Review – The Resistance: Avalon
A King Arthur themed bluffing game.
Title: The Resistance: Avalon
Year Published: 2012
Designer: Don Eskridge
Publisher: Indie Boards and Cards
Game Time: 30+ Mins
Set-up Time: >5 Mins
Theme: King Arthur
Mechanic: Bluffing, Voting, Deduction
How to win: Complete, or Fail 3 quests.
The Resistance: Avalon pits the forces of Good and Evil in a battle to control the future of civilization. Arthur represents the future of Britain, a promise of prosperity and honour, yet hidden among his brave warriors are Mordred’s unscrupulous minions. These forces of evil are few in number but have knowledge of each other and remain hidden from all but one of Arthur’s servants. Merlin alone knows the agents of evil, but he must speak of this only in riddles. If his true identity is discovered, all will be lost.
Place a tableau that shows the correct number of players in the middle of the table. Put a counter on position 1 of the vote track and in the space on quest 1.
Give each player 2 vote tokens and shuffle the characters and deal 1 out to each player. The number of Evil/Good characters needed for the game is shown on the player board.
A random player takes the leader token.
For this section I am going to go through game play for a 5 player game with no special roles. This gives you an idea how the game is played and allows me to go through each special role and variant rules in the round up without too much messing about 🙂
Also keep in mind that this game is all about bluffing and deduction so at each stage in this process everyone will be talking to each other, making accusations, lying about being evil etc
So for a 5 player game there will be 3 Loyal Servants of Arthur and 2 Minions of Mordred. These are dealt face down to each player and each player gets to look at their own role.
Someone will call out roles. In this example game there will be very little to say but firstly everyone closes their eyes.
The Minions of Mordred open their eyes so they know who each other is. Then everyone closes their eyes and then everyone opens their eyes at the same time.
Team Building Phase
Then the leader needs to pick a team. The first quest in a 5 player game needs 2 people so the leader will pass a token to the two people they have chosen. The leader can pick themselves.
All players except the leader will simultaneously use their vote tokens to vote ‘Approve’ if they think this is a good team of ‘Reject’ if they don’t. A majority vote is required for the Quest to go ahead.
If it is a tie, or the team is rejected the vote track is moved on and the Leader token is passed to the left.
The ‘Team Build’ phase then starts again with the new leader. If the vote is rejected 5 times a row then then Good have been delayed too long and the Game ends in a victory for the Evil team.
If the vote is successful then the Quest Phase begins.
Each player who was selected to go on the Quest is given a pair of Quest cards that say ‘Pass’ on one and ‘Fail’ on the other.
The Good players MUST select Pass.
The Evil players can select either Pass or Fail.
The card the players select is passed to the leader who shuffles them and reveals them. If there is one Fail in the pile, the Quest fails.
If there is one Fail card, Evil win this one, if not it’s a victory for Good. Either way, you move on to the next Quest.
When one side win a majority of the Quests (3 out of the 5) the game ends and that teams wins.
Should the Good team win there is a way for the evil team to win one more time if the Assassin is in play. I will talk about that later.
This is my favourite social deduction game. It took me a LONG time to get the hang of it but now I know what I’m doing, what to look for etc I like it even more.
It can get rowdy with larger player numbers, it can be frustrating when no one will listen to you but then again why should they believe you? 🙂
While the base game is good, it’s the extra roles that make the game. Here are the extras roles and what they do, in order of how much I like them.
Merlin & Assassin
Merlin knows who the evil players are. During set-up, after the Minions of Mordred look at each other, they close their eyes, put their thumbs up and Merlin gets to see who the evil guys are. This gives the good guys an advantage.
To balance this, the Assassin just plays as a normal Minion of Mordred through the entire game. I mentioned earlier the evil guys can win after the game if the good guys win, well this is how. The Assassin picks a player from the victorious good team before everyone reveals their roles. If the Assassin picks Merlin, the Evil guys steal the win.
This balances the advantage Merlin gives, it also stops Merlin from being too obvious. I would never play the game without these roles.
Percival knows who Merlin is. During set-up, Merlin will put out a thumb so Percival can see him. Remember, Merlin won’t know who Percival is.
Percival needs to follow Merlin to ‘agree’ with him to help out vote the Evil guys each round.
He also needs to act like Merlin to pull the Assassin’s attention away form the real Merlin, just in case.
Morgana appears as Merlin. So Percival will see two thumbs, one Merlin, one Morgana and Percival’s job is to work out which is which, fast!
This guy is unknown to Evil, and won’t know who the Evil players are at the start of the game. Better for larger player numbers when the Evil team seem to be winning a lot. When the Evil players open their eyes, Oberon keeps them closed.
Mordred does not reveal himself to Merlin, but does reveal himself to his fellow evil players. Helps the bad guys quite a bit.
There are a few other things like Lancelot, Excalibur and Lady of the Lake but I haven’t played with them enough/at all.
One of my favourites.
I give it 8/10