Game Buzz – Ultimate Werewolf: Inquisition

A new game based on an existing property this time:

image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Ultimate Werewolf: Inquisition is a new game from designer Legend Dan Hoffman (I’m not kidding, that’s how he’s listed) and Bezier Games.  Bezier Games is the publisher of Ultimate Werewolf, a social deduction game where players are trying to figure out the Werewolves and lynching each other in the process.  In Inquisition (let’s get this out of the way now…NO ONE expects the Ultimate Werewolf Inquisition!!!), the player elimination is removed, but you’re still trying to find out who among you is a Werewolf and who is a Villager.

The game is for 3-12 players, and takes about 45 minutes to play.  It consists of 12 Inquisitor cards (7 villager and 5 werewolf), 19 hut cards (14 kinds), 19 resident cards (15 kinds), 1 Grand Inquisitor meeple, and 50 black vote cubes.  Each player is dealt one Inquisitor card, which they keep secret.  The ratio of werewolves to villagers is fixed based on the number of players.  Each player gets two vote cubes.  You’ll choose a set of 12 huts and residents – each resident matches a hut.  There’s a number on the lower right corner of the card, and you’ll want to choose a set so the total is as close to zero as possible (there are suggested setups in the rules for your first game).  The residents are placed face up in three rows of four, and the huts are placed next to them.  The Grand Inquisitor goes to a random player.

As in Ultimate Werewolf, the first night consists of all players closing their eyes, then the Werewolves identifying themselves to each other by looking around.  After that, you enter the normal game sequence.  At the start of each day (round), each player will, in turn order, take a hut and either take the action for that hut or pass and take two votes from the supply.  The huts are:

  • Apprentice Seer: Pay one vote to the supply to look at any one vertical voting card.  After looking, put it back horizontally.
  • Bodyguard: Remove all votes from one resident card and place the Bodyguard hut on it.  No more votes can be played on it in this round.
  • Cursed: Take four votes from the supply.  If this hut is used during the day and the werewolves attack it the same night, it becomes a werewolf for the rest of the game.
  • Hunter: Take three votes from the supply and place them on one resident card.
  • Mason: Pay two votes to look at the Inquisitor card of another player.  This should not be used with fewer than five players.
  • Mayor: Give the Grand Inquisitor token to any player.
  • Minion: Take two votes from the supply and place them both on a resident card that already has at least one vote on it.
  • Prince: Take four votes from the supply.
  • Seer: Secretly look at a vertical resident, then put it back horizontally.  The only difference between this and the apprentice is that the apprentice pays a vote.
  • Sorcerer: Look at any horizontal resident (i.e., one already looked at by a Seer).  Take two votes from the supply, and place them both on that resident card.
  • Troublemaker: Pay one vote to shuffle a row or column of villager cards.  Votes will be put back in the position they were, and all cards are put back vertically.
  • Villager/Werewolf: This type of hut is shared by Villager and Werewolf residents.  The action is to take two votes from the supply, placing one on a resident.
  • Witch: Move all votes from one resident to another.
  • Wolf Cub: Take three votes from the supply.  If lynched the same day the action is taken, the werewolves get to kill two residents that night.  The Wolf Cub is not a Werewolf, and not involved in the victory conditions.

After everyone has taken an action, the voting begins.  Each player puts one vote on a resident.  You may only pass if you have no votes.  The resident with the most votes gets lynched, and it and its corresponding hut are removed from the game.  The Grand Inquisitor breaks ties.

It is now night.  The Grand Inquisitor chooses a column that has at least two cards in it, removing all votes and putting them in the supply.  All players close their eyes, then the cards are passed around face down.  Each player holds them for a few seconds before passing them on.  Only the Werewolves are allowed to open their eyes, look at the cards, and rearrange them.  Villagers may open their eyes when they get the cards, but must close them after passing them.  THEY MAY NOT LOOK AT THE CARDS.

Once the cards get back to the Grand inquisitor, they are placed vertically back in their column, with the bottom card revealed as being killed by the Werewolves.  It and its corresponding hut are removed from the game.  All remaining cards are placed back in vertical orientation.  If a Werewolf is killed at night, all vertical cards are shuffled and put back in the positions they were in, with votes removed.

A new day begins with the Grand Inquisitor token being passed to the left.  The game ends when all the Werewolf residents are dead (the Villagers win) or when there are more Werewolves left in the village than other residents (the Werewolves win).

I’m not the biggest Werewolf fan.  The player elimination, plus the random shots in the dark, don’t really appeal to me.  However, I do like the different roles introduced in the Ultimate version.  They spice things up, and while it’s still incredibly random, they do make it more interesting.  This game has gotten rid of the player elimination entirely by having the players as investigators, outsiders trying to find the Werewolves before it’s too late.  The only catch is that there are Werewolves among them, helping out the town Werewolves.  It’s a good theme, and I think Hoffman came up with some very clever solutions for how to make it work.  It seems that it will scale fairly well – everybody will always have something to do, and it looks like turns will go quick enough that downtime shouldn’t be much of an issue.  The big thing I worry about is the card passing at night – that has the potential to go on for a while with big groups.

It looks like you’re still taking shots in the dark, but at least there’s some strategy thrown in now.  It looks like a pretty good game, and I look forward to trying it sometime.  Thanks for reading!

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