolf games viewing the plight of those same characters from a new perspective. The game sees players competing in a way reminiscent of a ‘Best Kept Village’ competition, but rather than cleaning up the local park or planting some more flowers, your village is infested with werewolves.
Welcome To The Village
A player’s village in Silver Bullet is formed of 5 randomly drawn characters, placed facedown in front of them. The remaining villager cards form the draw deck. Each player is then allowed to look at two of the residents in their town before play starts. This is usually the moment where I instantly forget the two cards I just saw.
Cleaning Up Your Village
The game continues from this point with players drawing new villager cards and deciding to use their special ability and send them off into the wild lands of the discard pile, or to invite them into their village; or drawing from the discard pile with the sole option of adding them into their village. Characters drawn this way must be placed faceup as the discard pile is faceup. Players either replace one resident for the new villager, or they can replace multiple residents, if the cards being replaced are the same number. This is where player’s memories come in as they need to keep track of who lives in their village and where, so they can replace multiple characters with just one. This is important and necessary for a player to win ‘Least Werewolf Infested Village’ as the game can only end when a player has less than five villagers in their town and has called for a vote. A player calls for a vote when they believe they have the winning village. This gives every other player one last chance to fix up their own villages or to try to trash someone else’s before the final scoring, totalling up the numbers on their remaining cards, lowest number wins.
Meet Your Prospective Villagers
Silver Bullet has a deck of 14 unique characters numbered 0 to 13, which is representative of the number of werewolves they attract. There are two 0’s in the form of the Hunter and two 13’s for the Copycat. There are then four of each other character numbered 1 to 12.
The characters’ abilities come in two varieties: Either activating when the character is faceup in your village or activating when the character is not added into your village but used specifically for their ability and discarded.
Many of the villagers are utilitarian, allowing the player to learn more about their own village, who lives there, and who needs to be ousted next time a more valuable citizen arrives on the scene. These include the Priest who allows you to flip one of your cards over if you wish, hiding a valuable target or revealing a new powerful resident; the Marksman who allows players to use the ability of a character that is faceup in another village, letting players utilise the skills of their neighbours; and the Insomniac who allows the player to view all their facedown cards, giving them a chance against some of the more unsavoury characters who would try to ruin your perfectly crafted village.
Then there are the more chaotic characters whose abilities allow players to target their neighbours and make things a little harder for them or change up the game quite drastically. The Troublemaker swaps any resident in one village with another resident in another village, creating more unknowns for your neighbours to have to deal with; the Thing shuffles all the facedown cards in a village, causing chaos as the player has to find out where everybody moved to; and the Cow who flips the entire deck faceup so that nothing is secret anymore.
My personal favourite character is the Gremlin, who you can send to another player’s village with a tray of cookies and have them move in on the outskirts without replacing another resident. I just like the little guy’s attitude.
Silver Bullet is about combinations and synergies, filling your village with citizens who work well together. Being able to find the right characters for the moment and combine their powers feels immensely satisfying. However, you must always be whittling down, streamlining, and cutting the chaff. You can have a lot of powerful individuals living in your village, but you will also be infested with werewolves. The knack is knowing which abilities to sacrifice, who to ask to move on in the place of someone else and when to invite some high numbered characters into the village so you can push out multiples next turn, assuming that you don’t lose them somewhere in the process.
Silver Bullet is played over four rounds and the little metal bullet token is given to the player who won the previous round if they are also the player who called for the vote. This acts as an added bonus that provides the player with a once per round action they can take as part of their normal turn. They can place the bullet onto one card in their village. This card is now immovable by any player, it does not score, and it does not count when the player is deciding if they can call for a vote (if they have less than five residents in their village). I believe we are to infer that you just shot this resident, and they are now deceased. This village competition is starting to feel a bit ‘Hot Fuzz’.
This is one of four games in the Silver series: Silver Amulet being the original, Silver Bullet, Silver Dagger and Silver Coin being the other expansions. They all follow the same rules but have their own unique characters. I personally have Silver Amulet and Silver Bullet and find they are both excellent fun to play as standalone games and to combine into weird and wonderful custom decks. There is a lot of replayability in Silver Bullet as it stands, the mix of cards means that you always get a slightly different combination, and it feels fresh each time. However, I love mixing these two decks together to form a Frankenstein’s monster of characters and seeing how they play together. I have played some particularly unusual games where it was almost impossible to view your facedown cards and all trades were blind, and games where the cow flipped the deck at the start and it did not get flipped back so everything was played in the open. Each game is unique and provides an interesting challenge.
Silver Bullet is a fun, snappy little card game. It feels a lot like Love Letter in the way it plays, but with a heavier emphasis on memory and more complexity. Your choices feel like they matter, and the chaos wrought by other players does not feel unfair. The box comes with a neat organiser which allows you to keep each set of numbers in its own compartment. This is helpful if you have more than one game in the Silver Series, but might feel it unnecessary if you don’t, as you use all the cards each time anyway. If you have a copy of one of the other Silver games, I highly recommend this one and it is good to know that everything will fit in the one box if you prefer that. If you haven’t tried any Silver games and you like the sound of this twist on the One Night Ultimate Werewolf genre, which is slightly puzzley and chaotic, has plenty of player interaction, and loads of replayability, then give it a go.