The Resistance (game)

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The Resistance (game)
Designer(s) Don Eskridge
Players 5 to 10
Age range 8 and up
Skill(s) required Precise logical deduction
Strategic thought
Team play
Social skills

The Resistance is a game where players attempt to deduce one another's identities. The setting of the game is an imagined battle between a resistance group trying to overthrow the malignant government and the government spies infiltrating the resistance group. It is similar in structure to party games such as Mafia and Werewolf, where a small, secret group of informed players attempt to disrupt a larger uninformed group, while the larger group attempts to identify the spies and eliminate them. The Resistance uses slightly different mechanics from similar games, and was designed to avoid player elimination and increase available information for player decisions.

Games take upwards of half an hour, and are played with five to ten players. The Resistance was initially playable with a standard 52-card deck of playing cards, but the newest version of the game includes extra cards which cannot be simulated in such a way.[1] The published version of the game includes a board to track progress, role cards, voting cards, mission success and fail cards, tokens, and additional game-modifying plot cards. The Resistance is regarded as more complex than similar party games, giving the players more information and opportunity to deceive.


At the start of the game, one third of the group (rounded up) are randomly and secretly chosen to be Imperial Spies, while the rest of the group are Resistance. One of the players (either a Spy or Resistance member) is selected to be the Mission Leader. The Imperial Spies are made aware of each other without the Resistance members knowing – the only thing the Resistance members know is how many spies exist, not who they are. This process is conducted by the first Mission Leader who instructs the group to close their eyes, for the spies to open their eyes and see each other, for the spies to close their eyes again, and then for everyone to open their eyes and begin the game (with long pauses at each stage). Players may never reveal their identity cards to other players (unless the game is being played with "Plot Cards" as discussed below).

Number of Spies & Resistance Members
Number of players: 5 6 7 8 9 10
Resistance 3 4 4 5 6 6
Imperial Spy 2 2 3 3 3 4


During each round of the game, the player to the left of the previous Leader becomes the new Leader. The Leader selects a certain number of players to send out on a mission (the Leader may choose to go out on the mission himself/herself), starting with Mission 1. The table below shows the required number of players to go out on each mission. All of the players then discuss the Leader's choice and, simultaneous and in public, vote[1] on whether to accept the team make-up or not. If a majority of players votes no to the proposal or it's a tie, leadership passes on to the next player to the left, who proposes their own mission. This continues until a majority of players agrees with the current Leader's mission assignment. After five rejected mission proposals in a row, the Imperial Spies automatically win the game.

Number of players required be sent on each mission [2]
Number of players: 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mission 1 2 2 2 3 3 3
Mission 2 3 3 3 4 4 4
Mission 3 2 3 3 4 4 4
Mission 4 3 3 4* 5* 5* 5*
Mission 5 3 4 4 5 5 5

(*) Two Mission Fail cards are required for the mission to fail

Once a mission team is agreed on, the players then "go" on the mission. To "go" on a mission, players on the mission are given a set of Mission Cards, one for indicating Success, the other indicating Fail. Resistance members must turn in, face down, a Mission Success card, while the Imperial Spies may either secretly turn in a Mission Success or Mission Fail card. The cards are shuffled and then revealed. If all cards show Success, the rebel team earns one point. If even one card shows Fail, the spy team has sabotaged the mission and earns one point (except for the above-noted exceptions on Mission 4, where it may be necessary for 2 Fail cards to be played in order for the mission to fail).

The game continues until one team accumulates 3 points.

Other details[edit]

In the game's second edition, the full game comes with several additional Plot Cards which are handed out by the Leader at the start of each round. Plot cards have special effects when played. These effects allow a player to view specific hidden information, or to change the usual flow of play. The Plot Cards are not included in the third edition.[3]

Avalon variant[edit]

A variant of The Resistance was released in 2012 called Avalon. In Avalon, instead of Imperial Spies and Resistance Fighters, the game pits Arthurian Knights against the evil Mordred and his minions. The gameplay is significantly changed, however, by the addition of a role called Merlin, a good player who is told at the beginning of the game who the evil players are. If the evil players lose the game, however, they have one last chance of redeeming themselves by correctly guessing Merlin's identity. If they can do this, the evil players win. The Resistance: Avalon works best when played with 7 or 8 people, as more specialty cards are added to the game based on how many people are playing. As well as the Loyal Servants of Arthur and the Minions of Mordred, there are character cards with special powers. Percival, on the side of Good, knows who Merlin is at the start of the game and is in a position to help protect Merlin's identity. Mordred, on the side of Evil, does not reveal his identity to Merlin at the start of the game, leaving Merlin in the dark. Oberon (Evil), does not reveal himself to the other Evil players at the start of the game, nor does he gain knowledge of the other Evil players. Morgana, on the side of Evil, appears to be Merlin—revealing herself to Percival as Merlin.

Differences from similar games[edit]

The Resistance was designed to have several distinctions from similar games like Mafia or Werewolf. In Mafia, a player is eliminated during every day round and every night round. Being eliminated from the game early prevents one from playing most of the game. In The Resistance, on the other hand, players are never eliminated, and get to play in every round. In Mafia, the players never have any information about the mafiosi given away by the game (until they successfully lynch a mafioso). The players never know which way any of the mafiosi voted. In The Resistance, a failed mission gives definite information that at least one of the players who went on the mission is an Imperial Spy. However, in games like Mafia there is a Narrator, a person with an omniscient point of view which allows more of the storytelling aspect that Resistance lacks.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

The Resistance (game) at BoardGameGeek