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How to Play The Resistance Rules for those who hate rulebooks

I hate the hassle of reading rulebooks and wish they could get straight to the point. I wrote this guide with the aim of helping you learn how to play The Resistance rules quickly.
Players: 3 to 6 | Game duration from: 60 mins | Game Complexity: EASY

What is the goal?

It’s a social deduction game with secret identities. Players are resistance members or spies trying to thwart them.

When three Missions are successfully completed, the Resistance wins; if three Missions fail, the Spies win. Spies can also win if the Resistance is unable to organize the Mission Team (5 failed votes on a single mission).

During the game, players are allowed to say anything they want. Discussion, deception, intuition, social interactions, and logical deductions all contribute to winning.

Game Setup

The Resistance character cards indicate the player’s affiliation (each player is either a resistance operative or a spy).  A player’s Character Card may not be revealed in the game, nor may the character art be discussed.


Leader Card 
Identifies the players who will form the mission team. Team Cards Allocate positions on the Mission Team.
Vote Cards 
Approve or reject the Leader’s Mission Team.
Mission Cards 
Determine the success or failure of the Mission.
Plot Cards 
Additional actions used in “The Plot Thickens” expansion.

The Resistance 1

Set Up

  • With the Score Markers, Team cards and Mission cards adjacent to the tableau, place them in the center of the play area.
  • Place the Round marker on Tableau’s 1st Mission space.
  • Distribute two Vote cards to each player.  
  • Select a Leader at random, and award him or her the Leader card. Based on the chart below, determine the number of Resistance Operatives and Spies in the game
The Resistance 2
  • Shuffle the appropriate numbers of Character cards. Each player receives a facedown card. Upon receiving a Character card, each player secretly examines their assigned role.

Spies Reveal

Having established each player’s affiliation, the Leader should ensure that all the Spies know one another by repeating the following: 
“Everyone close your eyes”
“Spies open your eyes. Spies look around and make sure that you know all the other Spies”
“Spies close your eyes. Everyone’s eyes should be closed.”
“Everyone open your eyes.”  


There are several rounds in the game, each consisting of a Team building phase and a Mission phase.

Build the Team

The Leader picks the players he wants on his Mission Team, followed by the players voting on whether the Mission Team is approved or rejected.

Mission Team Assignment

The Leader takes the required number of Team cards (see the chart below) and assigns each Team card to any player including himself.
Note a player may only be assigned one Team card.

Mission Team Assignment

Mission Team Vote

A vote is called by the Leader after appropriate discussion.
Players, including the Leader, select one Vote card in secret.
The Leader announces the Votes once all players have selected their Vote cards. If the majority votes affirmatively, the Mission Team is approved; if the majority votes negatively, the Mission Team is rejected.
Play then continues in the Mission phase. In the event the Mission Team is rejected, the Leader passes clockwise, and the Team building phase is repeated.

The Spies win the game if five Mission Teams are rejected in a single round (5 failed Votes).

The Resistance 3

Conduct a Mission

  • Mission Team members must decide whether to support or sabotage the mission.
  • The Leader passes a set of Mission Cards to each Mission Team member.
  • Players select a Mission Card and play it face down.
  • The Leader collects and shuffles the played Mission Cards before revealing.
  • When all the cards revealed are Mission Success cards, the Mission is successful.
  • Whenever one (or more) Mission Fail cards are played, the Mission fails.

Resistance Operatives must select Mission Success;
Spies can choose either Mission Success or Mission Fail.

The 4th Mission in games of 7 or more players requires at least two Mission Fail cards to be a failed mission.

Before revealing the Mission cards, it is recommended that two players shuffle the played and discarded cards.

When the Mission is complete, advance the Round marker to the next Mission space on the Tableau. Mission Success is indicated with a blue marker and Mission Failure with a red marker. Next, the Leader passes clockwise and Team building begins.

The Resistance 4

How to Win?

The game ends immediately after either three successful or three failed Missions.

The Resistance wins if three Missions are successful.

The Spies win if three Missions fail.


The Resistance contains information at many levels. First, look at player voting patterns, followed by Mission results, and finally, observe player interactions. Resistance Operatives must use all the information available to root out Spy activity.

Overthrowing a powerful government isn’t easy. When played with more than seven players, you can expect the Spies to win a significant portion of the time.

Plot cards in “The Plot Thickens” expansion (included) provide additional information for Resistance Operatives, and allow Spies to be more deceitful.


Feel free to experiment with different variations of The Resistance, as it is highly dependent on the group playing it.

Two popular variants are:


Both the Mission and the Team are proposed by the Leader. You can only attempt each Mission once, and you can only attempt the fifth Mission after two successful missions have been completed.

Blind Spies

Skip the Spies Reveal Step
Additional details on these and many other variants can be found at

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