Doug's Dungeon - The Resistance
Allow me to bring up the meme that is group projects. See it’s not enough for our teachers and guardians to challenge us on a personal level. No no, we have to be sociable and learn to play nice with others. And everyone who is vocal about the issue tend to be the ones doing all the hard work. Unlike Jenny, who couldn’t come to meetings because she “like, have better things to do with my Saturday night”. Or Steve, who is loyal to the group but honestly doesn’t understand basic grammar. Carl would be a great asset of course. He’s punctual, informative, and doesn’t smell like Steve. The only niggling thing about him is that he’s part of an authoritarian government in the future, hell-bent on making sure the powerpoint presentation on river pollution fails.
Lucky for us though, we can learn to counter his sub-par sabotage by playing The Resistance.
Take a seat, Munchkin. The Resistance is here to show you how to be a back-stabby party game for 5-10 players. Yeah that’s right, you need 4 other warm bodies to even think about cracking open this bad boy (and a mighty constitution to overcome the death stare you’re getting from ‘Ima Stabetha’ on the cover there). In this game at least half of the players are resistance members trying to sabotage the government. Meanwhile, the remaining players are traitorous spies, who turn the sabotage on the saboteurs. Over five rounds, leaders pick squad mates, players try to veto bad squad calls, mission cards are submitted, and missions are performed. Whether they succeed or fail is based on how clever the spies are.
At the start of the game you are dealt a role card. Your goal then is to either pass or fail 3 missions depending on how traitor you are (the scale is 0 and traitor. If you find yourself halfway between or beyond these parameters, please advise your games supplier for a refund). Prior to the game start, the traitors get to see eachother with everyone else’s eye’s closed, ultimate werewolf style. A randomly assigned leader then begins discussion as to who they will take with them on the mission. The number of participants they need is shown on the mission bubble on the central board. You get to give out these sweet gun tokens that are all different looking but have no crazy effects in game. Think of them as extremely violent versions of roses on the Bachelor. And everyone is trying to date those suckers out of you.
And woo you must. Players seeming too eager to be on a mission could be labelled a spy, a liar, a cad, and a poor tipper. This is where the bulk of the gameplay occurs. You’re either trying to force spies out of the missions, or force your way in. but even after the team leader decides on a squad, a vote is called. If at least half the players disagree with the party setup, the squad disbands before the mission starts. The leader is passed to the next player, and the process begins again. One might think this could go on forever, but be warned: if players veto a squad 5 times in a single round, the spies win. Nothing kills a movement more than no one moving (I assure you that sentence is already on a t-shirt somewhere, worn by a 14 year old who thinks its deep as hell).
Now, resistance players will tend to be more agreeable over that last fact, and allow missions to move forward. At this point, each party member takes one of their two mission cards (everyone in the squad gets dealt a pass and a fail) and hands it to the party leader. Without knowing who gave what, the leader shuffles and reveals the cards. If even one of those cards turns up fail, the mission is marked a failure, and brings the spies a step closer to winning. But wait, young spy! Just because you convinced Jeff to let you onto the squad doesn’t mean you go hog wild and spam fail. That would be conspicuous. You need to build a rapport with the sheep on the table. A failed mission means a hefty load of shifty eyes at everyone involved. And remember, you still need to sabotage two more missions.
The Resistance creates a rich tapestry of storytelling through the players despite its minimalist design. I’ll never forget the hard-fought game I played with my wife and friends that ended on the 5th round. We were sure we had sussed out the right team to use after our resistance win on the fourth round, and chose to repeat that team for the fifth. Little did I know, my beloved was a spy all along, and simply gave us false hope by letting a win pass through her fingers, only to crush us at the final gate.
Who do I recommend The Resistance to? Anyone with a flair for charisma. The Resistance is a game of taking gambits, reading people and poker faces. It’s about trust. It’s about giving your fellow spy the biggest gun token as you flaunt your secret alliance right under the enemy’s nose. As long as you have the people, The Resistance has the game. I don’t even know what all the expansions add, but i’ll just say ‘lots’. Plays quick, low setup time, doesn’t tax the table space and all in a compact box for travel-friendly play.
Just don’t play with Carl. The establishment is anti-fun and sure as hell doesn’t want the populace to learn how to lie good.
I'm an avid lover of all things table top. I also have a growing collection of board games which inspire me to create my own. I put my loud and expressive personality to good use as a dungeon master for my friends, having run many campaigns through 4th and 5th edition D&D.
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