Resistor_ is a two player card game with a theme that some of our readers might find questionable. In it, players find themselves taking on the role of a pair of supercomputers. Each computer is trying to hack its way into the other in an attempt to prevent “mutually assured” nuclear destruction. In short: You are trying to make your nukes go off while the other guys nukes are left as duds.
Light stuff huh?
The reality is that the concept is abstracted enough by the card playing mechanic that if the theme is problematic for your family you could easily replace it or just not discuss it at all. The choice is yours.
All theme aside, Resistor_ is an amazing game that will challenge your mind and memory in ways few other cards games can. This is accomplished through a few different mechanics that all pile on top of each other and nicely squish your brain to mush (in a good way).
First, the play area is set up with a series of seven cards laying flat on a table between the two super computer cards. These cards are double sides and all of them are printed with red and blue wires that help build a path. The goal is to make a continuous connection of wires from your computer to theirs using the same color wire. At the end of a turn if that connection exists, then you earn a point (play goes to five points).
Second, the cards are double sided and you cannot look at the backs of your cards (your opponent can though)! The backs of your opponents hand (and likewise for you) are playable cards throughout the game making disrupting your opponents strategy a regular part of each turn.
Lastly, during each turn players must take a series of actions in any order. They must flip one of the double sided cards. They must draw a new card from the deck and discard a card. They must also exchange a card from the lineup with a card in their hand. These three actions keep both players engaged in the game.
Many games allow you to shut off your brain during your opponents turn while you wait for their actions to resolve. You simply cannot do that in Resistor_. Failing to pay attention might mean missing out on knowing what is underneath a given card and cost you a point. You have to be sharp and stay that way.
I was lucky enough to play the game at PAX East 2015 with the developers. I have to admit that the crowded show floor was less than ideal for a game that requires a significant level of concentration. (Read: I got my butt kicked.) But, it was clearly a polished game experience. I cannot recommend this one enough for people who enjoy head to head competition.