The Resistance Review
You’re in the middle of the room, panting while observing everyone around you. Sweats run through your forehead, set one of your eye blinked, not because the room temperature’s hot, it’s chill instead. Chill stab into your skull and deliver the shivering that slowly weigh you down. Your comrades quarreling about the mission, yet you didn’t hear any sound, only silent, the only thing you can hear is your heavy breathing that slowly required you to put efforts into it. They demand you to decide what is best for the team, something is not right. We starting to divide and conquer each other. And now, not only you cannot trust them, they also don’t trust you. They suspect you, talk behind you even you’re the leader. Dark is brooding inside the room, no one is safe, no one. You’re alone and you need to do something! You need to decide! THIS IS THE RESISTANCE!
So, in this game of The Resistance, players will play as resistance members, who try to accomplish 5 missions. But, while they try to take on the missions, there are spies among them, who want to screw the missions. This backstabbing, social deduction and secret identities game was designed by Don Eskridge under Indie Boards and Cards. A party game with serious theme and pointing fingers. It’s climbed quite really quick in BGG rank and becoming one of most favorites game among both party and casual gamers alike.
In here I will describe you the reason that this little hotshot achieved all the fame and fans.
1. The Theme
The theme in this game is about the freedom fighters / The resistance group who try to take down the government regime of tyranny and injustice. By doing so, they need to carry out 5 missions. By achieving 3 out of 5 missions, they will be able to succeed. I found out that this serious cold gripping theme really absorbed into the game play. The designer really succeed to implement the theme into the game which resulted into a serious, thrill and deception feeling of the game. A party game indeed but, how can you party while the person right next to you is a spy? Now, that need an answer.
2. The Artworks
Obviously, the artwork does not influence the game play much, but considering the synergy on the game and it’s components, there would be suitable decision to make the artworks somewhat supporting the game. But personally, the artworks are far from compelling. One suitable word I might spill is ‘standard’. I even made the re-theme of the artworks using artwork from Mass Effect universe, which I like and maybe one day I’ll print those re-theme and substitute the original one.
3. The Game Components
In this kind of game, game components are not essential, though needed. So in this case, the game components, yet not really have direct impact on the game can be substitute by other components that we all can found in our daily activities. The most simple example are pen and paper. Though the publisher is just a small company, yet the quality of the components are surprisingly nice.Thick cards with linen finish made it more sturdy (you don’t need sleeve for this one and also you don’t need to worry that the cards will easily worn out). The board is not really important, since it just contains list of game setup and mission slot, which can be unused in a game. Nice wooden token, not spectacular but good enough for this game.
4. The Game Play
The game can hold from 5 to 10 players (which is good enough if you play with 10). The more the merrier they said, but I say, the more the hectic the game is. So, get ready and observe your partners real carefully. Based on the number of players, the game will be set on different amount of spies and resistance, you must consult with the rules or the list of players from the board. At the start of the game, each player will be assign a secret character card face down. Only he can look upon the card and place it into safe place face down. After all the players look and realize their roles the fun starts. Random the starting player (leader) and he will lead the game at the beginning. The leader will announce all players to close their eyes and after that the spies can open their eyes and look at each other. This will give the spies advantage point for who’s on their side (oh yes, it’s Werewolves alright).
After that the game is on. The leader consult the mission list and select a number of players which he would assign for the mission. He as a leader can also choose himself. After the team assembled, all players will enter the vote phase. They must vote either agree or disagree with the leader’s choice of team. If most of the players vote agree (being equal is not enough), the team pass the test and will carry out the mission. If not (the disagree votes are equal or more than the agree votes), the team composition is fail. If this happen, the leader will be pass into next player clockwise and black marker is placed on the first place, then the process is repeated again. If the black marker is placed in the fifth place (5 times failure composing a team in a row) the resistance is considered fail to carry out that mission (place red wooden marker on that mission slot).
Team members carry out their mission by submitting one of the two mission cards given for each member. The two mission cards consist of success card and failure card. Unlike the voting phase, in this phase when there is one (even only one) failure card in the submitted mission cards, the resistance is considered to have failed the mission. The first side who placed 3 wooden markers on the mission slots, win the game.
It’s a simple game which played quick enough. About 15-30 minutes max.
5, The Replay Value
I say the replay value is undeniably high. Maybe you can see some pattern here and there, which slowly begin to rise into the surface after lot of plays. The thing is, since you got the grip of the game and how it’s usually works, you can build your own mindset and possible cause in the behaviors and hypothetical theories. But I won’t worry about that, since the interaction between players really subdued all of them into a serious thrilling experience with sots of laughter around the room. While I still recommend to play this game with player with the same experience or enough experience to make the play at it best. So, the key point is the player interaction. Since the nature of the game is somewhat a party game which evolves around secret identity, social deduction and bluffing as the core mechanics, this really depend heavily on the group. Each players really down to contribute with the play and more perfect group means more perfect game. The game (newer version of the game) include the small expansion (The Plot Thickens) which gives not a small impact on the game play. The expansion introduce new element to the game, Plot cards. These cards really bring the game into another level of depth and frankly if your gaming group had already accustomed with the basic game play, this expansion is a must, to deliver more challenge, adding more tense and depth to the game.
My Though of The Game
Well, this is one of my jewels. The best at it’s category so far, compared to other secret role, deduction and bluffing games. The game really shine with 7-10 players but still playable with 5. At first i bought this game blind, since it didn’t cost me much. And when i read the rules, I just didn’t get it without playing it first. After first play, the rules just became quickly and crystal clear. A simple game, which need practice to understand it completely. So, even though this game is not easy to win, there are measures to be taken and this depend on the players and groups. When we divide the two roles, The Resistance and Spies, we could clearly see that they have different goals. The Resistance need to carry out missions successfully while Spies need to sabotage missions in order to take down the Resistance. Sometimes players as The Resistance tried so hard to uncover the spy’s identity and this let them to forget what their objective really are. The spies in the other hand, facing more difficult situation, since they must perform, speak, and present themselves as The Resistance while fulfilling their objectives. They must gain others trust to be able to sabotage the mission without alarm anyone. Even when they succeed to do so, their job is not done, they need to make 3 missions failed. So they must try to keep under the radar even after they sabotage a mission, since if they’re on the spotlight and others put their suspicion onto him, that’s gonna be to late. His work here is done.
This kind of game sometimes need some kind of agreement, a house rule to clearly set the game play and avoid in game misunderstanding and disagreement. The most common topic is table talk. Either the group is agree on table talk or not. Table talk let players to explicitly observe the mission and describe the situation and their hypothesis into the table. This sometimes create uneasy situation for some people, which led to think that the game essence was exposed and lost it’s interest. Other thinks that without table talk, this game has somehow lead into serious lame condition. For me, table talk is a must to make this game shine. We’re at war aren’t we…so cut the crap and be a man. Face the condition whatever it is and whatever it takes.
Though the theme is seriously serious and darkened with deception and political affairs of the government, it doesn’t keep the game out of laughter and hilarious actions from each players. This game maybe one of the game that could make me laugh out loud, sore throat and stomachache.
*) some of the images are courtesy of BGG Users