Review – Avalon: Big Box

avalonbigbox

 

Designer Don Eskridge

Artist Weberson Santiago

Publisher Indie Boards & Cards

Category Bluffing game, Party Game, Social Deduction Game

Length 20-40 minutes

Release Date Fall 2022

Player Count 5-10

Price $39.99 MSRP

Many moons ago, there was The Resistance. Then there was The Resistance: Avalon, and then there were many expansions to both versions. Now Avalon has dropped its prefix but instead added a Big Box suffix, as this (not actually very big) box contains all content ever released for Avalon (or The Resistance) with brand new artwork. Is this the version of the game to get? Let’s take a look!

image provided by the publisher

Review

There are several board games I can say I’ve played hundreds of times, if we are counting digital plays. If we are only counting “analog” plays, then there are only four that I can think of, and The Resistance is one of them. I’ve enjoyed this game immensely ever since it came out, both in sci-fi form and medieval Avalon form. I even wrote a teaching article on it, and use it every year in my discrete mathematics class to teach about valid and sound arguments. 

However, for a long it felt like the releases of The Resistance were kind of messy. Avalon came out, then players wanted those modules for The Resistance and got them, along with new ones, but then Avalon players wanted those modules, and so on. In addition, neither version had especially stellar artwork, and there were some glaring typos (“Unkown to Evil”). But now, it seems that Indie Boards & Cards has decided that Avalon is the definitive version of the game, and here we have a version with every single expansion, and brand new artwork, from the same Brazilian artist known for a beautiful edition of Avalon’s cousin Coup. 

There are two reasons to get this box: either because you want everything, or because you want the new art. I’m one of the latter. I’m quite glad to have all of the content, but I think that the basic Avalon rules (which have a touch more than the original The Resistance rules) are nearly perfect, at any player count. The extra stuff is just for the occasional spice; I am far from tired of the basic rules. And remembering the extra conditions can get pretty messy. This version comes with a set of tokens to indicate which rules are in the game, but I think this makes the problem worse, not better: an “all-in-one” box is always going to feel cluttered, but now there’s some unnecesary extra clutter in there too. I would have preferred an app like Werewords, or at least a dry-erase board with all of the roles listed and you could just put an “X” by the ones in play. On the other hand, the player aids that list every possible character are great additions. 

But, like I said, I’m here for the art. And it’s fantastic! It is extremely high quality while being an incredibly unique art style (at least in the board gaming world). I love the color palette used, and I also appreciate that the character art is more modest than in the past (see “Lady of the Lake” token in the original Avalon). The iconography looks great, and I really like the font choice. I can’t comment on the clarity of the rulebook (because I know the game too well), but the components certainly are a positive when it comes to understanding the game.

My only complaints are personal preferences. I already mentioned the tokens, but I also wish the cards were standard card game size instead of bridge size. You’d get to see the artwork better, and I wouldn’t be hunting down even more non-standard card sleeves. Someone else might complain about the seemingly high MSRP, but it’s far less than it had cost in the past to buy these expansions individually, and you’re paying for the extremely high quality of this release.  All that aside, Avalon remains the social deduction king, and this is likely the best version of it that we’ll ever get. 

The Bottom Line

The definitive version of the king of social deduction games.

 

10

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Author: Derek Thompson


I’ve been a board game reviewer on Geeks Under Grace since 2011. I love card-driven games and party games. I have a Ph.D. in Mathematics and teach the subject at Taylor University in Upland, IN. My wife and kids are my favorite gaming partners.