The Resistance: Avalon
- Designer: Don Eskridge
- Players: 5-10
- Time: 30 Min
Welcome to the inner sanctum. Password, please. What’s that… yes, I know we never used to have a password, but after that last mission failed so horribly I’m afraid I must insist. Oh… you weren’t aware there was a password. Hmm… well then. Let me ask you this. Where were you when the last mission was approved? You were on the last mission you say… the one that failed? Interesting. That seems a bit suspect. Oh… you’re not a traitor, you say? You know when that sounds true? When it’s followed by the password!
Welcome to The Resistance… or The Resistance: Avalon depending on whether you prefer a dystopian future or an Arthurian past. Personally, I prefer my resistance served on a round table. Both games will, however, satisfy the need to assume a hidden identity and dive headlong into misdirection and intrigue. Here’s how it works. Each player is a member of the resistance (or in the case of Avalon, a loyal subject of King Arthur). Over the course of the game you will all be going on secret missions, the outcome of which will determine your victory. The catch is that some of you are traitors to the cause and have been chosen to tear the group apart from the inside out, and while the traitors know who each other are, the majority of the players will have no idea who anyone is. This becomes problematic as each round a new person is chosen to select a predetermined number of people to go on the next secret mission. Send the right people, and the mission will succeed. Send a traitor or two, and the mission may fail. The heart of the game lies in the outcome of these missions… especially when they fail. Fingers are pointed, accusations are made and doubt begins to burrow into the minds of the players like a worm into a rotten apple. Really, the majority the game is played during these moments. Traitors blame non-traitors, innocents defend their honor and all weigh in when it’s time to pick the next team of special missioners.
This game can create fantastic moments of bluffing, double bluffing, back stabbing and heroism. It allows players to build fantastic fortresses of lies with which to hide their true identities. It offers glorious moments in which you look your friend straight in the face, convince him beyond a doubt that you are not a spy and prompt him to send you on the last mission… only to pull the rug out from under it in a spectacularly nefarious fashion. You will never feel a more wicked sense of deceitful accomplishment than in those guilty pleasurable moments.
On the other hand… the game can also fall flat on its face at times. I won’t say much in this regard (as I think this is a game well worth playing), but it should be mentioned. On occasion it can become very clear early on who the spies are. Inevitably, they are never sent on a mission again. Also, over time and as you play many games, it can also become a comfortably rehearsed series of events that play out in a similar way every time. It makes the once-interesting puzzle play like the predictable unfolding of a map. However, do not let these few squabbles dissuade you. Getting to the point of predictability will be a fantastic ride and well worth your investment.
The only other thing I will say is that there are a handful of not better (per se)… but certainly more entertaining hidden role games on the market today. Coup (actually set in The Resistance Universe), Mascarade, Citadels and Two Rooms and Boom all share the same resistance style DNA. More often than not I would reach for one of these first solely based on the fact that they offer more depth. But honestly… The Resistance/The Resistance: Avalon is totally worth your time. I’m just a game-hardened, hidden role veteran. If you haven’t played it yet, then I suggest you change that sooner than later. And, if you’re still wondering which version is better… lets just say Merlin has a few tricks up his sleeve that you wont want to miss.
Pros: Simple Concept, Great Bluffing Game, Fun Psychological Puzzle, Gateway Hidden Role Game
Cons: May Not be Your Flavor of Hidden Role Game
Want more insight? Check out Episode 7 – International Tabletop Day 2015 from our podcast library.