Monday, October 07, 2019

Game Review - One Night Ultimate Super Villains

If you've ever played party games with a medium to large group of teenagers, there's a good chance you've played Werewolf (or Mafia). This game involves randomly assigning some small number of players to be the Werewolves and the rest of the players to be innocent villagers. The game then plays over alternating phases where the Werewolf team will "murder" another player in their "sleep" and then everybody wakes up and votes on a player to eliminate. Naturally the Werewolf team hopes that a villager gets voted off while the villagers want to eliminate the werewolves. Gameplay continues until all of the werewolves are eliminated or the majority of villagers are eliminated.

In recent years, Bezier Games has been releasing numerous special roles and variants to the game. One of their most recent additions is One Night Ultimate Super Villains.

In the Super Villains version, the werewolves are replaced by (you guessed it) super villains. Each super villain has a special ability that lets them interact with the game in a different way. The game also comes with a pile of unique Role cards for all of the other players. Instead of just being an innocent bystander, the "villager" players may take on roles of super heroes or other characters with different abilities.

Some of the abilities could involve secretly swapping role cards with another player, tapping the shoulder of the player next to you (while their eyes are closed), looking at and copying the role of another player, etc. There are even some characters that become a third team in the game besides the "villain" and "hero" team.

The "One Night" aspect of the game dilutes gameplay to a single round. Rather than the back and forth until all the villains are most heroes are eliminated, this game is played with a single night and a single vote. Every player acts out the actions of their Role during the "night" and then everybody wakes up and debates as to who to vote out. If a villain is voted out, the heroes win. If a hero is voted out, the villains win. There are some roles that make this a little more complex but that's basically it.

Because all of the different roles can get a little confusing as far as who should do their action at what time, Bezier Games also released a mobile app. The app is optional but very helpful. To use the app, you indicate the number of players and the roles being used. Then everybody closes their eyes and follows the app audio instructions. The app is well narrated and includes some silliness to help keep the theme alive. Bezier also allows (and encourages) you to mix and match roles from their other One Night games (Werewolf, etc.) and the app is built to handle that.

I did feel like the rulebook assumed a solid knowledge of how to play Mafia/ didn't really explain the "debate" phase after waking up but rather just said to wake up and vote. I had to convince/explain to some of our players that they needed to try and sway the vote one way or another. Maybe we just didn't read it close enough or didn't explain it well enough but it was a point that was missed.

This type of game isn't normally my style. Generally, I had fun with it and enjoyed the silly randomness and crazy roles and accusations. I did feel like a single night is a bit too short to really get the meat of the game. While it's true you could play multiple times in a row, it's not quite the same as playing a standard game of Werewolf. At the same time, I feel like a standard game of Werewolf can sometimes drag on way too long (especially if in a very large group). So it's hard to gauge the right balance.

Overall, this is a fun party game that will appeal to many. It adds a bunch of roles and abilities to a game you're likely already familiar with. If you're not familiar with Werewolf or if you prefer the Super Villain/Hero theme, this version is a decent starting place. It's very accessible and easy to pick up and play. It will play best with a larger group....if your group is too big for the number of players in a single box, the price point allows buying another copy of the game (or a different version) to mix and match. With the right group, this will be a crazy good time.

3 out of 5 stars

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