Board Game Disaster

There is a film coming out in a few weeks called Game Night, which is a film about a group of friends who are having a board game evening and somehow, they get involved in a murder. I had never heard about it before, and honestly I don’t have any intention of watching it. It doesn’t sound like there are enough spaceships for me.

So, why am I mentioning a film I’m not interested in. Well, the column that I was reading wasn’t about the film, but about the biggest arguments people had come across whilst playing board games. I’ve got my own tale of woe to share.

It’s been a while since I had a good old fashioned board game day with some friends. I normally play with organised groups, as it is easier to do in London. In those olden days, some friends and I would have a day of gaming one Saturday a month. We all got hooked on a game called The Resistance and it quickly became the game of choice to end our sessions.

The Resistance is a social deduction game designed by Don Eskridge. In it, you are part of a rebel cell attempting to take down an evil empire by completing missions. Unfortunately, the cell has infiltrated by some spies whose job it is to sabotage the missions. If the rebels can complete three out of five missions they take down the empire, otherwise the spies win, and the rebel cell is destroyed.

Each player takes turns putting together a team to fulfil a mission, which is voted upon before the mission takes place. If the majority like the team composition, then the mission takes place, otherwise leadership moves to the next player. Once put together, each team member secretly chooses between success and failure. Normally one failure means that the mission fails overall.

Everyone on the spy team knows their team mates, so it is up to the rebels to figure out who is a spy before three missions fail.

Now that I’ve got the science part out of the way, onto my little story.

There was a married couple in our little group called Kevin and Amanda (their names have been changed). Now in this particular game Kevin and I were on the spy team. We had an ongoing shtick where we would spend the whole game arguing that the other one was a spy, because they were always a spy. This worked brilliantly on those rare occasions where we were both spies.

The spy team were in complete control after the first two failed missions, the rebels were convinced that one of Kevin and myself were a spy, but they weren’t sure which one. Amanda becomes leader and says categorically that I am a spy because “I know when my husband lies.”

In hindsight this should have been a red flag, but in the moment, I was just really glad, as I knew that my team were going to win the game. I hammed up my innocence knowing that it would be the final nail in my coffin. Sure enough, Kevin went on the team and sabotaged the mission for the spies to win decisively three to nil.

As the game had ended we turned over our character cards to show who was in which team. Then my world exploded. Amanda went nuclear, I never thought of her as a bad loser, but she ranted and raved at her husband. She was so upset that she wasn’t able to finish any sentences. I wanted to be anywhere else, and I wasn’t even the one being shouted at. It was really uncomfortable.

The tirade lasted a good five minutes before Amanda stormed out. I ended up driving Kevin home in silence, as a) he had been abandoned by his wife and b) there was no way I was going to say anything in case I made things worse.

Over the next few days the truth had come out. The marriage between Amanda and Kevin was having a rocky spell. Amanda suspected that her husband was having an affair, but Kevin had convinced her otherwise. Not being able to read his lies brought all of the suspicions back to the fore and Amanda got herself in a mess emotionally.

The marriage unfortunately ended in divorce. All because of a board game.

I still like The Resistance, but I rarely play it now, and if I do, I never play with a couple.

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