The Resistance is unlike any board game you’ve ever played in that:
a) it plays a lot differently than most of your other board games;
b) anyone can play this game- even people who couldn’t care LESS about your stacks and stacks of Japanese Card Games.
During a game of the Resistance, a number of players will play as spies, and the rest of the players will play as The Resistance, a supposedly good ground of humans, who are fighting against an evil corporation. I like to think that in the future, there’s a group of Wal-Mart employees that want to form a Union, and Wal-Mart has sent a group of spies to make sure that the union never forms by tanking a series of group votes. The theme still works! During the game, the leader will have to pick who to send on missions, everyone will vote, and then the people sent on those missions have to secretly decide whether the mission succeeds or fails. The Resistance wants the missions to succeed, and the Spies want the mission to fail. 3 success or failures determines who wins.
The Resistance: Avalon is a sequel to the very popular The Resistance and adds a number of new hidden roles that make the game more interesting. If you’re thinking of picking up one or the other, just get Avalon. They’re essentially the exact same game, but Avalon has different options. One has to wonder why the extra components weren’t just put out as a $5.00 Resistance expansion, because the theme of The Resistance fades away after 1-2 playthroughs. I think the answer has something to do with money, but you can never tell with corporate entities. Sometimes they just want to do the right thing, you know?
Avalon adds the following to the game:
1. Merlin- Merlin is awesome. Merlin gets to know who the spies are, but if the spies find out who Merlin is, they can still win the game. This leads to Merlin being secretive and having to play a bit like a stupid person throughout the whole game. It really puts a person’s bluffing powers to the test.
2. Percival and Morgana- Adding to the silliness, Percival is a good guy who gets to know who Merlin is! HOWEVER, the twist is that when Percival looks to see who Merlin is, he sees TWO people, one of whom is MORGANA, who appears to Percival as Merlin. The fun part about Percival is that he can never out the people he sees as Merlin, because Morgana obviously knows who she is and will instantly be able to identify Merlin. This just adds another layer to an already crazy game.
3. Oberron- Oberron doesn’t show himself to the evil players, even though he is on the evil team. We haven’t played with Oberron but this just adds another layer to the chaos.
4. Mordred- Merlin doesn’t know who Mordred is. Yet another complication in a game full of complications.
5. The Lady of the Lake Token- Once a round, before voting starts in the 3rd, 4th and 5th round, the player with the Lady of the lake Token can name a player, and they have to show their allegiance, either good or bad, in secret, to that player. The player whose allegiance was shown then gets to do the same to someone else next round. Of course, the player who sees the allegiance can just lie about what they see anyway, so it’s more good fun.
So you’ve got your copy of the Resistance: Avalon, and you’ve realized the biggest problem that is going to get in your way of playing: You need at least 5 people, and you should probably have 7. I think 7 is a real sweet spot for Avalon. If you’re like me, you’ve been playing games that need 3-4 players and have built your gaming circle thusly. You have a really tight group of players that really enjoy purchasing little meeples or sheep, and you really only have 4 chairs and a small table. WELL, it is time to find new friends and go furniture shopping!
The fantastic thing about Avalon is that you can bring it over to a family event and with a little coaxing, a bit of wine, and some determination, get your monopoly loving cousins to play with you! After one playthrough, they’ll all be clamouring to play again. Try this out. Watch as your otherwise too-cool family members go ALL IN on the second playthrough. Of course, in the first game you will have been a complete goof, accusing everyone of being a spy almost instantly to get the game going.
How do you explain the game to new players? When I explained it to a group of my family, I actually didn’t explain the game all the way through. I let the game develop in stages. First, pass out the character cards. Tell everyone to look at their character cards IN SECRET. Tell everyone to make note of whether they are on the blue team or the red team (no need to alienate people with the game terminology just yet). Tell them that one of them is going to be Merlin and that that person is on the blue team as well. Then, make them all go through the closed-eyes exercise. When they open their eyes, they’ll have a vague sense of what’s going on. At that point, you explain how the rounds work, and watch them start looking around the table trying to figure out exactly how to win. After the first two rounds (the first round is always superfluous), they get it, and you didn’t need to spend 10 minutes explaining the game. By the end, they will all be screaming at each other. It’s lovely.
The Resistance: Avalon, is just a simple, easy game to bust out at a party. You’ll have hours of fun with it, and it’ll stay fresh as long as people are into it. It also doesn’t last TOO long, so it’ll go away when you’ve had enough of it. It’s really good, really simple, and a ton of fun.