Saturday, January 12, 2013

Every 100 Games Series - The Resistance: Avalon

My 3,700th game played was The Resistance: Avalon. This game was my first and only successfully funded board game that I've backed on Kickstarter. It is a re-theme of the original Resistance and with all the plays over the holidays made it onto my review series.

Game Play
This game does so much with so little. You play with 6 to 10 players who are all wanting to go on quests for King Arthur. However, each player has been secretly assigned a role as either a Knight loyal to the good Arthur or as a Minion of Mordred. Each round the leader of the quest chooses a number of people to send out. All players then vote on this quest team, either approving or disapproving the team, trying to be sure that only those that are loyal to Arthur attempt the quest. If a team is not approved, then the person to the left of the leader chooses a new team, and everyone votes again. Once a team is approved, those on the quest secretly choose if it succeeds or fails. All it takes is one fail vote for the quest to come to utter ruin, which is what the Minions of Mordred want. Whichever side is the first to get 3 fails (Mordred) or 3 successes (Arthur) is the winner!

Thus far, everything I've explained is the same as the original game, but now is the wrinkle. Merlin is in this game, he is loyal to Arthur but knows who the Minions of Mordred are without them knowing who he is! This can be extremely powerful for the Arthur side, however one of the minions is an assassin, so Merlin can't be too forthcoming or at the end of the game he will be assassinated and the Minions of Mordred will win anyways.

The game does offer some other roles for players to play as well, but our group thus far hasn't even added them in, because it is that good just from the base game. Maybe eventually we'll get there, but for now with new players I think it is best to stay with the base.

I think the components in this game are top notch. I probably should sleeve my cards, at least the succeed/fails cards, because they get handled a whole lot and even though they are great quality will eventually show signs of differences which would hurt the game. There are multiple game boards that allow you quick reference according to the number of players you are playing with. The only problem and it isn't really a problem, is that the approve/reject tokens players use to decide who is going on a quest have many white spots on them now after about 20 plays. It doesn't really bother the game though, since most of the time we've just held these in our hands anyways. Finally, the art is extremely good in my opinion. There aren't a lot of components that you see during the game, but you can expect great art from them.

This game is a pure negotiation and deduction game. It is all about how you can trick those Loyal Servants of Arthur into believing you are one of them and sending you on that quest that you will fail. It is all about, if you are for Arthur, making certain that you send only the right people on the quests to bring glory to his realm. There is strategy in the game, such as not failing a quest, in order to gain someones trust. There is also skill in observing to see how people approve/reject teams and see a pattern. However, the real skill in this game comes into how well you can manipulate the other players to your will.

My Thoughts
This game is just a blast! I'm very glad that I own it and it will be staying in my collection permanently. It doesn't take much time to play or teach and is a game that you immediately want to play again. Avalon's theme is fun for me, but it really doesn't play into it much. We tend to just call them the good guys and the bad guys and go from there. I really like that I've played it quite a bit so far and still haven't felt the need to add in the extra roles, which just gives me something to look forward to in the future. Well, enough gushing from me, on to the recommendations.

Youth Workers - I'm a youth worker at my church. I've got a friend that is a Youth Pastor. Both of us heartily recommend this game to people who will be taking long bus rides with youth, on retreats with youth, or just hanging out with a group of teenagers. We've always played Mafia/Werewolf with them, now this is the one I'll be bringing out.

Werewolf/Mafia Players - This one is for you. the downside to Werewolf is that you have to have a moderator and that if you are eliminated early, then you just have to sit and watch the game. The Resistance lets you keep playing and keep enjoying the game. There isn't player elimination and there isn't moderating. However, it only goes up to 10 players, so for groups 11+ you can stick with Werewolf.

Reserved Group - So far I've only made glowing recommendations. If your group of players is reserved and quiet, this isn't really going to be for you. However, I have seen quiet people turn into a yelling accuser, if people don't talk and accuse and declare shenanigans, then the game loses much of its fun.

Holiday Gatherings - I cannot recommend this game more for these type of events. We played this with both sides of the family and played it a lot. My mother-in-law who is about as far as you can get from a gamer, played this 5 times with us in 2 days. During Thanksgiving my whole family played it 8 times, 5 times in a single sitting! If you want that party game feel, but don't want to play Apples to Apples or Trivial Pursuit, this is a great game to try out.

*Every 100 Games Series - Back in March of 2006 I began tracking each session of the various board and card games I play. I soon got the idea to write a review on every 100th game I played, one because I like writing reviews, and two because it is interesting to see what game I review next. You can find a list of all of them here: Every 100 Games Series Reviews.

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