In the board game The Resistance are two factions, Resistance fighters and Spies. Me and my friends had some debate if the Resistance fighters can actually use the Fail mission Card.

My stand is yes, the resistance fighters can also use the fail card, because I didn't see in the rule book that they can't use the fail card.

The question here is, can the good guys use the fail card whether he has a reason to use it or not?

based on the rulebook it is stated that

The Resistance Operatives must select the Mission Success card; Spies may select either the Mission Success or Mission Fail card.

the question is, does the must is just only a Highly recommended move? or a compulsory move? based on the dictionaries i have checked Must is used in different ways.


So most of the suggestions in the answers pertains to "The resistance cant use the fail card because they have no objective to do it so."

That might be true to the plain The Resistance, but please mind that there are other modules/expansion packs in the Resistance that can give the Resistance an objective to fail a mission,

one example would be The reverser module wherein in this module the reverser (resistance or spy) can reverse the output of the mission, if resistance member already know who is the resistance reverser they can talk to each other like, "Hey reverser, pick the reverse card and ill pick a fail card so that we are sure that in this round we will win even though we get other spy in the mission group".

That is the main reason why i'm asking if the resistance can use the fail card. obviously in this expansion the good guy has already a reason to fail a mission., they can also fail the mission if he thinks that there is a reverser spy in the group and reversed the outcome of the game thinking that all of the resistance would vote success.

  • 6
    Once again - in casual language, it's fine to say "I must call my sister" to mean "It would be a really good idea to call my sister" (although even in that context it makes you sound like a member of the British Royal family). However, in the context of a rulebook, particularly in the way the sentence itself is worded, "must" is to be read as an imperative. You can add in the contrast of the fact that the Spy may do something else. It's not a "you have to do this or you will lose", it's "you do not have an option to do otherwise".
    – ConMan
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 5:58
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    Yes. The rule as worded is completely unambiguous. It's not a case of "Resistance has no reason to", it's a case of "Resistance is not allowed to". If it was allowed, then the rule would state "Resistance and Spies may both use either Success or Fail, but Resistance probably shouldn't" or words to that effect.
    – ConMan
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 6:05
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    Agree with the other people here. "Must" in the context of rules means exactly that. It does not mean should or may or can choose to. Must means must. As for the reverser module, that's for a situation where you have foolishly given the power to a spy and they screw you over in a late game hail Mary where you think you've won.
    – Daniel Lim
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 7:34
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    If you look closely at the cards Success has both the blue (good) and red (bad) symbols, but Fail only has the red symbol.
    – Tom77
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 8:15
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    When "must" means "really should", it's always referring to a future event, and its use is often followed by a "but" clause. Rules tell you what you must do immediately, where "must" always indicates a requirement. Both by the English language and by gaming jargon, the members of the resistance must vote to succeed.
    – ikegami
    Commented Jan 23, 2016 at 15:54

4 Answers 4


From the rulebook:

Note: The Resistance Operatives must select the Mission Success card; Spies may select either the Mission Success or Mission Fail card.

Further confirmation for rules lawyers



  • yigiter, Must does not mean they can only use Success dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/must Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 1:26
  • i highly doubt about this answer unless you can clear me what is the meaning of MUST, based on the dictionary must is used to give a highly recommended action not a compulsory one. Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 1:30
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    If they meant "should" they would say "should". "Must" in a rules document is clearly compulsory. If you want to debate that, I'd suggest taking it to the English Language site.
    – bwarner
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 2:24
  • 4
    In the context of stating rules, "must" is a directive. That section isn't talking about strategy, it's saying that Resistance must play success, Spies may play either.
    – ConMan
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 3:14
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    @User They did state it like that. You are literally the only person I have ever met that reads "must" in a rules document as optional.
    – bwarner
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 13:14

In board game rules must means it is compsulory, and may means they don't have to, but the option is open to them.

The rules are very clear for this particular issue, genuine resistance members are not allowed to play fail cards.


I posted a shorter version of this as a comment but am also writing an answer which allows for more details.

As others have stated, must in the context of games refers to a mandatory action or restriction. This includes many types of games, including board games, card games, and sports. If you don't believe, try interpreting must as "highly recommended but not required" in other games and see how the other players react. For example:

Volleyball includes the rule:

The opposing team must use a combination of no more than three contacts with the volleyball to return the ball to the opponent's side of the net.

This means a team IS NOT ALLOWED to use 10 hits, claiming it was legal and 3 was only the highly recommended maximum.

Poker includes the rule:

Under normal circumstances, all other players still in the pot must either call the full amount of the bet or raise if they wish remain in, the only exceptions being when a player does not have sufficient stake remaining to call the full amount of the bet (in which case they may either call with their remaining stake to go "all-in" or fold) or when the player is already all-in.

This means that a player IS NOT ALLOWED to remain in the hand without matching the bet, claiming that it is only highly recommended to match the bet but legal not to do so.

A nearly infinite number of additional examples exist.

  • For the record i am ACCEPTING the answers of the others, im implying my own thinking for the sake of argument and discussion, this is question and answer site not a Yes No question Site. FYI PS. I Believe all of you and im not repeating myself so that i would be correct, i AM looking for any possible answers given to different circumstances. OK? Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 3:16

No! Never! Who is the Resistance should ALWAYS play the success card!

If someone from the Resistance mistakenly threw a Fail, the game loses all its logic and it is completely impossible to know who is who.

You should highlight this rule a lot when explaining the game to newbies!

  • The rules have already been quoted, and require Resistance Fighters to play Success cards, by saying they must do so. The idea that they "should" suggests that they could also do otherwise.
    – Nij
    Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 22:42

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