The 12 (Board) Games Of Christmas: Day Two

NOTE: I know that some of you are thinking that this list is coming too late to help you with your Christmas shopping. Well, first of all – you’re done shopping already? That panics me. I haven’t started. And second of all – I’m trying to encourage you all to go out to your local indie board games shop. There’s still plenty of time for that. And thirdly – we all know that you’re probably only going to buy these for yourselves anyway, you dummies. With Christmas gift money. In the January sales. So yeah. Let’s go.

On the second day of Christmas, which I think normally happens after Christmas, but we’re doing it before – and maybe even having a couple of these days appearing on the same day – (oh dear, too many hyphens and brackets now) – where was I? Oh yes.

TWO TURTLE DOVES! I have no idea what turtle doves are. But I do know what TRAITORS are! They are the opposite of doves, because they are all about unrest instead of peace. And they are faster than turtles, probably. God damn Traity Dopes!

Basically, what I’m saying is that on the second day (update) of Christmas (this series of recommendations) my true love (me) gave to me (you) a game called THE RESISTANCE.


The Resistance is a little party game with a tiny footprint that plays in half an hour and lets you stab your friends and family in the back. It’s just some cards and tokens in a little box. You are all working together to complete missions in some sci-fi future world of card art that is kinda blue and red. But some of you are traitors. That’s it. It’s very festive. I mentioned it months ago at the end of this piece and it’s another game that has managed to hold onto its shine. You could also watch former RPS legend Quinns’ brilliant Shut Up & Sit Down video review or my hero Tom Vasel’s review.


Someone who regularly entertains friends. A swinger.

Your sexual partner, so that it can be used to test your relationship.

Someone who has betrayed you, to send them a clear message.


Click this

You can also find it online, of course. But try to support your independents. It’s already a pretty cheap game, cheapskate.


Well – obviously The Resistance. But there’s also a new edition of the game that’s kinda a sequel, kinda a re-theme. It’s called The Resistance: Avalon and is set in the Merlin days, when horses rode their knights around Olde Englande. I have no idea what it’s like, but I’ve heard it’s much the same game as the original, except with more powerful ROLLS. No, not rolls. ROLES. So… yeah, probably safe to buy either. I dunno! Rolls would have been nice. Powerful rolls right across the table, legs everywhere. BAM!


And it’s The Resistance! What will be next?!


  1. Network Crayon says:

    Someone needs to invent a possesion variant of this so you can legitimately exorcise your freinds.

    • LTK says:

      Do any games exist that allow you to control another player’s pieces?

      • Treebard says:

        City of Horror has a card that will let you control someone else’s vote exactly once, but otherwise nothing comes to mind.

      • Eagle0600 says:

        Magic: The Gathering has cards that let you take control of another player’s turn, and the Marionette square in Desperate Gods lets you take take control of all other players’ movement for a turn.

        • SubparFiddle says:

          I played a game right after David finished it with Anton and two other guys. I used the marionette square to land everyone on the swamp tile at the same time. Awesome!

          • hansbadu says:

            Ha ha! I gave the wife a Christmas present! Satin Stiletto Heel Wedding Women `s Shoes! She definitely likes it! Now 50% off! link to

      • larskinn says:

        In both Descent (2nd ed.) and Mansions of Madness the Overlord/Keeper has cards that allow him to control one of the heroes/investigators in various ways.

        For instance, terrorizing an investigator in MoM with monsters to make him lose all his sanity points, then playing a card forcing him to kill himself. Or making the strongest hero in Descent attack his fellow adventurers. Fun fun fun.

        • Network Crayon says:

          Mansions of Madness does indeed have those features!, but like the entire game they’re entirely situational. great thematically but not that strategic. Still no group Meta-game exorcism though : (

  2. belgand says:

    While it was fun and had good art it’s really just a rather overpriced version of Werewolf. I actually played Ultimate Werewolf a few months back and feel that it actually adds a LOT more to the game with just a ridiculous number of cards and plenty of non-standard ways to win.

    • hatlock says:

      I have to completely disagree. Doesn’t werewolf always require player elimination? In Resistance no moderator is needed, and everyone gets to play the whole game.

      • belgand says:

        You know what, it’s been a while since I played Resistance and I agree with you entirely. I wouldn’t say it’s a totally different game, but it does do a great job with the basic formula.

        I still think it’s rather overpriced for what you get though.

    • Pani says:

      I also completely disagree for the reasons Hatlock expressed: no player elimination and everyone gets to play (no moderator). Also, there is more information to go on. In werewolf, it’s 100% reading each other. In the resistance, it’s reading each other and a little deduction based upon the outcome of the missions. I call it “logic” with the air quotes.

      The special cards you can bring out for a more “advanced” version also add a ton to the game. Making people vote publicly, checking others cards etc.

      It’s one of my favourite games of all time.

    • raydenuni says:

      I have to disagree as well. In my experience Werewolf is a social experience, not a game as you can’t make any intelligent decisions. In Resistance, it’s all about deducing what someone would do if they were the traitor. It has a lot of thinking and talking and discussing and offers a lot to do whether you’re the traitor or not. I will never play Werewolf, but Resistance is great.

      • a2360891 says:

        Well, my local Forbidden Planet has normal books and PnP RPG stuff (e.g. DnD rulebooks) in addition to the normal comics, statues of comic charatcers, DVDs, etc.

    • Noise says:

      I consider The Resistance superior to Werewolf for these reasons:
      -No player elimination
      -No moderator
      -You get partial information as to who could be a traitor after each mission. In Werewolf, except for some special roles, you get no information.

  3. piratmonkey says:

    As someone who has played both The Resistance and The Resistance: Avalon to death, I can confirm that TR:A is superior is every way except setting maybe. I really like the sci-fi setting of TR but TR:A has so many more options for deception and double crossing those damned servants of Arthur. I’ll leave you with this:
    Our Assassin (able to kill Merlin at the end of the game if they know/can be convinced they know who Merlin is) after much deliberation and reasoning, ended up stabbing Oberon (who doesn’t know shit, he is unknown to evil and good alike and is basically there to throw a wrench in the best laid plans of Mordred) in the face because no one likes Oberon.

    • Lamb Chop says:

      Does anyone else feel the base game is incredibly broken in that if the traitors are lined up as mission leaders, as long as one traitor always sabotages a mission, there’s no way for the resistance to win? Odds are there will be a traitor in the first mission where you pick randomly; they’ll sabotage it and then the traitor leaders will unilaterally pick traitors. This happens to us about 50% of the times we’ve played and seems to make it not in any way about bluffing. If the traitors just sabotage every mission, they should win about 80% of the time.

      Hopefully the remake fixes this?

      • jonfitt says:

        Wait, how does that work? What about the dissent vote when a leader chooses a team? The sabos are always outnumbered, so they can’t force a team through. When we play, people will often get voted down and it’ll be on to the next leader.

      • studenteternal says:

        That has not been my experience at all. You know teams have to be confirmed by a majority vote right? And then team leader passes to the next player, regardless if the proposed team was voted to go on the mission or not right?

        I find that generally a spy in the first mission will almost never fail the mission, the “I was on a mission that succeed some one else must be the spy” argument is too useful to give up for an early victory in my group. In fact the last game I played the first mission was all spies, and we all played success cards to establish our bonofides.

      • Lamb Chop says:

        ugh, reread the rules based on these comments and we were playing without passing to the next leader if a mission team vote failed. Guess I’ll have to revisit this one.

    • ninjapirate says:

      I hadn’t heard of TR:A before, and TR is one of my gaming group’s favorite games – so this looks like a must-buy! Seems like it’s only available in English though; could this game be played with someone in the group who doesn’t speak/read English, provided that the rules have been explained to him/her?

  4. Shadowcat says:

    I suspect the only reason to get the original over Avalon is if you REALLY don’t like the Arthurian theme. You can trivially use Avalon to play the original game by ignoring the new roles, but you can then add in any or all of the extra brain-bending complexity whenever you feel like it.

    In my most memorable game as a spy, the only successful Resistance mission did not involve any Resistance members :)

  5. Tiax says:

    Avalon is better, from what I read on BGG.

  6. Schmudley says:

    I introduced this game (the original) to some friends at the weekend. Within minutes, they were at each others throats. It was beautiful.

    It’s a great ‘gateway’ game. I’ve not played the Avalon version. It sounds interesting, but it might have less appeal if you’re trying to persuade people who aren’t into (board) games that much.

    I’ve been trying to come up with drinking rules to accompany the game since this weekend, and I’m open to suggestions. The only thing more entertaining than a paranoid group of people is a paranoid and drunk group of people.

  7. S Jay says:

    Is this game somewhat related to the Battlestar Galactica one? link to

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      The Resistance is a minimalist party game.

      Battlestar Galactica is a multiple-hour American-style lavish production component-heavy boardgame thick with theme and intricate mechanics involving combat, deception, politics, resource management, betrayal, and toasters.

      So, no.

      • S Jay says:

        So made by Germans? :)

      • PleasingFungus says:

        It’s the font.

      • raydenuni says:

        I would say yes. I think that Resistance contains the core mechanic of BSG (figure out who the traitor/Cylons are) but in a 20 minute experience. For me, the best part of BSG is figuring out who the Cylons are and once you know, the game becomes boring and tedious. So having a game that is JUST that is brilliant. Of course if I have 3 hours to spent playing a traitor game, it’s going to be BSG. But if I have an hour or I’m playing with less hardcore gamers, I’ll play Resistance 4 times. My whole family loved Resistance.

  8. plugmonkey says:

    you’re done shopping already?

    No, but I’m considering having it finished by the 24th.

    Seriously. Everyone’s getting boardgames this year, based almost entirely from this list and previous Cardboard Children posts. So don’t do anything really good on xmas eve. It’ll be too late by then.

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      you’re done shopping already?

      Yes, I am. And I got myself two boardgames as well, to try out during Christmas: Carcassonne and Robo Rally.

  9. Bioptic says:

    Probably says something about the group I played with that 10 mins were spent actually playing the game and 15+ were spent analysing the maths behind it afterwards!

    If you don’t iterate it, it really does just boil down into numbers (or random guessing if you’re stupid like me) – there aren’t a huge number of tactics open to people. I also suspect it gets much better with a significantly larger numbers of players than just 5…

    Major plus points for being small and approachable and supporting a decent number of people, though.

    • Zanchito says:

      A troupe of gentlemen scientists, I salute you!

    • raydenuni says:

      I love math and probability as much as the next guy, but I’m not sure how it helps you here other than giving you a base understanding of people’s choices. Let’s say the first mission is 2 people, me (a traitor) and someone else. I can choose to sabotage or not and by not, I keep myself clear for the time being. Or I can sabotage it for that early point, but making myself and the other guy suspects. How does the math help you?

      It’s one of those games that you need to play a few times for everyone to *get*. One of my favorite games involved my friend, a traitor, and my sister as the first team. My friend sabotaged throwing suspicion on the two of them. I then picked myself and my sister for the next mission and sabotaged again. Oho! Who’s the common denominator now?

  10. Delusibeta says:

    So I checked the Indie Games Shop map. Since when was Forbidden Planet a games shop? I was under the impression that it was a comics & merch shop and doesn’t do much in the way of games. The local Waterstones has more credence has a games shop, in that I saw The King of Tokyo being sold there today for some reason.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Well, my local Forbidden Planet has normal books and PnP RPG stuff (e.g. DnD rulebooks) in addition to the normal comics, statues of comic charatcers, DVDs, etc.

  11. Heimmrich says:

    Second day in and I’ve already bought a game from the list (aside from the other two I was buying anyway). What have I done to myself.

  12. bill says:

    I’m done shopping already. But that’s the perils of living overseas and unreliable insanely long shipping times.

    I started a thread on the forums for people looking for recommendations:
    link to

    I got Forbidden Island for my parents/family because it sounds easy and because it’s cheap. I didn’t realise all the board games were so expensive!!!!
    But the resistance sounds like it might have worked too!

  13. Junko says:

    Hah! Cool. I’m the designer of The Resistance and regular RPS reader. Thrilled to see it here. I’ve lost plenty of money to your game suggestions, so I’m glad you might drop a few on mine ;)

  14. Toothball says:

    Late to the article, but I picked up a copy of The Resistance a month or so back after being introduced to it at a party. It went down very well around my usual board gaming table and also with my family this Christmas. Now everyone accuses anyone else of being a spy even when we’re not playing.