Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

The Resistance Is Still One Of The Best Card Games Out There

Illustration for article titled iThe Resistance /iIs Still One Of The Best Card Games Out There

I’ve somehow only recently got the chance to play The Resistance. Now that I have, I’m upset I’ve missed so many years of good times.

Advertisement

A game for 5+ players, The Resistance was first released in 2010. It’s a deduction game (think Bang!, or even Battlestar) where everybody plays as a member of a cyberpunk resistance movement, working together to organise and complete missions.

Advertisement

Well, almost everybody. At the beginning of each game a select few players will be made enemy agents, and they’ll have to work in secret against everyone else, undermining each mission while also trying to remain hidden.

Missions are performed by a single player nominating which agents are to undertake it (only a few people out of the total can take part), then everyone at the table either agreeing or disagreeing with the team selection. Once all players have approved, the players actually on the mission can play a card that either says SUCCEED or FAIL. If a single FAIL card is played, the mission is a bust.

The operatives, working in the open, win the game if they’re able to complete a set number of missions. The spies, meanwhile, win if they’re able to cause enough mission failures.

There’s a match card at the centre of the table. This one is going down to the wire, with the resistance (blue) and the man (red) tied at two missions each. First team to three wins is the winner.
There’s a match card at the centre of the table. This one is going down to the wire, with the resistance (blue) and the man (red) tied at two missions each. First team to three wins is the winner.
Advertisement

It all sounds very simple, and it is, and that’s what I love about it. By capping the game at a set amount of missions, and only allowing a certain number of attempts at each mission, The Resistance is less about trying to identify patterns in voting behaviour, and more about straight human deduction.

It’s important to monitor which players are voting what, of course, but it’s so easy for spies to “fake” their intentions by occasionally allowing missions to succeed that I found it was a lot more successful—and fun—to just focusing on watching my fellow players, and grilling them at every opportunity.

Advertisement

It’s even better when you’re doing the grilling, looking for a spy, when you actually are a spy, and have the rest of the table fooled. Throw in player’s skill at lying, and their ability to hold a beer, and you’ve got one hell of a good session/party-starter, with games taking roughly 30 mins or so.

Illustration for article titled iThe Resistance /iIs Still One Of The Best Card Games Out There
Advertisement

There have been revisions and expansions for the game since the 2010 original, but I haven’t played them, just the core. The subsequent releases add stuff like special powers, slightly more advanced rules, you know the drill, but I love the base game’s simplicity so much I don’t know if I’d ever bother with them.

As a small-ish card game, it’s pretty cheap, and also widely available, so you’d have no trouble tracking it down. And for the grown-ups out there, as useful a warm-up game (as in, something quick you play before settling in for a longer game) as this is, I can highly recommend playing with/after some drinks.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

sandrockblog
Sandrockcstm Gaming

Great game, good explainer.

Minor correction: This game is not technically a “card game” by board gamer standards. It’s a “social deduction” game that uses cards as the component to randomly assign you your role.

The distinction is generally made when you rarely need to refer to your cards and instead focus mostly on conversation and social interaction with the other players. After you see whether you are a member of the resistance or an agent, you never need to look at your card again, and anyone that does will likely be viewed with suspicion, as people that are unsure (i.e. traitors) often need to be reassured by an anchor (in this case, their role card).

Really the only reason I bring it up is that people who enjoy Poker or MtG would likely be a bit confused by this game being called a “card game,” should they play it, as they really share very little in common aside from having cards as components.