Gameday First Play – Avalon
I’ve never played a bluffing game before so I didn’t know what I was going to make of this game.
But now I’m kind of glad this game works best with 7 players as I don’t think I’ll want to play any other game.
The Resistance: Avalon is one of my favourite games.
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.
This game plays 5-10 players but plays best with 7. As I’ve only played this game with 7 players using the same set up this brief look at the game will be based on that.
In this game all 7 players are part of Merlin’s adventuring party, but 3 are hidden forces of evil.
Each player is dealt a face down card with their character on it, this remains hidden for the entire game.
Each round one player will decide on a certain number of players (depending on the mission) to go on a mission. Then there is a round of opening voting where players decide if the group of players chosen for the mission should go.
If the number of ‘Unsuccessful’ votes is higher than the number of ‘Successful’ votes, the mission is cancelled and the next player gets to pick the team for the mission.
If one mission is unsuccessful 5 times in a row, ‘Evil’ is said to have delayed the ‘Good’ mission and the ‘Evil’ team win the game
If ‘Successful’, the players each vote ‘pass’ or ‘fail’. If all players ‘pass’, the mission is a success and the ‘Good’ team get a point.
If ONE vote is a ‘fail’, the mission has been sabotaged and the ‘Evil’ team gets a point.
The first team to 3 points wins.
So all this is great, but how can you know anything about any one? Well that depends on the characters which in our set up consists of..
- Oberon – Does not reveal to evil
- Mordred’s Assassin
- Minion of Mordred
- Merlin – Knows Evil
- Percival – Knows Merlin
- Loyal Servant of Arthur
- Loyal Servant of Arthur
So this is what I love about this game, the part where you gather information. To do this, you all close your eyes and put your fist on the table… (Just go with it)
Firstly, evil knows evil. So the Assassin and Minion of Mordred open their eyes so they can pick each other out. Oberon does not reveal to evil, but still knows evil. So the evil close their eyes and puts up their thumbs, Oberon then gets to see his evil friends.
UPDATE: Turns out Oberon doesn’t know evil, he works on his own pretending to be good. Merlin will still know the Oberon player is playing as evil.
Oberon now needs to work out who the other Evil in the game are
This makes it so it isn’t just a case of all the ‘Evil’ knowing each other, that would be too easy when picking a team and voting.
So now Merlin needs to know the ‘Evil’. The 3 ‘Evil’ peeps put their thumb up. Merlin now opens their eyes to see who the evil are.
Then Percival gets to see who Merlin is. It’s now Percivals job is to get Merlin’s attention without ‘Evil’ noticing so Merlin can show Percival information on who is ‘Evil’ and who is ‘Good’.
So, if you understand all of this, you will be thinking ‘Why doesn’t Merlin just say who is ‘Evil’ and who is ‘Good’?”
This is where the Assassin comes in.
IF ‘Good’ wins the game and the Assassin can correctly point on Merlin, ‘Evil’ steals the victory.
Got all that? Good.
It is complex and there’s a lot of thought needed. You need to remember who voted ‘Successful’ and ‘Unsuccessful’ to get an idea of who wanted a mission to pass or fail.
Merlin may say ‘Unsuccesful’ if at least one ‘Evil’ is selected. (As they will obviously select ‘Fail’). He may want vote ‘successful’ for a group with a bad guy in to divert suspicion.
Oberon will say ‘Unsuccessful’ if all 4 ‘Good’ are selected. (As they will obviously all ‘Pass’)
The game is tense and well designed and here’s why…
If ‘Evil’ give themselves away, the 4 good guys can put themselves on the mission, vote ‘successful’ (4 vs 3), go on the mission, all vote ‘Pass’ and win the game.
If Merlin reveals himself, or another ‘Good’ team member reveals Merlin, the Assassin can kill him at the end of the game to win.
You just can’t afford to give your information away.
There are other special characters, both are Evil, they are…
- Mordred – Evil, Does not reveal to Merlin (nice)
- Morgana – Evil, Reveals as Merlin (Look out Percival!)
All in all, a great game. Player count sucks (5+, 7 or 9 is perfect) but it wouldn’t really work as well with less. I really can’t wait to play this again.
UPDATE: I picked up Avalon on Kickstater when someone got the new version of Coup .