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The Drink: Merlin's Beard

  • Ice
  • 1 shot Baileys
  • 1 shot Kahlua
  • 1 shot Amaretto
  • Optionally add milk to taste
  • Top with whipped cream

Enjoy your Merlin's beard and whipped cream mustache!

Our Review

Don't know anything about The Resistance?

This is a review for Avalon, so that's what we're focused on. But everything in this section goes for both The Resistance and The Resistance: Avalon.

The Resistance: Avalon is a game about lying, bluffing, scheming, deduction and intentionally confusing your friends. If you and your gaming group is not interested in that, feel free to walk away now. That's all there is. 

But, if your group enjoys games like One Night: Ultimate Werewolf or Sheriff of Nottingham, then this might be a good fit for you.

Perhaps because there isn't a timer or because your schemes play out over several rounds of the game, Avalon ends up being distinctly more intense than something like One Night. This can be awesome if everybody involved is invested in it, but this intensity also makes the game more risky. This game has led to more crying players than any other I've played. And I know multiple people who have had a bad experience with either Avalon or The Resistance and have sworn to never play the game again.

The downside of keeping your teams across multiple rounds is that you can get totally screwed by one player who is not invested in the game. Having one player who is not paying attention or not pulling their weight can totally destroy the balance between the two teams, especially if that player is on Mordred's side.

Already know The Resistance?

Now, let's just clarify. This game is 90% the same as the original Resistance. It's much more appropriate to think of this game as an expansion, rather than as a separate game. But, it does change the theme from space and the future to Camelot and a bunch of knights. So that's kind of fun if you're into one theme over the other. 

There are two real differences between The Resistance and The Resistance: Avalon. The Resistance has the information cards and Avalon has characters with powers. The information cards in The Resistance are much more random and the character powers are much more customizable. So the original is a little better if you want more randomness introduced into your game, Avalon is a little better if you want to be able to tweak the strength of the sides in each game. Other than that, you can pretty much chose based on the theme you prefer

Pro tip: If you already have a copy of the Resistance, look up the rules for Avalon online and make a key for which Resistance card corresponds to each Avalon character. Then you can play with the Avalon characters and the Resistance information cards. If you own Avalon and the Resistance already, just pull out the Avalon character cards and the Resistance information cards for some amazing space/Camelot crossover. You can also totally play The Resistance and just add the rules for Merlin and the assassin pretty easily, if that's a mechanic you're interested in trying out.

A few notes on Merlin

Every game of Avalon includes the character Merlin (who is on King Arthur's team) and his counterpart, the assassin (obviously, on Mordred's team). At the beginning of the game, Merlin learns the identity of the players on Mordred team, so he can help lead his team to victory. But, if Mordred's team and the assassin can determine who Merlin is, they kill him and win the game anyways.

The concept of Merlin has some interesting pros and cons. On the one hand, there is more information in the game and there's more for players to think about. 

One downside of Merlin is that a lot of pressure gets put on that one player. If someone new to the game is Merlin, that will be a totally different game than if someone experienced is Merlin. Which is fine, and sometimes interesting, but can be overwhelming if you're expected to be Merlin in your very first game.

The other potential downside of Merlin is that the entire game can swing on the assassin making their choice at the end of the game. Especially in smaller games, the assassin can fairly frequently guess correctly, even if they're just randomly choosing a player on King Arthur's team. If you're on King Arthur's team, this can feel like you're being cheated out of a well-earned victory. And while it is super exciting to guess correctly as the assassin, it doesn't quite fit with the more intense deduction and bluffing of the game. 

How to make this game awesomer

In our group, we have implemented a house rule that makes this game so much better. Which is: tell a story. Check out our tutorial for a bit more information on how we do this and our play through for a pretty ridiculous example.

Basically, you come up with a setting for your game; it could be Camelot, the Wild West, a dragon has been captured by a unicorn--you know, whatever theme you want.

Then before you go on each quest, the leader establishes what the goal of this quest is; maybe recruiting Lancelot, finding some more horses, or hacking into the unicorn's financials.

Depending on whether the quest succeeded or failed, the leader describes the outcome of the quest; for example, you accidentally killed Guinevere, you successfully found and trained some wild horses, or you now know that the unicorn's true name is Peter Loftus.

I think you get the idea. But let me just tell you, this makes the game so much better. It takes a really intense game that can ruin friendships, and makes it the greatest creator of camaraderie and inside jokes. And it doesn't interfere with the lying and deception of the core gameplay at all. It keeps the game fresh every time, because you're creating a story from scratch and working with an entirely new theme each time. Plus, if you have any players in your group that are kind of iffy on the whole bluffing part of this game, it gives them something else to focus on so they can still enjoy the game.

The Breakdown

Overall rating:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ - Only good for certain types of people and groups, but excellent for those groups.

🍹🍹 - DRINKERS: Alcohol makes it hard to be good at this game, which is frustrating to teammates
💭💭💭💭💭 - THINKERS: There is so much strategy, it can be overwhelming if you're not a pro.
⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜ - THEMERS: With our house rule of storytelling, 5/5. Otherwise, like 2/5.
😜😜😜😜😜 - BLUFFERS: Yes. If you like lying, so much yes.

📖📖 - LEARNABILITY: The rules are fairly straightforward. You can learn to play very quickly.
⌛️⌛️ - LENGTH: Can vary a lot depending on how much deduction you're doing, but generally fairly quick.
🙈 - COLOR-BLIND FRIENDLY: The team cards are color-coded, but also have distinct symbols on them.

Want More?

Buy Avalon: http://amzn.to/231CWP9
Buy The Resistance: http://amzn.to/1TZbjkq
Learn more: http://www.indieboardsandcards.com/RESAvalon.php