You are a knight in the court of the legendary King Arthur. Rumors have been whispered in the shadows that loyalists to the evil Mordred have infiltrated the court.
These loyalists will do all they can to usher in the downfall of King Arthur. As a loyal knight, you have to find out who these spies are and stop them before they bring chaos to the kingdom.
What is it about?
In The Resistance: Avalon (a medieval version of The Resistance card game) you play either the role of one of the loyal knights of King Arthur who are charged with protecting the kingdom and their king by completing missions, or one of Mordred’s spies who want to bring chaos to the kingdom by making sure these missions fail.
What is in the box?
The game comes in quite a small box, which, of course, makes taking the game with you really easy. Inside the box are 3 double-sided mission tableaus, 14 character cards (of which 4 are optional roles), 10 fail/success cards (5 of each), 5 team tokens, 5 double sided scoring markers, 20 voting tokens (10 reject and 10 approve), a round marker, a leader token and the optional 2 loyalty cards as well as the Lady of the Lake token.
The cardstock used for the cards in Avalon are a bit thicker than the stock normally used for cards in other games. A welcome improvement from The Resistance is that the cards used for voting have been upgraded to thick cardboard in Avalon instead of normal cardstock. Having the thicker voting cards helps prevent damage when being handled and just feels a lot better. The fact that each mission/quest has their own tableau that clearly indicates the number of players required for that specific mission/quest makes explaining the game much easier.
The artwork used looks good and adds to the overall theme. I especially like the artwork on the role cards. It is much easier to tell if you are a bad guy or a good guy as not only is this indicated by the artwork on the cards, but there is now also text on the cards that clearly states on which side you are on.
Overall the quality of the components in The Resistance: Avalon is a huge improvement from The Resistance.
How does it play?
Although The Resistance: Avalon may seem daunting for a card game at first, it is quite easy to get the hang of.
The game begins with each player being dealt a role card. Players will then be part of one of the two factions (depending on which role card they receive). These factions are the Loyal servants of Arthur (good guys), which includes the Merlin role, and the Minions of Mordred (bad guys) which include the Assassin role. Once each player has looked at their secret role, they will be instructed to close their eyes and put their hands flat on the table. One of the players (while still keeping their eyes closed) will then ask the Minions of Mordred to put up their thumbs and open their eyes, this allows them to see which players are their fellow conspirators. After this, the Minions of Mordred close their eyes again but keep their thumbs pointed up. The player then asks Merlin to open his eyes, this means that Merlin knows exactly who the Minions of Mordred are, but they don’t know which of the players are Merlin. All players then close their eyes and place their hands flat on the table. The player then counts to three, everyone opens their eyes and this is where the fun and accusations begin. The Assassin’s role comes into play a bit later in the game.
Each round a player will be tasked with being the King (or Queen), who will then decide which of their fellow players will be embarking on the quest. Each quest requires a different number of players to complete and it is up to the current King/Queen to decide who those players will be. Players then vote on whether they approve of the group that will be attempting the quest. If the group is rejected the next player will become the King/Queen and they will get to decide who the new group will be. If five consecutive groups are rejected the Minions of Mordred wins the game and all is lost.
However should the group be approved, they will go questing. Each of the questing players will receive a fail and success card. These players will then get the opportunity to cast their vote; this is done face down in order to keep the players from knowing who voted success and who voted fail. If there is a single fail, the group is defeated and have failed the quest.
The game continues until the Servants of Arthur have successfully completed three quests or three quests have failed, in which case the Minions of Mordred wins. If the Servants of Arthur have won, the Assassin has one last opportunity to help the Minions of Mordred win, by correctly guessing which player is Merlin. Should the Assassin guess correctly the Minions of Mordred immediately wins. There are some optional roles that players can add to the game, each with their own unique power. This does help to keep the game interesting but does make it a tad more complicated.
What did I think of it?
First of all, I personally love the medieval theme of The Resistance: Avalon, as I never found myself being drawn to the futuristic theme of The Resistance. The theme, as well as the upgraded components, makes Avalon my favorite of the two.
As with most deduction/bluffing games, the fun does not necessarily come from the game itself, but rather from whom you play it with. It is fun trying to hide your true loyalty from your fellow players. There is something quite entertaining about staring your friend in the face and bluffing for the sake of the game. Your enjoyment of the game really depends on the player interactions, having said this I found that people who are usually reserved started taking part in the bluffing and interactions with other players within minutes of beginning a game. One of the best parts of the game is that unlike similar games (Werewolf) there is no player elimination, gone are the moments of waiting for a game to end after being eliminated.
The tension that comes from being a single point away from wining is truly exhilarating. The icing on the cake is that the game plays really quickly (about 30min) and there were many occasions where we had to play just one more game.
At first I wasn’t sure if I would like the Merlin/ Assassin mechanic although after a few games I began to appreciate the intricacies that these two cards add. Losing a game because the Merlin player wasn’t good enough at protecting his identity can be devastating; at the same time winning because of his lack of bluffing prowess is a great moment.
We did play with some of the optional roles that are included with the game. Although these do mix things up quite a bit, I did find myself enjoying it more playing with the standard roles. It’s not that the additional roles aren’t fun to include, it is just that they make explaining the game to new players a bit more challenging.
Overall, I really like The Resistance: Avalon. From the Medieval theme, to the interesting and fun roles, to bluffing and backstabbing I found myself enjoying every moment of each game.
Gameplay: 9/10 The Resistance: Avalon is really easy to teach. It can get a bit more challenging when including the optional roles, but after a few games most players seemed to grasp how they worked.
Components: 3.5/5 I really like the medieval artwork, and the fact that almost all of the components have been upgraded (quality wise) from The Resistance is an added bonus.
Complexity vs. Depth : 3/5 The Resistance: Avalon is a quick and easy game to grasp. Understanding the intricacies of some of the roles can take a few games, but once you get the hang of including them in your games you will find that they do add some depth.
Theme : 3/5 As with most bluffing games, how successful the theme is can depend on how involved the players become in it. I personally think that the medieval theme works better than that of The Resistance. I also think that the artwork and design really adds to this.
Overall : 3.5/5 The Resistance: Avalon is a exhilarating bluffing and deduction game. One in which the stakes feel high and winning is of the utmost importance. The fact that there is a huge amount of fun packed in a 30min game is really something that I appreciate. Sure it all can depend on how involved players get, but I found that after a few games most players tended to get swept up and started getting more involved. If you love bluffing and deduction games and tend to love medieval themes than give The Resistance: Avalon a try.
Board game supplied by Timeless Boardgames (www.timelessboardgames.co.za)