One Night Ultimate Werewolf is one of the best hidden role games out there. It combines a quick, party atmosphere with the opportunity for deep, strategic play. Coming with fifteen roles, it has enough to accommodate a wide variety of players. But deciding which roles to include is always touchy. It’s easy to tip the balance in favor of one side or the other and putting out too much information can make the game stale.
So if you’re looking for a good experience, here are the sets you should choose. This isn’t to say that these are the best or only good ones. But they are a good starting point and, once your group comes to love the game, you can tweak them to taste.
Playing with Three
One Night claims that it plays with as few as two players. But what hidden role game actually works at that number? Well, One Night does. And it works well. Three may not be my favorite player count, but I’ve had plenty of amazing games there. My suggestion: Werewolf, Werewolf, Robber, Seer, Villager, Villager.
The key here is the Robber. If two Werewolves are in the mix, they might think that they can simply vote the third person off and get the easy victory. But the Robber totally changes things up. If you have Werewolf/Werewolf/Robber, then the Robber can steal a Werewolf card and now the Werewolf team should vote for the original Werewolf who has become a Robber.
And that circumstance entirely permeates the three player meta-game. Because even if you’re a simple Villager, you can still claim to be the Robber. And that sows doubt and discord among the Werewolves. Should they still vote you? Or can you convince one to turn on the other and hand you the victory?
Six at the Table
In my humble opinion, One Night is at its best when played with five or six players. There’s enough going on that you have to pay attention to everyone. But not so much that players can keep quiet – or at least go unnoticed for their relative silence. When six are around, I’d suggest: Werewolf, Werewolf, Minion, Seer, Robber, Troublemaker, Villager, Villager, and either Villager or Tanner.
This setup provides a lot of potential power to both teams. Having a bunch of Villagers in there makes it potentially easier for the Werewolves to hide. Plus, a Minion hoping to draw out the kill makes the village team second-guess who they should be targeting. On the village side, though, you get a lot of information. Troublemakers can switch up the roles and the Robber and Seer get direct knowledge. With both teams having advantages, it evens out into an exciting time.
The key in this roleset is to be willing to lie. And lie well. Pretend to be the Seer even if you aren’t and claim someone is a Werewolf. Just to see their reaction. Or perhaps lie about who you swapped as Troublemaker and see if a wolf confesses. As a Villager, your job is to keep the conversation moving and give everyone else reason to talk.
Adding the Tanner provides another wrinkle. The Tanner wins only if he is killed. So he wants to look suspicious, but not overly so. Having a second person trying to draw the kill makes things interesting. If it was just one person, they might be the Minion – an easy signal to the wolves. But with potentially two in the mix, both teams must evaluate who is who.
The Big Nine
The biggest games are also the craziest. You can use some of the more powerful roles with nine. People like the Masons and the Insomniac are huge for the village team because they won’t be fooled by some of the lies that are thrown about. With fewer players, they can be a little unbalancing. But with nine, they tend to even things up. Without them, the Werewolves have a much easier time of simply laying low without a challenge. My suggestion: Werewolf, Werewolf, Minion, Tanner, Seer, Robber, Troublemaker, Mason, Mason, Villager, Villager, and Villager/Insomniac.
Masons are great in a large game. One of them can make all sorts of crazy claims and see what shakes out. If he gets a werewolf to confess or is able to clear someone of suspicion, great! If it goes poorly and the other players think he’s a wolf, then he has his Mason buddy to vouch for him.
Meanwhile, the Insomniac may be one of the most powerful roles in the game. They know whether or not they’ve been switched and, if they have, to what role. This means they can act correctly right out of the gate without having to first discover what team they are on. More importantly, if they have been switched, they know that a switching role is in the game and that the power was used on them. This has huge repercussions for when someone claims to have made a particular switch. If you find the Insomniac is too powerful, then replace her with a Villager.
What are some of your favorite One Night Ultimate Werewolf sets? Tell us about it in the comments.
All image credits: Bezier Games