Role Selection

appChoosing a good combination of roles is probably the most difficult part of the game. Role selection needs to:

  • be balanced between the Werewolf and Village teams
  • not create too much chaos, nor be too deterministic
  • ensure the night phase does not take too long
  • contain a level of complexity appropriate for the level of players’ experience

The example setup in the rulebook is perfect for beginner players. Beyond this, role selection requires experience as well as trial and error.

Some specific tips are:

  • Use of the Doppelganger is not recommended for inexperienced players, nor for games with many players since the night phase will be stretched even further. The Doppelganger is, however, virtually essential for a player counts of 3, to inject the right amount of doubt and confusion.
  • The Village Idiot should not be used for large player counts, say 6 or more.

The following recommended rolesets have been compiled from user contributions on the Board Game Geek forums:

Players Suggested Roles
3 Robber, Minion, Doppleganger, Alpha Wolf, Mystic Wolf, Witch
3 Robber, Tanner, Doppleganger, Alpha Wolf, Witch, Dream Wolf
3 2 Werewolves, Robber, Tanner, Drunk, Doppleganger
4 2 Werewolves, Robber, Tanner, Doppleganger, Alpha Wolf, Witch, Curator
4 Werewolf, Seer, Hunter, Mystic Wolf, Apprentice Seer, Revealer, Bodyguard
4 Alpha Wolf, Mystic Wolf, Dream Wolf, Robber, Witch, Village Idiot, Aura Seer, Cursed
5 Werewolf, Seer, Insomniac, Mystic Wolf, Apprentice Seer, Paranormal Investigator, Witch, Revealer
5 Werewolf, Robber, Troublemaker, Doppleganger, Alpha Wolf, Witch, Village Idiot, Curator
5 Seer, Troublemaker, Tanner, Insomniac, Alpha Wolf, Mystic Wolf, Paranormal Investigator, Witch
6 2 Werewolves, Villager, Seer, Robber, Troublemaker, Tanner, Drunk, Minion
6 Robber, Troublemaker, Tanner, Minion, Doppleganger, Mystic Wolf, Paranormal Investigator, Witch, Dream Wolf
6 2 Werewolves, Seer, Robber, Troublemaker, Minion, Doppleganger, Witch, Revealer
6 2 Werewolves, 3 Villagers, Tanner, 2 Masons, Doppleganger
7 2 Werewolves, 2 Villagers, Seer, Robber, Troublemaker, Tanner, Drunk, Minion
7 Robber, Tanner, Drunk, Minion, Alpha Wolf, Apprentice Seer, Paranormal Investigator, Witch, Revealer, Dream Wolf
8 2 Werewolves, 2 Villagers, Seer, Robber, Troublemaker, Tanner, Drunk, Hunter, Minion
9 2 Werewolves, 3 Villagers, Seer, Robber, Troublemaker, Tanner, Drunk, Hunter, Minion
9 Robber, Troublemaker, Tanner, Minion, Doppleganger, Alpha Wolf, Mystic Wolf, Apprentice Seer, Witch, Revealer, Bodyguard, Aura Seer
9 Seer, Robber, Troublemaker, Tanner, Drunk, 2 Masons, Minion, Doppleganger, Alpha Wolf, Mystic Wolf, Witch
10 2 Werewolves, 2 Villagers, Seer, Robber, Troublemaker, Tanner, Drunk, Hunter, 2 Masons, Minion
10 Robber, Troublemaker, Tanner, Hunter, Minion, Doppleganger, Alpha Wolf, Mystic Wolf, Apprentice Seer, Paranormal Investigator, Witch, Cursed, Prince
10 Robber, Troublemaker, Tanner, Drunk, Hunter, Minion, Doppleganger, Alpha Wolf, Paranormal Investigator, Dream Wolf, Bodyguard, Cursed, Prince

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

38 thoughts on “Role Selection”

  1. can you suggest role selection for One Night Ultimate Werewolf (the one with 12 roles, NOT Daybreak or Vampire or other expansion versions) ?

    1. My favorite from the original is Minion, WW, WW, Mason, Mason, Troublemaker, Robber, Seer, plus one villager for every other player. Be cautious, though, as 3 or more characters from team wolf in a 3-4 player game means chaos.

  2. Alpha Wolf is confusing.

    Rules-as-written, you add a separate werewolf card (doesn’t much matter which) to the setup for the Alpha Wolf to use. But some people do “shuffle all non-Alpha wolves of this setup, put a random one in the middle, add the others to the setup”. If you do that, then your setup needs 3 werewolves.

    Some of these setups (e.g. the top one) are clearly for rules-as-written, others (e.g. the last 4p setup) only make sense with the house rule, and others are ambiguous.

      1. Actually, you can use any generic WW card. Nobody will ever have that role at game start, so there’s no difference between any specific WW card to use here. Dream wolf is a bit different – they know they’re a wolf at game start and other wolves (if any) know who they are, but they’re oblivious and without any information – even from the one card in the middle that WW’s can look at in some rulesets if only 1 wolf is present.

      2. thats how i usually play, but they are other variants. one of which they shuffle all the werewolf cards and put a random on in the middle, then shuffle the rest with the other cards + deal them. I like both methods but prefer the first one as its easier

  3. So i like this game a lot i played it with my family last night it was really fun today i played it with my uncle and my 79 year old grandma she cheats an awful lot but she really loves the trouble maker role keep up the good work!! :)

  4. It feels like a few roles have some implied minimum player counts to them, particularly the Masons and the Alpha Wolf. Anyone have any guidelines for when the best minimum number of players for these cards?

    I like to think of role selection as a cocktail of player preferences for interesting roles and surprising games mixed with a desire to balance things. WW’s losing? Throw in a Tanner, Minion, and/or Mystic Wolf. Seer too trustworthy? Throw in a Mystic Wolf to make it more suspicious. People getting caught without a defense? Throw in more role swapping cards.

    I’m also wondering about adding a 4th card to the center (not the alpha WW’s WW card) as a balance mechanism for the WW’s if they’re losing too frequently. Haven’t tried that yet.

    My favorite mix so far is for 5:
    Alpha Wolf
    Mystic Wolf

    Nobody is bored and it’s pretty balanced while still adding some Alpha Wolf and Troublemaker shenanigans.

    1. I tend to save the Masons for 6+.
      Alpha Wolf doesn’t have a minimum. On low player counts, he might cause a werewolf majority, but that is by no means a problem (provided your setup contains enough shenanigans to make it difficult to know for certain).

  5. Thanks for that info.
    Do you have any recommendations for ONUV?
    We played with 3, all the vampires were in the middle and absolutely nothing happened!

    1. I’ve been looking for Vampire 3-person games also. I’ve always used Assassin in 3-player games, as he makes the game very interesting. I haven’t decided between 1 or 2 Vampires, as having 2 in the same game makes a boring round. Roles like Cupid, Diseased, and Priest should never be used with 3 players.

      1. So I assume that any of the roles that say “you may…” are the ones that can choose to not do their action (seer, robber, trouble maker…), right?

        1. That is correct.

          Roles like The Troublemaker where it says “You may” can choose. This tends to apply to role switching (Robber, Witch, etc.) or role viewing cards (Seer, Mystic Wolf), as well as Artifacts (Curator) and Shield tokens (Sentinel).

          Roles like The Diseased, where it doesn’t say “You may” can NOT choose. This tends to apply to mark giving (Vampires, Cupid, etc.) or role stealing cards (Döppelganger, Copycat, etc.).

          1. I’ve never played a game where I didn’t do a night action. I feel like the only roles that could use not acting to their advantage are roles that switch cards without looking (village idiot or troublemaker). But otherwise, why would you not want to act?

  6. I agree, partially. Not acting as a role with an action is a bad call, wether it seems better or not. Because consider you are the Troublemaker, and you wake up, and someone asks what you did, and you truthfully say:

    “I was the Troublemaker and I didn’t do anything.”

    This immediately throws your suspicion to the roof. It sounds like you couldn’t make up a story on the spot, and when nobody says that you weren’t, people will pin you as a Lone Wolf that saw the Troublemaker in the center.

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  12. Qs. If we play with 2 WWs and Minion. Say 2 WW is in the center, and 1 minion with the players. How is the winning condition?
    If a villager die, the minion (team WW) wins.
    If the Minion dies (2 WW on the center), the villager team wins? Is that correct?
    Since there is no WWs that the minion is protecting.

    1. Minion only has to make sure someone else dies. If it’s a tie between minion and villager, minion wins and village loses

  13. I’m curious to try an epic battle setup where we play with aliens and then just put a lone mystic wolf in. They will get to see a center card and another players card and have a chance of just sliding under the radar.

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