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The Resistance: Avalon» Forums » Variants

Subject: Missing Merlin - a game where Merlin isn't there, but could be rss

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Callan Finn
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This variant describes an option for ‘Missing Merlin’ – a game where Merlin might not actually be around. At the end of the game, if resistance get 3 passes, the assassin has the option of assassinating one of the players OR *not* assassinating. If Merlin is left out of the game, and the assassin chooses NOT to assassinate, the spies win.

In some games, 5 player especially, I’ve found often resistance get a win around M4, and then the game moves straight to assassination. Often, the spies immediately pick the person they think is Merlin, or they’re tossing up between two people. There’s always a third resistance member that they immediately discount. I’ve never seen a 5 player game of resistance end where the assassin and spy throw their hands up and say ‘well, it could be any of them’.

This has always bugged me in 5 player games. Resistance successfully passing 3 missions should not then lead to the spies getting a free 50/50 shot or better on the assassination. I feel the assassination process should be HARDER for the spies – they didn’t get the 3 fails, and maybe that was because of Merlin, but they shouldn’t have an easy time of assassinating.

This problem doesn’t come up much at all in 6 or 7 player games (or greater), but I’d probably only recommend using this variant for an odd number of players.

How it works
1. At the start of the game, after roles are decided, add an additional plain old resistance card. So, in a 5 player base Avalon game, there should be 6 cards – assassin, a spy, merlin and THREE plain old resistance cards.
2. Deal out the cards. There should be 1 left over. Do NOT look at the left over card until the end of the game.
3. During spies reveal, the person giving instruction should add the line ‘Spies open your eyes and identify yourselves with each other. If there is one of you missing, please say so now and reveal yourselves, otherwise, you may now close your eyes’ – this means, if the left out card is a spy card, a re-deal is required. This shouldn’t happen too often, and you’ll need to explain to your players that this might occur.
4. The game begins, but now, the left over card COULD have Merlin on it.
5. At the end of the game, if resistance have 3 passes, the assassin reveals and now has an option of picking a player, OR choosing NOT to assassinate. If the assassin chooses not to assassinate, flip over the left over card from the start of the game. If it is Merlin, the spies win.

In a 5 player game, this increases the Merlin pool to 1 in 4 instead of 1 in 3 – which makes it easier for resistance on the assassination front, at the cost of Merlin potentially not being present.


You can add this variant with other role cards such as Percival and Morgana and even Lancelots to interesting results.

This variant was inspired by a different avalon variant I'm currently play testing at the moment over in PBF using a large amount of inquisitors, some of which are potentially 'wrong' - I came up with the 'Missing Merlin' mechanic in this variant, but there are lots of other things going on there as well. I'm yet to see if its a success, but you can check the variant details out here: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/971001/pbf-66-crazy-ladies-v...

If it works, I'll be posting the details here, but, for the moment, I thought I'd share this slightly simpler Missing Merlin mechanics here.

Let me know what you think!
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Pasi Ojala
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clublock wrote:
If there is one of you missing, please say so now and reveal yourselves


Why so complicated?

Create a loyalty deck like this:
1. select loyal servant cards, with one extra
2. shuffle
3. remove the top card, send it to the box without looking
4. add the correct number of minion cards
5. shuffle
6. deal to players
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Callan Finn
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a1bert wrote:
clublock wrote:
If there is one of you missing, please say so now and reveal yourselves


Why so complicated?

Create a loyalty deck like this:
1. select loyal servant cards, with one extra
2. shuffle
3. remove the top card, send it to the box without looking
4. add the correct number of minion cards
5. shuffle
6. deal to players


Even better! Thanks for the suggestion, thats a much better way of doing it!
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Pasi Ojala
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clublock wrote:
Thanks for the suggestion, thats a much better way of doing it!


Well, those dozens of BSG games with various expansions and variations have taught us at least something.
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Callan Finn
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a1bert wrote:
clublock wrote:
Thanks for the suggestion, thats a much better way of doing it!


Well, those dozens of BSG games with various expansions and variations have taught us at least something.


Having built the loyalty deck in BSG a number of times, I'm surprised this solution didn't come to me.
 
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Robert Stewart
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I've played 5-player games where the bad guys narrowed it down to two possible Merlins when it was the guy they'd discounted all along...
 
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Clyde W
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rmsgrey wrote:
I've played 5-player games where the bad guys narrowed it down to two possible Merlins when it was the guy they'd discounted all along...
Yep, me too. I've been in games where I've claimed Merlin and spies completely ignore me in the assassination phase and instead focus on the two Plain Old Rebels. Why? No clue. "Because Merlin would never claim." Or something stupid.
 
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I might actually remove the spies ability to try and kill nobody for a win. That way, both Resistance and Spies know Merlin might be out there, but if he isn't, you might just be playing base resistance and not realise it. The resistance having no Merlin help, but then losing because the spies realised it doesn't sound like it really fixes the problems much to me.
 
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bera melexodom
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Removing Merlin will also make using other roles like Mordred and Morgana and Percival crazy, if you're into them.

Instead you could consider removing the Assassin.

Better than just removing the assassin might be to replace her with other evils. When you build the deck, randomly choose two of Assassin, Mordred, and Morgana and make sure good has Percival and Merlin. Then if Evil loses the assassination chance, they get something else for it and it will be less predictable. Merlin still won't want to reveal himself since odds are there is an assassin in the game.
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