I have a copy of the resistance which my group of friends really enjoys. I noticed that there's a game called Avalon in my local games store and am not sure if it is the same game re-skinned, or if it brings something new. Is there any value in buying Avalon?
There are several new mechanics brought in the game with Avalon. The major ones play around two new characters Merlin and The Assassin. Merlin allows the good side to have some knowledge of who is good/evil but on the flip side The Assassin allows for the evil side to turn a loss into a victory by figuring out who is Merlin. In addition to those two there are some characters that add some other flair into the game such as a good character who knows who Merlin is with the flip side of an evil character to pretends to be Merlin and a evil character who is unknown to the rest of his team. There are some other characters that where kick starter specific and not sure if you can still get them or not but are worth getting.
Overall I think the changes to Avalon add a lot to the game and make it a little more interesting then the basic game of resistance.
I know it's a little late and the expansions may not have existed when you posted this, but there are two expansions to Resistance now that provide all of this and then some: Hostile Intent and Hidden Agenda (just with the Dystopian Universe feel as opposed to Arthurian Legend feel).
For anyone else that already has Resistance, I would recommend this route as you will pay a little more price-wise and will get more than what is described above in the way of optional mechanics to the game. Also, in addition, you will have a use for your current game as opposed to purchasing Avalon which will leave your old Resistance sitting on a shelf indefinitely.
I own both, and we play The Resistance: Avalon a lot more than we play The Resistance now. There are so many more points of intrigue and styles of play with Merlin and the Assassin. Merlin knows a LOT of information, but Merlin also has to be careful about how much information is revealed. Otherwise the Assassin will just take out Merlin at the end and the spies (it's a different name in Avalon but still the same thing) still win.
However, in addition to Merlin and the Assassin, there are additional characters cards such as Mordred - who is evil and unknown to Merlin. There is Oberon, who is evil yet unknown to other spies/evil players. There is Percival, who is good and also knows who Merlin is - yet does not know who the evil players are. You could also use Morgana, who would appear as Merlin to Percival, so it makes it more difficult for Percival to figure out who is telling the truth. I'm pretty sure all of these character cards are in the base game, although I own the Kickstarter edition that also comes with the Lancelot promotional cards where he can flip between good or evil depending on what cards are revealed in an event deck.
The thing I really enjoy with Avalon is that you can make it as simple or as complex as you want. Just adding Merlin and the Assassin is great. We love to mix in Mordred and Percival. The only difficulty is making sure you go through the script properly to make sure the proper information is revealed between the players before the round starts.
While I do recommend purchasing Avalon, there's nothing stopping you from creating your own character cards with the same Avalon abilities and replace the ones in The Resistance. Everything else with the game is still the same. If you have the first edition of The Resistance with the little pocket size box, I do recommend picking up Avalon to get the better board components (the voting tiles do wear down quickly, so I still use sleeved cards for the yes/no votes).
Though I have not played it yet, I have been told it has a new mechanic.
Merlin is introduced and works in this way: He knows who the minions are and can introduce this knowledge into the game. It is important that he is subtle because if the minions can discover who he is they can win.