- For ages 10 and up (publisher suggests 14+)
- For 5 to 75 players
- Approximately 90 minutes to complete
- Active Listening & Communication
- Logical & Critical Decision Making
- Emotional Coping Skills
- Strategy & Tactics
- Cooperative & Team Play
- Bluffing and Misdirection
- Child – Moderate
- Adult – Easy
Theme & Narrative:
- A small town is terrorized by a pack of werewolves and must defend themselves, one lynching at a time
- Gamer Geek approved!
- Parent Geek approved!
- Child Geek approved!
American biologist and professor of Integrative Biology, Tyrone Hayes, said: “The secret to a happy, successful life of paranoia is to keep careful track of your persecutors.” In this game, players will need to defend themselves from a persecuting mob while trying to root out murderous werewolves or be the very thing that is causing the chaos and hide among the villagers. This is a classic game of social deduction, bluffing, and survival. So sit down with your friends, open this box of cards, and get ready to create great memories and damage a few relationships along the way.
Ultimate Werewolf: Extreme, designed by Ted Alspach, Aaron Newman and published by Bézier Games, is comprised of 88 Role cards, one Ivory Tower token (large), one Moderator scorepad, a handy getting started guide, and a role reference guide. Illustrations by artists Simon Aan and Christine Mitzuk are excellent, bringing additional thematic elements to the already heavily ladened narrative of the game. Not included is a pen or a pencil if you want to keep score using the provided Moderator score pad. There is also an optional (and by optional, I mean not needed to play the game whatsoever) companion application you can get for your smartphone that will act as a proxy to the Moderator role and provides tools for the game.
Returning to Werewolf Country
Ultimate Werewolf: Extreme is an updated and expanded reimplementation of Ultimate Werewolf, a reimplementation of Are You A Werewolf? which we have reviewed. Rather than go over the rules again here, we will focus only on what this new ultimate extreme version has to offer. Please refer to the Are You A Werewolf? game review for details on how to play the base game.
Ultimate Werewolf: Extreme is packed full of mechanics that will be intimidating to anyone not familiar with the basic game. This is not by design but by necessity as this new version has a great deal to offer and acts as a launching pad for additional expansions. Indeed, the box in which the game comes in is exceedingly generous with its room to fit the provided game components because the box is intended to fit everything else the company hopes you will purchase to further the game’s experience. Smart move, that.
Let’s break it down, so you know what you are getting into…
Lots and Lots of Player Roles
There are several old favorites and new faces in the Role cards for the players to enjoy. Each is summarized here.
The Usual Suspects
The classic game of Werewolf is always played using Werewolves who hunt and the Villagers who get eaten.
- Villager: your standard run-of-the-mill villager is a prominent and most widely used role to be played in the game. It’s considered “beginner” and “basic”, which also means it’s “necessary”. If you are playing the game for the first time, stick with the Villagers.
- Werewolf: as with Villagers, the Werewolf is part-and-parcel to the game. All you need to play the game is a couple of Werewolves and a slightly larger group of tasty Villagers. Werewolves are your tried and true monster that everyone should play with. They hunt by night in their beast form but look just like a Villager during the day.
As if Werewolves were not enough, there are even nastier things lurking in the forest around the village, just waiting for an opportunity to taste blood.
- Dire Wolf: an exotic breed of the lycanthropic family, the Dire Wolf hunts just like the other Werewolves, but its fate is chained to a companion. If the companion should be eliminated, so too is the Dire Wolf.
- Lone Wolf: A solitary creature by nature, this elusive Werewolf hunts with the pack but wins the game if they are the last wolf howling.
- Wolf Man: A hunter just like the rest of their pack, but with the ability to be hidden from the third eye of the Seer.
- Wolf Cub: Just a young pup but still as dangerous as their elders, this Werewolf hunts at night but will bring switch retribution to the village if they are ever eliminated during the day.
- Vampire: A creature of the night, but significantly less hairy, this undead sucker of blood hunts at night and slowly drains its victims.
- Chupacabra: The dreaded “goat-sucker” is no sucker when it comes to staying alive, hunting both Villagers and Werewolves with bloody joy.
- Minion: This monster wannabe is eager to please and become one with the pack at the cost of doing all they can to stay alive and to stay ahead.
The Hunters Hunter
The natural and unnatural beasts that live in the forest or are hidden among the Villagers all fear those who hunt them.
- Hunter: Born to stalk its prey, the Hunter is relentless in pursuing their target, with the last fatal blow going to the Hunter if they are ever eliminated from the game.
- Huntress: As deadly as she is beautiful, the Huntress hunts during the day and the night, eliminating a targeted player under the stars and the cover of darkness.
The Blessed Cursed
Blessed with abilities to see the unseen, this group of roles brings plenty of benefits to the Villagers and makes the player a real threat to the Werewolves. Unfortunately, this often results in the players being eliminated quickly, requiring them to hide in plain sight.
- Revealer: Blessed with an uncanny awareness of evil but with little accuracy, the Revealer may know the true nature of one player each evening, resulting in the elimination of a Werewolf or themselves.
- Paranormal Investigator: Driven by curiosity and drawn to danger, this paranormal investigator purposely seeks out the truth but can be easily misled by half-truths.
- Seer: Born with a keen third eye, the Seer learns of the true nature of their fellow Villagers through dreams and visions, but such knowledge immediately makes them a target.
- Apprentice Seer: A Seer in training whose talents remain hidden until the Seer is eliminated from the game, thus fully awakening this player’s true power as a Seer and making them the next meal for the Werewolves.
- Aura Seer: Similar abilities as the Seer but less specific in their reveal, this specialized Seer can determine if the role a player has taken on is not your standard Villager or Werewolf.
- Beholder: A gifted individual with the ability to know who the Seer is, which makes them particularly interesting when it comes time to eliminate players.
- Lycan: Born to the moon but entirely in control, this unhappy Villager has the heart of the beast but the soul of a person, making them a target even among friends.
- Cursed: Destined to be a victim and then a monster, those you are fighting to protect can quickly become those you are trying to hunt.
- Doppelganger: A unique individual who can take on the role of any other player after they have been eliminated.
Servants of Sorcery
Magic is alive and well in this game but not trusted, forcing those who play the following roles to do all they can to save the village, but under cover of darkness and secrecy.
- Sorceress: Using the arcane, this role can determine who the Seer is in the village. This knowledge gives the player the upper hand in knowing who to protect and who to warn.
- Witch: While the Villagers might fear the Witch, she has a good heart and a powerful magic-user. Once per game, she can save any player from being eliminated with a flick of her wrist.
- Spellcaster: With Voodoo Dall in hand, this user of spells can make any single player mute for an entire round, ensuring their words are never heard by any other ears.
The Village can play host to royalty as well as murderous beasts, but like the werewolves, these visitors are not necessarily welcome.
- Prince: Powerful and influential, this visiting royal makes his presence known by all, making him too big a target to ignore or attack.
- Priest: Accompanying the Prince is the pious Priest who can bless those who would be hunted, gifting them with another day of life.
- Mason: Scholarly and wise, the Mason works on his schemes with his order, which remains hidden in the village.
- Bodyguard: Sworn to protect, the Bodyguard is ever vigilant to protect his ward and save any during the night.
Trouble Around Town
Every village has its idiots and troublemakers, and this village is no exception.
- Drunk: This individual is so intoxicated they have little knowledge of what is going on until a few rounds of the game have passed, then they sober up and start to take things seriously.
- Troublemaker: A monster in their own right, this individual can select two players to be eliminated during the game, causing a great deal of chaos and concern.
- Toughguy: A loudmouth braggart who can back up every word with fists, this individual will not hesitate to fight back if the Werewolves are dumb enough to try to attack.
- Pacifist: Always one to see the bright side, this individual will do all they can to create harmony, which always causes disorder and arguments.
- Old Woman: Crotchety and rude, this senior of the village uses words and her pointy cane to make one player leave the village for the day, regardless of how they might feel about it.
- Diseased: Once beautiful but now sickly and weak, this individual’s death will end their suffering and give those in the village a night of peace as the werewolves have to take the night off from feeling poorly after a rotten meal.
- Tanner: A truly miserable soul who yearns for death and oddly wins the game if they are eliminated.
- Village Idiot: The opposite of the Pacifist, this dumb individual is always eager to vote for others who tease him so they can be “punished.”
- Insomniac: Never able to sleep, this individual knows when their neighbors have been active during the night when they really should be in bed.
- Hoodlum: Disliked and avoided, this bully will win the game if specific individuals they don’t care for meet an untimely end.
- Cult Leader: Charismatic and handsome, this individual takes advantage of the fear to grow his number of followers who will help him survive.
A Few Additional Items to Note
Included in the game is the Ivory Tower, which is a large cardboard cutout. It’s intended to be given to the first player eliminated from the competition, which is not a great position to be in. However, the tower holder becomes immune from elimination during the first round of the next game.
On the back of each of the cards is a micro QR code. If used with your smartphone and the free Moderator application (see your device application store for specifics on obtaining), additional information about the role is provided.
Expanding the Horror
The box the game comes in is very roomy and is intentionally meant to hold two expansions players can purchase. Ultimate Werewolf: Pro (which adds 50 roles, items, and rules for those looking to take their game to the next level) and Ultimate Werewolf: Bonus Roles (which includes 44 new roles and items to keep the game fresh). It should be noted that neither of these expansions is necessary to enjoy the game, as Ultimate Werewolf: Extreme can be played with up to 75 players, meaning you can have three games (three villages) going at the same time. That’s a lot of game for a small box of cards!
To learn more about Ultimate Werewolf: Extreme, visit the game’s webpage.
Not much to say about this newest version of this timely classic. The rules remain largely the same, the new roles are exciting and well balanced, but that’s about it when it comes to what you get in the box. This is a slightly different spin on the classic Werewolf that is a spinoff of Mafia. Indeed, our hobby has a significant number of games that are the children’s children’s children of Mafia, all with the same purpose and more or less the same gameplay.
That said, is this box of cards worth your time and money? Unfortunately, that’s not an easy question to answer.
On the one hand, the game has excellent components and is easy to follow the rules, and the publishing company has gone to great lengths to ensure that those who play their version of Werewolf are well informed and have fun. That’s all goodness and immediately puts this version of the Werewolf game ahead of the pack (if you’ll pardon the pun).
On the other hand, this is not a game that you can pour on the table, teach a few rules, and get going. Instead, this is a social deduction game that can take some time to learn, a lifetime to master, and can be very intense right from the start. I recall a game of Werewolf played at Gen Con many years ago where some of the players made a Child Geek cry, and a few were asked to leave because they were not playing well with others. These are, admittedly, extreme cases, but each game can become heated, intense, and very involved for each player.
This is why enthusiasts of the game, such as myself, love it so. It’s a brilliant mix of social deduction and bluffing that challenges the players to survive. When was the last time you played a board game that made your palms sweat, or you closed your eyes and softly whispered a prayer that you wouldn’t be eaten, sighing with relief when you realized it was your brother who is now out of the game instead of you? I’d venture never. That is until you play Werewolf.
If you are looking for a game where players are in a competitive, cutthroat survival competition, then look no further than Ultimate Werewolf: Extreme. It will certainly take you and your family on an adventure of self-discovery and murderous monster hunting. Or, as I like to say, “good clean family fun.”
This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.