Once upon a time, in the fabled land of Camelot, King Arthur and his loyal servants were in the midst of a battle against the evil forces of Mordred. Both sides suffered severe losses in the fierce war and in the end, King Arthur emerged victorious, but not without suffering grave injuries.
As King Arthur was being tended to by his loyal servants, he unexpectedly vanished without a trace. His devoted servants were left perplexed and distraught, and they immediately set out to search for their lost and beloved king.
They sat around the Roundtable in the absence of their king for the first time and began planning and discussing quests to find him. As days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, the loyal servants began to lose hope for finding the long-lost king. They had looked in every nook and cranny, but King Arthur was nowhere to be found. They started to worry that he would be lost forever.
However, a rumor started to spread throughout the land that the minions of Mordred had infiltrated the Roundtable and were secretly posing as loyal servants. They were determined to sabotage the search and were constantly working to undermine their efforts. The real servants understood that they needed to be extremely cautious because they couldn’t trust anyone.
As they continued the search for King Arthur, the servants started looking into their fellow knights. They kept a close eye out for any indications of betrayal and investigated any hints that might reveal the identity of the minions of Mordred.
Their suspicions grew when they noticed that some of the knights were behaving strangely. They seemed to be hiding something while they tried to avoid the loyal servants of King Arthur.
Will the knights of the Roundtable be able to expose the minions of Mordred and find the king before it’s too late, or will the forces of evil sabotage their attempts and crown Mordred as the new king?
If you think you have what it takes to sit at the Roundtable and determine the fate of Camelot, keep on reading to learn all about the beloved board game, Avalon.
Avalon is a rethemed and remastered edition of the hit party game, The Resistance. When The Resistance first came out in 2009, it quickly climbed the charts of party games and board games in general. It’s about a group of Resistance freedom fighters trying to overthrow a repressive government, and a group of spies trying to thwart their efforts.
Three years later in 2012, the game was reimplemented with a new King Arthur theme and some minor tweaks to the gameplay, and it was called The Resistance: Avalon. This new version was so successful that it passed the original game in the charts, with Avalon being currently ranked #12, and The Resistance #29 of the best party games of all time.
Avalon is a social deduction game for five to ten players set in the fictional land of Camelot, with the legendary King Arthur who pulled out the sword from the stone (also mentioned in our list of board games you can play in the car). In this game, players are divided into two teams; the loyal servants of King Arthur, and the evil minions of Mordred. But player roles are hidden information, and it’s up to the players to use their deduction, deception, and intuition skills to try to identify the opposing team’s members and help their team reach victory.
In each game of Avalon, five quests are commenced to find the king. In each quest, a number of players will be elected to participate by the leader and by a vote of players. Whichever team manages to succeed in three of these quests will be the winning team. Players also have special character abilities to help them throughout the game.
Many gamers compare Avalon to the worldly popular social deduction games, Mafia and Werewolf. This is because all three games have a common core gameplay; an informed minority against an uninformed majority. The minority are aware of their teammates and try to keep their identity a secret, while the majority of players don’t have such information, and must try to find out who their opponents are.
Some players even claim that The Resistance and Avalon are better than Mafia or Werewolf. There are many reasons for this claim. For starters, Avalon doesn’t need a moderator and the night phase can be conducted by one of the players in the game so no one has to miss out on the fun. Also, Avalon is more suitable for fewer player numbers like five or six-player games. Additionally, unlike Mafia and Werewolf which contain the two phases of night and day each round with a lot of stuff happening in the night phase, Avalon only has one night at the beginning of the game, and the rest is in daylight with all eyes open.
How to Play
Before playing a game of Avalon, you must determine the characters in the game. Most of the players are normal characters without any special powers (Loyal Servants of Arthur, or Minions of Mordred), but a few players will have the ability to impact the game more. Though it’s not required, Merlin will probably be used in most games, and with Merlin comes the Assassin. So, the most basic combination of characters would be Merlin and the Assassin grouped with normal characters.
Shuffle the character cards and deal one to each player to look at secretly. Now players know which side they’re on. After that, place a board in the middle of the table according to the player count. Give a pair of approve/reject voting tiles to each player. Set the mission success/fail cards aside for now.
Assign one player as the leader, and give them the leader token. Place the vote marker and round marker tokens on the beginning spaces of their tracks, and now you’re ready to sit at the Roundtable and begin the search for King Arthur!
First of all, there is a night phase in the game when everyone closes their eyes while special characters use their abilities and the Minions of Mordred learn each other’s identities. After the night phase is finished, you’re ready to begin the game.
As mentioned before, in each round of Avalon players enter quests, either resulting in failure or success. Each quest has a number written in it; this is the number of players that must participate. Players discuss their options and try to reach a conclusion about whom to send on the quest.
The final decision is with the leader, who chooses the contenders before players vote on them. The leader could also choose themselves. Players secretly vote on whether they approve of or reject this team. If the majority of votes are negative, the next player becomes the leader and assembles a new crew. If the majority of votes are positive, the elected team goes on the quest and we must see if it will succeed or not.
Give each player in the elected team a pair of mission success/fail cards. The players then secretly choose one of them depending on their team and their strategy and place their choices face-down on each other. Shuffle the cards so you cannot tell which card is from which player. Reveal the cards to determine the fate of the quest.
If all cards are success, the mission is successful and you must place a score marker on the blue side on that quest. This counts as one point for the Loyal Servants. But, if even one of the cards is a fail card, the quest fails and you must place the score marker on the red side which counts as a point for the Minions of Mordred. This also shows that at least one of the members of the crew is a Minion of Mordred. Take note that some quests need at least two fail cards to be counted as a failure.
Whichever team manages to manipulate three quests in their favor, wins the game.
The main advantage of Avalon compared to The Resistance is its use of characters. The most used character in the game is Merlin. Merlin is a powerful wizard on the Servants’ side. At the night phase at the beginning of the game, after the Minions of Mordred see each other, Merlin opens his eyes and learns who the Minions are. This gives the Loyal Servants an advantage as one player knows who the enemies are.
But it’s not as easy as that. Paired with Merlin, the Assassin also comes into play on the Minion’s side. If the Loyal Servants manage to complete three quests successfully, the game’s not over yet. Now the Minions of Mordred have a chance to win the game if they correctly identify Merlin; the Minions can discuss their choice with each other, but the final decision is with the Assassin. If the Assassin correctly assassinates Merlin, the Minions of Mordred win the game.
This means even though Merlin knows who the enemies are, he cannot reveal himself to the group, otherwise he would be assassinated. This also influences other players’ gameplay. The other Loyal Servants must try to find who Merlin is, hide him from the Minions, and follow his advice. Keeping Merlin alive is a group effort.
Of course, there’s always a chance that the Assassin randomly assassinates someone, and they turn out to be Merlin. I count this as one of the disadvantages of the game. Sometimes the Loyal Servants spend so much time and effort to complete three quests, only for Merlin to be assassinated by chance.
There are four other characters that you could include in any combination in the game. It’s up to you and your group to decide on the characters you want to include to match your gameplay and experience. Let’s go over these four characters;
Percival is a Loyal Servant and a companion to Merlin. Merlin knows who the bad guys are, and Percival knows who Merlin is. This gives a huge boost to the Servants because they can identify Merlin and follow him more easily. Also, Percival could pose as Merlin so that the Assassin chooses him by mistake, and keep Merlin safe.
Against Percival is Morgana on Mordred’s side. Morgana pretends to be Merlin, meaning that when Percival is supposed to identify Merlin, he is faced with two players and must find out which one is really Merlin. Morgana can help the Minions of Mordred by acting as Merlin and trying to persuade Percival that she’s him, and mislead the Servants to a loss.
Oberon is on the Minions’ side, but he actually gives the Servants an advantage. How is that possible? In the night phase, Oberon cannot see who the Minions are, and the Minions don’t know who Oberon is. In other words, the Minions’ information is a bit less and they must try to find their teammate throughout the game. This makes it a bit tricky for the Minions of Mordred.
And finally, we have Mordred himself. His ability is that his identity is hidden from Merlin, meaning in a game with Mordred present, Merlin doesn’t know the identity of one of the Minions, which gives an advantage to the forces of evil.
In conclusion, Avalon is a game that has taken the hearts of gamers all around the world. With its engaging gameplay mechanics paired with its emphasis on social deduction, it provides a unique experience for players that makes them come back for more. So put on your helmet and your most Loyal facade and bring the lost king back home… or not!