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Review: The Resistance (second edition)

7

She looks you in the eye, trying to catch the slightest hint of betrayal.

“I am not a spy,” you reaffirm, sterner, more confident than the last time.

“I believe him,” she tells the others, and just like that, you’re on the resistance’s mission to overthrow the corrupt government.

Yet despite her belief, once the cards are revealed, the mark of sabotage is all over the mission. Someone in the group was a dreaded spy. And it turns out it was you.

Enter the world of The Resistance–a social paranoia game of deduction, deception, and good, good fun.

How It Works

We described the gameplay of the first edition here, and the gameplay is unchanged in the second edition.

A tableau for all seasons.

Utopia or Dystopia?

The first edition of The Resistance was phenomenal. There was so much game in such a little box, and it bore a little price to boot. (If you want to see my rave review of that edition, click here.) So how does the new edition compare to its predecessor?

The insert for the second edition.

The second edition, with one exception, is better in every way. Owners of the first edition probably won’t need to buy the second edition (unless they want more and better art, better tokens, and a more seamless integration of promo material), but for players who are on the fence–first of all, why don’t you already have this game?!–the second edition is the edition to buy.

I’ll talk about the negative first. The one thing I don’t like about the new edition is the box size. The first edition’s size was so perfect. The game could fit easily into my jeans or sweatshirt pocket, and that’s where I often carried it when we went to social occasions. It was always accessible, and as a result, we played it all the time, wherever we went. The new edition’s larger box is not a deal breaker: with the new components (and larger, more intuitive tableaus) it makes sense, and it’s not much more effort to throw the game into a backpack. I just miss the smaller size.

The one negative about the second edition: I prefer the box size for the first edition.

Okay, negatives over. Now on to what’s great about this second edition.

I was initially skeptical of the cardboard tokens included in the second edition, but now I find them overall to be a huge improvement. First off, in our games with the first edition, we rarely used the team identification cards. They were flimsy, and with all the other cards on the table, they were easily shuffled around and forgotten about, so we ended up just asking over and over, “Who’s on the team again?” The second edition fixes this problem by including gun tokens to be passed around to the proposed mission team. These are a different color from other tokens, are not confused with cards, and are easy to spot. (The cards and gun tokens both work better when playing around a table and not in a casual circle, as my family normally plays.) The leader card was also replaced with a leader token, a decision I am thrilled with.

The first edition is on top, the second is below. I love the token upgrade.

Approve and reject cards to vote on the team have also been replaced by  tokens. These are much better, if not just because instead of an icon, they also have text. There’s no more “What does this mean again?” “Which is which?” confusion. I don’t fault publishers for trying to make components language independent (especially if it means more games make it to the States cheaper), but it’s nice, especially for a casual game, to include text where appropriate. Similarly, “success” and “fail” are clearly written on the mission cards in the second edition, further easing new players into the game. (This also helps my color-blind friends.) Icons are clearer on the player identity cards–again, to aid with color blindness, I presume. This is another step to lower the barrier to entry for the game.

More token upgrades, and the text is helpful for new players.

The second edition comes with larger tableaus than the first edition, and it also comes with separate tableaus for each player count. (The game comes with three double-sided tableaus.) I was never confused by the chart, but looking at the old and new tableaus side by side, it’s hard to imagine going back. The large tableaus makes it easier to see who is winning. They are printed on thinner stock than the first edition, but this shouldn’t be a problem, especially since the tableaus shouldn’t be handled much outside of setup. The second edition replaces the wooden tokens to track missions with double-sided cardboard ones. This may seem a downgrade in components to some; I welcome this change as it requires fewer bits in the box. There is also a new token to track the number of times a team vote has failed and a token to track which round players are on (though this token, even in the first edition, seems superfluous to me).

How did we ever play on such a tiny tableau before?!

The cardstock is very much superior in the second edition. It’s still difficult to shuffle only ten cards or less, and players who play often may need to sleeve the cards anyway, but still: the stock is an improvement. Also, for players interested in promos (like the Merlin/Assassin promos included in Indie Boards & Cards’ Coup campaign), the second edition (or opaque sleeves) are a necessity to preserve card back solidarity: while the art on the card backs is the same, the stock is vastly different. The second edition still contains the “Plot Thickens” expansion in the box.

Again, more clarity in the second edition. (Note the colored icons on the identity cards and the words on the mission cards.)

I’m a little amazed that Indie Boards & Cards was able to make this many significant upgrades to The Resistance and yet retain its low, $20 price point. But that’s not my concern. My concern is whether The Resistance is a good game, and to that question I can answer a resounding yes. I had stopped playing for a while, but when I picked it up again, it still had all of its magic. In fact, in testing this new edition of the game, I introduced it to my lunch games group, and it met unanimous excitement, to the point where it’s now a regular choice in the office. When I first reviewed the game, I had played ten or so times–a meager amount compared to the nearly fifty or so I’ve played now. And I like the game even better today than I did when I first got it. I mean what I said earlier: if you don’t have The Resistance, you should. And the second edition is the edition to get.

Unfortunately, you can’t see the better cardstock in this photo. You can, however, see the fixed typo. Also, the second edition comes with the Plot Thickens expansion, as did the first edition.

(Note: There is also an Arthurian-themed version of The Resistance called Avalon. Futurewolfie reviewed it here. While I liked Avalon, I prefer the original Resistance, perhaps with the Merlin/Assassin roles thrown in. I prefer the dystopian setting to the Arthurian one. Each version is stand-alone and great, so you can’t go wrong with either.)



iSlaytheDragon would like to thank Indie Boards & Cards for providing us with a review copy of the second edition of The Resistance.

Summary

  • Rating 9.5
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Summary

Pros

  • Same great gameplay of the first edition of The Resistance
  • A great social game that plays in 15-30 minutes
  • New components are excellent
  • Remains one of the greatest values in hobby gaming
  • A modern gaming staple

Cons:

  • Larger box size
9.5 Excellent

I'll try anything once, but my favorite games are generally middleweight Euros.

Discussion7 Comments

  1. I read somewhere that one of the reasons the box size was increased was an attempt to get the game on Target shelves. Target apparently won’t accept games of a certain box size for the type of game it is, presumably because a tiny box size might become hidden on the shelf and therefore never ever sell.

    I haven’t seen any copies of the Resistance on Target shelves yet, though, so we’ll see if the change was worth it.

  2. I thought you were referencing game designer and BGG regular, Joe Huber. I didn’t realize they’d named a *box* after him…

    Great review. This recently moved into my #1 spot—supplanting my beloved Princes Of Florence; I’ve just had so many great memories with it!

    • Ha!

      I would like to coin the term “Lenny” for an “uber” compact game box that fits in your pocket in honor of FarmerLenny and his love for such boxes. Plus lenny sounds like a british word for something like that, and FarmerLenny loves the british.

    • Y’know, I wouldn’t mind small-box games being Lennys. I do have a fondness for awesome games in small packages.

      And no, I’m not British. Just a wannabe.

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