Customer Reviews: The Resistance: Avalon Social Deduction Game
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on February 1, 2013
A friend bought this on a whim and brought it to my house. After our group played, I had to have it. This is the best party game I've ever played. If you like bluffing games like Bang, The Resistance 2, Mafia, etc, then be prepared to set those aside for this. Avalon has a leg up on those for the following reasons:

1. No one dies.

2. The Merlin factor.

3. Gameplay encourages discussion.

The game starts the way most bluffing games do: dealing out allegiance cards. Then a leader is chosen and he/she picks 2-4 players to go on a quest. Then all the players accept or reject the chosen quest team. If there's a majority, the quest is approved. The quest is simply secretly voting on a success or failure. Even one failure results in a failed quest. 3 failed quests and the bad guys win. 3 successful quests (with no failed votes) and the good guys win....almost. After the good guys get three successful quests, the bad guys reveal themselves and determine who they think is Merlin. (Merlin is the leader of the good guys and is the only person who knows the identity of all the bad guys. He will try to subtly help his team know the identity of the bad guys.) If the bad guys have figured out who Merlin is, they win.

I've introduced this game to four different groups of people, and they've all loved it. I can't recommend this game enough. There are more allegiance cards in the deck to alter the rules to help the bad guys or good guys. The replay value is unlimited. The only drawbacks are:

1. It takes 5 players to play

2. Being Merlin takes some practice and skill.

3. Your cards and pieces will get beat up quickly. I recommend some cards sleeves.

However the pros vastly outweigh the cons:

20-40 min games, unlimited replay value, simple to explain and easy to learn, tons of fun, and everyone is involved until the end of the game (no deaths.) You will not regret buying this game!
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on November 6, 2013
I'm a big fan of the game The Resistance, a popular social deduction game designed by Don Eskridge in the style of the ever-popular Werewolf. In 2012 this successful party game appeared in a rethemed edition, The Resistance: Avalon. Avalon takes the engine of Resistance, adds a couple of small tweaks, and a new King Arthur theme. This re-skinned version of The Resistance has proven so popular, that it has leapfrogged the original game in the rankings over at boardgamegeek, and has recently entered the Top 50, making it the #1 ranked Party Game. That's quite an accomplishment, and there's good reason why it is so popular.

In this game, players assume the role of either a loyal supporter of King Arthur (team Good), or a minion of Mordred (team Evil), trying to thwart the efforts of team Good as they go on quests. The fun part is that these roles are assigned secretly, meaning that you don't know whether or not other players are on your team. Players must then vote together to decide which of them goes on a quest, which will either pass or fail - the outcome depending on a secret vote cast by those who were elected to go on the quest. And here is where the heart of the game kicks in: players will use discussion, deception and intuition in an attempt to identify the members of the opposing force and ensure victory for their team.

There are several changes from the original Resistance:

1. DIFFERENT THEME: Instead of the futuristic sci-fi theme of The Resistance, Avalon brings the setting of the game into the world of King Arthur and his knights. I love this setting, and it lends itself to storytelling as players can really immerse themselves in this theme while playing.

2. DIFFERENT ARTWORK: Obviously this goes hand in hand with the previous point, because the changed theme has to be supported by new artwork corresponding to it, and it's really quite stunning and beautiful; all the components are very attractive.

3. PLOT CARDS REMOVED: The Plot cards were a mini-expansion that was incorporated with The Resistance from the beginning, and while not necessary for 5-6 player games, they are widely considered to be necessary for games with more players in order to ensure that the game isn't too imbalanced in favour of the Spies. These Plot cards aren't included in Avalon, because they have been replaced by the special character roles of Merlin and the Assassin, and a Lady of the Lake ability.

4. MERLIN AND ASSASSIN ROLES ADDED: Avalon gives a special role to one player on the Good team (Merlin) and one player on the Evil team (Assassin). Merlin gets to know who all the Evil players are at the start of the game, but must use this knowledge wisely, because if the Good team wins by getting three successful quests, the Assassin member of the Evil team may consult with his team-mates and try to guess who which member of the Good team is Merlin; a successful guess means the side of Evil wins after all. This changes the game - in a good way - because it means that one of the players on the side of Good has perfect information about who the Evil guys are, but he has to be very careful in how he uses this knowledge otherwise he'll be eliminated by the Assassin at game end and still lose.

5. OPTIONAL CHARACTER ROLES ADDED: Avalon also adds four other characters that can be added to the game easily, either individually or together as desired. Percival and Oberon will generally make the game easier for the Good team, while Mordred and Morgana will make the game easier for Evil team. These give you more options if you want to tinker with game balance or add more characters.

6. OPTIONAL LADY OF THE LAKE ABILITY ADDED: The Lady of the Lake token gives the player who holds it the ability to look at the loyalty of another player. The Lady of the Lake also helps the side of Good, by giving players opportunity to learn the loyalty of some of the other players as the game progresses. As such, along with the Merlin/Asssasin roles it accomplishes some of the same things as the Plot cards from the original Resistance, but in a more straight forward manner.

If ever a game had the potential to pack an incredible social game experience in a box, The Resistance is exactly that - a superb social game, very similar in feel to the well-known Mafia or Werewolf, but arguably better because there is more deduction and no player elimination. While the Resistance is already a fantastic game, Avalon makes it even better. It removes some of the unnecessary complexity and length that is created by the Plot cards, and replaces it with some clever roles that ensure balance, give players more to think about, and give options for variability. The theme works well too, and for me personally if there was just one Resistance game I could keep, it would be Avalon. Effectively, Avalon is The Resistance 2.0. If you enjoy games with a high degree of social player interaction and discussion, bluffing and bluster, few experiences can match what is offered by The Resistance: Avalon! Highly recommended! - EndersGame @ BGG
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on November 6, 2012
I almost didn't buy Avalon because of its theme, since (as far as themes go) my group would have much preferred the dystopia theme of the original games. But, I was really interested in this game mechanic, for the social aspect, the deduction, the team work balanced with competition, the arguing, and the LYING, MMHWAHAHA!!!

I am really glad I went with Avalon despite our theme preferences, because the roles really do add a lot of interesting twists, and you can use them in different combinations.

So I bought it, talked it up to the group, and convinced them to try it (and sneakily said nothing about the theme until they were excited to play). It was LOADS of fun!!! The first night we played, we went for almost 3 hours... Everyone kept saying, "one more!", and "again!"

The second time we played we also went for almost 3 hours, but would have gone longer if it weren't super late at night... Both times we played with 5, and it was great fun to learn more about how your friends act totally innocent one minute, and then totally fool you the next... There is also fun from observing everyone's strategies, and finding out your friends' preferred styles, and what kinds of deceit they are capable of!

Some of our players much preferred the special roles, while others really like being a regular good guy, because that's when you really have to exercise your powers of deduction. Anyway, both times we played with 5 people, and I can't wait to play with more. The Resistance: Avalon has so many interesting and fun elements, and I have yet to play with someone who didn't really love it. It is quick to play, easy to learn, but full of nuances and variability. If you are even considering it, I'd say try it out - it's lots of fun for serious and occasional gamers as well.

PS: We are considering replacing the team voting cardstock tokens with black and white marbles and 2 dice cups for voting (one for votes, and the other for non-votes), since our tokens are getting pretty beat up after a couple of nights... But the components seem nice, and that's probably because our group gets really into the game, slamming cards and all :)
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on March 18, 2013
I'll be blunt. This game will rock your socks off. I mean they will go flying across the room and shatter the picture of your grandmother, or at least, it will virtually do all of that.

The Resistance: Avalon takes very simple mechanics (I explained it to my non-gaming parents in about five minutes) and makes a marvelous game. It's sort of like if Mafia were a twisted, genius toddler who somehow managed to drink an entire 2-liter of Mt. Dew. It's got weird, deceptive energy. Essentially, each player is either good or evil, and those two teams are attempting to go on Quests together. The success of each quest depends on the people selected. They choose either to play a success or failure card. One failure card (generally) leads to a failed quest. Point evil people. The difficulty about choosing which people to send is that the good people have no idea who the evil people are (except for Merlin), but Merlin can't reveal that he knows because then the evil team will assassinate him and win. You see the tension.

In fact, I was Merlin, and I knew that my wife was evil. She had faked being good on the first quest, which gave the good guys a point. By doing that, she convinced my brother that she was good, and I couldn't convince him otherwise, so my wife ended up winning the game for the evil people.

One other interesting aspect of this game is that in order for people to go on a quest, the players must vote to approve the quest. So the evil people could try to stop a quest from happening if none of their teammates were nominated, and other people could vote no if they think evil people did make it, but too much indecision in one round will cause the evil team to automatically win, so a majority must agree or evil will win.

When I played with my parents, wife, and brother & sister-in-law, we quickly found out that this game only works with people who are talkers. My dad didn't talk too much, which was detrimental to gameplay, but other than that it was quite fun. Also, people need to be aggressive. Really aggressive. You better want to go on quests. Fight for the right to quest.

What I'm trying to say is that this game hinges on player involvement. The more people talk, argue, and try to deceive one another, the more fun the game will be.
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on November 25, 2015
I must say, this game is F-U-N Fun! Nothing beats the tension of deciding who of your friends you can trust! I must say, as many others have, that the production quality is SHAMEFUL! The black and white voting tokens wore on the backs before 10 plays, and it's really made me wary to buy anything from Indie Games (I've heard about the same quality issues with some other games they have). It's such a shame, because this game is SO GOOD otherwise.
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on January 14, 2013
Have you played Mafia (aka Werewolf), the super fun party game? Mafia is a fantastic game, but the problem is you need at 10+ people to play and the game can last well over an hour. The real problem with Mafia is the first player is eliminated from the game in the first five minutes and has to sit out the next hour+. Also, you need a moderator.

Resistance Avalon has many of the great elements of Mafia, but brings some significant improvements. No one is eliminated, no moderator needed, and games generally last 30 minutes or so depending on how many players. Quicker games mean more games can be played and every player has a chance to play the more interesting characters. You aren't stuck being a plain villager (like in Mafia) for the whole night.

Avalon brings a number of new characters to the game that makes it more engaging than the original Resistance version. The Merlin and the Assassin being the two most notable additions. Both bring a very interesting, but not overly complex, new dynamic to the game. It gives every role more to do and more to think about. This is a very significant improvement over the original Resistance. And, the way the various voting cards and game pieces are designed is a significant improvement over the easy to confuse original Resistance set up.

This is simply an outstanding game - highly recommended. Possibly not as "pure" a game as Mafia/Werewolf, but what it loses in authenticity is made up for in much better accessibility and playability.
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on April 1, 2016
When our friends gather, this is inevitably one of the most asked for and played games. It scales well to large groups (we've played with everything from 5 to 9 people, so almost the full range of the game) and every player is active the entire game -- it's not one where somebody can be eliminated or left out.

Game play is very straight forward and simple enough that even first time players can dive in with just a basic run down of rules, yet play changes enough each game that it is kept fresh and interesting. The games are divided into 5 different "missions" and an entire game tends to last only around 20 minutes, which is fantastic since most games that support a group our size end up being incredibly complicated or drag on forever. It helps, of course, to have a bunch of back-stabbing liars as friends but we all can't be so lucky.

Each player is dealt a role card -- in the most simple of versions, you're either a good guy (Loyal Servant of Arthur, including Merlin) or evil (Minion of Mordred, including Assassin). Certain characters reveal themselves to each other before the game so alliances can be formed -- in general the bad guys usually know who each other are and Merlin knows who the evil players are. The basic object of the game is to complete a set number of missions through a voting system; good must always vote for success and evil is free to cause as much chaos in voting as they like. For each mission, there is a group leader who choose a team to go on the mission with him; all of the players then vote to approve/deny the questing team. After a team is chosen, just then team then vote to succeed/fail the mission...then on to the next group leader. Rinse and repeat. Once either team completes 3 missions (evil completes a mission by causing it to fail), the game is over. If evil wins, they usually celebrate like the true jerks they are. If good wins, the Assassin and other minions get a chance to guess who was playing Merlin; if a correct guess is made, evil wins. Evil wins a lot in this game, which is probably part of why it can be so fun. Every game also changes depending on which character cards are used and who ends up playing which role.

Once everyone is familiar with play, there are a few other role cards that can be added in to spice things up -- Oberon, Mordred, Morgana, and Percival -- each will change the game play, with an additional note on how to play each of the named characters written on the card. There is a fair amount of strategy that can be incorporated, especially as the more complicated characters and eventually Lady of the Lake (a card used to view other player's roles) are brought into play. If you notice that either good or evil is tending to sweep the missions, the named characters can help balance play in either direction, depending on which ones you add to the role deck.

All in all, I'd definitely recommend this game. We're asked to bring it to every gathering and it hasn't grown stale yet.
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on November 25, 2013
I have introduced this game to different groups of people and all love it. All of them want to play more after their first game, some even asked for it in each game gathering. It is normal that people will not know what to do in their game 1. But in game 2 or 3, they will start to understand their roles and will start to have their own logic, will discuss more. They sometimes will keep talking about the game after we finished it.

If there are new players, I suggest you just don't use any function of special characters for their first game. Just let the player to understand the gameplay. Then in game 2, you can add Merlin and Assassin. They will all feel exciting and tense especially if they are the bad guys and Merlin as they are afraid of failing to keep secret on their real role.

Trust me, it is a must-have game no matter for gamers or non-gamers. And a 10-people game will be a noisy one, my voice always will get hurt after playing this game, haha.
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on April 9, 2016
Fun game, although it seems people get really caught up on the "quest" idea and don't understand that nothing really happens on the "quest." Anytime we try to teach this to new players, we constantly get asked, "what is the quest for"? However, the game itself is well made and fairly easy to learn. I prefer to play it with larger groups of people.
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on December 12, 2014
I don't normally opt for board/card games, with a few exceptions (euchre, poker, blackjack, etc). So this isn't "my thing". Yeah, it's not my friends' thing, either. In fact, we normally just sit around on a Saturday night drinking and playing video games or watching funny youtube videos and talking.

Someone told me about Avalon and how much fun it is as a game while people are drinking. They weren't kidding. We laughed so often, had tons of people yelling and cursing at each other. Seriously, it's a really fun drinking game. I brought the game over to a friend's place and had to persuade others to join, and after the first game they were skeptical. By the 3rd game, we were loving life and already making our own rules (losing team, whether good or evil, has to slam their entire drink).

This game is so much fun. If you have a group of friends, it's totally worth it to pick this up and give it a shot. Tell them that it takes a couple games to adjust and enjoy it fully, and note the key strategies involved. This is, at it's core, a wonderful and light-hearted game about deception. Basically, it's a game about bulls*** and bulls***ting your friends, and the laughs and anger and the laughs from anger are so much fun.
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