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Subject: "I'm Resistance!" Thoughts on how to be an effective Spy. rss

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Nicholas P.
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I posted this in Reddit as a response to someone who wanted help being a Spy. A lot of this will be quite intuitive, but I feel like if you look at the big picture, these ideas can kind of really help you actively MAKE games more exciting. The formatting is a bit iffy cuz I wrote it pretty quickly. Just keep in mind that "quotation marks mean I'm lying."

To start out with I want to get one strategy I see a lot of players use to be an effective spy:

The Long Game

This entails being suspicious or somewhat untrustworthy at all times, regardless of your role. Many people choose to be quiet all the time, or act kind of shady even if they are Resistance. This can leads to as many losses as wins though and if the entire table decides to play this way, the game kind of loses its luster. On the flip side, I think having at least a couple people playing the long game is really helpful for resourceful spies and can make the game quite fun. What is really important is that new players try figuring the game out. At the same time, how the host plays as a Spy can really affect the way their players interpret the game's strategies.



Now with that out of the way, I'd like to go through how I approach being a Spy:

I'm Resistance

Sounds simple right? It's not. Everyone understands that they should be claiming they are Resistance as a Spy, but it's more than that. Just trying to think about how you act when you're Resistance can feel forced. Instead think, what did you do as a Resistance member do in the course of a game? These points are SUPER obvious, but the implications are not as well understood as I'd like by the people I play with.

Resistance tries to convince everyone else they are Resistance. This is the step many stop at. After this, many new players just try to accuse Resistance memebers, while supporting other Spies, and it becomes obvious.

Resistance tries to figure out who the spies are. If you are actively trying to figure out who is a Spy when you're a Resistance, you better be doing the same as a Spy. Use the same logic you use every game, while putting yourself in someone else's shoes. If no one acted suspicious enough for you to make an accusation DON'T. You might not have noticed, but you probably don't make accusations without nearly absolute knowledge if you are Resistance. Listen to others and if in doubt, follow the lead of the Resistance, accusing only those that someone else already suspects.

After figuring out who are Spies, a Resistance must try to convince everyone else who those spies are. Don't always accuse the Resistance member for failing the mission. Accuse whoever is suspicious. This is when the long game players can be taken advantage of. Either way, if your fellow Spy slipped up they they slipped up. Any attempt to try to misdirect suspicion on them will get you caught There's probably one nonvocal person who has already decided that person is the enemy. The enemy of my enemy you know? This slight less obvious point is how you absolutely WRECK every time you are a spy against a completely new group of players. It also makes people who are really bad at being a Spy feel about themselves for playing along with you after you hang them out to dry.

A Resistance member tries to win the game. I see way too often a Spy not put themselves on the team. Know when this is appropriate. Not trying to get yourself on the missions that failed is just as suspicious as being the person who failed it. If it is a round where every resistance has to be in the mission (2nd, 4th, and 5th mission depending on numbers) YOU HAVE TO TRY TO GET YOURSELF IN. If you "know" you're Resistance, then not being in the mission automatically means there's a spy in mission! Be very careful who you try to replace for yourself and in doubt, just don't specify. This is a great opportunity to see who the Resistance players already suspect.

A Resistance only accepts teams they trust. If you're "not sure" because no one has been obvious enough, vote the team in, even if it's all Resistance. If you were Resistance you would just vote those unsure teams in because you need the info. Follow the lead of the Resistance members. If they are unsure, then why are YOU so sure of yourself? The only thing you can conclude is that "you are not a spy." Act like it. Don't pull information out of the air and start trying to argue it as truth. The only truth are the results of the voting, the results of the mission and that "you are not a spy." However, be sure to DEDICATE yourself to your accusations. If you have chosen to accuse someone, make sure your voting is consistent with your words. Don't vote yes, just because a Spy got in the team. You vote NO because that other player "is a spy."



That's the down and dirty. Now go lie your face off. A skilled spy makes the Resistance much more fun. It's gotten to the point where a good and confusing game immediately makes people who have played with me a lot start suspecting me. Every time I play with a new group, I slowly introduce these ideas through my actions. I rarely explain anything in this sort of detail, but I've noticed that when I'm very active as a Spy, it's a kind of big eye opener for new players. I highly recommend you put some of this in action of you consider yourself a bad spy.
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Robert Stewart
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mynameisthis wrote:
A Resistance only accepts teams they trust. If you're "not sure" because no one has been obvious enough, vote the team in, even if it's all Resistance. If you were Resistance you would just vote those unsure teams in because you need the info. Follow the lead of the Resistance members.


Actually, at least until everyone catches on, it's better to reject teams you're not confident about to start with in order to see who other people propose (and who votes for/against the team) - of course, once everyone catches on, the first couple of proposals just get rejected unanimously, and the Spies don't bother picking "good" teams for them...

The added info from seeing more proposals and votes is worth getting even if you end up sending the same team anyway.
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Nicholas P.
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rmsgrey wrote:
Actually, at least until everyone catches on, it's better to reject teams you're not confident about to start with in order to see who other people propose (and who votes for/against the team) - of course, once everyone catches on, the first couple of proposals just get rejected unanimously, and the Spies don't bother picking "good" teams for them...

The added info from seeing more proposals and votes is worth getting even if you end up sending the same team anyway.


That actually makes a lot of sense. I guess in general though, the point is your voting should still reflect how you would vote if you were resistance. When you vote, it should reflect the people you have chosen to be the people you accuse to be spies. If all your allied spies are terrible at lying, then this could mean only one Resistance member is being rejected by your voting.

For my group, the first round is always an easy pass because we want to get the game moving along. We all have a decent poker face, so little information can be gleaned from these somewhat random picks.
 
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Dorkmaster Flek
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mynameisthis wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
Actually, at least until everyone catches on, it's better to reject teams you're not confident about to start with in order to see who other people propose (and who votes for/against the team) - of course, once everyone catches on, the first couple of proposals just get rejected unanimously, and the Spies don't bother picking "good" teams for them...

The added info from seeing more proposals and votes is worth getting even if you end up sending the same team anyway.


That actually makes a lot of sense. I guess in general though, the point is your voting should still reflect how you would vote if you were resistance.

Right, which is probably why you should reject a team if you're not sure about it. I thought that was a good strategy in this game in general. If you don't have a reason to approve, then don't approve. If other people approve, ask them what their reasoning is. "I have no idea who the spies are" is not a good reason to approve. Be extra suspicious of somebody who approves a team they're not on, especially earlier in the game. They better have some strong reasons to back it up.
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Dan Lewis
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mynameisthis wrote:
For my group, the first round is always an easy pass because we want to get the game moving along. We all have a decent poker face, so little information can be gleaned from these somewhat random picks.


Do you not feel that the choices of who to pick for the first mission are revealing? If the Resistance picks randomly, the spies will also pick randomly. The Resistance has gifted the spies a noise floor to hide under.

So the Resistance should not pick randomly. They should have reason to pick people, for instance that they are picking the next few mission leaders, or saw a tell for X, or invite people to nominate themselves, or pick the people who rejected the previous slate. They should vary whether or not they put themselves on the mission.

These are like opening strategies in other games. They invite mistakes by the spies, who know too much but should act like they want to know more, and have to decide whether to link their fellow spies to themselves or not.

After rejecting a few slates for mission 1, you may have seen some spy slates and some resistance slates. Additionally, you'll see weird stuff on slate 4 and slate 5 as leaders get pressure to get it right before the decisive vote 5 or have a free hand to pick the team without group input. And it will get weirder if a No Confidence plot card is in the mix and may be held by a spy.

All this pressure is valuable to the Resistance because it tends to separate the motives of the Resistance from the spies.
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Travis Worthington
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Remembering who voted for what proposal in mission one (when several have been proposed), and who changed their vote when can lead to some interesting discoveries later in the game.

Of course if everyone votes to reject then you also don't get much information as a resistance player - so neither of the extreme strategies have a long term benefit if played exclusively.
 
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James Deignan
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When I'm a spy, I try to play the game entirely as a resistance member, to the point of calling out my fellow spies if I believe they've given themselves away. All my votes and arguments are made as if I was blue.

But when I want to throw a mission, I accidentally throw in a fail card. Stuff happens. I made a mistake. I'm a loyal member of the resistance, after all.
 
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Alexander Brady
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On the other hand, I had a game where my fellow spy was widely accepted by the Resistance (because he had only gone on one successful mission) and I was heavily suspected (because I had been on two unsuccessful missions). My teammate pointed out how suspicious I was.

If I wanted to establish myself as a resistance member I should have defended myself vehemently (that's what I do when I'm resistance). However, I didn't want to undercut his credibility. So I downplayed my defense to help establish them as a resistance member for spotting the spy.
 
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Mechthild Madgeburg
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mynameisthis wrote:
If no one acted suspicious enough for you to make an accusation DON'T. You might not have noticed, but you probably don't make accusations without nearly absolute knowledge if you are Resistance. Listen to others and if in doubt, follow the lead of the Resistance, accusing only those that someone else already suspects.



You've got some really great advice. You touch on an important principle in this one, but it might not play out the same way for every player. You're right, definitely act like the Resistance when you accuse others. But the way this one plays out depends on your playing style, especially when you're playing the long game like you advise. Me, I'm super nervous and suspicious as a resistance member. I constantly accuse others of being spies without near certain proof. When new information comes up, I accuse new people. So if, as a spy, I only ever accused somebody with what appeared to be "near absolute knowledge," I'd be caught out as a spy by anyone familiar with my playing style.
 
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