Alright, so as of writing this, I hadn’t technically published my One Night Ultimate Werewolf review, but who’s really checking? Regardless, I promise, I’m going to post that one before this one. I just felt like writing and it was a game I felt like writing about, so here we are.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak (ONUWD, because holy God that’s a lot of words) is the second game (it claims standalone status and can be played without ONUW) in the One Night Ultimate Werewolf family from Bezier Games, started on Kickstarter … a while ago, now. Huh. Apparently they all did, who knew? Well, as I mentioned in my ONUW review, you live in a village just absolutely plagued by werewolves, and you’re sick of it. (Unless of course, you happen to be one of those werewolves.) The town is going to do their best to kill the werewolves if they can find them. Unfortunately, these werewolves are a bit different than the normal werewolves you heard about a few towns over… Will you be able to trick the werewolves into revealing themselves? Or will you manage to deceive the townspeople into killing one of their own, you tricky wolf? Read more and find out!
Setup is actually, unsurprisingly, identical to ONUW’s setup. That being said, a few points deserve to be reiterated. Again, if you’re going to play any game in the ONUW family, download the One Night App. It’s on both major mobile OSes, and it’s a huge help for explaining what roles take what actions when.
You’ll once again notice there are a bunch of role cards and tokens, but more tokens than last time. Some of these are role cards and role tokens:
Some are clearly, well, something else:
The tokens with the shield on them can be set aside unless you are playing with the Sentinel role, and the tokens with the chest on the back can be set aside unless you’re playing with the Curator.
Either way, pick N+3 roles (where N is the number of players and contains two werewolves, unless you want to get more crazy) and deal a role to each player. Put the remaining roles in the center. Each player should look at their role and push it towards the center once they’re ready. Generally, once your setup looks like this, you’re ready to begin:
Let’s continue in Gameplay. If you’re using the app, don’t forget to set the roles you’re playing with before you hit start.
Again, to quickly reiterate what I said in my ONUW review, there are two major phases: Night and Day. During the Night, players will (or won’t!) wake up and perform various actions based on what role they started as when the Night began. After that ends, the Day begins. Players need to essentially reconstruct events to figure out what happened and figure out who the Werewolves are.
At the end of the Day, the town collectively votes to kill a werewolf — whoever receives the most votes is killed. If they’re a Werewolf, the Village team wins. If they’re a Village team member, the Werewolf team wins. If there’s a tie (with each player receiving two or more votes), both players are killed. If either player is a Werewolf, the Village team wins. Sometimes you gotta make sacrifices, and sometimes those sacrifices are you.
This Night always proceeds in role order, where the role tokens have numbers that demonstrate their order of awakening (from #0 – #10, with some letters in there for variety). If you have no role number, you do not wake up. Have fun sleeping through the night. In order to determine this most efficiently, you will either need to have one player take on the role of Announcer, and they’ll manage the roles, or you can just download the app because one of your group of at least 3 people must have a smartphone or access to a smartphone emulator? Maybe? Maybe not. The app will handle the Night and set a timer for the day, but if you’re not using it you should set your own timer for the Day.
Again, it might be beneficial to go through each role quickly and explain what they do. I’ll go in order of how the roles wake up and provide a brief rundown of each of the roles. Please note again that your action during the night is the role you started as, not any role you might have changed to. Also do not look at your card again when the night begins unless your action allows you to do so.
Meet the Roles
The Sentinel is familiar with funny business, and he’s here to protect against it. Before any other player gets to act, the Sentinel may swoop in and place a shield token on any other player’s card. If he does so, that player’s card may not be moved or looked at by anyone. It’s just … locked. He’s also on the village team.
Alpha Wolf (#2-B)
If you thought the original werewolves were bad, you haven’t seen anything. This is the Alpha Wolf, a wolf so powerful that other people become wolves by its mere presence. When playing with the Alpha Wolf, take an extra werewolf card (might be the Mystic Wolf or Dream Wolf if you’re playing standalone, but either way it’s a generic werewolf) and add it to the center:
After waking with the other werewolves during the night, the Alpha Wolf takes that center wolf card and swaps it with any non-wolf player, making it much more likely that there’s another Werewolf among you. The interesting thing is that for all intents and purposes, that extra wolf is another card in the center that can be interacted with (by, say, the Apprentice Seer, the Witch, the Drunk, or the Seer). Plan accordingly.
Mystic Wolf (#2-C)
The Mystic Wolf is a wolf that took a few lessons from a Seer gone bad and has a few tricks up its sleeve. After the werewolves wake up, the Mystic Wolf gets a turn where they can look at any other player’s card. Will this help you? Only time will tell.
Apprentice Seer (#5-B)
The Apprentice Seer is a lot like the Seer, but she didn’t quite finish Seer School, so she’s not quite as good. During the night, the Apprentice Seer can wake up and view one card in the center, rather than two. It’s a bummer, sure, so stay in school, kids.
Paranormal Investigator (#5-C)
The Paranormal Investigator is looking for trouble, and he just might find it. When playing with the PI, you look at another player’s card. If it’s a Werewolf or a Tanner, you stop looking and instantly become a Werewolf or a Tanner , respectively. If it’s not, you can look at one more player’s card, with the same potential consequences. Very exciting, and honestly one of my favorite roles. Note that if you see a Tanner, you are on a different Tanner team than that Tanner. Also note that unless you are playing with the original ONUW, there is no way for you to become a Tanner, since there are no Tanners when the night starts.
The Witch enjoys changing things up like ONUW’s Robber, but uses her magic to get a bit more variety than his thievery will allow. The Witch can first look at any card in the center. If she does so, she must swap that card with any player’s card, including her own. See a Werewolf? Now you can be Team Werewolf. Or you can wreck the werewolves by switching one of them back to a villager. Witch? More like Switch, am I right?
Village Idiot (#7-B)
This role is an abomination, so play with it at your own risk. When the Village Idiot wakes up, they choose either left or right. They then immediately move every player’s role card except theirs one space in that direction. Good luck figuring out what happened there. I mean, it’ll probably be obvious, but still. Don’t play with this with a lot of cards, otherwise the Village Idiot won’t have enough time to make the switch without doing so loudly. I think this is a role that is much better in small games (and small doses).
Oh, the Revealer. Not content to just see another player’s card, he thinks that their true nature should be revealed to the entire table. The Revealer may flip any other player’s card face-up. However! If it’s any of the werewolves or the Tanner, he must immediately flip it back over. The only thing more alarming than seeing a card face-up is seeing NO cards face-up when the Revealer is around. It’s pretty great.
The Curator is an interesting fellow. He’s got all these artifacts, yeah? During the night, he can take one of the face-down artifact tokens and give it to a player of his choice. When they wake up, they get to see what artifact they were given. In order to better understand how it plays, it might be best to know what they do:
- Claw of the Werewolf: This player becomes a Werewolf. If they are killed, the Werewolf team loses and the Village team wins.
- Brand of the Villager: This player becomes a Villager. They have no special abilities and are generally uninteresting. If they had any voting-round abilities (Hunter / Bodyguard), they lose those as well.
- Cudgel of the Tanner: This player becomes a Tanner. As in ONUW, the Tanner can only win if they are killed. Otherwise, they lose. Good luck.
- Void of Nothingness: This artifact has no effect. You’ll see a lot of people claiming they were given this one.
- Mask of Muting: You may not speak. You can use your hands, try sign language, but you must be silent for the rest of this heavily discussion-based game. What fun!
- Shroud of Shame: You must turn your chair around and sit not facing any other players. You can still speak, but you cannot look at any other players, cards or tokens. When you vote, you point towards the table (without facing it) and the other players try to interpret who you voted for.
You can choose which artifacts you’re going to play with (I usually leave out the last two), but they need to be shuffled before the game starts. The Curator does not get to know what artifact he is giving another player.
Dream Wolf (No number; does not wake during Night)
You are the snooziest werewolf in town. Thankfully, your friends at least notice that you change at night. When the other werewolves wake up, you do not wake up with them. Instead, you stick out your thumb and they get to see you’re a werewolf. You do not.
Note that for ONUW’s Minion you would also stick out your thumb, but you still don’t ever open your eyes at night.
Bodyguard (No number; does not wake during Night)
Bodyguard’s reasonably simple. He’s the defense to everyone’s offense. When it’s time to kill someone, whoever the Bodyguard points at cannot be killed. Instead, if they get the most votes the second-most popular player gets killed, provided that at least two people voted for them. This can cause some exciting things to happen.
One last thing. You might mix some roles with the One Night Ultimate Werewolf set. If you are planning to do that, that’s fine, but if you’re using the Doppleganger, just note that Doppleganger-Revealer and Doppleganger-Curator go after the Revealer and Curator, respectively. Everything else happens immediately during the Doppleganger’s turn.
So that’s all the roles. Again, during the night every player should keep their eyes closed until it’s their turn to open them (if they wake up at all). Some additional suggestions during the night:
- Play some music. It helps distract from any noises players may make while they’re moving around or minor noises made by dropping / lifting role cards.
- Lift the cards, don’t slide them. They make noise sliding against the table and you can figure out which roles are in play if you can hear noises happening during their turns. Just try to be subtle.
- Move the cards around before everyone opens their eyes. Just reach forward and swish your card around a bit. Not everyone puts cards back in the same spot for some reason, so you want to make sure you can’t tell which cards got moved during the night.
After all that, the Day begins! Again, this is where players try to figure out both what happened and who is now a werewolf. While they say the truth will set you free, you might find that you are in a situation where the truth would be inconvenient to share. You know what team you started on, so try to figure out what team you’re on now, and then either lie or tell the truth or debate someone or yell until you get your way or whatever. Whatever gets someone on the team you want killed killed, works. More on that in Strategy.
After time runs out, all players vote on a countdown from three (basically every player votes simultaneously), and whoever gets the most votes is killed (barring a tie, in which each player with the most votes dies). If the now-Tanner is killed, he wins; if no Werewolf and no Tanner is killed, the Werewolves win; and if at least a Werewolf is killed, the Village team wins!
Player Count Differences
Again, I don’t think there are a ton of major player count differences, here. With only 3 Team Werewolf roles (potentially 4 or 5 if you get ABSURDLY LUCKY with both the PI and the Curator, I guess) it’s difficult to have a werewolf majority at higher player counts, so that’s the major difference in player count for me. Otherwise it’s more about finding a role balance that works well for your group, which isn’t super related to player count. That being said, I’d still not recommend playing with fewer than five players, personally. There are other games I like at that smaller player count.
This is again, a bit group-dependent, but work with me here. I’m going to include ONUW + ONUWD strategy, and mark it as such. I’d strongly encourage you to look at my previous post on ONUW’s Strategy to make sure that you’re up to speed on some of the basic strategies for any of the One Night games as well.
- (ONUW + D) A Lone Wolf and an Apprentice Seer can make identical claims. Both will see one card in the center and it’ll be tough to dispute them, since neither are technically lying about what they saw, just what their role might have been.
- (ONUW + D) A Mystic Wolf’s Robber claim is pretty solid. Since you’re Mystic Wolf, you get to see another player’s role. That means if you claim that you Robbed that role from them, they’re likely to believe you since they know they started as whatever role you said.
- (ONUWD) Revealer can wreck you as a wolf. Plan accordingly. If you don’t see a card face-up and the Revealer is in your pool of roles, it might be worth claiming the Revealer and pointing to a random non-wolf and claiming you flipped their card and saw a werewolf. Sometimes it works, usually, it doesn’t. Worth a shot, though.
- (ONUWD) Bodyguard: Pay attention. Do not point at the person the town wants to kill unless you’re SURE the town is wrong, otherwise you can cost your team the game.
- (ONUW + D) Witch + Drunk + Seer + Apprentice Seer: The Alpha Wolf’s extra werewolf card is a great thing. If you’re the Witch, you can easily verify that the card’s a werewolf and either wolf yourself or someone else. If you’re Drunk, you can be decently sure that you’re now a werewolf if you take it, especially if the Apprentice Seer or Seer confirm that they checked it and it was a werewolf (meaning the Alpha Wolf is in the center).
- (ONUWD) Paranormal Investigator: Have a cover story prepared. Nobody’s going to believe that you only looked at one card, so either wait for someone to claim something and “confirm them” as the PI, or try to make a guess and just see what happens. Generally I recommend the former approach. The nice thing is that if you DO see a Werewolf, you can cover for them.
- (ONUWD) If you get an artifact from the Curator, no matter which you get, say it’s Brand of the Villager / Void of Nothingness / Mask of Muting. That’s part of the reason I’m not a huge fan of the Curator, but I’ll talk more about that later on.
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
- More roles, more variety. Now you even have buffed werewolves! It’s fantastic. If you’re looking to add more chaos to your games of ONUW, this will definitely help.
- Different “strength” characters let you adjust the strength of each team. You can buff or debuff Team Werewolf or Team Village by adding in the Alpha Wolf (VERY STRONG Werewolf), Mystic Wolf (Strong Werewolf), or Dream Wolf (Weak Werewolf) to try and balance the game if you’re seeing too many wins from either team. It’s a really nice feature. Additionally, you can add in the Apprentice Seer instead of the Seer to debuff town or Witch to buff town, among other things. Not all of them are strict buffs / debuffs, but those are pretty explicit, in my opinion.
- Every role is special. If you find villagers as boring as I do, this might be a good box for you to pick up. That being said, I miss the classic ONUW roles if I’m playing with just this set.
- Paranormal Investigator is amazing. I really like this role. Makes for a really interesting character because you can never be totally convinced that he’s good. This does offer room for some cheating (players could lie about their alleigance as PI), but … just don’t play with cheaters.
- Synergizes GREAT with One Night Ultimate Werewolf. I haven’t gotten Vampire yet, but I rarely play without at least one role from ONUWD (usually the Mystic Wolf or the Paranormal Investigator).
- I don’t think this is a particularly solid standalone “set” of roles. I don’t think this is really a problem, but in my opinion this is an expansion that happens to be playable standalone rather than a standalone game. That’s at least my recommendation.
- I personally don’t like in-game things that force out-of-game actions. The Mask of Muting and Shroud of Shame are not my favorites, as a result.
- It’s pretty easy to unbalance a game with both ONUW and Daybreak if you’re not paying attention. If you have, say, the Seer, Apprentice Seer, and Witch in play, it’s highly likely that the Village will know every card in the center. This means that werewolves will be incapable of claiming any of those roles, and you’ll tilt towards town REALLY HEAVILY. We’ve started using Apprentice Seer over Seer as a result — we felt like Seer was too strong for our group. Just be careful about what role combinations you’re using.
- Some roles I really dislike. The Village Idiot is most of those. I can see the amusing factor of it (and it is rather funny), but I won’t ever really play with it. It confuses new players something awful, and if someone is the Doppleganger and copies it it turns the entire game into a mess.
- I am not convinced there is a great way to play Curator. Some sites recommend asking players to describe their artifact in detail, but that seems kind of crappy since it rewards players that know the rulebook better and wrecks new players. I tried this once and it felt … wrong. So probably not happening again. Even then, if you know they’re lying it’s still essentially a coin flip as to whether they’re Werewolf or Tanner. I would love to hear about your successes with the Curator, so if you have them, please share them in the comments.
Overall (as an expansion): 9 / 10
Overall, what I’d say is that I would not start with Daybreak — I’d start with ONUW. See if you like it, see how it plays, and if you like it Daybreak will improve it. I think this is just a lot to start with if you’ve never played before, and quite honestly if you asked me I would almost never play this by itself because I’d just overwhelmingly rather play it with ONUW. I guess that means I’m giving it a poor score as a standalone, but really I’m just saying you should buy ONUW first and then get this if you already enjoy it. That was a bit rambly, but generally I think Daybreak adds in some great roles, and when combined with ONUW is a powerhouse party game that I’m always enthusiastic about bringing to the table.