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Subject: Burnt out on the core Hitler mechanic rss

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Leonard Smith
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I am burnt out on the meta of this game I'm at with my group.

(And this is from someone who's played > 300 games of Resistance/Avalon and never find it stale and will jump at any chance to play.)

But I think being Hitler is boring and a frustrating mechanic as player skills evolve.

The best way to win as Hitler, in my experience, is to play like a perfect liberal. Maybe, as president, discard a liberal policy. But otherwise you play as a liberal. If given a choice you select liberal policies and if you inspect someone's allegiance, you tell the truth... etc. There's no lying. There's no subterfuge.

Getting suspicion as Hitler is *really* bad. You're not going to ever be elected chancellor and you're going to be a high priority target when the president starts killing. This gives you a narrow path to victory.

But, play like a liberal... and you'll have a very good chance of being elected chancellor.

And maybe you can debate who the other fascists are, but ultimately it doesn't matter that much because the game basically just becomes Russian Roulette as to if you're going to accidentally elect Hitler chancellor.

With Resistance, that last round the leader has some choices to make, and probably a lot of theories are being debated. And even when you're wrong and your understanding of the last twenty minutes comes crashing down... you realize your mistakes and that moment is hilarious and awesome.

That can happen in Secret Hitler but it's been rare the last fifteen or so games for us.

It's mostly a twenty minute game that often ends in what is basically a coin flip. And when we realize we messed up it's like... yup, it's because you played this game completely like a liberal and we just selected the wrong "liberal" player.

Twenty minutes is way too long for a coin-flip game.
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Robert McKittrick
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I haven't gotten a chance to play it enough to have that experience, but I can theoretically see how it could happen... Is this issue mitigated with a higher player count? For example, with Avalon/Resistance with under 7 players, I don't like the Merlin/Commander because it gives the spies a way to get a lucky win because there are only a few choices of who Merlin can be... Even if the Merlin/Commander was sneaky, a lucky guess from a limited pool of suspects steals a win.

Also, separately, at higher player counts in Resistance, what is the win rate for the spies in your group? Because in my group it is 90+%, which detracts from me wanting to play it. When I play as Resistance I typically lose and when I play as a spy I always win (and I mean literally always) and I feel like the victory is a bit hollow because the spies are at such an advantage if you are playing with good players... (And if my group are doing something wrong please help! I would be happy to lose as a spy just to see what it feels like!) I have found Secret Hitler to be much closer to 50-50, which I love. Even when some of the victories are because of a shitty draw of the deck, I just like that I feel like I have an equal chance to win with Secret Hitler...

But getting back to your original problem, is this something that even happens at 8+ players?
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Jarek
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It's all WIFOM, but so far, in my few games, I've had an unwritten rule - if I trust someone, it probably means they're Hitler. This "rule" if adopted by most players in my meta might lead to Hitler not playing it 100% like Liberal. And this might shake things up. Maybe.
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Leonard Smith
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Rfresh wrote:
I haven't gotten a chance to play it enough to have that experience, but I can theoretically see how it could happen... Is this issue mitigated with a higher player count?

But getting back to your original problem, is this something that even happens at 8+ players?


A bunch of these games were at 8, yeah. The last one I won as Hitler and got elected chancellor. And it was a hollow victory, as you said... because of course they trusted me! I didn't do anything worthy of not being trusted! I was bored while playing and unsatisfied after winning.

It is way more fun in Resistance when I dupe someone since I did devious things and failed missions... and I got accused and falsely accused others during the course of the game!

Quote:
For example, with Avalon/Resistance with under 7 players, I don't like the Merlin/Commander because it gives the spies a way to get a lucky win because there are only a few choices of who Merlin can be... Even if the Merlin/Commander was sneaky, a lucky guess from a limited pool of suspects steals a win.


When that happens it's still fun! And it gives almost everyone a role, and almost everyone's deceiving to some degree!

And, I also think that if there's a good Merlin and a good Bodyguard and fairly good regular Resistance then the bulk of the suspicion should NOT be on Commander/Merlin. (Of course that meta changes when you suddenly suspect maybe the person least acting like Merlin/Commander is Merlin/Commander... and part of why, I'd argue, this game is so replayable)


Quote:
Also, separately, at higher player counts in Resistance, what is the win rate for the spies in your group?


I don't know the numbers, but if spies are winning too much, you can add in roles that give more information to The Resistance and/or less to the spies. Merlin/Commander, Bodyguard, Lady of the Lake/Inquisitor, Plot Thickens, Blind Spy. It should be possible to even the odds out.
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Josh

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ignu wrote:
The best way to win as Hitler, in my experience, is to play like a perfect liberal. Maybe, as president, discard a liberal policy. But otherwise you play as a liberal. If given a choice you select liberal policies and if you inspect someone's allegiance, you tell the truth... etc. There's no lying. There's no subterfuge.

Getting suspicion as Hitler is *really* bad. You're not going to ever be elected chancellor and you're going to be a high priority target when the president starts killing. This gives you a narrow path to victory.

But, play like a liberal... and you'll have a very good chance of being elected chancellor.

And maybe you can debate who the other fascists are, but ultimately it doesn't matter that much because the game basically just becomes Russian Roulette as to if you're going to accidentally elect Hitler chancellor.


Yes, this has been our group's experience. When you're Hitler, you play as a liberal, gain the trust of the others, and hope to God that if you're involved in early governments you can play a liberal card. Other than that, you're at the mercy of your fascist teammates and have to bank on their skills rather than your own. The most you can do is sow dissension among the liberal ranks, but even then it's not an active strategy. You just play like a liberal, which is easy to do since you know nothing just like the real liberals.

And you hope and pray that when somebody investigates, they don't choose you.

Ultimately, this game is designed for the full enjoyment of the liberal team. The "bad guys" in the social deduction aspect have been left by the wayside; the designers even admit this (if not outright, it's implied).

Chalk this up to another reason why The Resistance is my main choice for a social deduction game.
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Robert Davey
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We played a few games of it last night with six and mostly had the same experience, with the Hitler character just playing like a liberal and then getting elected as chancellor and winning. As there are only ever 2 people on the government (mission) it can be quite hard to deduce who is who, so it tended to just come down to chance. Not a replacement for The Resistance in my opinion, but still, the components are great.
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K
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To root out Hitler you must get really good at reading votes "Ja" and "Nein" as they can provide a lot of information on who Hitler may be, especially if you have suspicions on a fascist -- don't allow a culture to flourish where the default vote is "Ja" because you won't be in much control of your wins that way.

You must also be good at reading people. It is a social deduction game, afterall. If Hitler is literally undetectable, has no tells, and you guys vote him in just because he played a Liberal policy earlier... well, that's kinda the way it's supposed to work and he earned his win

Against a good Hitler player there will be situations where it feels like a toss-up, sure. But what do you expect? A foolproof method to expose Hitler?

I've definitely seen Hitler play other strategies, and sometimes he NEEDS to be more aggressive. Because if Liberals get too far ahead that can be very very bad, though the fact that Fascists can still win in those situations through Hitler elect is a good thing, rather than a bad.
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Leonard Smith
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Yeah, I"m going to ebay of my KS copy.

There's no good reason to play this instead of Resistance, imho.
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Robert McKittrick
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Definitely disagree that Resistance is patently superior... Secret Hitler has, I believe, much better balance overall. In the Resistance at higher player counts the spies have, putting it mildly, a significant advantage. In Secret Hitler it is very close to even. I can understand the criticism that playing Hitler is more limiting than playing regular fascists or liberals (though I do think it's interesting trying to piece together who are your allies), but I think the game play otherwise is more satisfying. There is just as much stuff for fascists to lie about, but there is slightly more information to glean as a liberal (because there are twice as many missions/elections to go on, which creates a better signal-to-noise-ratio)...

But hell, the games are similar enough that if you only have room for one in your life, go with the one that you love. For me though, I doubt I will go back to Resistance after playing Secret Hitler.


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Leonard Smith
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Rfresh wrote:
In the Resistance at higher player counts the spies have, putting it mildly, a significant advantage.


That can be balanced! Add Avalon roles (Merlin/Commander). Add Blind Spy. Still going poorly? Add Lady of The Lake/Inquisitor. Then even throw plot cards on top.

I was a Secret Hitler fan for ~15 plays. Yelling Fascist was fun! Legislating was fun. But then it just got to this weird meta I described above that just kept getting worse and more stale as players got better at the game.
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Robert McKittrick
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I have used the Avalon roles extensively. In my experience there is still a clear advantage for the spies if they are experienced players (and this isn't sour grapes on my part, because if I'm a spy I always win too). Obviously the Blind Spy can create issues occasionally, but the inquisitor can be used just as effectively by the spies to create confusion... Ultimately, it just comes down to the amount of information. In Resistance there are only five missions, and if you make it to the fifth one as a Resistance member you must get everything 100% correct based on only four previous missions. There simply isn't enough quality information for the Resistance side. So then it all comes down to Merlin/Commander and the Bodyguard, which again, in my experience is not too difficult to figure it out who they are... At worst, it comes down to a 50-50 guess between the two...

I'm arguing so hard against Resistance, but I actually do like the game, and I appreciate that it is essentially the grandfather of modern social deduction games, a genre I love... But for me it has lost its luster over time due to the significant imbalance I have experienced with every group I've ever played it with... With Secret Hitler, at least up to this point, it feels closer to even. Perhaps my position will change if/when dominant strategies reveal themselves that create an imbalance, but for now I like feeling like I have an equal shot to win no matter which secret identity card I'm looking at...
 
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K
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15 plays is a very, very low number of plays to be making final judgements on the trend of the meta and where you see it ending up. For instance, most games I played with smart players with hundreds of plays did not have the stagnant Hitler meta you described. In fact, passive Hitlers often seemed a hinderance to their team rather than a boon.
 
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Leonard Smith
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Quote:
15 plays is a very, very low number of plays to be making final judgements on the trend of the meta and where you see it ending up. For instance, most games I played with smart players with hundreds of plays did not have the stagnant Hitler meta you described. In fact, passive Hitlers often seemed a hinderance to their team rather than a boon.


I probably have ~40-50 plays. I said it was fun for the first 15. (And it was really fun!)

I also didn't make a final judgement! That's the reason I kept playing as it grew less fun and the reason I made this thread.

But my opinion is getting more solidified since I'm not seeing convincing argument against:

A) The best move as Hitler is to play exactly like a liberal.
B) Point A makes Secret Hitler a relatively boring game of Russian Roulette.
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Leonard Smith
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Quote:
but the inquisitor can be used just as effectively by the spies to create confusion...


I don't agree with that at all! I think it's just more information period, and more information is always a benefit to The Resistance.

Anyway, I could debate balance issues all day. But that's not my main concern. My main concern is fun.

In fact, I do agree Secret Hitler is more balanced! I'd have 80% of my games come down to either electing Hitler as chancellor or killing him as we kill a random Liberal. And that was balanced! But as the novelty of yelling "fascist" wore off it was just not as fun.
 
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Clyde W
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ignu wrote:
But my opinion is getting more solidified since I'm not seeing convincing argument against:

A) The best move as Hitler is to play exactly like a liberal.
B) Point A makes Secret Hitler a relatively boring game of Russian Roulette.
That's because there is no convincing argument against A. It is clearly how the spies win the game.
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Robert McKittrick
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I think it all comes down to the question of what is more fun for you and your group: Better balance, but with higher variance... Or significantly less variance and significantly less balance.

As of now, I'll take the former, but I can understand people's fondness for the latter.

 
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Clyde W
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I prefer Avalon, where I can balance the game to my heart's content.
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ignu wrote:

I probably have ~40-50 plays. I said it was fun for the first 15. (And it was really fun!)

...

A) The best move as Hitler is to play exactly like a liberal.
B) Point A makes Secret Hitler a relatively boring game of Russian Roulette.


My bad about the number of plays. But I disagree with point A, as I said.

SOMETIMES it is best to play exaclty like a liberal. Sometimes it is better to be agressive. The game is much more complicated than you describe and you have to adapt to the situations tat cpome up. The strategy in the game is not as fixed as you make it seem which is something that makes the game so good.

If you play exactly like a liberal you give the Liberals 20% of their win condition every time you are given the opportunity to. And against experienced players it doesn't necessarily raise your chances of being selected chancellor the first round after 3 fascist policies go down so why are you doing it? you need a good reason.

If the Liberals are ahead by a healthy margin and one confirmed non-hitler player is discovered, the Fascists are pretty much screwed. Chances of Hitler being elected then are very low, and if Hitler helped the Liberals get in that position by doing nothing but helping them, then it is his fault.

If you play exactly like a Liberal you MIGHT get lucky, but you have a small window to do so if the Liberals are ahead. I'd actually wager that luck is less on your side as a 100% Liberal Hitler than the Assassin randomly picking Merlin in Avalon.

It'sn ot that you CAN'T win always playing the way you describe and there's a hard counter to your plan every game. It's that good players can do better than doing an autopilot strategy and hoping they get lucky; there are BETTER strategies in many games.

Someone who isn't good at playing Hitler may indeed maximize their win by playing the way you describe every game.
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Robert McKittrick
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I've played about 10 more games and I've had the Russian Roulette situation pop up a couple times, and you're right, it's unsatisfying. The next time we play and I am liberal I am going to attempt some counter strategies, like trying to coax suggestions from believed fascists (to inform who we *shouldn't* nominate), voting Nein a bit more often than in the past to try to confirm suspicions, etc.

If it does indeed end up being pervasive regardless of meta-strategies I might test out a commander/assassin-like variant where one of the liberals knows who Hitler is, but the fascists get a chance to assassinate the commander, ala Avalon. I have no fucking clue how it will throw off game balance (theoretically it might make it too easy for liberals to win), but it might be worth testing out to fix that one issue.

Because otherwise I really do prefer the game flow, and the ways you can lie (and puzzle through the lies as a liberal) in Secret Hitler. It seems like there are just more decision points to give (and misrepresent) information.

But to your original point, I can understand your criticism. I hope it's something that fixes itself as meta-strategies evolve, or is aided by expansions in the future.
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Walt Le
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ignu wrote:
I am burnt out on the meta of this game I'm at with my group.

...

The best way to win as Hitler, in my experience, is to play like a perfect liberal. Maybe, as president, discard a liberal policy. But otherwise you play as a liberal. If given a choice you select liberal policies and if you inspect someone's allegiance, you tell the truth... etc. There's no lying. There's no subterfuge.



I was Hitler and I played as a Fascist from the beginning (of course I pretended to be a Liberal, as any normal Fascist would).

I got the first Presidency and I said I had 3 red policies, and passed 2 red policies to the Chancellor. (I actually discarded the blue Liberal policy.)

For some reason, I was elected Chancellor later in the game, and the Facists won.


I was playing with very experienced players and they never thought Hitler would play so openly as Fascist. The President who nominated me as Chancellor said that if I chose a Fascist policy in, he would assassinate me. So they clearly thought I was not Hitler.

So really, being too experienced can backfire on players, if they assume how players will play.
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Justin Hiltz
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Rfresh wrote:
Definitely disagree that Resistance is patently superior... Secret Hitler has, I believe, much better balance overall. In the Resistance at higher player counts the spies have, putting it mildly, a significant advantage. In Secret Hitler it is very close to even. I can understand the criticism that playing Hitler is more limiting than playing regular fascists or liberals (though I do think it's interesting trying to piece together who are your allies), but I think the game play otherwise is more satisfying. There is just as much stuff for fascists to lie about, but there is slightly more information to glean as a liberal (because there are twice as many missions/elections to go on, which creates a better signal-to-noise-ratio)...

But hell, the games are similar enough that if you only have room for one in your life, go with the one that you love. For me though, I doubt I will go back to Resistance after playing Secret Hitler.


This touches on major parts of why I find Secret Hitler so appealing. Liberals have so much more reason to be engaged and the puzzle presented to them is far more interesting to solve based on the events that unfold.

The way I explained it recently: If I could guarantee being on the spy team for every game, I'd probably play Resistance 9 out of 10 times. If I'm leaving things up to chance, I'll take Secret Hitler, where I can have fun on either team.

As for the "hitler meta" I think it mitigates itself. I've already had plenty of instances where a fascist member had to play it cool early on and also play as a "liberal." This puts pressure on hitler to make dangerous plays later and go against a liberal player if chosen as chancellor when fascists are behind. Hitler has the benefit of being blind and having to trust his own gut and in turn can fall back on playing dumb. It's important to remember that the game's manual stresses this way of play for Hitler. I think the mechanics were tweaked to make the game work despite this being the dominant strategy.

I think it's also important for liberal players to take the occasional fascist policy to ensure they receive the power-ups to try and weed out hitler. If hitler in your group is always playing liberal, it's time to start examining the "liberal" players with the strangest or most predictable voting patterns. Look for the less obvious clues at the table, as good fascists will be sending each other hints with their voting, chancellor selections, etc.
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Hannes Versluys
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Had enough plays by now to come to exactly the same conclusion. Hitler hiding in the good team is why too easy to win.

I don't know how people cannot see that. If you say that you give the liverals too big an advantage this way, I don't think you played enough:

Even if there's a team running with 2 liberals, there's still an increasing chance to get 3 fascist cards, so even the good guys start playing fascist cards.

play as a good guy, fascist cards WILL come. get elected chancellor, boom. you win. If a good guy chooses to inspect you, then indeed, then you have to start lying.

If you play with capable players, this game is a coin toss. Only way things may really go bad, is if they shoot hitler, or one of the fascists is bored and tries to mix it up a little.

If someone can correct me, and give me some valid gameplays/arguments, i'm open to review my opinion, but I fear that won't be the case. Sadly, because now that I finally got my copy, I hoped for an awesome social deduction game.

 
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Quote:
If someone can correct me, and give me some valid gameplays/arguments, i'm open to review my opinion, but I fear that won't be the case. Sadly, because now that I finally got my copy, I hoped for an awesome social deduction game.



There are enough ways to root out Hitler that this is a real game. Of course Hitler can still win, but that is sort of the point and it's not a coin flip unless the Liberals suck. There is variance in the game and it plays out differently but the Fascists USUALLY have to earn their win against good players.

I'm surprised you still find it so hard to come up with ideas to counter Hitler playing exactly like a Liberal if you have racked up a lot of plays. If you have a strategically lazy group of Liberals you will have to motivate them to simply stop falling into the same pitfall and actually thinking about the game.

Let's just walk down one possible line of thinking.

So Hitler is playing like a Liberal. This is a fine strategy, but as I said above, will be exploited by good Liberals HARD unless the other Fascists pull their weight to lay down Fascist policies and funnel power to Hitler (and no, this opinion does not come from inexperience as you suggest, but expertise)

So you have at least one other Fascist who needs to do Fascisty things. He will probably try to drag a Liberal down with him by getting into a "conflict" where he argues with a Pres/Chanc about who really discarded a Liberal card. So why not consider one of THESE players for Chancellor, the more suspicious looking players when Hitler win condition first becomes eligible? Try to figure out which player in conflict is lying and elect the other one. In the group you describe they have zero chance of being Hitler. They might be Fascist but as long as you aren't also electing a Fascist President it's still a slight Liberal advantage at that stage of the game due to the Presidential Powers.

Once you start employing this strategy, guess what? Hitler now has incentive to mix it up sometimes and play more aggressively because THAT might get him elected.

You also have voting record. Are all the Liberals just voting up the first Chancellor pick that "sounds good" every time? Why? They can bait out the Fascists by voting No. Did the most suspicious people at the table support it or vote against it? There is a lot of skill involved in properly playing the voting game, and if Fascists are reckless they can give away the farm. On the other hand if the Liberals are too obvious with this the Fascists can just play mind games with their votes, so it's a real game.

To really excel in this game as a Liberal, you need to figure out theories for who you think the Fascists are (sometimes multiple theories/scenarios), and then try to induce who each theoretical possible team's Hitler is and why. Then don't elect that person and convince other Liberals not to.

P.S. Try to stick to even player count games, odd count is hard mode for Liberals. That is a real flaw in the game, it's got some scaling issues.
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Robert McKittrick
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My group has been playing at least a couple games of Secret Hitler almost every week for months now, and I have definitely seen the meta shift away from Hitler getting easily elected as Chancellor. When playing with a group that has new players it's much easier to get him elected, because newer players are more apt to just vote "Ja." But the more our group has played, the more attuned we've become to voting tendencies, lying behaviors, etc... Hitler does still get elected on occasion, but not nearly the frequency it did months ago...

Our group pulled out Avalon recently, just because it had been so long... I was a vanilla Resistance member both times, and besides contributing a vote I did nothing of real value to help us win. The Resistance won, but it all came down to Merlin and Bodyguard (Forget his name off hand). They won the game for us, which was nice, but ultimately unsatisfying as a vanilla good guy...
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