The Resistance: Avalon: Review

The Resistance Avalon Review

OVERVIEW

Our Rating:

It is a battle of good versus evil to determine who will rule the future society! You must help your side win by either passing or failing the missions you go on. Make sure you choose who you want to go on the mission wisely or you risk helping the other team. Oh, and be sure to keep your identity secret throughout the game in order to gain favour among your fellow players!

Want to understand How To Play Avalon: Simplified Version?

RYAN'S REVIEW

My Rating:

Likes

  • Lying to my friends, with strategy in mind.
  • Up to 10 people can play.
  • Throwing people under the bus.
  • Versatile in its game play depending on who is winning.
  • Yelling and arguing. 

Dislikes

  • My brain hurting trying to figure out who is lying.
  • Evil can win too easily with lots of people.

Intro/First Impressions

When I first played this game, a couple of the fellow HexaGamers had already played it and had the privilege of explaining it to the rest of us. It went something like this:

“There is good and evil, you go on these missions that pass or fail depending on the people, but no one knows who is who, so you have to lie, and the winner is the first to either succeed or fail the mission, depending which team you’re on!”

Wes

Whaaaa? That sounds really confusing, yet at the same time I’m super intrigued.

So ya, my first impressions were a combination of confusion, being overwhelmed, and yet very interested. I had played Coup before, which is based in the same "Resistance Universe,” and really enjoyed that, so I knew I had to give this one a fair shot. It took a bit of explaining, but we were quick to jump in and get going, which was the best way to do it with this game.

Thoughts

This game is made for 5-10 people, so some people consider this a Party Board Game. While I can see the thought process, especially with all the yelling and finger pointing, I see it as more of a strategy game because it does actually involve a lot of thinking and paying attention (something not as common in party board games).

Game Board

That said, it is nice to have a game like this to be able to play with a big group of people that has some more substance to it.

There aren’t a whole lot of rules to this game, and it is pretty simplistic when you look at it from a bird's eye view, yet it can seem complex when you first introduce it to people. The main reason for this I believe is because it is very different from most other board games people get together to play. Check out the Simplified Version of the Rules.

As stated on the box, it is a game about secret identities, deduction, and deception. It falls under the social deduction genre of board games, one I really enjoy.

Evil Player Cards

In this game, there is lots of bluffing. Well, lots done by the "Evil" players (aka Minions of Mordred), that is. The great parts of the bluffing in this game are that there are layers of it (I.e. When the Lady of the Lake card comes into play or the voting) and you are part of a team bluffing as well.

Lady of the Lake Card

You also must have consistency in your bluffing game if you want to win at this one. One little slip up (*cough* Whitney *cough*) and people who are paying attention will figure out which team you are on! It’s a really great way to point fingers at people to watch them squirm, as if you are a detective on a mission.

One of my favourite aspects of the bluffing is not the bluffing itself, but trying to "throw people under the bus" aka trying to make everyone suspect someone else at the table. It is so easy to say something like “Oh, you’re totally evil, that is definitely something evil would say,” or ...

He is putting himself on the mission because he is evil and it guarantees a fail, we have to reject this!!

Ryan

Nothing like planting that seed of doubt in someone’s mind to increase the awesomeness of the game!

This is a good way to get everyone talking and to start doing some sleuthing. Not only that, is helps to get everyone all worked up and gets everyone really involved in the game--a key factor in a successful board game, in my opinion.

Those things being said, this game can get VERY taxing on your brain. Constantly pointing fingers, trying to figure out who is on your team, and who to send on a mission gets exhausting. I find that after three games I am done. My brain is tired. I’ve yelled enough. I’ve lied enough. On to a different game. Three rounds of a board game in a night, though, clearly tells you this one is a winner.

For the most part I find this game fairly balanced, as in evil wins as much as good, but it gets way harder for good to win when you get more people involved. Indie Board Games does a good job in providing game boards (and minions involved) for each different amount of people playing between 5-10. In fact, some of them are extraneous, but I’m not going to gripe about that.

Game Boards (Click to Enlarge)

The same amount of rounds are played no matter how many people are involved (best of five), with evil needing two fails on some missions in games with more people. This means that you have the same amount of time to figure out who the evil people are, yet there are even more of them to find. It gets pretty tough, especially because the first round can be more or less a shot in the dark.

Yes, Merlin can help guide his team, but in the first round it would be too obvious. This allows for a lot of luck in the first round when playing with 8+ people. If evil happens to get chosen randomly or happens to be the "leader," they can gain a quick advantage. Though, if there is more than one evil on the mission, they have to figure out who is going to "fail" the mission without both of them getting caught. Again, good balance.

Leader Token

This randomness element is something I like about the game. Depending who goes on the early missions, or how they decide to play it, or how voting goes, every game can head down a different path of play.

The other way this game keeps the balance is through the character cards. There are a number of different character cards with special abilities on both the good side and the evil side. If you find one side is dominating, you can add another (or switch out one) character that will help a team or hinder it.

Character Cards with Special Abilities (click to enlarge)

I mean, you can make good/evil more powerful by adding a character that gives them more information (Morgana appearing as Merlin allows good to know one evil person…kind of) or on the other end, it can take information away from them (i.e. one evil person doesn’t reveal themselves at the start).

I like having the extra characters because it changes the whole dynamic of the round. You can add all the characters, a couple, or just one if you want. This makes you remember that there are people paying attention to different things, ie. Percival watches two people extra closely, but someone might notice they are doing this, all leading to more misinformation.

On the same note, getting to be the different roles is super fun, too. I love and hate being Merlin. Each role changes how you will play the round ever so slightly, adding a lot of replay-ability to this game.

Conclusion

This game jumped to the favourites list for me really quickly. In fact, there was a while there where we were playing it every get-together. It always has me thinking nonstop, sometimes to the point of just wanting to give up, haha. If you are a bad liar, you might struggle with this a bit, but it is pretty easy to figure out a zipped-lip strategy and do well.

This game always ends with us spending 10-20 min just discussing what just happened and what you were thinking. The talking about it afterwards is actually one of my favourite parts. You finally get to let it all out what you were thinking and how hard it was to lie to everyone. I recommend this one to lots of people, and people who enjoy this game REALLY enjoy it.

About the author

Ryan

I love playing board games with my family and friends when I am not busy playing sports or working away. Check out my full Bio on the About Us page!

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