Dec 072013

Note: this post’s mainly focused on The Resistance: Avalon (TR:A), but most of this applies to the original The Resistance, as well. The Resistance provides more game play cards and has a sci-fi flavor. TR:A has a medieval/fantasy flavor and its strength relies in its character differences. Same basic gist, though. I don’t own the original game, but I’ve played it.

The Resistance is a hidden role game that’s great for fans of Werewolf (see this entry) and for people who dislike the “dead player” aspect of that game. In Avalon, players play as loyal servants of King Arthur (blue team) who have been infiltrated by the evil Minions of Mordred (red team). Teams are secretly dealt out. Everyone pretends to be on the blue team.

Typically, one player on the blue team will be Merlin, a character who knows who the Minions are. The catch is that the Minions have a character called the Assassin who can win the game for the Minions if they successfully kill Merlin once the game’s over. My club hasn’t become comfortable enough with the game to play by those rules, though.

Game play is simple. First team to three points (best three out of five max) wins. You can points by going on missions. These missions can be something silly, like picking up King Arthur’s lunch. It doesn’t matter. What matters is who the leader for that round is (they choose who to bring on the mission), and who’s gonna go on the mission.

Players have the option of approving or rejecting the mission. Blue player, see someone you suspect of being a Minion going on the mission? Reject it. Red player, see a mission that could use a Minion on it, instead? Reject it. Majority rule determines whether or not the mission takes place.

It’s on these missions that a team can gain a point. Whoever goes on the mission has the option to secretly place down a success or fail card. Loyal servants of King Arthur will always want to play a success card, because a mission of all successes gains them a point. Minions of Mordred have a choice on whether to make the mission succeed or fail. It takes one failure for the Minions to get a point. There’s strategy involved here, though, so choose wisely, Minion. You might not want to be under suspicion so early on in the game.

My club took to Werewolf a lot more than they did with The Resistance. I think part of the problem is that the rules can be kind of confusing the first time around. It’s also easier for them to spark up discussion while playing Werewolf, due to the nomination system we have in place. Choosing who to take on the mission is less of a shrewd one and more random, largely due to inexperience.

They’ve only tried it two to three times. It might take a while for everything to click.

The language learning with this one comes from asking people why they’re making their decisions. It gets people thinking. And since no one wants to be labelled as a Minion of Mordred, it gets people really into defending their innocence. The danger with a game like this are fast talkers who take major advantage of any dead air. Depending on your audience, you might need to slow down the pace of things.

So, this game’s got reasoning skills going for it. What else? It’s a confidence builder. I know it’s a little weird reading that, since most of the game is spent arguing with people on whether or not they’re a Mordred. People can be really good at supplying (often times BS) evidence on why they’re a blue and not a red player.

You have to believe in the crap you’re saying in order to get other people to believe it. You need to sell your story. It’s language heavy. Saying the wrong words can be you and your team’s downfall.

Game requires a minimum of 5 players and goes up to a maximum of 10.

I must say, a visual novel with a hidden role aspect would be a ton of fun. There’s a lot of language learning potential there, too, for the same things that Werewolf and The Resistance offer.

Note: I didn’t take any of the pictures seen in this post. Each image is a link to the page where I originally got them from. Credit goes to their photographers (Ender Wiggins and Joakim Schön).

See you next time for some more info on language learning friendly board & card games you should know about. 😀

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