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Subject: For the Meeple, by the Meeple (Review of The Resistance) rss

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Michael Carpenter
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QUICK FACTS
Style of Game: Party (Social Deduction)
Play Time: 30 minutes
Theme: Resistance against the Empire
Number of Players: 5-10
Main Mechanics: Bluffing, Partnerships
Components: Okay
Weight: Light

SUMMARY
The Resistance is full or operatives attempting to defeat the Empire. Unfortunately, the Empire has gotten wind of these attacks and have sent their own spies to sabotage the efforts. Players will have to decide who is fighting for the cause and who is there in hopes of foiling the plans of The Resistance.


THEME AND MECHANISMS
Since this is a party game the theme can really come alive. I would attribute this to the mechanisms because they do create a sense of distrust and tension. Some of the mechanisms are not necessarily thematic but the blend of everything occurring in the game creates a nice atmosphere.


SETUP
Players should start by selecting the tableau corresponding to the number of players in the game. Place the tableau in the middle of the table. The score markers, missions cards, and Team Tokens should be placed near the tableau and the vote marker should be places on the 1st space of the vote track on the tableau. Each player should receive a set of vote tokens.

Tableau


Score Markers, Missions Cards, and Team Tokens



Vote Marker on Vote Track



Players should randomly select the first Leader and give that player the Leader Token.



Give all players a set of vote tokens (Approve and Reject).



Next, use the chart in the rule book or the tableau to determine the appropriate number of operatives and spies that will be used in the game according to the number of players.



Shuffle the appropriate cards together into one stack and deal one card face-down to each player.



Each player should look at their card in secret and then set it aside so no one can see it. A player may look at their own card at any time during the game but should not show anyone else the card. Receiving a red character card means the player is a spy. Receiving a blue character card means the player is an operative.

After all players know if they are an operative or a spy the Leader must walk all players (including himself or herself) through a process to allow the spies to become aware of each other's identities.

The Leader will perform this process by reciting the following script:

"Everyone close your eyes."

"Spies open your eyes. Spies look around and make sure you know who all the other spies."

"Spies close your eyes. Everyone's eyes should be closed."

"Everyone open your eyes."


Once everyone opens their eyes the spies (red cards) should know the identity of all other spies and each operative (blue cards) should only know their own identity.

You are now ready to start the game.



GAMEPLAY
The game consists of up to five rounds but may end after three, four, or five rounds depending on how each team does throughout the game. Each round consists of a Team Building Phase and a Mission Phase.

Team Building Phase:
To build a team the Leader should take the appropriate number of Team Tokens. Each round of the game will require a specific number of Team Tokens to be given out. This information is found in each round space on the tableau in the middle of the table.



The Leader must decide which players to give these Team Tokens to. Once the Team Tokens have been assigned all players in the game will now vote on whether or not to send the assigned players on the mission.

To vote on the players that have been given Team Tokens the players should allow for a brief opportunity for discussion about the players being voted on, then all players will use their Vote Tokens (Approve and Reject Tokens) to announce whether they wish to allow the players to go on the mission. Each player will select one of their vote tokens and place it face-down in front of them. On the Leader's command all players should reveal their Vote Token. If a majority of the players have voted to approve the team then plays transitions to the Mission Phase. If a there is a tie or a majority of the players have voted to reject the team then the vote marker should be moved to space number two on the vote track, all the Leader Token should be passed to the player on the left of the current Leader, all Team Tokens should be given to the new Leader and the process of selecting a team to go on the mission (including voting) should be done again.


*If players ever reject selected teams five consecutive times in one round the game ends and the spies win.

Mission Phase:
Once a team has been approved to go on the mission the Mission Phase begins. Each player that is on the team should receive two mission cards (one fail and one success). Each player on the mission should secretly select one of the cards and hand it to the Leader of the mission, being careful not to reveal which card they are using to vote. The cards of the players that are not being used to vote should also be kept face-down and slid into a pile to be sure to mix up the cards and help hide the identity of each player on the mission.

Once all players on the mission have given their vote to the Leader, the Leader should shuffle the cards being used to vote and then reveal the cards. If all of the votes are success then the Operatives win the mission and place one blue score marker on the appropriate round space on the tableau. If one or more Fail cards are revealed then the mission is failed and the Spies win the mission. A red score marker should be placed on the appropriate round space on the tableau.



*Operatives (blue players) MUST vote success when on a mission. Spies may vote success or fail when on a mission.

Once a round is determined the Leader Token is passed to the player on the left, the vote track is set back to 1, and the appropriate number of Team Tokens are given to the Leader. Rounds 2-4 follow the same structure as round 1. The game ends immediately once either team is able to win three of the five possible rounds.

*All players may claim to be an operative or a spy verbally, but may never reveal their character card to prove or disprove a point until the game has been decided.

FINAL THOUGHTS
PROS:
- This is a gamer's party game.
- This is the type of game that non-gamers will typically try.
- Plays a medium sized crowd really well.
- Offers a really great atmosphere.


CONS:
When the design is followed correctly this is a great design, when any part of the design fails the fragility of the design shows.
- Disinterested, shy, confused, and other types of players can break or really diminish this game.
- A single mis-step in the concealing of information can ruin the entire game (this is not the end of the world because the game is quick and can be restarted easily).
- There can be awkward moments in this game if people get upset about the way you have to lie to each other.

So it may seem like my cons are more detailed than my pros but that is only because I have so many detailed and intricate pros about this game that I didn't want to make a long list of paragraphs for my pros. I really love this game. I have looked for other social deduction games to compliment this one and offer some variety in the genre in my collection but none of the games I have tried match this one. I started my rating for this game at a 9 and then dropped it to an 8 because I thought it had grown old but I recently played it with a new group of people that had never played it before and man, it was a blast. It took me out of the meta-game that had developed with the group I play this with regularly and back into the less developed and calculated experience this game offers when you first play it.

Now, as far as I can tell, most groups that like this game seem to play the heck out of it. To the point where it becomes repetitive. It then gets replaced by one of the numerous other social deduction games and people begin to criticize it or try to diminish it's gameplay rather than praise it like they once did. I can't lie, I started to fall into this description and the game began to lose its place as a go-to party game but my recent play of it restored that enjoyment fully. Whether you give up on it forever or go back to it, ff you like this game and your have a group to play it with it will EASILY be played enough to get your money's worth.

The mechanisms in this game do an incredible job of allowing several (not all) types of personalities to play well. I personally love to talk as much as possible in this game and it has benefits and downfalls but a player who doesn't speak nearly as much can gain the same benefits and downfalls. In fact, it is the different types of personalities that make the game enjoyable. If you play with all players that are constantly talking and shouting you can run into longer play times, more arguing, and potentially a less enjoyable atmosphere because of the lack of comprehensible communication. Having a balance of personalities can really allow for the players to organically form into alliances.

I'm not going to go very deep into the strategy of the game because it is so situational but the rule book does give some tips for how new players should play both roles. These tips are very basic but they do allow your to get started with a little idea of how to play your role. It is once you take these tips and branch out in all the different directions the game allows that you will see just how deep the psychology of this game can go. I haven't played many, if any, other games that create as much tension and suspicion as The Resistance. There also a ton of high-five moments, aha moments, I can't believe you lied moments, and countless other enjoyable moments in this game.

The one mechanism that allows the whole game to develop is the fact that spies may vote success or fail when on a mission. If it weren't for this small rule the game would fall flat. All the other mechanisms are important to make sure the basic design works but this rule makes the game go. Understanding how to vote in different situations is important to being good as a spy. Now, most of the rule set makes it seem as though being a spy is the only way to enjoy the game, but this game is so good for me because of the balance in enjoyment the two roles offer. If you are an operative you may not have as many decisions to make but you definitely have more questions to ask and way more deduction to perform.

I do see some flaws in the game. Some of these flaws are personal opinion and some of them are hard to deny for anyone. My first personal issue with the game is that is does not scale that well. I think 5-8 players is really good. I haven't played a lot of 9 and 10 player games but I didn't enjoy them as much.. Too many operatives can become the leader in a row. This can make it extremely difficult for the spies to manipulate the teams and the game can become lop-sided. My second personal issue with the game is that it can be difficult for me to find 5 players regularly enough to play this game as much as I would like. Both of these issues are personal and I don't know that I can consider them hard cons of the game.

The undeniable flaws in the game are the fragile design and the way the game can fall completely flat for a shy or confused player, which then can impact the smaller player counts a lot. It isn't anyone's fault if they do not enjoy the game or they are shy, but if there are one or two players not really participating in a 5 or 6 player game it can become weird. Some may say that you can still play strategically around disinterested or shy players and I can see that point but I am addressing the fact that the style of game can really isolate individuals and their lack of enjoyment can be a downer. The design is really only fragile if someone messes up but it can and does happen from time to time. It isn't a lot of time lost, but it does ruin what is sometimes a really competitive and fun iteration of the game.

My complaints about the game are very minor (to me) and I really only included them to make people aware of what can happen in the game because I think they can be significant to other gamers. At the end of the day this is my favorite party game and it is one of my favorite games overall.




Rating - 9/10


If you enjoy my reviews please recommend and check out my geeklist For the Meeple, by the Meeple

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