Some of my favorite games are social deduction games (like The Resistance: Avalon and Deception: Murder in Hong Kong), so I was excited to try out Rebels Unite! when I got a review copy for it.
My copy of Rebels Unite!, signed by the designer/artist!
Rebels Unite! is a social deduction card game for 8-20 players, consisting only of 20 cards and a rulesheet. It’s one of the few games where the box doesn’t have any unnecessary components, which makes it very portable and great for bringing to a party. Because of the high player count, it was difficult for me to get it played, but I was able to play it with two separate groups of 9 players, two times each for this review.
In Rebels Unite!, there are two teams - the government and the rebels. Each person has a secret role: Policemen are on the government team, Rebel Leaders are on the rebel team, Civilians start out on the government team, and Spies start out neutral. The game is turn based, and on your turn you can either “meet” someone or do your special power. When you meet someone, you each see the other person’s card. If a Rebel Leader meets a Civilian (on the Rebel Leader’s turn), then the Civilian joins the rebel team. For special powers, Policemen can arrest players on their turn, and they want to arrest all the Rebel Leaders to win the game. Rebel Leaders can call, “Rebels Unite!” on their turn, and if the majority of players in the game are rebels, then the rebels win (otherwise they lose). Civilians can switch their card (and role) with someone else on their turn.
The entire contents of the game: 20 cards and a rulesheet
Overall, Rebels Unite! was an enjoyable game, but the rules felt too convoluted for what the game was. I had some fun playing it, and we had some funny times, like when a Rebel Leader shared with a Police Officer just to get arrested right after. But most of the people I played with got really confused with all of the role switching and side changing, so that ruined their enjoyment. Also, after some plays where the civilians switched sides to the “winning team,” it seemed like the civilians had a lot of power in deciding which team they want to win. Since I was able to play with different groups (I played one session with some other board gamer friends and one session with my family), I also got to see how different people enjoyed the game. Most people seemed to have fun while playing the game, but they all thought it was too complicated, and some people really did not like the ability to switch sides.
Extremely portable box
Box Size / Portability: The box is less than half the size of a normal card box (no wasted space), so it can actually fit in your pocket and you can bring it anywhere.
Quick to play: Once everyone knows the rules, the game lasts about 5-10 minutes, so you can play multiple rounds at a time, or use it as a filler game.
Nice art: For a small game, there was good variety in the card art. There was a total of 7 different characters, even though there were only 4 roles, so there was nice variety in the cards you got to look at.
Convoluted rules: The instructions weren’t very intuitive for a couple reasons. Firstly, the theme didn’t make too much sense with all the roles. Secondly, switching roles made people confused about which team they were on. Thirdly, it was difficult for people to remember their special powers (this could be fixed if you put explanation text on the character cards, or with a player aid).
Player elimination: This only happens when a policeman arrests someone, and since the game is so short it’s not too bad.
Scalability: I wasn’t able to play this game with more players, but since it is turn based, there will be more down time (and the game will be longer) for higher player counts
Box Size with Sleeves: If you sleeve your cards (which I generally do for hidden identity games), they will not fit in the box
All the different character cards in Rebels Unite!