A corrupt government rules the land with an iron fist. Together, you and your fellow players will try and overthrow them by going on a series of daring missions in The Resistance. The problem is, the government is in on your scheme and their spies have already infiltrated your group. Can you still succeed in spite of the government’s spies that are trying to take you down from the inside?
Each game starts with players receiving one role card. This will indicate whether that person is a member of the resistance or a spy. Once everyone has their card, everyone is instructed to put their heads down and close their eyes. It is at this point when the spies are allowed to open their eyes and see who their fellow conspirators are. They then put their heads back down everyone opens their eyes to start.
The game is designed to go to a maximum of five missions. For the resistance, their goal is to successfully complete three out of five missions. For the spies, they want three of those five missions to end in failure. At the start of each round, the current leader of the resistance will select a certain number of players to go with them on the mission by handing them a gun token. After they’ve made their selections, all players have the opportunity to vote on whether they want this current group to go. A majority vote of yes will send the group away, while a majority vote of no will force a new leader to pick a different squad.
A few rounds of failed drafts may pass before the team finally cobbles a group together to go on the mission. When they’re ready, each player on the mission will get one success card and one fail card. As a member of the resistance, you have to hand in the success card. As a spy, you can hand in the success or failure card. All of the cards are then handed in, shuffled and revealed. If all of the cards indicate success, then the resistance gets the win on that mission. If one or more of these cards is a fail, then the mission is failed and the spies get a point on the scoreboard.
Both sides have to wrestle with interesting challenges. As a member of the resistance, you constantly have to scan the other players and determine who is trustworthy and who isn’t. Furthermore, you have to do a good job of proving yourself as a member of the good guys. As spies, you also need to prove you’re a member of the resistance by lying through your teeth and knowing the right time to sabotage a mission. Sure, it’s generally in your best interest to sabotage every chance you get, but if you get outed by your behaviour too soon, the resistance will freeze you out of the rest of the game.
The game is designed to work for 5-10 players, which makes it a great party game for large groups. It’s simple to teach and the potential mileage you could get out of it is huge. With the right group, you’ll have a riot debating the merits of everyone in the group for hours on end. There are a few instances where I think it can falter, though they’re not necessarily related to the game itself.
I, for one, am a horrible liar. I also don’t handle the type of confrontation that the game generates very well. Whether I’m a spy or a member of the resistance, people think I’m a spy no matter how hard I try to tell them that I’m actually a good guy. If you’re in a group that isn’t very confrontational, I think the game could lose some of its spark by the lack of debate as the game progresses. Conversely, in an overly-extroverted group, the game can stall at every major decision due to players wanting to argue their points until they’re blue in the case. In instances like these, it’s important to have someone calm the group down and encourage everyone to speak with their votes.
If the main game should go stale, you can add a special deck of plot cards to the mix. With these, they give players special abilities that further ratchet up the drama. It also adds to the complexity a bit, so save this for a group that is familiar with the game. The core game is solid as is, so these are icing on the cake.
The Resistance works remarkably well as a large-scale party game. Players can pick this one up almost instantly, while wrestling with the challenges that come with both roles will prove challenging throughout. On top of that, it’s very reasonably priced for the amount of game you’re getting here. If you ever play any games with groups of five or more, have this one handy.