Resistance Rules (Learn How to Play Resistance the Card Game)

Are you someone who enjoys group discussion mixing in with a healthy dose of deception? If this sounds like you, then the card game Resistance is the game for you.

Played in a team, missions are either completed or thwarted to work out the outcome of the Resistance.

Set in a dystopian world that pits you against the government as a resistance group, or as government spies hoping to put a halt to the resistance efforts.

Double agents are heavily involved too, and you’ve got yourself a party game that may seem complicated at first, but will become much clearer once you’ve read our informative guide. 

So whether you’re after a game to break the ice with new friends, or looking for something a bit different from the norm read on to find out about the Resistance rules and gameplay instructions.

What Is Resistance?

Resistance Card Game Info Image

Resistance is most commonly known as a social role-playing card game and is ideal for those who like more depth to their games including getting into debates about the outcome of the game. 

Similar to other deductive reasoning party games, as it is a card game there’s not quite as many complicated mechanics like when learning how to play Mysterium.

This gives Resistance a less daunting start for new players, whereas experienced players won’t need to worry about introducing others to the game either.

Number of Players Required: 5 – 10 players

Who Can Play It: 13 years or more.

Difficulty: Medium.

Length of Play: 30 – 45 minutes depending on skill level.

Similar to: Gaia Project; Scythe board game; Secret Hitler; Coup; One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Main Objective: If you are in the Resistance, the goal is to successfully complete 3 missions. The Spies win if either the Resistance fails to complete 3 missions, or if the Resistance cannot organize the Mission Team at any point in the game. 

Why we love it: Resistance is a game where anything can happen and changes every time that you play. A key Resistance rule is that players can say anything to anyone else, as long as it’s said loud enough for all players to hear. So this gives plenty of strategy by potentially aiding or deceiving players to affect the outcome of the game. 

Playing Resistance – What You’ll Need

To play the modern form of Resistance, we recommend buying the official set although if you would like to play without it there is a version that uses the standard 52 card deck.

A standard Resistance set should have the following:

  • 11 Character Cards, 10 normal 1 leader.
  • 5 Team Cards.
  • 20 Vote Cards, 10 approve, and 10 reject.
  • 10 Mission Cards, 5 successes, and 5 failures.
  • 15 Plot Cards.
  • 6 score markers.
  • Score tableau.
The Resistance (The Dystopian Universe)
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You’ll have this whether you go for the standard Dystopian Universe version, or if you’re more of a medieval era fan you may prefer The Resistance: Avalon.

The Resistance: Avalon Social Deduction Game
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Just like games like Unstable Unicorns, modern board and card games have expansion packs and The Resistance is no exception.

Consider adding expansion packs like The Plot Thickens and Hidden Agenda to the base game of Resistance to mix up the gameplay.

How To Set Up Resistance

As you would expect, The Resistance needs a little bit of setup owing to the number of cards involved.

Start by dividing the cards up, with the Resistance always having more members. Follow this guide to team numbers so that you have balanced gameplay:

  • 5 players, 3 Resistance 2 Spies.
  • 6 players, 4 Resistance 2 Spies.
  • 7 Players, 4 Resistance 3 Spies.
  • 8 Players, 5 Resistance 3 Spies.
  • 9 Players, 6 Resistance 3 Spies.
  • 10 Players, 6 Resistance 4 Spies.

Appoint a leader at random, shuffle the appropriate number of character cards and hand them out to players face down. Players can look at their cards, but at this stage, they cannot reveal which one they have received.

The spies must reveal themselves to each other before the game starts. To do this, all players need to shut their eyes with the spies opening them after 10 seconds to reveal their roles to one another.

Let Resistance begin once spies know one another and everyone else is ready to play.

resistance rules playing image

Resistance Rules and Gameplay

Resistance has 5 rounds, each round including a Team Building phase and a Mission Phase.

Starting the Game – Build the Team

Due to the manner of the game, there isn’t an official way to start the game other than having the leader decide when they would like to begin.

What the leader does at the start of every round is they pick the players that they would like on the Mission Team. Do this through group discussion.

The leader needs to take the Team Cards and assigns them to the chosen players. How many players get picked depends on the number of players and the round that the game is on.

1st Mission Team222333
2nd Mission Team333444
3rd Mission Team243444
4th Mission Team334555
5th Mission Team344555

Players can only get assigned 1 team card for each round played.

Once the leader has decided on the players who they would like to conduct the mission, the rest of the players use their Vote Cards to either support or reject the proposal. The majority rules here unless it’s a tie which means it’s rejected.

If it passes, then the mission continues onto the next phase. If it fails, the person to the Leader’s left becomes the new leader to attempt to build the team again.

This continues until either a team gets approved, or players reject 5 teams in a row leading to a Spy victory.

Playing Resistance – Conducting the Mission

Once players approve a team, it’s time for the mission. If a player picked for the mission is a spy, they make a secret decision whether they are going to support or sabotage the mission.

The leader will then pass each player on the mission a Mission Card which has the success or failure options on it. Players decide, then hand the cards back to the leader.

If anyone has picked the failure option, then that mission fails. Everyone has to pick success for the mission to be successful. Mark the outcome of the mission on the Score Table.

The game then continues onto the next round, with the player to the left of the previous leader becoming the next leader.

Scoring In Resistance – Finishing the game

Work the scoring out based upon how many missions have either passed or failed throughout the game.

If the Resistance manages to pass at least 3 missions by the end of the game, then they win the game and are able to overthrow the government.

However, if the Spy’s are able to force at least 3 mission failures, then they win the game.

From reading, it may seem that the game is heavily favored towards the Spy’s, as they have the advantage in thwarting missions.

This is why it’s vital that players work together and question everyone’s motives to be successful. There is no satisfaction greater than deducting who in the group is a spy so that you as a group can avoid picking them for missions.

How to Play Resistance – Video Tutorial 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any other important Resistance Rules that need considering?

Depending on which version of Resistance you are playing adjusts the rules slightly, our guide is for the standard base set for example.

Purchasing expansions add new rules to the game and is definitely a good way to change your gameplay experience if you’re looking to freshen it up in any way.

How can you play Resistance with a deck of cards?

Gameplay with a standard deck stays relatively the same, the only difference is that each role and option gets chosen based on the color of the card.

An example being spies have a red card at the beginning of the game whereas the Resistance fighters have black cards.

If playing this way, be clear from the start which each color means what particular action for the game in this form to work.

Alternative games to Resistance

Resistance is just one of an array of party games that you can bust out when you have friends over for card game night.

If you’re looking for a slightly more involved board game to introduce to your pals as well, consider having a look at the Gaia Project rules, Sagrada rules, Tsuro rules or even the Scythe board game rules.

Alternatively, if unique card games are more your thing then we have you covered there as well. Have a look at the Milles Bornes rules for a taste of Europe in a box, or be sure to check out the 5-minute dungeon rules or Star Realms rules if you would like a quick fantasy adventure.

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