The Resistance

I mentioned playing a game called The Resistance. You can buy The Resistance, but there’s really no point; it’s kind of like buying Uno when you can just as easily play Crazy 8s with a deck of cards. This is a great game; tons of fun and easy to play. The only downside is that you need at least 5 people to play.

So without further ado, here are the rules (slightly adapted from wikipedia).

Setup

Split a regular deck of playing cards into red and black cards.

Shuffle an appropriate number of black (Resistance) and red (Spy) cards as per the table below and deal them out at random.

Number of Spies & Resistance Members

Number of players:

5

6

7

8

9

10

Resistance

3

4

4

5

6

6

Imperial Spy

2

2

3

3

3

4

After each player looks at his card to know his role, discard the cards.

The first mission leader instructs the group to close their eyes, for the spies to open their eyes and see each other, for the spies to close their eyes again, and then for everyone to open their eyes and begin the game (with long pauses at each stage).

Missions

During each round of the game, the player to the left of the previous Leader becomes the new Leader. The Leader selects a certain number of players to send out on a mission (the Leader may choose to go out on the mission themselves), starting with Mission 1. The table below shows the required number of players to go out on each mission. All of the players then discuss the Leader’s choice and, simultaneous and in public, vote on whether to accept the team make-up or not. If a majority of players vote no to the proposal, leadership passes on to the next player to the left, who proposes his own mission. (I take this to mean that ties mean the mission continues.) This continues until a majority of players agree with the current Leader’s mission assignment. After five rejected mission proposals in a row, the Imperial Spies automatically win the game, therefore it is a common house rule to not vote on the fifth mission proposal and simply send whatever the Leader proposes.

Number of players required be sent on each mission

Number of players:

5

6

7

8

9

10

Mission 1

2

2

2

3

3

3

Mission 2

3

3

3

4

4

4

Mission 3

2

4

3

4

4

4

Mission 4

3

3

4*

5*

5*

5*

Mission 5

3

4

4

5

5

5

(*) Two Mission Fail cards are required for the mission to fail

Once a mission team is agreed on, the players then “go” on the mission. To “go” on a mission, each selected player is given a black (Success) card and a red (Failure) card. Players will turn in either their black card or their red card. Resistance members MUST turn in, face down, a Mission Success card, while the Imperial Spies may either secretly turn in a Mission Success or Mission Fail card. The cards are shuffled and then revealed. If all cards show Success, the Resistance earns one point. If even one card shows Fail, the Spy team has sabotaged the mission and earns one point (except for the above-noted exceptions on Mission 4, where it may be necessary for 2 Fail cards to be played in order for the mission to fail).

The game continues until one team accumulates 3 points.

That’s the boring details, but not the fun part of the game. The game is not really about the cards that are played, the game is about trying to guess who the spies are (or, conversely, trying to throw suspicion away from yourself and onto other people). It’s about bluffing, and reading body language, and misunderstandings.

It is so frustrating when you are accused of being a spy, when you are clearly not. I have never been the spy, not a single time, but there’s obviously something very suspicious about me, because nobody ever believes me. I am never the spy! Spoiler alert, Sara is ALWAYS the spy. I think the universe is trying to tell her something.

I also always make the first mission leader specify what exactly we are resisting against, and each individual mission leader specify what exactly the mission is. I think this adds a lot of fun to the game, and gives you something to talk about if you’re not chosen to go on the mission. I just like to imagine what kind of secret missions my friends and family are going on in order to disrupt the Evil School Administrator Overlords, or the 4 Year Olds in Strollers status quo.

Anyway, enjoy. Let me know in the comments if you give it a try.

Spoons

Once upon a time, we used to play a lot of spoons. By “we” I mean my family when I was growing up, and specifically my mom and all her grown-up friends. Real life adults with real responsible jobs, in some cases up to 4 tables of people playing spoons because there were too many people for fewer games. Later I took my love of spoons to college, and convinced a lot of semi-real adults without real responsible jobs to play as well.

Usually people look at you funny if you try to get them to play spoons. It’s not a game that requires a lot of skill, and it’s a little silly, so it’s usually thought of as a kids game. How can a bunch of adults enjoy playing something like that?

The game works like this: you place once fewer spoon in the middle then there are people playing, musical chairs style. You have 4 cards in your hand, and your goal is to make 4 of a kind. You obtain cards by picking up a card off the stack discarded by the person from your right, and then discarding one for the next person down the line on your left to draw from, as fast as you possibly can. When someone finally does obtain 4 of a kind, they grab one of the spoons from the middle. At this point, everybody grabs for a spoon and whoever doesn’t get one is out (or gains a letter in S-P-O-O-N as in the basketball game “horse”).

Of course there are some tricky nuances, such as getting 4 of a kind and grabbing a spoon on the sly without anybody noticing, or casually waving your hand over the spoons to trick someone else into thinking you’re going for one. But you get the idea.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. If that was all there was to the game, it would still probably be somewhat enjoyable, but not enough to keep a bunch of adults playing late into the night. Our special twist on the game was that the dealer got to add additional rules.

The rules can be anything, and the possibilities are endless. They might force you to look foolish, break your concentration, or be physically difficult. You might have to stand up and sit back down every time you get a card you’re looking for, or run around the table, or say, “I, Shane Halbach, being of sound mind and body do declare that I’m stupid”, or pat your tummy and rub your head, or shout, “We’re coming to America, TODAY!” You might have to pick up a spoon and set it back down, or flip the spoon in the air, or run into the bathroom and get a square of toilet paper. (These are all actual rules I have played with.)

Then there’s the spoons themselves. Are the spaced neatly on the table in front of you, or are they under something? Are they in a different room so that obtaining a spoon becomes a full contact race? Is your strategy to grab a spoon yourself or to prevent someone else from grabbing a spoon? In college I’ve played where the spoons were actually downstairs or on the other side of a field of about 20 sleeping people.

I can’t stress enough how quickly this game becomes full contact. It starts simple with two people wrestling over a spoon, maybe someone slips on the hardwood in their socks, and then pretty soon there’s body tackling. My mom actually bought a special set of spoons to play this game because our regular spoons were getting too bent up. We’ve had a card table destroyed, our hardwood floors damaged, and countless bumps, bruises, and head bashes.

It’s certainly a sight to see. I remember a friend witnessing the chaos of adults playing when I was in elementary school, and declaring, “They have to be drinking. They have to.” I remember playing with my family while waiting for 4th of July fireworks, in the middle of a sea of strangers, using one shoe from each of us in lieu of spoons and acting like complete buffoons.

I sort of forgot about all of this until we thought to play last weekend. It was totally as fun as I remembered it being! Evie finds it too stressful and will not play, but the rest of us adults had a grand old time. We even accidentally put a long scratch in our dining room table, just for old time’s sake!