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Subject: Crossfire or ONUW? rss

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Mark Iradian
Canada
Ontario
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Both games seem to fit the "quick social deduction" game. I currently have ONUW with Daybreak but I'm thinking about selling it, mainly due to game being a challenge to bring to the table (rules explanation and app) often. It seems Crossfire might fit the bill, but it looks too simplistic for longevity...?

Some opinions would be nice.

 
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Cory Kelso
United States
Racine
Wisconsin
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Hi Mark,
I finally got to try this today. It was pretty good. My group have dozens of plays of ONUW, and it's a favorite. I'm not sure this one is better, but it's tighter compared to ONUW. At 6p, the shuffle mechanism kind of splits you into two groups of knowledge, so that inserts more certainty of info than you'd get in a typical 6P game of ONUW. We got in about 7 plays in 30 minutes, so it's definitely fast, and it was increasingly fun the more comfortable we got with the cards and their win conditions.

I'll try to come back here and poop out some more thoughts as we log more plays. I'm definitely looking forward to trying the sniper variant. I expect that will give a unique experience that will make me want to keep both games, which was your original question.
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Cory Kelso
United States
Racine
Wisconsin
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So, we haven't logged any more plays. One coworker even referred to it as 'boring werewolf.' blush So I'm not sure when i'll be able to throw more feedback your way. If you decide to boldly venture forth and get this game, write back here and say how it went for you!
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David Boeger
United States
California
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Unfortunately, I don't own either game yet. I was about to buy ONUW, but then I found out about this gem which seems to have flown under the radar. So what follows are my logical conclusions about the games from observation, but I can't really offer any first hand experiences or impressions of fun yet.

ONUW is a game which directly addresses a lot of the issues people had with traditional Werewolf/Mafia, such as length, player elimination,and the need for a moderator. It was a massive success in this regard, and as a result, I think a lot of people felt satisfied and just accepted it for what it was.

Crossfire seems like a game by a designer who recognized that ONUW was revolutionary, but also flawed. ONUW may have solved a lot of the original game's issues, but it did so in a messy way with its own set of new problems: confusion from role swapping, boring generic villagers with no powers, dependence on a phone app, and the possibility for dud scenarios to crop up. Most people seem to have no trouble forgiving these issues and moving on because the rounds are quite short, so a bad round is not a big loss.

Crossfire addresses a lot of the issues in ONUW with elegance, and even streamlines parts that were not so problematic. For starters, the night phase is replaced by a shuffling/drafting mechanism for assigning roles. This saves a lot of time, completely eliminates the need for any app integration, allows players to keep their eyes open, and decouples role swaps from the roles themselves, resulting in much more consistent information being available to all players every single round. Then there is the fact that there are red, blue, and neutral versions of the "boring" roles, which not only adds variety, but also gives neutral players a win condition separate from either of the 2 main teams. In ONUW, as a villager, you have almost no information to go off of, nor do you have any deductive powers, yet you are obligated to actively participate in finding out who the wolves are. In Crossfire, bystanders need only stay alive to win, and shooters are punished for shooting bystanders which makes it a much more exciting and impactful role. ONUW requires a thorough understanding of all roles in the game to play well because they are critical in reconstructing the events of the night. In Crossfire, even an inexperienced player can participate, as they always have the role description on their card and the information from the shuffling to fall back on. And finally, I think the ONU series suffers from a bit of expansion bloat, while Crossfire is a really solid self-contained experience. The creators of ONUW forced themselves into a corner where the only way to grow and evolve the game is to add new roles which cause even more chaos, which is why the expansion's add all kinds of randomness to the game, and that can only go so far. If Crossfire were to ever receive an expansion, it would like add new win conditions, which is something sustainable and interesting, because the role swapping is a function of the game itself, not the roles.

If it isn't obvious yet, I think Crossfire is better than ONUW in almost every single way. I think it's just so much better on a design level, and it solves nearly all the major issues of ONUW without having many of its own. While I have mad respect for ONUW for what it accomplished, I think Crossfire is the next step in the evolution of that formula. However, in the interest of fairness, I think ONUW deserves recognition for doing some things better than Crossfire. Because of the step by step night phase, ONUW is significantly more fun to spectate, which is especially important in the age of online streaming. Also, Crossfire's streamlined elegance, being its greatest strength, might also be its biggest downfall, because the consistency between rounds might make it feel a bit too sterile. Some of the greatest moments of gameplay are born out of chaos, and ONUW is the more chaotic game for sure. Players will always have about the same amount of information in Crossfire, but ONUW allows for those rare occasions where a like is so perfectly executed that literally nobody besides the liars has any idea what is going on, and those moments are often part of the reason why people fall in love with social deduction games.
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