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One Night Ultimate Werewolf» Forums » Variants

Subject: Three Player Setup (with a Minion variant) rss

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Dennis Clausen
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Hi ONUW community,

this if my first ever post on the BGG forums, so bear with me.
After playing multiple evenings worth of three player ONUW matches, our little group has come up with a simple variant, which in our opinion results in more interesting and more balanced matches than any of the common three player setups.

First for all, the main issue we discovered:
In a three player match, having two active Werewolves (and with 1/3 of the cards being Werewolves, this is a fairly common situation) it is too easy to win for the Werewolf-Team. This is especially true for more experienced players. The only chance for the single Villager-Team member is to claim the Robber and convince one of the Werewolves, that he has switched roles with the other. To do that, he must of course know what he is up against beforehand.
This tactic may work well the first time around, but in the end, the Werewolves are likely to not believe him as the odds are stacked against him. BTW, this issue has been adressed on these board before, but without any satisfying results (

The proposed solution:
Our solution to this problem is to switch a Werewolf for the Minion. Now this might seem strange at first, but when playing the Minion as a Wolf/Minion-Hybrid, it works very well.
The change is in fact quite intuitive. The Minion performs his night action as usual, but during the voting and scoring section of the game, he is treated just like a Werewolf. So, if the Minion dies, the Werewolves loose and the Villagers win, no matter if there is an acitve Werewolf or not.
Additionally, we decided to apply the Lone Wolf Variant to the minion (So if no one sticks out his thumb at night, the Minion may look at a center card). In that case, the Minion is practically identical to a Lone Wolf for the entire round.
When playing with this variant, you considerably level the playing field, by obscuring the Werewolf's knowledge about his teammate. Of course the Minion can decide to openly reveal himself to the (supposed) Werewolf, but anyone could claim that position and the Werewolf has no way to really confirm his claim.

Recommended Setup:
Now this is the lastest role setup we played with and it worked very well:
Werewolf, Minion, Seer, Robber, Troublemaker, Insomniac

This setup may not be ideal to introduce new players to the game, as there are now idle Villagers, but we found the Villager role to be boring and unnecessary in a small group.
Werewolf, Minion, Seer & Robber are roles that should not be omitted.
However, Troublemaker and Insomniac could very well be exchanged.

In fact, the Insomniac is our latest addition to the setup and has replaced the Drunk, which we used for many games before that.
So here are some thoughts on the role selection:
My main struggle with the Drunk is the randomness he comes with. We've played games where we all (rightfully) agreed, that there were no concious Werewolf Team members among us, but because one of us had claimed the Drunk, we knew that he had a 66% chance to now be an enemy. I personally find this type of resolution to be unsatisfying, no matter the result.
The Insomniac introduces certainity instead and can shed some light on a situation otherwise obfuscated through an accumulation of lies. This is especially useful during the end stage of the game. Of course, one can also lie about being the Insomniac and a well constructed lie may even turn the game around.
The Troublemaker is perhaps the least exciting role in this set, as her only options in a three player game are to exchange the other player's cards or not, without gaining any information for herself. However, she is a role that can easily be (falsly) claimed and (with a high chance of switching a Villager-Team member with a Werewolf-Team member) can completely change the outcome of a game.

There are still some roles (Masons, Hunter, Doppelganger, Tanner) we have never tried to incorporate yet, but most of them seem a tough fit or even game breaking in a three player game.

It would be great to get some feedback on these ideas and gather some experiences of other people playing with this setup. Feel free to add anything that you can think of, to further improve the three player experience.
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Clive Jones

Cambridgeshire, UK
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I confess I've never tried ONUW with only three players. But I'm delighted it's a game that works well with four, when Resistance needs at least five. (-8

If I understand your suggestion for modified-Minion and Werewolf, I think it's equivalent to Werewolf and Dream Wolf from Daybreak? It looks like an interesting conversation for three players, but possibly one it's easier to achieve than the way you suggest (at least for people with the Daybreak expansion).

On the other hand, a Hunter or Tanner will also mess up a pair of werewolves in a three-player game: two werewolves can only win by persuading the Hunter/Tanner that there are no werewolves so that nobody dies. Maybe a combination of roles such as Werewolf, Werewolf, Robber, Seer, Troublemaker, Hunter, Tanner would mix things up sufficiently thoroughly? If it doesn't, substitute the Doppelganger for the Troublemaker and let chaos reign?
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Dok Indigo
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That is a good change for the Minion. (It is like the Dreamwolf from Daybreak in that variant.)

You do not want to include Masons in a three-player-game. You may want to play around with Doppelgänger, I prefer Doppelgänger in larger groups but it will definitely make for some strange combinations. It makes the puzzle harder but also adds to the duration of the night phase, as three-player-games are short I prefer to keep the night phase short too.

Adding Tanner or Hunter will definitely change the game, especially for the Werewolves, I strongly recommend those. Start with one and exchange for the other later, don't start with both of them. I'd replace Seer or Insomniac.
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