Doug's Dungeon - Werewolf
You make your way down the long spiral stairwell into Doug’s ever-expanding dungeon. But something’s off. You of course expected halloween decorations around. Some, but not many. Doug may enjoy holidays, but that doesn’t counter his laziness. Sure enough there is some orange bunting up along the edges of the ceiling, half put up, with the rest left hanging to the floor. Some pumpkins are placed in strategic locations, yet only one or two have been carved. However, none of these things can pull you away from the more bizarre features. Along the walls are propaganda posters, and large words written in red. ‘WEREWOLVES NOT WELCOME’ The lettering reads. A sign has a bald, monocled man in guild attire pointing directly toward you. ‘THE MASONS ARE WATCHING’ it blares at you in a strong, imposing font.
You reach the bottom of the stairs. The hallway is not lit, though is flooded with an orange, flickering glow, coming from one of its adjoining rooms further down. As you near it, you stop at a lonely poster, one that looks different from the others. You face it to read ‘Only werewolves read this sign’. You suddenly hear a shuffling of bricks behind you and a sharp whisper from seemingly nowhere, saying
“Oh my god I totally knew it”... You turn but only see a brick being pushed back into its place in the wall. Feeling spooked but still curious, you proceed to the source of the light. You enter the room, only to find a flustered but energetic Doug bathed in candlelight. He sits behind a desk swamped with papers. These pages spread from the desk and onto the walls. Faces are printed on them, with some crossed out and others circled. Doug narrows his eyes as he turns to speak to you…
OH hey you! You’re… suspiciously early. I really should apologize for the mess. I was preparing my halloween review but uh… something came up. But no matter; we’ll just start now eh? Why don’t you have a seat right here.
The seat Doug gestures to has the label ‘Werewolf interrogation chair’ written rather obviously on it. You feel your intelligence being insulted slightly, but you play along… It’s Doug you’re talking about. What’s he gunna do, really? You sit down, only to find you’ve succeeded in making Doug’s eyes narrow even further. Can he even see you anymore?
Oh man. I just LOVE Halloween. I mean you don’t get a day off like when you get your home invaded by a fat old man who leaves presents. But what you do get is that … ATMOSPHERE. How odd it is that we dredge up many of humanity’s worst nightmares, and parade around pretending to BE them… for jokes! It’s like the world’s oldest meme. Vampires, spoopy ghosts, demons, mummies, presidential candidates, ...werewolves… the list goes on. You must be thinking “Hey, is Doug going to talk about ‘scary’ board games... like the ones Hobbymaster has picked for their spooky horror theme this fortnight?” I mean I hope you are, because that’s what’s happening. Allow me to introduce you to ONE NIGHT: ULTIMATE WEREWOLF.
‘One Night: Ultimate Werewolf’ by Bezier Games (Let’s just call it ONUW) is such an interesting title. It takes its name and gameplay from an older party game simply called ‘Werewolf’. It can also be referred to as ‘Mafia’, but that’s not spoopy. That’s just organized crime. In a party game of Werewolf, one or more people in a group of players are secretly designated as werewolves by a ‘moderator’. During the ‘night’ phase, all players except the werewolves close their eyes. Werewolves pick a target to murder, who is then eliminated. The ‘day’ phase begins where players open their eyes to discover a corpse and immediately begin accusing each other of being a werewolf. Players vote as to who among them to murder to stop the werewolves. Play continues in this fashion until either the werewolves are dead or they outnumber the hapless villagers. This game is extremely fun as you employ all sorts of tactics to either prove or fake your innocence. ONUW, however, takes the game one step further.
As the name implies, this version of Werewolf is played over a SINGLE night and day phase. The Werewolves wake up at night only to see who else is a werewolf. The ‘village’ team then have a single chance during the day to get a werewolf executed. Deciding who wins depends on what ROLE you have. Yes, *roles*. ONUW has more than just cards for ‘werewolf’ and ‘villager’. In fact, the box comes with a total of 12 types of role cards. Many of these cards have their own special ability to use either during the course of the night or the day. Now instead of listing them all off, we’ll just go through how to play the most ‘basic’ setup.
Once you have a group of 3 to 5 players, you grab from the box 2 werewolves, the seer, robber, troublemaker and a villager (adding extra villagers for each player beyond 3. You *can* go up to 10 players, but you should play with 5 -max- to get everyone acquainted with the rules... and to not flood your first game with special role cards). The cards are shuffled up, then one is dealt to each player face-down, who get to view their card once. The remaining 3 cards go in the centre, face down. Then the night phase begins. A player (or observer) announces each of the roles in order to open their eyes, perform their function, then close their eyes. The day phase begins as the players all open their eyes, and the lies begin.
Anything goes during the day phase. For about 5 minutes, you can claim to be and accuse anyone else of being whatever role you want within the pool of cards used. In order to keep track of who is being accused of being what, your box of ONUW comes with nifty little tokens for each role card. Just take a werewolf token, pop it onto your neighbor and yell
“I DON’T TRUST YOU” at max volume. This immediately makes people suspicious of you, since only a werewolf would try so hard to divert attention from themselves immediately. Or perhaps you were the Seer, and used your ability during the night to look at their card. As such, you KNOW they are a werewolf, and you tell the other players in earnest that information. You confidently plomp the seer token on top of your card. Once more, players are suspicious. No one can know for sure that you were truly the Seer. You could be making the whole thing up! Liar! LIAAAARRRRR!
The player sitting opposite you then speaks up. He says he believes you. For he claims he was the Robber. During the night, he used his action to steal your role card and view it, seeing he was now the Seer, and gave you his robber card. He promptly takes the seer token from you, and places the robber token upon you. The final player then casually puts a villager token on her card. Before you can accuse her of trying to avoid suspicion, she turns to you
“What bothers me” She begins, “is that you and the supposed robber have too convenient a story. In my opinion, you two are both werewolves working together, making it all up! And furthermore, framing that guy over there!” Accusations can go on like this for quite some time, so players should make sure to set an alarm for when discussion ends, and voting begins.
When your timer expires, you perform a countdown. All at once, players point to someone else in the game, voting for their execution. Democracy, everybody! Whoever has received the most, or tied for the most votes is murdered. Reveal all of the players’ cards and determine who won. If the werewolves avoid the noose, their team wins. If at least one werewolf dies, the ‘village’ team wins! Members of the village team include all role cards except the tanner, minion and the werewolves. Heh, yeah let’s talk about adding those dudes to the game for a minute. See, the tanner hates his job, his life, and everyone in it. HE only wins if he convinces the town to kill HIM. Playing the tanner is tough though, because being too obtuse about ‘being a bad liar’ ousts you as the tanner in the group. Suicide takes subtlety.
The minion also enjoys being the fall guy. During the night phase, he gets to see who the werewolves are by opening his eyes to check for players giving a thumbs up. Those players are the werewolves who won’t know who their minion is since THEIR eyes remain closed. The Minion is on the werewolf team, and wins when they win. This is true even if the minion dies. So just like the tanner, a minion will try to push suspicion upon themselves, without revealing that they are, in fact, a minion. What’s even funnier is when there is an active tanner AND minion, as both will try desperately to yell ‘RABBIT SEASON’ with the shotgun in their face.
The roles only get crazier from there, and every set of cards you pick for a game changes the way you need to think and act. I only picked ONUW up recently but it’s already becoming one of my favourites. The game is very approachable, supports almost any group size, and is fast, fluid fun. Given a round only takes about 10 minutes to complete at most, you’ll find yourself playing many in a gaming session before tiring of it. ONUW is fantastic for parties, just like its ancestor, and I’ve already added it to my ‘Games-to-bring-to-parties-I’ve-been-invited-to-but-only-if-the-host-say-it’s-one-of-those-parties-where-board-games-will-be-good-because-half-the-time-I’m-invited-to-drinking-parties-and-they’re-not-really-suited-to-board-games’ list. I thoroughly recommend ONUW to any board gamer, from beginner level players all the way to the hardcore crowd.
Hobbymaster stocks several variants of ONUW. The deluxe edition has a more gothic art to fit the horror theme, while ‘One Night: Ultimate Vampire’ exchanges all of the role cards for a whole new set of villagers and villains, with different abilities! These boxes can be combined to make even crazier games of Werewolf, not to mention adding the even-more-stuff-filled expansion packs. BUT I’M NOT DONE YET. Your box of ONUW will direct you to the app store, where you can download the FREE official werewolf app for your mobular devices. Why put the burden of moderating on a player or spectator, when you can have the night phase narrated by your phone! WITH SPOOPY BACKGROUND MUSIC! Now before I wrap this one up, allow me to show you something else…
Doug slowly reaches into one of his desk drawers, and produces a crossbow, loaded with a silver bolt. You try to get up only to realize your arms have been tied down to the chair. Damn! His entire article has been one long, yet mildly entertaining distraction! You look back up. Doug wears a face of pure malice as he levels the weapon at you. He carefully aims between your eyes.
“I’ve been watching you, you know.” Doug speaks in a low, calm voice “Every little movement, every little action. You’ve practically been screaming your true identity to me, and now, we’re ending this little game” This is it. This is how you go. And all you can manage to think is ‘Gee this is how I chose to spend my every second Tuesday night?’
The clattering sound of footsteps thunders into the room from the hallway, heralding an exasperated peasant who dashes through the doorway.
“M’Lord” he blurts out through veaving breaths “We found the werewolf... Brought himself in to get a grievous wound treated.” Doug lowers the crossbow, and replies
“Uh, how... exactly... did you discover his identity?”
“Pardon, M’lord, but he checked himself in with the town vet” With that, both men charge out of the room, leaving you with a distant
“Sorry friend! Guess I’ll see you next fortnight!” from Doug. You look back down at your restraints.
‘Not like I have a choice’ you mentally reply.
I'm an avid lover of all things table top. I also have a growing collection of board games which inspire me to create my own. I put my loud and expressive personality to good use as a dungeon master for my friends, having run many campaigns through 4th and 5th edition D&D.
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