One Night Ultimate Alien (Game Review by Chris Wray)

  • Designer: Ted Alspach, Akihisa Okui
  • Publisher: Bezier Games
  • Players: 4 – 10
  • Ages: 8 and Up
  • Time: 10 Minutes
  • Times Played: > 5

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I’m a big fan of social deduction games (as I detailed at this Geeklist) and the “One Night Ultimate Werewolf” series in particular.  One Night Ultimate Alien is the latest title in the series from Bezier games.  It was on Kickstarter last summer, and backers (including myself) recently received their copies.  My understanding is that copies will also be available at retail soon.

If you’re a fan of the One Night Ultimate Werewolf, I enthusiastically recommend One Night Ultimate Alien, which adds new roles and new elements to gameplay, including “dynamic” roles that change from game to game.  

The Gameplay

The game is designed for 4-10 players, and like in One Night Ultimate Werewolf and One Night Ultimate Vampire, you play Alien using a free narrated app for Android or iOS.

To set up the game, take the number of players, add three, and then pick that number of roles.  Hand out the cards to each player.  Each player also takes a token indicating their player number.  So, for example, in a five player game, there’d be eight roles in the game, and each of the five players would have a token indicating their player number.  The three roles not taken by the players go in the middle of the table.  Additionally, there are role tokens you can put out to act as a memory aid about what’s in the game.  

The game then begins.  Like in One Night Ultimate Werewolf, the village goes to sleep, and then the app starts narrating the game.  Gameplay in Alien is highly variable and shifts considerably based on the roles in the game (and a random factor).  But here’s an example of a few of the roles and the teams they are on:

  • Oracle.  The app will ask a question that might later affect gameplay.  You answer the question on the app.  
  • Aliens.  They win if no Alien dies.  They then take a variable action as instructed by the app.  For example, the might view another player’s card at night.
  • Synthetic.  Wakes with the other aliens.  Wins if the Synthetic is killed.
  • Cow.  Puts out a fist, and if it gets tapped at night, one of their neighbors is an Alien.
  • Groob.  Wakes with the other Aliens.  Then wakes again to look for Zerb.  Wins if Zerb is killed.
  • Zerb.  Wakes with the other Aliens.  Then wakes again to look for Groob.  Wins if Groob is killed.
  • Leader.  Knows who the Aliens are.  But if all of the Aliens point at the leader, they win, even if an Alien is killed.
  • Psychic.  Views cards as instructed by the app.
  • Rascal.  Exchanges cards between two players, as instructed by the app.
  • Exposer.  Turn one, two, or three cards face up, as instructed by the app.  
  • Blob.  Wins if all members of the blog are kept alive.  
  • Mortician. Wins if either of your neighbors is killed.

Alien

The roles are “dynamic” in Alien, so for example, the psychic might be able to choose which player to view, or they might be limited by player number, be required to look at cards in the middle, etc.  The Oracle might guarantee a ripple (see below), or they might get the chance to pick if they’re on the Alien team, etc.  It all varies from game to game.  

In a big addition to the series, towards the end of the night, there might be a “ripple.”  For example, you might do the night over again, or odd players might be given two votes (with two different hands), or other crazy possibilities.

When the village wakes up, they have a pre-determined time to discuss, and then when time is up, everybody votes on a player to kill.  The villagers win if they kill an Alien; the Aliens win if no Alien dies.  

There’s a bit more that depending on the roles: it’d be describe to describe all of the possibilities here!  But hopefully the above description gives a flavor of gameplay.  

My thoughts on the game…

I’ve played this several times, and I’m highly impressed.  The game takes some of the best parts of One Night Ultimate Werewolf, then adds in endless replayability with the dynamic roles and possibility of a “ripple.”  If you’re a fan of the series, I’ll bet you like One Night Ultimate Alien.  

At times, One Night Ultimate Vampire felt like a vastly different experience from One Night Ultimate Werewolf.  This is closer to the latter, and i think that’s a good thing.  The big changes here are the “dynamic” roles and possibility of a “ripple.”  These features make the game a bit more variable — and a bit more chaotic — but they’re incredibly fun, and my group has loved them.  

There’s a lot of game here, and I like all of the roles that have been added into the mix.  In particular, I’m fond of the Oracle, Leader, and Mortician, which are unlike anything I’ve encountered in the other games.  While those are my favorites, all of the included roles work well, both as part of One Night Ultimate Alien and when mixed into the other games.  (For the uninitiated, you can mix the roles from the One Night Ultimate titles.)  

The game is easy to teach and fast to setup: from pulling this off the shelf to voting is really less than ten minutes.  Because the app narrates the rules, it’s easy to know the parameters of each game, even if you’re doing a setup you haven’t used before.  New players can pick this up with ease, and if you’re familiar with One Night Ultimate Werewolf, you probably don’t even need to read the setup guide.  

In the end, if you like One Night Ultimate Werewolf, I bet you’ll love Alien.  If you didn’t like the original, I doubt this will change your mind.

If you’re new to the series, I’d still recommend starting with One Night Ultimate Werewolf, but if you’re looking for a few new roles and gameplay elements, One Night Ultimate Alien is a solid buy.  This is sure to be one of the better social deduction games of the year.

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it! Chris Wray
  • I like it.
  • Neutral.
  • Not for me…

 

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