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Subject: What are we doing wrong?? rss

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Eric Penn
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My core gaming group is fairly large, typically we have around 12 to 20 people show up to our game parties. We had heard that The Resistance was a great game for larger groups so we tried it out. I'm pretty sure we were playing it wrong.

We played three times with identical results. In each case the spies won in three missions, the resistance players didn't even have a chance. We were playing with 10 players. We had a different leader each round, but the results never varied at all.

Here is how each game went:

Mission 1 - leader chooses 3 random players. There really was no information to base this on so everyone would always agree to whatever the selection was. In all three games, the first mission failed.

Mission 2 - knowing that at least one of the three players on the first mission was a spy, the new leader would either choose four different players, or try to figure out who the "bad" player was in the first group by taking two of them and adding two new people. The group discussed their choice but everyone agreed that there was not enough information to make any kind of a determination, so the selection was always approved. In all three games, the second mission failed.

Mission 3 - each game, the new leader would express frustration because they were being asked to "save the day" with impossible odds against them, and not enough information to make any kind of realistic evaluation. They would pick four completely random people, sometimes from the first two mission groups, and one time a completely new stock of players. Again, the table discussion decided that there was not enough information to figure out who was a good or bad player, so the selection was always approved. Comments such as "might as well, there's no way to know anyway" were common. In all three games, the third mission failed, giving the spies the win.

I've heard so much about this game being a ton of fun for large groups, but after playing three games, the group decided this was an extremely poorly designed game, and impossible to win as the resistance. Whether you were going to be on the winning team (the spies) or the losing team (the resistance) was 100% random selection, and the only real "game" was just in the initial role draw. Once you knew whether you were a winning spy or a losing resistance member, the game was basically over (except for some talking) because the results were already determined.

I have trouble believing that our entire group just happened to be filled with people who don't like this game, so my assumption is that were missing some important rule or play element. I'm going to try to get this game on the table again soon, but I really need some advice on how to make it fun or my group will vote me down. Any suggestions?
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Joshua H
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You're approving too many missions. Voting missions down is one of the primary ways that the Resistance gets information.

Spies need to go on missions to succeed. Spies are the only players who know who the spies are. So if a mission doesn't have a spy on it, spies will vote against it. Conversely, if a mission DOES have a spy on it, the spies will want to vote for it to go ahead.

As a result, you need to vote against missions to see how the rest of the table votes. You should be expecting to propose around 3 teams per mission, maybe 4 (you REALLY don't want to be on vote five, because then if the leader is a spy, that's an easy point for the spies.)

Voting for teams to go ahead because "we don't have any information" is, in my experience, the #1 reason that newbie Resistance lose the game. You have to get the information yourself and talk about it.

Edit: You could also throw in some Plot Thickens cards. Those can give some limited information that's valuable going forward. Although I generally prefer Avalon's Lady of the Lake mechanic, which you can re-create trivially with a marker of your choice. Call it the Inquisitor or something. But you'll still need to vote some teams down, because Lady of the Lake doesn't kick in until round 3, and you're already on the back foot by then.

You could also mark some of your cards with Avalon roles. I think it's the better game, because the roles give the Resistance some turn 1 information, and challenges them to use it without revealing who the Merlin is.
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Pasi Ojala
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Yes, look at the suggestions and the voting. They are where the information is even before the first failed mission. Any off-mission yes vote should be a suspect. When you get the first fail, you can go back and remember what caused this mission to go forward and perhaps that gives you an idea of an off-mission spy while giving a 1/2 or 1/3 probability for the mission members being spies.

But don't trust a passed mission either. Keep in mind that there may have been a spy or two in there too.

Also, never pick random members. You always pick yourself. Then you pick the others using some system (not agreed upon). Otherwise the spies just pick only one spy on the first mission, while still looking 'random' selection.
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Ryan James
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don't approve a team that you're not on, unless you actually trust the other people. assuming you're resistance, a random team without you on it is more likely to have a spy that a random team with you on it.
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The Broox
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The Plot Cards Expansion that came included with the game can also help the resistance gain more information
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Krawhitham B
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There was a very recent thread on this topic: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1072362/tips-for-winning....

The only other thing I can suggest is to play with fewer people until you get more familiar with the game. 10 players is alot of information to keep track of.

Play a game where the first mission only has 2 people on it. This means that a spy on the mission will either have to pass the mission in order to look like a good guy, or they will have to reveal a 50/50 chance of being identified (unless of course there were 2 spies on the mission, which is a different story altogether).

The Resistance is a game that gets better the more you play with the same people over and over. You get to know spy tactics, and individual habits. Then people react to the norms that the group develops (meta gaming).

The other thing to consider is: this game just might not be the one for your particular group.
 
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Krawhitham B
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The Broox wrote:
The Plot Cards Expansion that came included with the game can also help the resistance gain more information

They can just as easily help the spies spread dissent.
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James Deignan
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As mentioned before, the usual way to gain information is to disapprove missions and then talk about the vote. There should be a period of discussion before and after each vote. Why did the leader put those three people on the team? Why did one person vote against this team but he voted for a previous team that was of similar composition. If there's a known spy, his or her vote can become very telling (and, in fact, if you're a known spy you should generally always vote no to every team so as not to give anything away.)

In short, you guys aren't asking enough questions of one another. There are several play by games in these forums as well as one brilliant recording of a resistance game with a transcription from a convention that can be found here:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/674518/epic-game-at-origins-...

Take a look at that one and you'll get an idea of what the game can be. (Note that the above game is extreme, but the idea that games of The Resistance all last 10 minutes total is not entirely correct.)
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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Some common fallacies:

"I shouldn't put myself on have team because it makes me look suspicious."
No, Resistance members want to put themselves on the team because it means they are less likely to pick a spy by mistake.

"I shouldn't vote no because it makes me look suspicious."
No, you should vote no to any team which you have a concern about (even simply "I'm not on it"). You have up to five chances to pick the right team, so don't be afraid to use them.

"I should show that I trust so-and-so because I want them to trust me."
No, distrust is the most important thing for the Resistance. If you don't understand why someone votes a certain way or picks a certain team, demand an explanation. If they get defensive and try to use emotion instead of reason, they are probably a spy.

"One of those three is a spy, so we can't send any of them on a team."
No, one out of three people is a spy on average. This group is just as trustworthy as anyone else (which is to say, not very). Scrutinize the group, especially by thinking things like, "if he's resistance, he knows one of the others is a spy. Is that consistent with his votes after that point?"
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Pasi Ojala
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Krawhitham wrote:
The only other thing I can suggest is to play with fewer people

Good suggestion. Play with 5 players. If you have more, they can watch and learn. It is surprisingly fun to just watch the game. Either knowing what the spies know or not knowing the spies.
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Tim Jesurun
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Fauxreigner wrote:
You're approving too many missions. Voting missions down is one of the primary ways that the Resistance gets information.

Spies need to go on missions to succeed. Spies are the only players who know who the spies are. So if a mission doesn't have a spy on it, spies will vote against it. Conversely, if a mission DOES have a spy on it, the spies will want to vote for it to go ahead.

As a result, you need to vote against missions to see how the rest of the table votes. You should be expecting to propose around 3 teams per mission, maybe 4 (you REALLY don't want to be on vote five, because then if the leader is a spy, that's an easy point for the spies.)

Voting for teams to go ahead because "we don't have any information" is, in my experience, the #1 reason that newbie Resistance lose the game. You have to get the information yourself and talk about it.

Edit: You could also throw in some Plot Thickens cards. Those can give some limited information that's valuable going forward.

This is some generally good advice from Joshua. I will reiterate by saying, as a resistance member vote down any team you are not on, unless you have good reason to trust everyone on the team or if you trust the next leader even less. Indeed, as Joshua says, it's usually the fourth team proposed that goes on a mission in my play group.

As you realized, the game itself does not give you enough information to be certain, so you have to read the other players, operate on hunches, and call out others for voting in odd ways.

Speaking of voting, when I played this game with my family they had the same reaction as your friends - it is random and there is no information and the spies always win. To train them to play better I recorded who the leader was, what the team proposed was, and how each person at the table voted. Then I encouraged them to use that information to find the spies. Long-term this is too hard on the spies, but it trained my family to use voting patterns to catch spies. You might try that. Plot cards are another way to trip up spies, but spies can always avoid actually being caught by them with skillful play.

I hope that helps
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The Count
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A lot of good advice already. Your flag says you are from California. If you are near Sacramento, you should come to one of our meetups were we play this game. You can see how the game is all played in the interaction. Half the game is the questions you ask other people during selections, etc.
 
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Eric Penn
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Going to respond to this one since everyone else seems to pretty much echo the same thing. Plus I think we've answered the question.

Fauxreigner wrote:
Spies are the only players who know who the spies are. So if a mission doesn't have a spy on it, spies will vote against it..

I think this might have been our mistake! The spies were never made aware of each other. Thus, the spy players would always vote "yes" from a simple lack of information, not from a desire to ensure a spy was on the mission, and just "trusting" that one of the selected players was a spy. (It always turned out to be true.)

Fauxreigner wrote:
As a result, you need to vote against missions to see how the rest of the table votes. You should be expecting to propose around 3 teams per mission, maybe 4 (you REALLY don't want to be on vote five, because then if the leader is a spy, that's an easy point for the spies.)

Since the spies never self-revealed, the resistance members know that the spies are just as uninformed as they are, so a "no" vote really doesn't accomplish anything at all. So the resistance players have zero incentive to vote anything down at all. And that's why we always unanimously approved every single mission...

Fauxreigner wrote:
Voting for teams to go ahead because "we don't have any information" is, in my experience, the #1 reason that newbie Resistance lose the game. You have to get the information yourself and talk about it.

This is a weak spot in our group: talking. Generally speaking, we're mostly technical math/science/engineering types that aren't very good with touchy-feely judgment calls. The table discussion during our session was limited to trying to reason out who to eliminate based on the failed missions. Not once did anyone say "I think so-and-so is a spy." It was always "Well, that mission failed so it could be player 1, player 2 or player 3."

To make it even more difficult, we're all sneaky bastards that would backstab our fellow players without a second thought and never even blink about it. We often play Red Dragon Inn and we've had to implement a house rule to not play Gambling cards for the first two turns to prevent the game ending before play goes around the table a single time.

Fauxreigner wrote:
Edit: You could also throw in some Plot Thickens cards. Those can give some limited information that's valuable going forward. Although I generally prefer Avalon's Lady of the Lake mechanic, which you can re-create trivially with a marker of your choice. Call it the Inquisitor or something. But you'll still need to vote some teams down, because Lady of the Lake doesn't kick in until round 3, and you're already on the back foot by then.

We thought that including the plot cards would make the game more complex, so we opted not to use anything until we won a game. (Which never happened....) Do the plot cards make the game easier for the resistance players?
 
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Pasi Ojala
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TheRealStupid wrote:
This is a weak spot in our group: talking. Generally speaking, we're mostly technical math/science/engineering types that aren't very good with touchy-feely judgment calls. The table discussion during our session was limited to trying to reason out who to eliminate based on the failed missions.

It was the same for us in the first games. You'll learn to talk more when you play more. Just point out suspicious activity in team suggestions and voting and if someone accuses another player without logic behind it, call them out. The so called "instinct" comes from knowing how your opponents would play each situation.

Also, The Resistance: Avalon might work better for you/us logical types.
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Cameron McKenzie
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Plot cards help the resistance more (though spies can do some nasty stuff if they get some No Confidence cards).

I think they will also make the game more enjoyable for you if you want more math and logic and less emphasis on trying to read people.
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James Cheng
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I just want to check on something, since no one mentioned it and you admit to play it wrong with the spy. Did your vote for proposal openly? Seeing how someone vote is important. Also, see how some one propose is important as well.
 
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Kirk Monsen
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It is all about perspective. You are assumed to be resistance, so as others say, any mission without you should be voted down by you (as you know it lacks one resistance member). Similarly, the team leader should portray himself as resistance, so if he doesn't put himself in the team, vote down the mission (even if you are in it). Voting down missions is how you learn who the spies are.
 
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MunchWolf wrote:
It is all about perspective. You are assumed to be resistance, so as others say, any mission without you should be voted down by you (as you know it lacks one resistance member).

If every resistance member plays like that you won't get any successfull mission. Every mission with not more players than the half (e.g. first three missions in a 8 player game) can't succeed this way.

 
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Robert Stewart
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Generally, the more information there is in the game, the easier it is for the Resistance - letting the Spies know each other is vital because it creates a difference between Spies and Resistance. Blind spies are in exactly the same position as the regular resistance members - they want to get themselves on a team so they can support their side, and they don't know anything about anyone else, so have no more reason to be happy or unhappy about any given team than the good guys.

Plot cards add another layer of hard facts for logical types to work with - yes, it's of the "If A is good then so is B" variety, but that can be enough to start drawing firm conclusions.
 
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Eric Penn
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Yes, the votes were open.

It really didn't matter since the table discussion before the vote generally acknowledged that no one knew enough to make an informed decision so every single vote was nearly unanimously passed. There were a few people who voted "no", but they were doing it just to be contrary.

There was NEVER any discussion about how or why someone voted the way they did; all votes passed by a landslide.

rmsgrey wrote:
Generally, the more information there is in the game, the easier it is for the Resistance - letting the Spies know each other is vital because it creates a difference between Spies and Resistance. Blind spies are in exactly the same position as the regular resistance members - they want to get themselves on a team so they can support their side, and they don't know anything about anyone else, so have no more reason to be happy or unhappy about any given team than the good guys.

Yep, this is why every vote always passed. No one knew enough to vote anything but "yes".
 
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Kirk Monsen
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TheRealStupid wrote:

Yep, this is why every vote always passed. No one knew enough to vote anything but "yes".

In theory the Spies knew enough to vote yes, so that is a reason to vote no.
 
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Kirk Monsen
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ZdadrDeM wrote:
MunchWolf wrote:
It is all about perspective. You are assumed to be resistance, so as others say, any mission without you should be voted down by you (as you know it lacks one resistance member).

If every resistance member plays like that you won't get any successfull mission. Every mission with not more players than the half (e.g. first three missions in a 8 player game) can't succeed this way.


With each voted down mission you get more information about who the spies are, so that you can build a team you trust.

The main issue is there is no one strategy to play the game, as it is situational, any strategy has a counter. Information and proper logic will help you deduce the spies, or befuddle the resistance if you are a spy.
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Pasi Ojala
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TheRealStupid wrote:
Yep, this is why every vote always passed. No one knew enough to vote anything but "yes".

Without enough information the only one to trust is yourself. If you vote for a team that does not have you in it, you are taking a risk. It will either work or come to haunt you later. (And this applies whether you are resistance or a spy trying to look like a resistance.)

The strategies start to present themselves when you have played several games on both sides. The game evolves from party game to logical deduction game to an intense mind-game.
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Kirk Monsen
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Side note, quite a few times I've seen a team proposed, and was declined, then the next leader proposed the same exact team and it was accepted.

Why? We were watching how people were voting. Spies would vote no on a team without spies, so if Everyone votes no, then most likely the team had no spies.
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Nico
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MunchWolf wrote:
ZdadrDeM wrote:
MunchWolf wrote:
It is all about perspective. You are assumed to be resistance, so as others say, any mission without you should be voted down by you (as you know it lacks one resistance member).

If every resistance member plays like that you won't get any successfull mission. Every mission with not more players than the half (e.g. first three missions in a 8 player game) can't succeed this way.


With each voted down mission you get more information about who the spies are, so that you can build a team you trust.

The main issue is there is no one strategy to play the game, as it is situational, any strategy has a counter. Information and proper logic will help you deduce the spies, or befuddle the resistance if you are a spy.

Right, you need information. But, as you said in the second part of your post, there is not one strategy to play the game. I just wanted to point out that always rejecting a team you're not in is not a good idea. It really depends on the situation.
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