All Aboard August 2013

Last month, I had several gaming sessions at All Aboard, so many that I’m not quite sure about the order of the games that we played that day. I think we first started with Flash Point: Fire Rescue.

Flash Point

I haven’t seen a copy of this game available at the event for quite some time now, so I brought my own copy. I played two sessions with a group that consisted of a friend that I met at that event, his girlfriend, and an officemate of mine who I’ve been inviting to attend ever since I started going to this.

I started running the basic set up for our first session, with the special fire fighter roles for added theme. We were able to win easily, so for the second session I added more components of the advanced set up – hazardous materials, random fire placement, and hot spots. We also used the alternate board which uses a more realistic house layout, with only two entrances/exits and the bedrooms located at the far end of the house. Needless to say, we lost. I’m glad to report that everyone liked the game, and thought that it offered a different experience from Pandemic, another cooperative game that follows the same core concept of managing action points.

We then had a session of Timeline: Diversities after another one joined the group.

timeline - box

There’s really nothing more I could add about this game; I like it because it tests my general knowledge, and it’s relatively inexpensive and portable compared to most other games, but I’m afraid that multiple play sessions would lead to memorizing the cards and where they belong in the time line.

After lunch, we regrouped, and players came and went. The new group consisted of my friend, my officemate and her friend, my girlfriend, and two more players. They had two sessions of Forbidden Island while I read through the rules of another game that I’ve been wanting to play for so long, but have never gotten the chance to.

Tin_Front

The group lost, but I didn’t really keep track of the game as I was too busy learning about the rules of The Resistance: Avalon.

the resistance avalon - box cover

The Resistance: Avalon is a social interaction/deduction game that needs a minimum of five players to play. This is a re-themed version of The Resistance, but instead of involving spies trying to overthrow an evil government like in the original version, The Resistance: Avalon is set in Camelot, and players take on the roles of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table.

the resistance avalon - good rolesThe good guys are Arthur’s loyal subjects. There are only two special roles – Merlin and Percival.

Before the game starts, role cards are handed out randomly to the players to determine which side they’re on and what kind of special abilities they have. Most of the players will be aligned towards Good, but there will be a few that are going to be aligned towards Evil.

the resistance avalon - evil rolesThere are more special bad guy roles in the Advanced game set up – players can opt to include Morgana or even Mordred himself.

In the Basic game set up, players are assigned roles that are either Loyal Servants of Arthur (good), or Minions of Mordred (evil). One player is assigned the special role of Merlin. These roles are kept secret, but the Evil players are given the chance to see each other’s alignments, and the player with the Merlin role is made aware of who the Evil players are.

The group’s main objective is to try and complete three Quests out of five tries, so the group gets to vote on which players are to go on the Quests. However, the players with the Evil roles are “traitors” whose goal is to prevent the group from completing their Quests. They can do this by either convincing the group that they are innocent so that they can be assigned on the Quests, which they would then sabotage and cause the Quest to end in failure.

the resistance avalon - quests and votesQuests and vote trackers for the game.

Essentially, the Good players must be careful not to send any of the Evil players on the Quests to ensure success. The Evil players, on the other hand, need to confuse the Good players and gain their trust so as to be included in the quests. So most of the game revolves around discussing who should be sent to the Quests and who should not. Consider these line of discussion points:

  1. “Why is Ben being assigned on a Quest again? Didn’t his last quest fail? He must be a traitor – don’t agree to sending Ben on this Quest, everyone should vote against it!”
  2. “Michael has been on two successful quests already, and so has Sally. They must be loyal to Arthur, we should put them on another Quest.”

the resistance avalon - voting cardsCrest tiles (leftmost) are given to quest members; Approve/Reject tiles are for voting on Quest participants.

The player with the Merlin role knows who the Evil players are, but he/she cannot outright reveal him/herself to the group and declare that he knows who the Evil players are because the Evil players have a second win condition – if they fail to prevent the Good from successfully completing three Quests, they can attempt to assassinate Merlin and still win. So the Merlin player has to be subtle enough to avoid arousing the suspicion of the traitors but active enough to steer the votes away from them.

I’ve been looking for a good social interaction/deduction game since playing Ultimate Werewolf several months ago and I thought that The Resistance: Avalon would be a worthwhile addition to my collection, but while it’s a great game I don’t think it’s what I’m looking for. We played two or three sessions of this game and the theme didn’t really hook me in the way Ultimate Werewolf did. I don’t think the combination of the theme and the mechanics are going to be an easy sell for non-gamers, and the main reason why I wanted a social interaction game in the first place was to use it on my non-gamer friends. Despite the similar mechanics, I think The Resistance is easier to get a feel of, so I’m keeping my eyes open for that game instead.

For our last gaming session, there was nothing else available that would play fast enough so I was forced to pick up Ca$h ‘n Gun$.

cash and guns box

After playing this several times, I can say that I don’t like this game. I think that, in order for a game like this to shine, it needs to be played by animated people who don’t mind doing a little role-playing. Unfortunately, the group that I’m hanging out with on these events aren’t the animated kind, so I found most of my Ca$h ‘n Gun$ sessions boring. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a knock on my gaming group nor on Ca$h ‘n Gun$ – I’m just simply saying that this kind of game doesn’t fit the group.

All in all, it was a good gaming day. I was able to get a lot of games in, and the games that we played had a lot of variety. I got to try The Resistance: Avalon out, too. I had loads of fun, and it was nice to have both my girlfriend and my officemate there with me. As always, I’m ending this post with the list of games that I’ve tried at this event:

  1. Shadows Over Camelot
  2. Dixit
  3. Last Night On Earth
  4. Jab
  5. 7 Wonders
  6. Pandemic
  7. Monopoly Deal
  8. Cutthroat Caverns
  9. Conquest of Planet Earth
  10. Defenders of the Realm
  11. Flash Point: Fire Rescue
  12. Smash Up!
  13. Incan Gold
  14. Ultimate Werewolf
  15. King of Tokyo
  16. Puerto Rico
  17. Toc Toc Woodman
  18. Ca$h ‘n Gun$
  19. Pressure Point!
  20. Forbidden Island
  21. Guillotine
  22. Shadow Hunters
  23. Mice and Mystics
  24. Bezzerwizzer
  25. Timeline: Diversities
  26. Cards Against Humanity
  27. The Resistance: Avalon
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