Shhhh. I’m secretly a spy that works for the central government. The group that calls themselves the Resistance have finally accepted me into their group. It’s taken many months, but I finally have them exactly where I want them. Like Winnie the Pooh to a pot of honey, these rebels have flocked and taken to me with ease. It’s only a matter of time before we’ll have them kneeling at the feet of our leaders. The Resistance is finished.
Many people have played games like Werewolf or Mafia, and the Resistance refines that idea to a much cleaner and intense style of play. The Resistance is a party style game with a traitor mechanic that can seriously showcase some people’s ability to lie and deceive. It’s a game of deception and deceit that will make you question whether your friends have been telling you the truth throughout their lives.
The Resistance is for 5-10 players, takes approximately 30 minutes to play, and is for ages 13 or older.
The Resistance is a social deduction game with secret identities. Players are either members of the Resistance attempting to overthrow a malignant government, or Spies trying to thwart the Resistance.The Resistance Rulebook
I have only ever played with five players, but you can play with up to 10 players. The amount of Spies changes based on how many players are playing. For the example of this blog post, I’ll be doing it as if there are five players, which consequently means there will be 2 Spies and 3 Resistance members.
Setup for the game is pretty simple. First, set the game board for the appropriate number of players in the middle of the table. Next, randomly select a Leader and set the Leader token in front of that person. Then put the Round Marker on Round 1. Shuffle the appropriate number of player cards with the correct amount of each side. Deal one card to each player and make sure nobody else sees your card. Everybody should look at their card. The Spies will have a red card and the Resistance will have the blue cards.
The next step is essential. The Leader says, “Everybody close your eyes.” Once everybody’s eyes are closed, the Leader then says, “Spies, open your eyes and look around the table for a few moments.” During this little phase, the Spies have now learned the identity of each other. After a few moments, the Leader says, “Spies, close your eyes again.” Once everybody’s eyes are closed, wait a few moments, and then say, “Everybody open your eyes.”
The game is now ready!
The game is comprised of five rounds (missions). In order for the Spies to win, they have to fail a majority, or three, of the missions. For the Resistance to win, they have to pass a majority, or three, of the missions. Here is how the gameplay works.
The Leader must choose a number of people to go on the first mission. In a 5 player game, the first mission requires 2 people. The Leader gets to choose who goes and who doesn’t. Once the Leader has chosen the 2 participants in the first mission, all five players get to vote on whether those two should go or if they disagree and don’t want the mission to happen.
Players privately choose a Yes or No token, and then all five players turn over their Yes or No token at the same time. If a majority of the players voted Yes, then the mission is a go! If a majority of the players voted No, then the Leader token passes to the next player on the left and that leader chooses people to go on that mission. If the Leader token gets passed to the next player due to a failed vote FIVE times, the Spies win the game.
A fundamental rule of the game is that players may say anything that they want, at anytime during the game. Discussion, deception, intuition, social interaction and logical deductions are all equally important to winning.The Resistance Rulebook
If the vote goes through, the mission officially begins. The players on the mission are given two cards. One says Pass and one says Fail. The players secretly choose their option and pass it to the Leader. There is only one small facet to the Pass/Fail selection process. The Resistance must always choose Pass. The Spies can choose either Pass OR Fail. This is a pivotal aspect of helping encourage deception as the Spies can make either choice.
Once Round 1 is over, put a Pass or Fail token over the round spot on the board. Pass the Leader token to the next player on the left, and it all begins again.
In a 5 player game, rounds 1 and 3 require two players to go on the mission. Rounds 2, 4, and 5 require three players to go on the mission. Remember, if the Spies cause three missions to Fail, they win. If the Resistance can somehow Pass three missions, they win.
The Resistance is a minimalist game with just a few tokens and cards, but the overall effect of watching your friends willfully lie and deceive you can be an exhilarating experience. When you are a spy, you’re trying so hard to hinder the Resistance, keep your identity secret, and help your fellow spy without giving away his/her identity.
It’s an intense 30 minutes as you work with the other spy or as a member of the Resistance trying to persuade the others that you really are innocent. The Resistance is a simple game that really puts you and your friends in the untrue hot seat. If you have a lot of friends or family members, give the game a try and see if you’re as good at lying as you think you are.
Even if you are caught as a spy, you still have a valuable role to play in keeping the other spies safe. Use your status as a known spy to create confusion and discontent among the Resistance operatives while protecting the remaining undercover spies.
Information in the Resistance comes at multiple levels. First are players’ voting patterns, second are Mission results, and third are cues that you can discern from player interactions. Resistance Operatives must use all of the information at hand to root out the spy infestation.The Resistance Rulebook