As far as party games go, a favorite among my family and friends has always been Mafia. Mafia, also known in some circles as Werewolf, is a social deduction game wherein certain members of the group are secretly members of the mafia (or werewolves, alternatively). Through rounds of secret voting, the mafia try to kill off the members of the party until they outnumber the innocents. There are other special roles, such as the Governor/Detective (who can identify whether a player is mafia) or the Doctor/Nurse (who can heal another player possibly marked for death.) It’s a game of deceit and trying to determine who you can trust. Within my gaming group, it has caused many arguments as well as inspired many fun memories.
When I was first introduced to The Resistance, I thought it was pointless.
“Why, it’s just re-packaging that game we already play with a deck of cards or pieces of paper!” I thought.
Wrong. Oh, so very wrong.
In this game, players are either members of The Resistance, or spies within the group. Unlike Mafia, where a player is voted out and/or killed off each round, there is no player elimination within The Resistance. Instead, the group must accomplish five missions, and must vote upon which members go on the mission each time. The players who go on the mission secretly play one of two cards: fail (if she is a spy seeking to sabotage the mission) or success (if he is a true member of The Resistance, or a spy trying to protect her cover). If any fail cards are revealed, the mission is sabotaged and the spies score a point. Whoever wins the most rounds out of five wins, i.e. three successful missions for The Resistance or three failed missions for the spies.
While we always have a blast playing Mafia, The Resistance is a wonderful alternative. The lack of player elimination is a huge improvement over Mafia. For one, it allows for everyone to be involved throughout the game instead of people sitting around waiting for the others to finish. Also, the social deduction is two-fold with both the missions and the preparatory voting process itself. Seeing who wants whom to go on missions adds yet another layer of mind games to consider when trying to sniff out the spies.
The Resistance is a fantastic game, and one I would highly recommend to anyone who is interested in large group games (5-10 players).
Well, actually… that used to be true. But now I may have to forgo that recommendation in favor of:
Like its predecessor, The Resistance: Avalon looked superfluous to me at first blush.
“Why, it’s just a reskin of the same game!” I thought.
Again — so very wrong.
Yes, The Resistance: Avalon is basically the same game as The Resistance, re-themed from dystopian sci-fi to Arthurian legend. But there’s one big difference — role cards!
In Avalon, the good guys are Loyal Servants of King Arthur and the spies are Minions of Mordred. In addition to these two main factions are individual roles, such as Merlin (who knows who the minions are, but cannot give away his identity) or The Assassin (who automatically wins the game for the Minions of Mordred if she correctly identifies which player was Merlin). The game comes with quite a few role cards, which can be added or set aside depending on how many players there are or how complex you want the game to be. Avalon also includes a Lady of the Lake tile, which is passed around throughout the game and gives players the opportunity to check others’ loyalty (not unlike the Governor/Detective in Mafia). Where The Resistance can begin to feel same-y after several games, Avalon has a few additions that throw a bit more flavor and variety into the mix.
I love social deduction games. They’re amazing because the game is not about components, rather, simply talking with (or yelling at, as the case may be) your friends. They are games that make you analyze everything the other players say and do as you try to determine their thought processes and motivations. They are simultaneously fun, exciting, frustrating, and mind-boggling. If you’re interested in social deduction games or games that can be played with a large group of people, I thoroughly recommend The Resistance or The Resistance: Avalon.
The Resistance and The Resistance: Avalon were designed by Don Eskridge and are published by Indie Boards and Cards.