Even My Teenagers Will Play This Card Game With Me, and It's a Black Friday Deal
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is the only (non-video) game my kids will play with me.
Peter is a writer and editor for the CNET How-To team. He has been covering technology, software, finance, sports and video games since working for @Home Network and Excite in the 1990s. Peter managed reviews and listings for Download.com during the 2000s, and is passionate about software and no-nonsense advice for creators, consumers and investors.
Expertise18 years of editorial experience with a current focus on personal finance and moving
Does anyone still remember family game night? And can they please tell my teenagers about it? Ever since my kids became old enough to explore the internet and video games, getting them to sit down at the table for a board game has become much more difficult.
When I'm desperate for nonscreen gaming, however, there's one choice that almost always works. If you're looking for an offline entertainment option for your family, consider One Night Ultimate Werewolf. Right now you can get it for just $20 on Amazon, or 20% off its $25 list price.
This social deduction game has a low barrier to entry, and players can contribute as much or as little to the gameplay as they would like. Deliberations in the game can often lead to hilarity, whether the players are 10 years old or 80.
You'll need at least three players for One Night Ultimate Werewolf, and up to 10 can play easily, although the game works best with six or seven. At the start of the game, each player picks a card from the center and keeps it secret. There are two werewolf cards to choose from, and an assortment of villager cards with different roles like Seer, Robber and Troublemaker. All of the players with villager cards are trying to identify the werewolves, and the werewolves are trying to avoid detection.
The big twist? During the "night," certain players can take actions that will change other players' cards and thus roles, meaning a player who starts out as a werewolf might end up as a villager and vice versa. After the players determine their roles and place their cards face down in front of them, "night" falls, and everyone must close their eyes.
During the night, the players perform their actions according to a specific script based on which roles are being used. For example, the werewolves open their eyes first and identify each other. After they close their eyes, the Seer wakes up next and can look at one other player's card. When the Seer's turn is complete, the Robber opens their eyes and switches their card with another player. (Some characters, like the plain old Villagers, don't complete any actions during the night.)
The script for each night can be read by a human player, or (of course) there's also a mobile app that will read the script for you.
Once the players have taken all their actions, the night is over and everyone opens their eyes. Then players deliberate openly about which of the players are the werewolves. You can share as much or as little as you like about your card and the actions you took during the night. No players are required to volunteer any information at all.
At the end of deliberations (which can be as long as you like), a vote decides which of the players will be killed for being a werewolf. Each player points simultaneously to another player (or themselves), and the player who receives the most votes is killed.
If that person was a werewolf, the villagers win. If that person was a villager, the werewolves win. The shifting teams for each round and the lack of a scoring system make the game more attractive to players who don't enjoy competition.
Bluffing is key to success for the werewolves, which can be a challenge for younger players who haven't learned that lying is OK in some games, but trust me -- they'll catch on quickly. The thrill of fooling other players and the confusion it creates can be a powerful feeling, while often leading to very humorous discussions.
If you're looking for a fun card game that the whole family can enjoy at any age, give One Night Ultimate Werewolf a shot.