Play Time: 10 Min / Players: 4-10 / Complexity: Low / Age: 8+ we think 10+ / Publisher: Bézier Games / Designer: Ted Alspach, Akihisa Okui
One Night Ultimate Alien Ratings and Summary
Kids rating from our daughters (7 &10).
Teen rating from our son (14).
One Night Ultimate Alien adds some nice touches to increase variability each game through dynamic roles and randomised events. Unfortunately, the win conditions are more complex, and we have found the randomised events can lead to some balance issues. We prefer the original over this version.
- Dynamic roles that change slightly from game to game are a great idea
- Ripples in space time also add some nice variety with random events
- The roles in this version of the game are quite unique compared to other editions of the game
- The added randomised factors create a lot of replay value
- The card art is great.
- Win conditions are a lot more complex and can make it hard to keep track of what’s required to win. Not a great introduction to the series for new players
- Feels like balance can be more of an issue in this edition of the game. This is mainly to do with some of the randomisation created by the app.
Big thanks to BoardGameRentals.co.nz for providing a copy of this game for review. As always, we provide our own unbiased perspectives on games we review.
What You Will Find in Our One Night Ultimate Alien Review
- How to Play
- Gameplay Experience
- Final Thoughts
- Other Games to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
One Night Ultimate Werewolf from Bezier games is one of our favourite family games. Quick play time and interesting roles have kept us coming back to this social deduction game repeatedly since we got it. One Night Ultimate Alien was released in 2017 after the Daybreak and Vampire versions, offering some big changes to the original formula to keep things fresh. While there are some great elements introduced in this version of the game there are also some issues that mean it falls short of the fun factor in the original game.
How to Play One Night Ultimate Alien
It seems you can’t move anywhere without trouble finding you. You have rooted out Werewolves amongst your neighbours, battled Vampires and now it’s time to kick some Alien butt. In your latest home the villagers are spooked, you know the drill by now, there is something odd afoot and you must uncover friend from foe using all your deductive skill. This time the Aliens are recklessly using advanced technology that messes with space and time creating ‘ripples’ that can alter reality. Good luck this is not going to be easy.
In One Night Ultimate Alien the Aliens win if they don’t die and villagers win if they kill an Alien, simple right? Except that it isn’t that simple, there are multiple roles that have their own win condition so be warned it is more complicated than the previous iterations of the game. We will explain all the exceptions when we explain the new roles below.
To set up One Night Ultimate Alien select roles equal to the number of players plus three. Then take the corresponding role cards, shuffle, and deal each player a role card facedown. The three remaining role cards along with tokens depicting each role will then be placed in the middle.
The difference here is that you will also assign each player a role number which will be used by the app during the game. Be aware this version of One Night requires you to use the app as it will randomise certain character abilities and events.
Night and Day Phase
Just like previous versions, the game is split into a night and day phase. During the night phase players will close their eyes and certain roles will be called upon by the app to wake up and perform their abilities. The cool thing about One Night Ultimate Alien is that many of the roles have randomised abilities that are determined by the app. If you zone out during the night phase it’s a real problem here, so stay alert.
There are also events that can occur called ‘ripples in the space time continuum’. These could cause all sorts of crazy things to happen, for example the night phase can be repeated a second time or players can be asked to face away from the table.
The day phase is where all players will wake up to try to figure out who’s who and craft elaborate lies to cover up their own identity if needed. This is where the arguing, shouting and backstabbing occurs, in other words it’s the fun bit.
If you have played any game in the series, you know that the fun is all in the roles. So, here’s a rundown of the different roles and my thoughts on each. We’ll start with the Aliens and the Blob because I think they look cool:
- Alien – All Aliens (including Zerb, Groob and Synthetic) will wake up and look for each other at night. The app will provide random instructions when they wake. It could be that they can look at a card or swap a card with another Alien. These fellas are the reason for the space time ripples and there is some in fighting here we will explain below
- Synthetic Alien – This poor fellow has become self-aware and knows he is too dangerous to stay alive. His aim is to die, kind of like a Tanner who knows who all the aliens are. This is my favourite version out of the two as this guy gets to see who all the Aliens are
- Groob & Zerb – These two just hate each other, if they are both in the game they will wake up at the same time. Zerb wins if Groob dies and vice versa. We just love these two and often include them in a game. If only one is present, they win if no Aliens die essentially becoming your vanilla Alien type
- Blob – The Blob doesn’t wake up, but the app will randomly assign other players to be part of the Blob. The Blob loses if anyone in the Blob dies. This role can become unbalanced in a low player count game as the app can assign two or more additional Blobs making it hard to win.
Here are the village folk:
- Oracle – She wakes up and is asked a question by the app, her answer will affect the game in some way. It could be that there is a guaranteed ripple or that all the roles are now out to kill her. I have found this role a bit hit or miss as she doesn’t really get access to any new information unlike other roles which I see as a disadvantage. There’s also the chance that she may be named a target by the app making it hard to win
- Cow – The Cow has a great ability. He will get tapped on the hoof during the night phase if there are any Aliens next to him. We love the Cow and usually use him
- Psychic – The app will tell the Psychic to look at one or more cards when they wake up. This is generally a fun card but can become overpowered in a low player count game if the app allows them to see more than one card
- Rascal – When the Rascal wakes up the app tells him he may move two or more cards and which cards he can move. A fun role and one that can be mixed well with other sets
- Leader – This one gets a little complicated. If Zerb and Groob are in the game the Leader wins if they both stay alive. If only one or none are present, then the Leader wins with the villagers. The catch here is that if the Aliens can figure out who he is and they all vote for him, they win even if an Alien is killed. This is a cool concept but can’t easily be mixed with other sets without incorporating Aliens.
- Exposer – The Exposer may flip one or more centre cards to reveal them. This role can kill the game a bit in my view. Especially if the night phase is repeated as its possible, he may flip all three centre cards. This basically removes a lot of options for the Alien team to fake a role
- Mortician – This is a great role at a high player count but doesn’t work well at low player counts. He can view one, both or none of his neighbour’s cards depending on the app. This fellow wants more business as bad as that sounds and will win if either of his neighbours is killed.
You can of course mix any of these roles with other sets but be warned as we mentioned above some roles don’t mix well, like the Leader or the Cow who need other Alien roles to work.
If there are Werewolves, Vampires and Aliens in play there is a table in the back of the rulebook outlining the victory conditions for each role. This part can get a little complicated and if there are three or more factions present two people will be killed at the end of the game.
There are a lot of things I like about One Night Ultimate Alien. There are some unique roles here, the Leader and the Cow in particular are fun. The concept of Zerb and Groob putting their own personal feud ahead of their Alien allegiance is also brilliant. My son loves those two and always wants them in the game. It’s clear that the designers really wanted to create a unique experience with this edition, and I think they succeeded in creating some very interesting roles.
I also like the concept of the app varying the roles slightly and providing randomised events. When it works well it can really spice up the game a bit and ensures that every game feels different as you never really know what will happen. My daughters just love the Oracle and interacting with the app when the randomised questions come up.
There are also more layers to consider here, in total aside from the basic Alien vs Villager win conditions there are six characters in the mix that add their own victory conditions. For experienced players this will really add a challenge. It also provides other strategic options. As the Alien player if I can identify the Leader correctly it provides another pathway to victory even if I am voted out. As the Mortician throwing my neighbours under the bus is my ticket to a win, I don’t really care which one cops it.
For all these extra elements and victory conditions there is a price though. The game is a lot more complicated than the original version. Often our kids will get confused about who should or shouldn’t die for them to win with all the overlapping goals possibly in play.
The Blob wants his fellow Blobs alive, but they don’t care if he dies, Zerb and Groob want to kill each other, the Aliens just want to stay alive, the Mortician wants his neighbours dead and the Leader’s goals change depending on whether Zerb and Groob are in play and finally the Synthetic Alien just wants to be put out of his misery. That’s a lot to consider without tying yourself up in knots. It’s also very easy to forget when you first start playing, making this a poor choice for beginners to the series. It gets a whole lot more complicated when playing Epic mode with Werewolves and Vampires thrown into the mix.
The randomised events and player abilities driven by the app are a great idea, but it doesn’t feel like the results are well balanced at times. For example, in one five player game my daughter was the Blob and the app declared three players next to her as part of the Blob. At that point the odds were stacked against her majorly. That’s not much fun when you’re on the receiving end.
I have also had a game where I was the Oracle and the app declared that all players had a new win condition…kill the Oracle, I didn’t last long. I think more could have been done to limit these sorts of balance issues with the app events as we have had a number of games where it feels like the outcome is all but decided due to these.
Mixing roles with other games needs to be done carefully as some roles require other roles to work. For example, the cow needs aliens in play to trigger their ability and so does the Leader. Other roles would be great to mix in and would make a nice difference, the Rascal, Psychic or Mortician for example would work nicely mixed with other games.
Overall, I think One Night Ultimate Alien is best played at higher player counts where the randomised events may not break the game as much. I also think it is better suited for players that want a little more complexity and some additional layers to consider. My son and I enjoy this edition for those reasons.
The components are much the same as previous One Night games except for player number counters which we explained above. I really like the artwork here, probably more so than the original, the characters look the part, and the colour schemes are nice. Be aware the app is now mandatory to play this game, I think that isn’t an issue as we have always used the app in prior editions and think it works best this way.
I think the theme here is fine. Possibly Werewolves and Vampires make more sense than Aliens, but it still works. I also like the little feud they created between Zerb and Groob, it adds nicely to the story.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is one of our all-time favourite games, I can’t count how many times we have played it together. Our family is a bit split on One Night Ultimate Alien. My son and I enjoy it and like the additional layers to consider given the broader set of victory conditions. My wife and daughters don’t like it at all, they feel it is now too complex to be enjoyable. One thing we all agree on is that the best in the series is still the original.
So, if you were to buy one copy in the series, I think the original One Night Ultimate Werewolf is still the one to get. If you are after a follow up to expand variety, that can mix in nicely with the original, I think Daybreak is a great next step. I wouldn’t get One Night Ultimate Alien until after getting those editions and in fact you may find the first two are all you need if you want a simpler game.
Is One Night Ultimate Alien easy to learn? The rules overall are easy but the win conditions can get quite complicated especially if you are mixing with other sets and play Epic mode.
What will One Night Ultimate Alien teach my kids? One negative here is that it will teach your kids to craft a better lie! However, aside from that it will also teach them to be more alert to inconsistencies in a story and to communicate their perspectives in a larger group.
What age is appropriate for One Night Ultimate Alien? I think 8-year-olds are likely to struggle with the complexity of the win conditions here. I think the original is better for younger players. 10+ is probably a safer age range for this game.
Does One Night Ultimate Alien have good replay value? The potential is there for some great replay value because of the randomised events and player abilities, you just might find that it is also a bit hit and miss at times.
We hope you enjoyed our One Night Ultimate Alien review. If you have any more questions or just want to share your thoughts on this game please leave a comment below, or get in touch through our contact page.
About the Authors
We are parents who love board gaming. We have three children and have been enjoying board games as a family ever since we had our first child. We share our real unbiased experiences and opinions on board games so you can decide if they are right for your family. We also write guides and articles to help you get the most out of your family game time.
Other Games to Consider
If you are looking for simple and quick social deduction game, here are some great options to consider:
- One Night Ultimate Werewolf (Review): As we mentioned this is our favourite game in the One Night series. It has a wide variety of roles for good replay value and is simple to learn. We highly recommend this as a first step into social deduction games
- Coup (Review): Coup is another great social deduction game that can be played in 15 minutes. In this game your goal is to eliminate all other players by successfully calling their bluffs or assassinating their characters. The rules are simple to learn but Coup can only accommodate up to 6 players
- Bang! The Dice Game (Review): This is another great introduction to social deduction games. The social deduction element here isn’t as central as it is in Coup or One Night Ultimate Werewolf, but it is still a factor in the game. In Bang! Outlaws, Renegades, and the Sherriff shoot it out in the old west. The catch is the sheriff is the only role visible to everyone, the remaining characters are hidden. Bang! The Dice Game is a lot of fun, can accommodate up to 8 players and is simple enough for younger kids to be able to enjoy it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best player count for One Night Ultimate Alien?
We think you need at least 5 players for this game to work well, preferably 6 or 7 this will mitigate some of the balance issues with random events we mentioned in our review.
Why do you need the app to play One Night Ultimate Alien?
Most characters have some randomisation for their abilities which is generated by the app. There are also events called ‘ripples’ which are generated by the app and can change each game.
If players become part of the Blob, do they win if the Blob wins?
No, as per the rules, the Blob’s victory condition is to keep them all alive and themselves. The victory condition does not extend to players who become part of the Blob during the game. Their win conditions stay the same.
For example, if the Cow becomes part of the Blob they still win if an Alien is voted out and lose if one isn’t voted out. The Blob on the other hand wins if the Cow and they are still alive at the end of the game but lose if one of them is killed.
Does the Synthetic Alien wake up when all the other Aliens wake up?
Yes, the Synthetic Alien counts as an alien when it comes to waking up during the night phase.
What happens if Zerb and Groob are both in play and the Leader dies, who wins?
The Leader and the Alien team win but Zerb and Groob lose. The Leader’s win condition is to ensure Zerb and Groob survive, if he dies that does not affect his win condition.
During a time loop ripple if the night phase is repeated and roles are switched which role do you wake for?
If your role is switched during the night phase and there is a subsequent night phase you wake according to your original role not the new one.
What happens if the app asks you to perform an action that isn’t possible?
This might happen for example if there is a five-player game and the Rascal is asked to exchange two cards that are higher than his number. The rascal may for example be player 4 in which case the action is not possible and so they do not complete this action.