One versus many games involve an asymmetric competition in which one person is working against everyone else. The roots of these types of games stems from role-playing games in which one person acts as a dungeon master, while the others act as adventurers trying to survive through a campaign.
For example, Dungeons and Dragons is a one versus many role-playing game. However, this mechanic has been adopted into many modern board games and they offer some truly unique experiences.
Types of One VS. Many Board Games:
Here’s an overview of a handful of different styles of One VS. Many games, along with some choice examples of each type…
Dungeon Crawl Board Games: As mentioned above, role-playing games have paved the way for one versus many games, and as such, it is no surprise to see a large number of dungeon crawl board games.
Typically, these games will have one person playing as the overlord and control all the enemies, while the rest will play as the heroes. Here are some examples of popular one versus manay dungeon crawl style games:
- Descent: Journeys in the Dark
- Middle Earth Quest
- Level 7: Omega Protocol
- Star Wars: Imperial Assault
Hidden Movement Board Games:These are games that pit one person against all other players. The objective of the individual player is to either remain hidden or find others who are trying to remain hidden and they often use a numbered board or grid so that movement can be tracked.
These games offer a nice cat-and-mouse experience and often can even be played at 2 players with one person controlling multiple characters. Here are some examples of hidden movement games:
Traitor Mechanic: These are in fact cooperative games but they feature what is called a traitor mechanic. These are usually a separate entity than one versus many, but it is worth including here as the similarities are plentiful.
In games with a traitor mechanic, all players are cooperatively working on some objective to win the game as a team, but there is a possibility that one of the players is secretly a traitor and is trying to sabotage that goal.
The traitor is working against everyone else just like in other one versus many games; however, they must still try (to an extent) to act in the best interest of the team otherwise they risk being discovered as the traitor which may result in that player losing the game. Here are some examples of games that utilize a traitor mechanic:
- Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game
- Betrayal at House on the Hill
- Shadows Over Camelot
- Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game
- Room 25
Other Popular One versus Many Games:
I’m looking for a one vs many that is suitable for just 3 players, does anything like that exist or is that not enough people?
Most of these games can be played at 3 players as well, but typically the players that are on the side of “many” need to take on extra roles and responsibilities. However, one that I think plays particularly well at 3 players is Specter Ops.