Welcome back to Social Board Games (part 3)! You can find part 1 here and part 2 here, which highlight some of the best social board games you can use in a teen gaming program. Let’s jump right into this month’s set of games – Timeline: Historical Events and The Resistance!
Timeline: Historical Events
Timeline: Historical Events is a simple, easy card game where your objective is to place events in the correct order from earliest to latest. The game starts off with two events on the board that state what the event was and when it happened. Each player must play a card from their hand either before these events in the timeline, between these events, or after these events.
After you lay down the card where you think it belongs in the timeline, you flip it – the back reveals when the event actually happened. If you were correct, great! You don’t have to draw a new card, as the objective to winning this game is getting rid of all the cards in your hand. If you guessed incorrectly, you have to draw a new card and play moves to the next player in a clockwise rotation. The event you played gets put into the correct position in the timeline on the table, so it gets progressively harder the longer the game goes on as the gaps in years between events get more and more narrow.
This is a great first game to start off a gaming session or as a light, educational game. It works well with both quieter groups and rambunctious ones – and ribbing other players when they play an obvious event in the wrong place makes for hilarious commentary. “Really, Joe – you think that the end of World War II was before 1940? Are you sure about that?” Additionally, there’s a bunch of different versions of Timeline, including Timeline: Inventions, Timeline: Americana, Timeline: Discoveries, and more, so if one version gets old for a group, another version can keep the fun running!
The Resistance is all about subterfuge and secret information, similar to Werewolf and other social deduction games. It’s a party game for 5 to 10 players but does not eliminate players as you play, unlike Werewolf and other social games.
Every player is on one of two sides – the Resistance Operatives or the Imperial Spies. The game revolves around carrying out missions against an evil Empire. A team leader decides, after group discussion, who will go out on the mission. Each player votes yea or nay – if the yeas have it, the mission proceeds. If the nays win, the team leader is removed from his position and the next player becomes team leader. That leader then has to decide on a new set of players to go out on a mission.
Only a couple of players are sent out on early missions, and the number of players sent out on each mission increases as the game goes on. Players sent on missions choose to support or sabotage the mission, and depending on this secret voting the mission will either succeed or fail. Just one sabotage vote will fail a mission. This makes it dangerous for Imperial Spies to sabotage a mission early on when only two or so people go on a mission, lest they be found out quickly and never sent on a mission again. However, later missions are far more likely to fail if saboteurs weren’t found out early on. This is why a team leader is so important – mission team composition and maximizing deductive reasoning chances are huge in this game. When the Resistance Operatives win three missions, or the Imperial Spies foil three missions, that team wins.
One of the biggest benefits to this game, despite it being extremely fun to play, is the lack of any sort of elimination of players prior to the game ending. Werewolf can lead to a few people being very bored early on in each session as they got eliminated off the bat. The Resistance keeps every player viable throughout the entire game, and the game itself plays quickly which allows for multiple rounds. This keeps teens engaged and minimizes disruptions from eliminated observers.
Are there other social board games that you’d like to see discussed or that you’d recommend to other librarians? Let us know in the comments!