Maquis Board Game Review

In tabletop games, most games can be considered as abstract games in the way they represent the simulation that they are trying to bring in the game. They do not have story that drives the decision process when doing the action.

Some can have a theme or setting pasted on the game so players will not just look at cubes, spreadsheets, colors or other generic components. This can help attract more players to try and eventually buy because they can relate more.

However, there are some games that can be considered as Thematic Games. Usually, the story, setting or theme come first in the design process and then the designer will try to find a matching game mechanism to help the game deliver those things.

That is the case with this next game, Maquis. The setting is based on the Resistance group, of the same name in France during World War II era.

So, what is this Maquis board game? How do we play the game? Are there any expansions for it?

Those are probably just a few questions that came to mind after hearing about the game. Well, in this article, I’m going to share with you my Maquis  Review based on my experience on playing the game and what I can find from the internet.

Hope this helps. Is Maquis going to be the best 1 player only board game out there?

Click or tab on any sections from the table of contents to jump right to that part. Use the red arrow button on the bottom right corner of the screen to head back to the top.

Overview

Game’s Title: Maquis
Genre: Solo only Game, Worker Placement, World War II Setting, France Setting.
Designer: Jake Staines
Artist: Ilya Baranovski, Jake Staines
Publisher: Side Room Games
Number of Players: 1
Playtime: 30 minutes
Official Webpage: Maquis (sideroomgames.com)

Release Year: 2013
Price: $32

Contents:
1 Rulebook
1 Game Board
5 White Resistance Worker Pawns
6 Spare Room Action Tiles
5 Blue Milice Patrol
5 Red Soldier Patrol Pawns
1 Morale/ Soldier Tracking Board
3 Tracking Cubes
10 Yellow Action Cubes
24 Resource Tokens:
Blue Intel Tokens (4)
Green Food Tokens (4)
White Medicine Tokens (4)
Yellow Money Tokens (4)
Red Weapon Tokens (4)
Black Explosive Tokens (4)
25 Cards (63 x 89mm):
Patrol Cards (10)
Mission Cards (14)
Quick Reference Card (1)

Expansion:
New Content (2021)

About Maquis Board Game

The game of Maquis is set in Nazi Occupation of France during World War II. Maquis is the name of the rural guerilla band of French Resistance fighters, called maquisards.

In this solo only game, player will be deploying these resistance fighters to accomplish two missions within 15 rounds or days. The mission may require some money, foods and medicines from several places in town.

Some missions may require more complex thing like guns or explosives which can take a couple more steps and deliver them at certain spots in the city. While doing so, player will need to avoid getting arrested by the Patrols.

These Patrols have patterns as where they will go in the city within each day. In order to succeed, player may need plan how to execute their mission accordingly.

Player needs to make sure that their fighters can go home to the Safe House each day safely. If the fighter got arrested, the resistance fighters will not come back and the mission will be more difficult to win.

While doing so, player has to maintain the morale of the citizen. If the morale drops at certain point, it will attract the government to send more Patrols, making it harder to avoid.

If it ever reach zero, we immediately lose the game. The citizen will lose their hope of getting their freedom and they might not cooperate to help the Resistance.

This next video from Simple History channel gives some idea of Maquis group and what happened during that time.

The main mechanism of Maquis is worker placement. In a worker placement game, player will be placing their pawns, one by one onto several worker spots on the board.

By doing so, the player can activate an action associated with that spot. Thematically, we are sending the Resistance fighters to get resources or convert those resources into something else.

Another hallmark of this mechanism is that once we have placed our pawn on a location, we are blocking that location from anybody else, including ourselves. In this case, as solo only game, we are also preventing the automated player for accessing that spot.

The automated player, playing the government will also place their pawns, or the Patrols. They can be the one to occupy a spot first and deny our access to that said spot.

Every round, both player and the automated player are taking turns placing their pawns. So, there is a bit of racing as who gets to be the first. However, specifically for this game, if the Patrol cannot access any of the 3 spots, they will then capture the Resistance.

Once all of the pawns have been placed, player can decide how to activate the action in any order. At the end of each round, pawns are removed from the board, and we start another one.

Maquis was originally released as a free Print and Play game, designed by Jake Staines back in 2013. In that year, the game got a nomination as game of the year for Print and Play game category from BoardGameGeek’s Golden Geek Award.

After that, in 2014, the designer released the second edition with the new art from Ilya Baranovsky. In 2019, Side Room Games, a publisher picked the game and run a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for a new retail edition. There was also a reprint in 2021 which includes additional content.

While we can purchase the game for the great production value, all of the digital file to play the game have been posted on BGG via this link. So, anybody can just print the file and play.

Alternatively, there is an Android app for this game, developed by Boardnaut Studios that we can also play for free. There is an option to purchase the complete content but the free one has enough. For iOS, the app was developed by Marian Gablovsky.

This next video by Realm Chat is the playthrough of Maquis using the Android version.

Components

Maquis the board game comes in a relatively small box. The size of the box is about 14.2 x 19.3 x 3.9 cm and it is also a very sturdy box with linen finish.

This version that I use is the second printing from Side Room Games which includes the expansion content in the box. The additional cardboard tokens are part of the same sheet as the token from the base game. There is also a set of Big cards wrapped in separate plastic that they put in the box.

On the cover, we can see a great art from Ilya Baranovsky, showing the two male and female Resistance fighters trying to avoid the government Patrols in the middle of the night. The top part has the France flag with the Resistance logo. There are also two logos from publisher and the Golden Geek Award.

On the side of the box, it says “Solitaire Worker Placement Strategy Game”. The back of the box doesn’t show any of the game component. It only has similar art and two paragraphs that tell us about the game briefly.

So, if people find this game in a local store, they might need to do more online research at home before returning and purchase the game right after. I guess it really doesn’t matter for online purchase.

Inside the box, the game has a plastic white insert with two big component slots. The first one is for the cards of regular size and the other are for the tokens.

The game board will sit nicely on top of the insert alongside the rulebook and two cardboard sheets for tokens. It is a very well packaged game with still enough space for additional contents.

As part of the Kickstarter stretch goal, they also include a custom tuck box for the regular size cards. While it’s nice to help sort the component, but if we use card sleeve, the cards will not fit back in that box. Even with the thinner card sleeve, they will not fit as we cannot close the tuck box.

From my experience, using a 60 microns thick sleeve, I can still keep the card and the tuck box all in the box. That is by separating the some cards into the second slot. It’s just the tuck box will be empty and can get ruined.

The game also comes with a plastic zip lock bag for the wooden tokens and a couple more empty one for the cardboard tokens. If we keep the tokens on the sheet, we still have enough rooms in the second slot.

There are two size of cards if we include the expansion that comes in the second printing. A regular size, with 63 x 89mm for 25 cards and 4 cards with tarot size, or about 70 x 120 mm. The big card can fit in the second component slot.

This next video is the unboxing this game by KilroyWasHere channel.

Rulebook

The copy of that I use for this game is the English version. Digital file for English version rulebook can be found via this link.

During their Kickstarter, the publisher said that the game will be available in different languages like French, German, Chinese and Spanish. It seems there is also Italian and Korean edition.

The digital file for the rulebook in those languages can be found via this link. At this point, I cannot find the files from the publisher’s page.

The rulebook has 12 pages with slightly smaller size than the box footprint. Here is the table of content.

Introduction (Page 1). These two paragraphs give a brief description about the settings and the general idea of what we will be doing in the game.

Components (Page 1). This is the list of the components that comes within the box, also includes the expansion contents.

Setup (Page 2). This is the step by step guide to setup the game of Maquis, also with an illustration for the overall setup. The illustration also includes components from the expansion.

Selecting Mission Cards (Page 3). This part has suggestion as how to choose the 2 mission cards that we will be using in the game. Some of the important note is that while we can always mix the different level missions, the rule suggests to just mix between Level 1 and 2 or 1 Star or 2 Stars missions.

If then, we want an extra hard session, the rule suggests to use the expansion content, which is Level 3 but put it on the RIGHT EXIT. Also, we only use one Level 3 mission and mix it with either the Level 1 or Level 2.

Playing Through a Day (Page 3 – 9). This explains how to resolve each round in general with the 3 phases, PLACEMENT, ACTION and UPKEEP phase.

Placement Phase (Page 3 – 5). This part explains a couple of parts of Placement Phase. This includes placing both player’s and Milice Workers or pawns, how to read the morale tracker, and how Soldier will replace the Milice Patrol.

From the Patrol Placement part, the important part is how during this phase, Resistance worker can be arrested or the Patrol will not be placed during a Day. This is also where the rule states that we are allowed to track the Patrol card.

A complicated part is how the Soldier will replace the Milice, like between the total number of Patrols and the number of Soldiers.

Action Phase (Page 6 – 9). This section explains a couple of parts in Action phase. From how to activate Workers, Action from either Locations or Missions, Escape Route, Getting Arrested, Shooting Milice and how to use Fake ID resources.

Some parts of this rule for the expansion include the Fake ID, Fixer Spare Room. The other parts also mentioned an example of how the rule applies to the missions from expansion.

Regarding activate workers part, the important note is that the resources acquired during a day may be used later in that day to pay for another action. Actions are optional.

Here we can find an explanation of every icons in the game. Another important note regarding icons is probably the mission icon, where the dashed border means another location to complete the objective, including using Weapon.

Shooting Milice can only happen once per day and only for freeing up an escape route. We cannot shoot during placement. We will not find those kind of explanation from the reference card or other components.

Upkeep Phase (Page 9). This explains the third phase of a round. Upkeep phase is very simple as it is only a preparation for the new round.

Ending the Game (Page 10). This part starts with how the end game can be triggered. The result can be either MAJOR WIN, WIN, DRAW or LOSE, depending on how successful we are in completing the missions.

Major win is actually a term for the expansion content with the Level 3 or Hardest missions.

Patrol Cards Summary (Page 10). This section has a table of all 10 Patrol cards. We can use this to track which card has come out and which cards hasn’t

Difficulty Modes (Page 11). This part explains how to modify rule of the basic game to change the difficulty level from the Normal or standard mode. We can make the game VERY EASY, EASY, TRICKY, HARD or VERY HARD. The rule didn’t say but it seems that NORMAL is between EASY and TRICKY.

Mission Cards  Difficulty (Page 12). In this section, we can find the list of every mission cards from the Easiest level or Level 0 up to the Hardest or level 3. This includes the additional contents from the expansion.

Credits (Page 12). Here we can find more info about the publisher, designer and artist and mentions about playtesters.

Overall, I think the rulebook is pretty good explaining the game in general. However, it is not perfect and some details might need further clarification.

For example, the rule didn’t say that we cannot replace the Spare Room once we’ve built it. The rule only says permanent which means we do not need to make it again in the same game.

There is also a confusion between the day number or the turn number because there is no explanation for the track. If the mission says Day 6, it means the cube is supposed to be on number 6 on the track.

Shooting the Milice is also something that the rule didn’t elaborate completely. Most people would not think about shooting the Milice that previously had been placed during placement phase.

Luckily the designer has been very active on the forum for answering those questions. The problem is that we have to find the answer in separate threads.

Some of the design decision has thematic explanation like why the Airdrop will fail if the worker is captured.

There are also some that become simplified for the sake of ease of play. For example, the gun or weapon can be acquired and spent by different workers but on the same turn. That is completely different to using Fake ID.

Some of the missions have extra rules that needs further clarification as well. Unfortunately, the rulebook doesn’t have a dedicated section to explain all of them.

Based on reading just the forum, it seems there were a couple of tweaks to the rule between the original PnP version compared to this retail one. But the retail edition rule is the same for both first and second printing.

Resource Tokens

The next thing we can find from the box is the two sheets of cardboard tokens. One of the sheets is for the Resource Tokens. The second also has a bit.

The thickness of the sheet is about 2mm which is the thickness of these tokens. Each token’s diameter is about 2 cm.

There are 9 different resources in this game and each has 4, which is meant to be limited supply in the game. Different resources have different color and depicted picture which is identical on either side of the token.

The Resources are Weapon (Red), Money (Yellow), Food (Green), Intel (Blue), Medicine (White), Explosive (Black), Poison (Cyan), Fake ID (Purple) and AA Gun. The last three are from expansion contents.

AA Gun tokens are not resources for the player. It will be a target on several locations in one mission and the token is just an indicator that it is there. How the game use it is similar to using yellow cubes actually.

While these tokens are nice with a great illustrations but I find maybe having a tracker can be much simpler. Instead of punching them out from the sheet, I can just put cubes on it to indicate that I have the token.

By placing the cube on the top, it indicates that I have only one of that resources. I can move the cube to the second one to indicates that I have two or remove the cube after I spend them.

While they provide some cubes but we probably need additional ones. I like this system better because I don’t need to create separate piles between each resources and between the general supply and the resources in my possession.

Instead of trading the resources that I have to convert it to different resources, I can simply just move the cube. This way, when I have to put the game back to the box, I don’t need to separate the resources into different plastic bags.

While there is no limit as how many resources that we can get but there is a limit of availability. This is a tight resource management game and we will constantly just get and either spend or trade them into different resources.

It’s not like we can keep and hoard them for later rounds. I thought just using cube and tracker will be easier form.

I guess it is a bit different with the Fake ID as we have to put the token alongside the worker itself to use. But we can still put cube next to the worker.

Another reason why the tracker form will not work is for the Airdrop mechanism. We need to put the token on the Field. It is important because we might not take that airdrop supply right away and we can easily forget which token is that airdrop.

Resistance Pawns

The first wooden bits from Maquis game is the White Resistance pawns. In a Worker Placement game, we can also call this the Worker Pawns.

We get 5 of them and that is the maximum number of workers that we can use during the game, start with 3 as normal difficulty. Most of the time, we will be using all of them but it is possible to just use 4.

These pawns are shaped like a full human character. I thought they have random uneven shape but it seems there are 2 types. One with 3 pawns, which have long leg and the other with only 2 pawns but shorter leg.

I guess we are supposed to use the first type with 3 pawns as the starting and the other two as the additional. However, it really doesn’t matter during the game as they serve the same purpose.

The overall size of both types are about the same, with about 0.8cm thickness, 1.5cm in height and up to 1 cm in width.

The starting 3 workers  will start the game at the Safe House on the board while the other two will be in the Cafe next to the Safe House. Later in the game, if we have Food and we send one of the workers to the Cafe, we can recruit these additional workers in subsequent rounds.

I guess we are supposed to place these pawns standing on the board. Otherwise, if we lay them down, the Worker Spot on the board can be very crowded.

But sometimes, I want to play the game fast and don’t bother to put them standing. What will happen is that instead of placing them at the Safe House spot, I just put them off the board because the spot itself is on the edge.

While it doesn’t matter but I do find myself picking the wrong workers. Instead of the starting one, I picked the additional one from the cafe. Because if that, I rather place the additional workers a bit out of reach.

 Milice and Soldier Pawns

The next wooden component of Maquis is the Patrol pawns either the red or the blue colored pawns. Unlike the Resistance pawns, these do not have the full human body figure but instead only the silhouette from shoulders and up.

The blue is the Milice or regular patrol that we have to deal with from the start of the game. While the red one is the Soldier that will replace the regular Milice patrol if the Milice were killed.

Both of them have different shape. The blue one is like wearing a military or police cap while the red one is wearing the military helmet. We get 5 of each.

The overall size is about the same for both with 0.75cm in thickness, 1.3cm in height and 1.5cm in width. Both types have identical shape for all 5 pawns.

At the start of the game, there will be only 3 Milice regular patrol or the blue ones. Depending on the Morale level and/or the number of Resistance workers that we still have, the game may add or remove the Milice.

The number change each day. It is possible that we will only use 3 blue patrols for most games. During the game, the player has the chance to take out these Blue patrols by shooting them.

However, that will decrease the Morale level which can attract more patrols. It gets worse as the killed blue patrol will now be replaced by the Red Soldier. We cannot shoot the Soldier.

That is the only time we use the Red Soldier pawns. As these red pawns are essentially make the game more difficult, we will try to avoid killing the blue ones in the first place.

So, most of the time, using even a single red solider is very rare, let alone 5. Unless of course, the mission tells us to kill the blue one.

Because of that, I usually use the red pawns for other things like keep track on Patrol cards. I place one of the pawns on the card summary to indicate that one specific Patrol card was already out. Sometimes one pawn can cover two slot, so 5 should be enough to cover all 10 Patrol cards.

If then, I have to use the red pawn in the game, that means the blue one is free now and I can use the blue one to track the card.

On the board, the red pawns are definitely  contrast to the board. I think for the blue one, it is probably better if they use lighter blue color. But this is just a minor complaint.

I’ve seen other people use standees with printed papers in their PnP copy for all of the pawns. This way they can see the character art by the artist.

Wooden Cubes

Other than the pawns, the last wooden components in Maquis game are the cubes. The game comes with 10 Yellow cubes, 1 Blue cube, 1 red Cube and 1 white cube.

They all have the same size, which is 0.8 cm. I think they are just generic components that we can find from any store to find replacement.

The main purpose is to help us keep tracks on several things based on the color. Even though the color has specific purpose, we can mix them up with no problem.

The blue one is to track the Day or the timer for the rounds of the game. Player must complete the mission within 15 rounds or number of days. At the end of each round, we have to move the cube one space below.

When the cube reach the bottom, the game ends.

The white cube is to track the Morale level from the Morale track board. We start the game with Morale level 6 and it can go up to 7 or down to 0. If it ever reach zero, we lose the game.

The track has its own slot for each Morale level, which is bigger than the cube. So, over the course of the game, we have to keep moving the cube from one slot to another, adjusting the Morale level.

The red one is similar to the white one. Instead of keeping track on Morale level, the red one is to keep track the number of Soldiers. We start with 0 Soldiers and it can go up to 5.

If I understand correctly, once the Soldier number goes up, it will never go back down. The Soldier tracker also has its own slot for each number that we can place the cube on.

More about the tracker board later.

So, the last part is the 10 Yellow cubes. The main purpose of these color is to help us keep track on the mission progress. Some of the missions have one or more steps that we need to complete in order.

For example, the mission might require us to visit one place twice or more by bringing different set of resources each time. To keep track, after the first visit, we can put the yellow cube on the Mission card to indicate that we have completed the first step.

Another example is that there is a mission where we need to visit several places on the board. From the missions available in the box, I can see that we need at most 6 Yellow cubes just for one mission. The second mission might need up to 3 yellow cubes.

So, 10 is the most that we need. Most of the time we probably only need less than 6. I have mentioned above that I also use these extra cubes to keep track on the resources.

Instead of punching the resources out of the sheet, I just put 1 cube for each resource type. I can move the cube up and down to indicate the amount that I have for that resources.

Sometimes I also use them to indicate which Spare Room I use so I don’t need to put the tile on the board. This will be better by using cubes with different colors so we know which Spare Room on which location.

Morale/Soldier Tracking Board

This is the small board with the size of the regular card. The purpose is to track the Morale Level and the number of Soldier. On this one card, it has 2 trackers, the Morale level at the top and the Soldier at the bottom.

This small board also use double layer board with linen finish. The second layer on top has square holes for each level. This way, we can put the tracking cubes on each without worrying that it will accidentally move to another value.

The size of the square hole is about 1 cm while the cube is only 0.8 cm. So, the cube will be very loose on this board.

I’ve seen other games that use cubes and tracks with double layer like this but the slot for the cube is precise to that cube. While it can keep the cube stay on the spot but there is a chance that the hole is just to small or the cube is slightly bigger.

Since the cube is so light, with enough bump, it can still jump out of the hole. At the bottom of each hole, we can see the number that indicate the current level for either the Morale or the Soldiers,

The problem is that when we place the cube on that hole, the number will be covered by cube. For the Soldier track, it doesn’t matter but it does on the Morale track.

The reason is that on the Morale track, there is a second number on each hole. This second number with the red font color indicates the number of Patrols that will be deployed during the day. Here are the details.

Morale Level: Number of Patrols
1: 5 Patrols
2: 4 Patrols
3: 4 Patrols
4: 4 Patrols
5: 3 Patrols
6 (Starting): 3 Patrols
7: 2 Patrols

If we can memorize that, we probably do not have any problem. I guess it’s not that difficult if we try. Just understand that the number is increasing from the highest Morale level as follows:  2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, then with the exception of 5.

Otherwise, for me myself, I sometimes need to make sure when we will get between 3 to 4 patrols or 4 to 5. I can do that by lifting the cube on it and return it back.

This is just minor issue but it can be problematic. I kind of wish that the Number of Patrols should be outside the hole itself. Maybe another solution is to use translucent cube. I’m not sure if there are smaller cubes than this.

This small board also has a reminder that whenever Soldier track is advanced, player will also lose 1 Morale level. I think that reminder is at a good spot but I can see how people can forget about it. Mostly because it is very rare for increasing the Soldier to happen and we tend to avoid it.

Considering that when the Morale Level reaches 0, we lose the game, I can see how they need to put this two trackers on the same board. Another reason is because the number of Soldier will affect the number of Patrols.

I wish there is a reminder for this for determining between the number of regular Milice vs Soldiers. The Soldier will come out last but all of them will come out.

So, if the Morale tracker says the number of Milice Patrol is 3, and the number of Soldier is 2, then 1 regular Milice patrol will come out first followed by 2 Soldiers.

In that case, if the Soldier track ever reaches 3, all 3 patrols become Soldiers. Because of this connection between the two trackers, we have to keep checking on the number of Patrols by lifting the cubes.

Since this small board has the same size as the card, there is a dedicated slot on the insert so we can put it there. However, that is not the case if we use the premium sleeve for cards and if we want to keep the tuck box.

Alternatively, we can also put this small tracking board inside the tuck box.

Quick Reference Card

The first card out of 25 cards with the regular size from Maquis is the QUICK REFERENCE CARD. This is basically just to explain the icons on one side. The other side is just the title of the game which they could have used for something else.

At the top of the card, we can see the 7 icons of different resources in the game followed by the name in that respective order. This includes the two from the expansion content but missing the AA Gun icon. AA Gun tokens are not a resource for the player and will be used specific for one mission only.

Right below those resources icons are Action icons from the Location and the Weapon resource. There is also a reminder that Weapon can be used to remove Milice but once per turn only.

We can see here that there is a location to increase or decrease the Morale by 1, recruit icon, Spare Room icon, Air drop icon, pick up air drop and Orange Shield.

Some important notes here. For the SPARE ROOM, it says that we can only add tile if the location is empty. I guess there should be a reminder that there is no mechanism to reset that location so we can add a different Spare Room.

For me, the useful reminder is the AIRDROP icon as it tells us which resources and the amount. With this on the card, I don’t have to open the rulebook to check.

Maybe it will be better if there is a reminder that the stated amount for each resource is for the Normal difficulty mode. Then, they could have used the other side for different modes.

If they actually include the Fake ID icon, they could have explained that the ID must be placed alongside the workers on this card as well.

I think there are a couple of more that can be added to this card, utilizing the other side like the Safe House icon, arrow icon which  indicates paying.

Of course after a couple of plays, we probably do not even need this card anymore. But it will be nice when we return to play this game again after a while without having to read the entire rulebook.

Spare Room Tiles

In my opinion, one of the coolest thing about buying the retail version compared to the Print and Play of Maquis is these Spare Room Tiles. Instead of just a cardboard or even just paper that we put on the board, we can take these tile and plug them into the board.

In this game about secret guerilla group, we have access to a Spare Room. By paying some money, we can convert the room for special purposes like a Chemist Lab, Counterfeiter or even another Safe House.

Most of them just generate resources in easier way than the regular but there are some that generate special resources like explosive. For the regular resources, we can still get them from regular places on the board but it can take a while like a couple of turns.

The problem is that we might not have that much time like if the mission must be completed before certain days. On top of that, there is also a risk of getting arrested which can make it harder for subsequent rounds.

The cost is always 2 Money tokens to convert the Spare room to any of these special rooms. There are 3 Spare Rooms on the board that we can convert.

The problem is that once we have converted any of the Spare room, we cannot change them again later. It will stay for the rest of the game.

If we then converted to a wrong room, then it will be a waste. So, this idea turns Maquis into a strategic game, where we need to have a plan from the start of the game.

We know all of the resources that we need to complete the missions. Then we will calculate how many turns or rounds to get those resources, related to how fast we need to complete the mission.

By doing so, we can figure out the best use of the Spare Rooms.

Another thing to consider that all 3 Spare Rooms have different accessibilities. One of them is closer to the original Safe House, within 2 spaces. The other two are 3 within three spaces from the Safe House.

Unless we have 5 active workers, we will probably can only access 1 of them per turn or risking getting arrested. Understanding which Patrol cards are left from the deck will be crucial to be more efficient in accessing 2 Spare rooms.

With that positional consideration, we need to plan which of these Special rooms must be built the closest and which the other two for the farthest.

We also need to consider both missions. Maybe for one mission we need one specific Spare room and we need another room for the second mission. If both require the same resources, then the game will be easier.

The original printing of Maquis game comes with 6 Spare Room Tiles while the second printing or the expansion adds 3 more. Each tile has a circular shape at the top just like any Location on the board.

The diameter is about 3.6 cm and the bottom art has the name of these special rooms. Each of them has an art that somehow describes what the rooms are about.

By looking at the illustration, spare room doesn’t necessarily an enclosed workshop. It can be an alley like the Informant or Propagandist. Then from each tile we can find one or more icons like what these rooms will generate and the cost to get those resources.

The tiles themselves is a bit smaller than the slot on the board. If then we lift the board and flip the board while the tile is still there, the tile will fall off. I do wish that they are larger to actually fit the slot, considering that they already provide a hole on each Spare Room location for our fingers to take the tile out.

Details of Spare Room Tiles

Here are the details for each Spare Room Tiles that comes in the second printing. The last three are from the expansion content.

INFORMANT
Function: generate 1 Intel resource token.

This can be helpful for missions that require a lot of Intel resource tokens. The only way to get the Intel token is from either of Radio locations which are 4 spaces away from the Safe House.

Both Radio stations are like the first target from certain Patrol cards. Even if we reach them first, there is a chance that our way back home will be blocked.

By having this, we can access them from either 2 or 3 spaces away.

COUNTERFEITER
Function: generate 1 Money token.

Other than this, the only way to get Money in this game is by trading either Food or Medicine into Money via Black Market. So, we need at least 2 workers to get 1 Money.

On top of that. for each trading, we will also lose the Morale Level by 1. So, if we keep getting money the regular way, we will eventually have to increase the Morale Level probably via the Poor district. That takes another 2 or even 3 workers.

Having a Counterfeiter will cut those extra actions a lot. Money is almost necessary for getting WEAPON. So, if the mission requires a lot of Weapons, this will also cut those extra actions.

Getting a lot of Money is also useful when combined with the Fixer. We need to pay extra but get the freedom to access other type of Spare rooms.

SAFE HOUSE
Function: become alternate Safe House so the workers can return to each day.

This is a bit tricky to justify the expense of converting a Spare room into this. Clearly we do not need to have another Safe Hose in the south east location as it is still close to the original Safe House.

I think the best use of this Safe House is to take advantage of the Radio station next to it. So, the goal is to get either Food, Money or Weapon via Airdrop. Being accessible to the Radio station means we also have access to Intel token.

If then we build it next to DOCTOR, we already have access to Medicine. This is probably the best position.

With that in mind, that means we still need another worker to work to access the FIELD to get those airdrop. That one at the new Safe House can probably work alone if that worker only try to access Doctor or Radio.

NOTE. See Fixer below about using Fixer for Safe House.

CHEMIST LAB
Function: Convert 1 Medicine into 1 Explosive.

This is the only way to get Explosive. If the mission requires one, we have to convert one of the Spare room into this. The problem is that there are missions that require more than one Explosives.

For every worker we place on this location, we can only convert 1 Medicine into 1 Explosive even if we already have a lot of Medicine tokens. So, depending on the mission, we probably need to build this at a closer location.

A combination with Smuggler, another spare room can also be a good thing to generate 3 Medicine tokens with just 1 action.

SMUGGLER
Function: generate either 3 Medicine tokens or 3 Food tokens.

This one really depends on the mission and the other purposes of the resources. Mostly, we will need the medicine to make explosive. Food is relatively easy to get. Either of those 2 resources can be used to increase Morale or make money.

The problem is that we cannot choose to mix the resources type that we can get from Smuggler. So, it is either 3 Medicine tokens or 3 Food tokens.

We probably will need this occasionally. It is not something that we need to visit a couple of times, especially in a row. Maybe if we have to build this at all, we should put this one the farthest so the other spare room can be visited more often.

PROPAGANDIST (Orange Shield)
Function: Increase Morale Level by 1.

The regular way increase the Morale level is by getting both Food and medicine and then take them to the Poor district. That takes 3 workers at least to complete.

Some of the missions require us to have the Morale level at either level 4 or 5. If those missions require us to collect Money and we do not have any Counterfeiter, Propagandist is a must have to increase the Morale Level back.

This is also handy if we have to kill the Patrols to make sure that the Morale will not go to zero by maintaining at Level 1.

FORGER
Function: Convert 1 Intel + 2 Money into 1 FAKE ID.

This one is from the expansion content. Fake ID is a necessary resource to complete two 3 star missions, Free the Resistance Leader and Bomb the Barracks.

Other than that, Fake ID has similar use to Weapon to open an escape route without increasing the Soldier and losing Morale. However, using Fake ID is more complicated than using Weapon.

It is also more expensive as getting Intel token itself already requires accessing a Radio Station. Fake ID can only be used to bypass one Milice Patrol. So, there is a chance that one Fake ID might not be enough.

Because of that, if the mission do not ask for Fake ID to complete, converting a Spare room just for this might not be a good idea. We probably can use Fixer spare room even with a mission that requires it.

FIXER
Function: Pay 1 Money to use any Spare Room tiles not on the board.

This is also from the expansion content. If we build this in one of the Spare Room, we can consider it as any other Spare Room that we have not built so far. It can be the Pharmacist, Forger, Smuggler, or anything.

However, there will be extra cost, which is one more money to get the benefit of those rooms. Like if we want to access Chemist Lab via this Fixer, we need 1 Money + 1 Medicine, in order to make an Explosive.

For other room that doesn’t require any payment originally, now we need to pay 1 Money. That means, the useless one would be to use Counterfeiter as we pay 1 Money to get 1 Money.

If anything, we probably should build Counterfeiter to combine the benefit with this Fixer.

While there is an extra cost, but by using Fixer, we can always change the room. If we have built the room in other locations, we need workers to send there to get the resources. So, this can be good when some of the workers have been arrested.

We will probably need this for the 3 star Missions as some of them require a lot of different type of resources. If then the other mission also requires a lot of them, Fixer is a good one to be more flexible.

NOTE. According to the designer on this thread, Fixer cannot be used as alternative for another SAFE HOUSE. The main intent was to give alternative action via the Fixer but returning to Safe House is not an action that needs to be activated.

However, the designer said that if then player wants to use the Fixer that way, paying money to hide the resistance, it doesn’t seem that it will break the game.

PHARMACIST
Function: Convert 2 Medicine tokens into 1 POISON.

This is also from the expansion content. We will need 2 Poisons to complete the Milice HQ mission and 1 Poison optionally to complete the Free the Resistance Leader mission.

Because how we use the Poison is very specific just for the Mission, we probably do not need to build it if we already have the Fixer. Or, if we need it, we probably only visit it once or twice.

Since this one need 2 Medicine tokens for each Poison token, the Smuggler can really help.

Patrol Cards

The game comes with 10 Patrol cards that we will always use in every game. These cards has a black background color on the back and we can see the word PATROL on it.

On each card, the front will have a list of 3 locations numbered from 1 to 3. These represents the priority of the target location.

The way it works is that after we have placed one of our worker pawns, we flip one card of this to determine where the Patrol will go. Every location can only have one pawns, either the Resistance or either the blue or red Milice.

If the 1st location is empty, then the Patrol will go to that location, preventing us from taking that location subsequently. But if that 1st was occupied, then the Patrol will try to go to the 2nd. The same goes if the 2nd was also occupied which they will go to the 3rd.

However, if all 3 locations on that card were occupied, the Patrol will start over from location number 1 and if the Resistance was occupying that location, the resistance will get arrested. Otherwise, the Patrol will just not occupy anything for that turn.

With this system, player needs to understand not only about being the first to go to certain location. But we also need to understand, what will happen if all of the location were occupied because we will lose our workers that way.

We will keep flipping these Patrol cards until the deck is empty. Only then, we shuffle the discard pile to form the deck again. What that means is after we have revealed a couple of cards, we have better information as where the Patrol will go next based on the remaining cards from the deck.

Some people might say that the game has memory element. If player can memorize the card, they have better chance on winning.

That might be true. But the designer has stated that he doesn’t want that to happen. In the rulebook the designer said that we can always check the discard pile to find out which cards have come out. Even the digital version of the game has a tracking system.

The rulebook itself has a section for a list of all the Patrol cards. I have mentioned earlier, I use the unused cubes or Soldier pawns to indicate which cards have come out on that list.

For those who don’t like using the rulebook, some fans have shared a card or sheet that we can print out for the list like this one. We still need to use additional game pieces as the marker.

With that open information, the game of Maquis changed from a memory game where randomness can determine the result to a more tactical game where we can react to what’s coming.

Most of the time, we probably have to kind of “waste” a round just to get clearer information. Even by doing so we can still progress through other means like gathering accessible resources.

At most there will be 5 Patrols each round down to 2. That means, after 5 to 2 rounds, we have to start reshuffling and form a new deck.

Most of the time, we can deal with just 3 or 4 patrols. So, the first one or two rounds can be used to gather easy accessible resources and the third one is where we can make a riskier leap.

Of course, there is a chance that on the third, where we know exactly where the Patrols are  going to go, we cannot accomplish the target. Either our target location will be blocked completely or the Patrol will start arresting because all location on the card have been occupied.

It’s like there is a build in trap there on several routes. I think they are mostly between the original Safe House and either of the Radio Stations.

Once we have learned a possibility of getting caught because of this “trap” we will learn how to do forward planning. The first location of the next card is probably safe but combined with the next two or 3 cards, the Resistance probably will get arrested.

Based on that, maybe we have to halt the progression of that day and try again next round. Of course, this will be a challenge when playing with a mission that needs to be completed within certain rounds.

On the other hand, we can probably tell for sure that the route is completely safe because none of the remaining Patrol cards will block the way. The next step after that would be learning how to affect so the Patrol will go to the next location.

But this is very minor. I don’t think we need to excel on that in order to complete any of the missions.

The issue that I have when we run out of Patrol cards in the middle of a round is whether to include the previously drawn cards to the new deck or not. If we include them, that means there is a chance that the same card will come out twice.

Maybe it is not a big deal but I usually do not include them again. Alternatively, we can always shuffle back before the start of the round if we know the cards will not be enough.

Knowing that information is also very thematic. This is a matter of life and death for the Resistance. They need at least some information before taking a risk from going to certain location and getting arrested.

It is not a complete information but not really a completely random one either.

Because of how we will use this Patrol cards, we will shuffle the cards a lot. Maybe through multiple plays, we can even memorize some.

Details of Patrol Cards

This is the same list of all Patrol Cards from the rulebook. The cards do not have any number but I use the number to make a reference later.

#1
1st: Pont Leveque
2nd: Black Market
3rd: Doctor

#2
1st: Radio A
2nd: Rue Baradat
3rd: Grocer

#3
1st: Grocer
2nd: Pont du Nord
3rd: Fence

#4
1st: Fence
2nd: Pont du Nord
3rd: Pont Leveque

#5
1st: Pont Leveque
2nd: Pont du Nord
3rd: Doctor

#6
1st: Fence
2nd: Rue Baradat
3rd: Poor District

#7
1st: Radio B
2nd: Rue Baradat
3rd: Pont Leveque

#8
1st: Radio A
2nd: Pont Leveque
3rd: Black Market

#9
1st: Grocer
2nd: Poor District
3rd: Doctor

#10
1st: Radio B
2nd: Grocer
3rd: Black Market

Based on the list above, some locations will be the first or second target more often than other locations. Understanding this can help us make decision.

Most of the time we can just start by making safe route from the Safe House to our target location. But because there is a chance that the Patrol can occupy the target location early, we then have to take the risk by going there first and hopefully we can still secure the escape route.

At most one location will be targeted 4 times with the minimum of twice for the entire 10 Patrol cards. I guess the more important thing to look at is when cards that share the same location will come out in a row.

These Patrol cards will only tell us the Locations. But there is a spatial or positional considerations that we need to understand from the game board. See below.

Mission Cards

These are the remaining 14 regular size cards and the 4 giant cards. All of them has the same brown color on the back with the word MISSIONS on each card.

I guess the icon in the middle is the headset for receiving radio transmission for secret information? If we notice that at the top there is a star icon which can either be 0 star, 1 star, 2 stars or 3 stars.

This indicates the mission difficulty level with 0 star as the easiest. The three stars are all from the expansion and with the giant size cards.

From the rulebook. the 2 0 star missions were meant to be the introduction, only for the first play. After that, they suggest mixing between the 1 and 2 star missions.

On the front side, we can see the title of the mission at the top. Right below that there is an illustration for that mission.

Within that picture, most of them have icons from the game in certain number of boxes. These boxes indicates the resource requirements to complete the missions.

Some of these boxes can be empty which usually means, we just need to send a worker there. We are then supposed to place the Yellow cube marker to indicate that we have completed the first step.

These requirement boxes can also have dotted border. In that case, we have to deliver the resources some place else, not to this cards.

Some of the picture also has the ORANGE SHIELD. This indicates that even if the worker we send to this card cannot find an escape route, the worker can still accomplish the job.

Right below the illustration part is the space for text. There are two parts for the text. The first one with Italic style font, is the flavor text to describe the situation regarding the mission.

While they are nice for the thematic touch but none of them actually help us with the gameplay. In fact, one of them doesn’t work that way, which is the German Shepherds mission.

This mission says that we have to use poison to the dogs. However, the requirement itself doesn’t include Poison tokens. It’s true that this mission predates the Poison tokens which was introduced as the expansion.

For the Big cards or 3 Star Mission, each mission card itself has longer part for the text. Somehow I feel like the missions are not significantly more complicated than the 2 stars or 1 star.

Compared to those easier missions which is crowded with text, the 3 star missions have more empty space and easier to read the text overall.

As the last part, if we notice, there is a white vertical line at the middle bottom of most Mission cards. These are meant to be a street connected to the Main Board.

By having this connecting line, the card becomes a Location that we can send the Resistance to. If then later, the location next to it was blocked by the Patrol, the workers will then be arrested.

Some of the mission cards doesn’t have that line. That means, we do not have to send anything to that card. The card will be just an instruction and we have to complete the mission elsewhere on the board.

Details of Mission Cards

Milice Parade Day
Difficulty: Easiest (0 Star)
Required Resources: 1 Weapon
Orange Shield: Yes

In this one, we have to deliver 1 Weapon to Rue Baradat on a Parade Day. The Parade Day can either be day 3, 6, 9, 12 or 14. We send the worker there after having 1 Weapon and regardless of the Patrol card, they will arrest the worker.

After that, the Morale Level is increased by 1. The card also says that before this mission is completed, the road between Rue Baradat and Fence is blocked on Parade day.

The card has a connecting line at the bottom but we do not need to send anybody to this card. Since the worker will be arrested anyway, we do not have to worry about the Escape route.

However, there is still a challenge where the worker might get arrested before they can do the action if all locations were already occupied. The arrest can still happen during the placement phase, very unlikely though.

Also, the rule says that we can use the resources that we got right away on the same day. So, we can get the Weapon at the Fence, and then have 1 worker on Rue Baradat as well. Unless the blocking rule matters but I thought it will only affect the Escape Route.

Officer’s mansion
Difficulty: Easiest (0 Star)
Required Resources: none
Orange Shield: Yes

The card says that we have to send workers to 3 different location to write anti fascist graffiti. We have to place markers during the action phase on Rue Baradat, Pont Leveque and Pont du Nord.

Once we have marked all three locations, to complete the mission, we still need to send 1 worker to this card. There is no additional time limit for this.

The mission also has Orange Shield. I’m not sure if it is only for the last placement to the card or for all 3.

Sabotage
Difficulty: Easier(1 Star)
Required Resources: 1 Explosive
Orange Shield: Yes

In this one, one of the exit will be the Factory that we need to sabotage. To complete the mission, we have to send the worker to this Factory twice. Then, we have to send 1 more on separate day to deliver the Explosive.

According to the designer, thematically, on the first 2 visits, the worker will do some kind of damage to the factory. Regarding the orange shield icon, I guess it is meant only to be the final visit.

The worker has to comeback safely in order to give information for future visit and finish the job. But if player wants an easier game, then we can consider the orange shield for all visits.

Explosive means we need to either make a Chemist Lab or the Fixer. The mission will be easier if we have 4 workers as that is the distance between this card and the Safe House.

Underground Newspaper
Difficulty: Easier (1 Star)
Required Resources: 6 Intel tokens
Orange Shield: Yes

We have to deliver 2 Intel tokens to this location on three separate days. That is a lot of intel tokens. From the board, the only way to get Intel token are from either Radio stations. There is a good chance that the workers may get arrested in the process.

Depending on the other mission, we can just create the INFORMANT room as the Spare room so we can just visit this place. Alternatively, we can create another Safe House next to the Radio station that we can visit one each day. This additional Safe House can be useful for the Airdrop, maybe for the other mission.

It is still going to take at least 6 days just to get the Intel, with one token each day. While gathering for the next token, we can deliver the first two.

Double Agent
Difficulty: Easier (1 Star)
Required Resources: none
Orange Shield: Yes

The mission says that we need to visit all locations on the west side of the river except the Fence and Spare room. Once completed, turn over the top patrol card and Location #1 is the location of the Dark Lady or the Double agent.

Somebody pointed out that locations on West Side can include any mission cards connected at the top. According to the designer, that is not the case.

The total locations we need to visit is just 6 plus 1 final location. It is considered as the easiest mission in this difficulty.

On each location we just need to place the yellow cube to mark it. I guess what makes it tricky is that if we choose to mark the location, we cannot do the action from that location. Like from the Doctor, we cannot put yellow marker and get Medicine.

Thematically, the designer says that we are spreading clue to the double agent. The riskier spot would be the Radio A. Where we will meet the Double Agent can be a surprise.

It is possible that we will just meet at Grocer, which is very close. Other times it can be at Fence or one of the Radio Station.

Since we have to lose the worker anyway, maybe completing the mission as the last would be a good idea. But we still need to make sure the location right away and make decision.

German Shepherds
Difficulty: Easier (1 Star)
Required Resources: 3x Medicine, 3 Food
Orange Shield: Yes

From what I understand, this mission was originally made by a fan which the publisher included in the retail version. In this mission, the occupiers is using German Shepherd dogs to capture the Resistance.

We need to use poison to eliminate the dogs. Despite using the word poison, this mission predates the Poison token, introduced in the expansion several years later.

The designer did consider change the requirement but getting the Poison itself is already hard. If we want to increase the challenge, we can change the Medicine to Poison.

To complete the mission, we just need to deliver 1 Food and 1 Medicine to this location on 3 separate days. So, if we have Smuggler, we will get all of the required resources with just 2 visits. The challenge would be how to deliver them three times.

Getting food is relatively easy while Medicine from Doctor might be riskier. Aside from delivering those two resources, there is another challenge that we cannot eliminate any Milice before completing this mission.

Infiltration
Difficulty: Easier (1 Star)
Required Resources: 2 Intel tokens, 1 Weapon, 1 Explosive
Orange Shield: Yes

This has 2 parts to complete. For the first part, we have to deliver 2 Intel tokens to this location. After doing so, the worker must remain on that location until the second part.

For the second part, we have to send another worker to this location again, sending 1 Weapon and 1 Explosive. So, this will be an exception to the rule that we can only place 1 pawn on a location. To complete this, we will be placing 2.

The designer said that the first worker still counts towards determining the number of Patrol. It’s just that we cannot use the worker.

If then we can complete the mission and both of them can find an escape route, we will get them back. Otherwise, we lose them both but still complete the mission.

Also, the mission says that while the first worker is on the location, we are allowed to look a the top card of the Patrol deck before the placement phase.

According to the designer, this means we can only look at the first card, not one card per worker. While this does help but not sure how significantly help, especially if there is only 1 card left and after that we have to reshuffle the discard pile.

Bomb for the Officer
Difficulty: Harder (2 Stars)
Required Resources: 1 Weapon, 1 Explosive
Orange Shield: Yes

To carry out the mission, we need to have Morale Level at 5. Also, before completing the mission, the East Field and the South East Spare room are unusable.

The field doesn’t really matter unless we use the Airdrop that often. However that spare room is the closest one which means in order to make the Explosive, we need to use the other Spare room.

Then we also need to deal with maintaining the Morale Level at 5. Since we already short on spare room, we cannot really rely on Propagandist. We cannot get Money just from the Black Market or it will be difficult to increase the Morale back.

I guess this forces us to utilize the Airdrop more to get either Weapon or Money. That means we have to convert spare room next to Radio A into another safe house.

The other spare room has to be either Chemist Lab or Fixer. It really depends on the other mission. We may need Fixer because using it as Propagandist can help. Then after we have completed this one, the last spare room can be something else.

Aid The Spy
Difficulty: Harder (2 Stars)
Required Resources: 2 Weapon, 1 Money, 2 Food
Orange Shield: Yes

This is actually very simple. We need to visit this location twice on separate days. On the first one, we have to bring 2 weapon while the second visit, we have to bring 1 money and 2 food.

There is no additional requirement like time limit or Morale limit. However, we already need 2 Weapon which can cost 2 Money or visiting the Radio twice for Airdrops.

This is more flexible to complete. We can probably do it last while trying to finish the other mission first.

Destroy the Train
Difficulty: Harder (2 Stars)
Required Resources: 3 Explosive
Orange Shield: Yes

To complete this mission, we need to deliver 3 Explosives to this location. However, this can be done only on Day 6 to 9. So, there is a time limit to this but if we aim for Day 9, we probably have enough time.

We first need to build either Chemist Lab or Fixer which requires 2 Money. Then we need also 3 Medicine and convert it to 3 Explosives on 3 separate days.

If we go with Fixer, then, we probably need Counterfeiter or anything that can lead to more Money like another safe house next to Radio station.

Assassination
Difficulty: Harder (2 Stars)
Required Resources: 3 Weapon
Orange Shield: No

This can be a bit confusing. At first, I thought we need to eliminate all 5 regular patrol or the blue ones. But according to the designer here, we do not need to kill all 5.

The objective is only so that there will be no Milice at all at the end of the round. So, it can happen with just killing 3 Milice, so they will be replaced by 3 Soldiers, then we can increase the morale, so, only 3 Soldiers will be on the board.

That means, we only need at least 3 Weapon, maybe even 2 if we can increase the Morale to 7 and with only 2 Resistance ourselves. Without getting arrested at all, most likely we have to kill 3.

The challenge would be that we can only complete this mission as the last. So, we need to deal with the other mission first and make sure that we have enough time to complete this one, between killing and increasing Morale.

I also thought that if we want to kill a Milice, the Resistance and the blue patrol must at least be adjacent to each other if not blocking. But that is not the case as well. As long as we have the Weapon, we can trigger the killing, even if the Milice who came out first were on the other side of the city.

Some people say that, thematically, we are sending the gun to some citizens and the citizens will do the killing.

I guess if we want, we can make this mission more difficult by having to kill all 5 Milice. If we want to do so, we need to have Morale level at 1 to make sure that all 5 Patrols will come out.

Otherwise, we only deal with the soldier. Another way to make things harder is that we can only kill if the blue Milice is accessible to the Resistance. If there were soldiers blocking, we cannot kill the Millice.

Regardless, this is still a challenging mission as we can only kill once per day. We also need to maintain the Morale after each killing.

Liberate the Town
Difficulty: Harder (2 Stars)
Required Resources: 3 Weapon
Orange Shield: No

The only way to complete this mission is to get to the final day or the END space. We succeed if at that point, we have 3 Weapon and 4 Morale.

That means we still have a lot of time to finish the other mission first before working on this one. After 15 days, there are 5 days where we lose the Morale level by 1 each.

That will bring the Moral Level from 6 to 1 and to get to 4, we need to increase by 3. To get those 3 Weapons can cost us 3 Money and 3 Morale if we only use the Black Market.

Combined with the other missions, we have to find another way to get Weapons like Airdrop, or at least the Money via Airdrop or Counterfeiter.

If we have Propagandist, that will be very helpful to increase the Morale. Otherwise, we have to get Food and Medicine and visit Poor District which can take a lot of turns.

Coded Messages
Difficulty: Harder (2 Stars)
Required Resources: 1 Weapon, 1 Food, 1 Money
Orange Shield: No

This seems like a simple mission where we just need to deliver those 3 resources to this card. However, the delivery time is specific on Day 6 only, when the cube lands on 6.

Then, the worker must stay there until the end of Day 10. Which means during day 6 to day 10, we get less number of worker but that one on the card still counts towards the number of Patrols.

It also means that the worker only return on Day 11 or when the cube is on “11”from the tracker. That means on day 11, we still cannot use that worker.

Another challenge is that this mission doesn’t have any Orange Shield. So, when the worker can return, we have to make sure that the worker can find an escape route or the mission fails.

Some people say that based on only the text, placing the worker and delivering the resources can be two separate things. Like we still need to place worker on Day 6  on the card but the delivery can happen before or after.

So far, there is no confirmation from the designer. The general consensus is that it has to be delivered on day 6.

Take Out the Bridges
Difficulty: Harder (2 Stars)
Required Resources: 4 Explosive
Orange Shield: Yes

This is an interesting mission because it changes the board a bit. To complete the mission we have to destroy two bridges connected to the Black Market location.

Workers then may not pass any destroyed bridges for the rest of the game. That means we have less escape route if we do it too early.

We also do not need to place this card on the right exit. There will be no need to place any worker on that card.

Of course we want to complete this as the last one. But depending on the other mission, maybe that is not the case. We have to do it twice on separate days to destroy both bridges.

So, we probably have to choose one bridge to destroy first between the Poor District or Pont du Nord. In general destroying the bridge to Poor District first is probably the better option. The exception would be if we have to use the Spare room on the north east as Safe House.

It also depends on how often we have to access the other mission card. Once both bridges have been destroyed, the only connection between the east and west side of the river is via Pont Leveque.

Destroy AA Guns
Difficulty: Hardest (3 Stars)
Required Resources: 3 Weapon / 3 Explosives
Orange Shield: Yes
Success: Destroy 3 AA Guns
Major Success: Destroy 5 AA Guns

This is the content from the expansion. We also need to use the 5 AA Guns Tokens and place one of each on both Fields, Rue Baradat, Black Market and the fifth one on this mission card.

The objective is to destroy the AA Guns, at least 3 of them. We can do that by either placing a Weapon or Explosive.

As additional challenge, when there is AA Gun on the Field, we cannot use the field for the Airdrop supply. Because of that, the only way to get a Weapon is by trading Money at Fence. Trading on Black Market is still possible even with that AA gun.

Obviously we have to destroy the one on either Fields first so we can have access to Airdrop. This way, it will be cheaper to get more Weapons. Destroying on the second field is not necessary but we can be more flexible.

It is also easy. If we are aiming just success, we can destroy on both fields and then the one on Black Market. Then if we try to gain the major success, we can try the one on Rue Baradat and the right exit.

Bomb the Barracks
Difficulty: Hardest (3 Stars)
Required Resources: 1 Fake ID, 2 Explosives, 1 Weapon
Orange Shield: Yes (Objective 3 only)
Success: Spend Fake ID and 2 Explosives on this card location.
Major Success: On the same day, also send a second worker to empty field and spend 1 Weapon.

As additional rule, the card says that the Soldier track starts on 3 if we play with this mission. That means, right from the start we have to deal with 3 Soldiers.

To gain at least a success, we have to visit this card twice on 2 separate days. Thematically we are investigating the barracks twice. Also, there is no orange shield for these first 2 steps so if the worker get arrested, we fail these steps.

After that, we have to visit the third time by bringing in a Fake ID and 2 Explosives to destroy the Barracks. If on that third attempt we can also spend 1 Weapon on any field, we gain major success.

The card also says that spending 1 Weapon on a field on the same day during the Objective 3 is to distract the soldiers.

For Fake ID, we already need 1 Intel token + 2 Money, in addition to turning a Spare room to either Forger or Fixer for 2 more money. We probably also need to have a second Safe House next to Radio A, so we can have access to Doctor as well for the explosives.

Milice HQ
Difficulty: Hardest (3 Stars)
Required Resources: 2 Poisons
Orange Shield: Yes (Objective 2)
Success: Complete the Objective 2 with soldier track on more than 3 already.
Major Success: Complete the Objective 2 with soldier track less than 3.

There are 2 objectives for this mission. For the first one, we have to discover the plan for this building first. To complete that we have to send a worker to a public records office on Rue Baradat, with no orange shield.

After that, we need to send worker to this mission card and deliver 2 Poisons to spike the Milice’s water supply. By doing so the Morale track gain  2 and Soldier track will gain 3 if it hasn’t.

So, after completing the mission, it is possible that we have to deal with less patrol but the patrol become soldier. Combined with ASSASSINATION mission, it is also possible that we immediately complete this second mission as well.

For each Poison token, we already need to trade 2 Medicine tokens to a Pharmacist. So we probably need a total of 4 Medicine tokens and 2 Money just to open the spare room.

Free the Resistance Leader
Difficulty: Hardest (3 Stars)
Required Resources: 1 Intel + 1 Money, 1 Poision / 1 Fake ID + 2 Weapon + 1 Medicine
Orange Shield: Yes (Objective 2)
Success: Spend 1 Poison on Day 9 on this mission card for the Objective 2.
Major Success: Spend 1 Fake ID, 2 Weapon and 1 Medicine on Day 10 on this mission card as Objective 2.

This is also interesting as the two possible winning conditions are totally different. it is not doing a better version for the major success.

With only 1 day difference, we either have to make 1 resource or 4 resources. That one Poison means 2 Medicine while 1 Fake ID already means 1 Intel and 2 Money.

This is a bit tricky because we probably have to decide right from the start whether to go either way. It is not something that we can choose one and pivot to another if along the way we see no chance on success.

Even the Objective 1 has a time limit. We must complete it on Day 5. So, it can be an early player elimination.

Thematically, for the success condition, we have to kill the captured Resistance Leader so that this leader doesn’t tell the secret to the government.

The major success means, after discovering the location, we are rescuing the leader and probably heal the prisoner with the medicine. Whether we choose to assassinate or rescue the leader, it depends on the other mission and  which spare room that it needs.

Even if we succeed on delivering those resources for the major success. There is an additional challenge with this option. The soldier track will increase by 2 and this can lead to losing 2 Morale.

If the Morale is less than 3 when this happens, we lose the game. So, this is indeed a very difficult mission.

Game Board

This is the last, the biggest and the main component of Maquis, which is the Game Board. The total size is about 25.5 x 17.8 cm with 2mm thickness which come folded like a book.

It is also a dual layer board, probably the best part for purchasing the retail version instead of print from the PnP file. The recessed part will keep the component stay in its spot instead of being flat.

On the back of the board, we can see an illustration of the city of France where the game is set on drawn by the designer, Jake Staines with water color painting style. The other side is where we play the game and has the art from the main artist, Ilya Baranovsky.

While the production is great but the edge of the board is not covered. We can feel the cardboard finish instead of more clean like linen one.

Locations

Basically the game board is  a 2 dimensional map with 17 specific city locations. These locations are where we can send the workers to to gain the action.

Each of them is presented like the zoom in part of the map with circular focus. On each we can see the name of the location, and an illustrated building that is supposed to represent that part.

Some of the location also has symbols from the game which represents the action that we can take from those locations. I don’t think this is a real part of the city in France. They probably got inspiration from real place but some of them are just generalized part to support the game.

Each location also has connecting white road. This is an important part of the game. In this game, each round, we have to find an escape route from where we place the workers on back to the Safe House via those white lines.

Between Safe House and any of the Location can be another Locations. If then there are Patrols standing in those location, the escape route is blocked. Either we have to eliminate the Patrol if they are not Soldier or the workers will get arrested.

Each location is connected to up to 5 other locations. Most of them are connected with just 2 or 3. But having more connections doesn’t necessarily mean they are safer route if the other route doesn’t lead to the Safe House.

Some of these will be the choke point that if we fail to secure it first, we can probably lose 1 or more workers. From the locations on the board, from Safe House the distance are up to 3 spaces away.

At the top portion of the board has two locations with the white line pointing outwards off the board. This is where we will be placing two mission cards which then make the mission cards an additional locations that we can send the workers to in order to complete it.

In that case, the two mission locations 4 spaces away from the Safe House.

The map itself is divided into two large section by the river, creating the west portion and the east portion of the map. In some missions, this will become things to consider but the connecting line is what really matters at the end.

Out of the 17 locations, there are 3 Spare Room locations with the recessed part. The idea is that we can convert this location for specific functions.

After we pay the cost, we can take one of the Spare Room Tiles and plug the tile to this Spare Room Location. Then, for the rest of the game, if we send the worker to this location, we can get the special action. See details of Spare Room Tiles above.

Aside from the Spare Room, the other locations are pretty much the same from game to game. Some of them have minimum function and only useful during specific mission.

I guess how static the board is the reason why Maquis game has limited replay value. The board itself dictates pretty much the overall strategy to play the game.

How we get some resources and how to deliver them will be more or less the same. The missions will just tell which resources that we need to get and the time limit.

It will be different if all locations are modular pieces that we can mix and match. While it increases the setup variables but how they are connected will be different.

There is a chance that from all of the possible combinations, some configurations will be unbalance or even broken. It will take a lot of work for the designer to make sure that they have some solid configurations.

As it is, if the developer can introduce any expansion, it will mostly just a variations from the missions and the Spare Rooms for maybe different resources. Just like the current only expansion which doesn’t change the game that much.

Placement Considerations

In my opinion, the main game of Maquis is about figuring out how safe the route is between the target location and the Safe House. We will always want to draw the escape route from the two locations by placing workers in between.

However, that is not enough. If then the Patrol has no empty space to visit, they will start arresting. Because of that not only we have to consider where to send our worker but also how each subsequent patrol placement can lead to arresting.

Locations that are just 2 spaces away from the Safe House are mostly safe. This means DOCTOR, POOR DISTRICT, GROCER and BLACK MARKET. Doctor and Poor District have to be accessed via PONT LEVEQUE and the 3 are from the west section. Grocer and Black Market is from the east route.

The challenge is that there is a chance that Pont Leveque and Grocer will be the first target by the Patrol cards. We probably have to secure that one first so we have safer escape route.

Also, we might want to choose a direction, either the left or the right side. Mostly because we have limited workers. Spreading them into two directions, especially if we go to locations that are 3 spaces away, we probably cannot secure every route.

Safe for locations within 2 spaces away from Safe House is because each Patrol card has 3 locations. We might want to leave one of them open so it will not try to arrest the workers.

Then the riskier locations would be those that are 3 or 4 spaces away. This includes RADIO A, RADIO B, RUE BARADAT, FENCE (via Poor District) and PONT DU NORD.

If the missions demand a lot of resources, then going to either Radio Stations is going to be necessary, even if not all the time. The problem is that both of them are the first target if the Patrol card has those locations.

We might want to secure the location first. However, if then the next Patrol card block the only choking point for that Radio, then we are screwed. Which is why, if we want to go to either station, we secure either PONT LEVEQUE or GROCER first.

If from Pont Leveque, the Patrol then take Radio A, we probably have to abandon the plan. The same goes with going for Grocer but then they take Radio B.

Which is why going to either Radio stations is very risky. In order to have better chance, it shouldn’t be done when we just reshuffle the Patrol cards. It will be easier when some cards have come out and we can figure out what’s left.

There is a chance that even the left over cards are not going to let us. At least we can save ourselves from losing the workers.

With that idea of going to Radio B, Patrol Card #10 is probably the obvious trap on its own. If we are going to the Radio B, we will more likely try to secure the locations in between. Apparently the 3 locations on that card will be occupied by our own workers.

The patrol will then arrest one of our worker. If we know that this card is coming, we have to abandon going to the Radio B.

Similar to Radio Stations is the FENCE as it is always the first target and 3 spaces away. However, Fence is mostly just to trade money into Weapon. I guess if we cannot go to Radio A, we can switch plan to Fence but only for mission that requires Weapon and we need to have Money.

In that situation, it is probably the best not to use Airdrop just to get Weapon.

The other time we need to go to Fence is to secure the worker after working on the Mission from the exit. This also applies to PONT DU NORD. Other than that, we probably do not visit those places that often.

Day Tracker Part

On the left side of the board, we can see a column of numbers from 1 to 14m with START at the top and END at the bottom. This is the timer track or indicates the round in the game. Each game we have 15 rounds to complete the 2 missions.

We are supposed to put a cube on this section and after each round, move the cube to lower part. When the cube hits END, that is the end of the game and there will be no more extra round after it.

Some of the numbers has brown color while the others are more white. Brown means the Morale Level will go down by 1 and we have to adjust the Morale tracker accordingly.

Some numbers also has an arrow. This is for playing with higher difficulty setting. Instead of losing Morale on brown spot, we will lose on the day with the Arrow.

Some people have expressed a bit of their confusion in understanding these numbers. The board only say the number like 1 or 2. This can be interpreted as either Day 1 or 1st Day.

The former is the correct one and any reference from the card will follow that interpretation. START means DAY 0 where we begin the game. The card will say at the end of DAY 10, that means before we finish the round and move the cube to the 11 space.

From the production, I like the recessed part for this tracker, except probably the pointy part between spaces. If player just move the cube down the track by picking it, it is not a problem.

However, I can see how player will try to just push the cube or slide it, hoping it will bounce between spaces. If that is the case, the pointy part can get ruined eventually.

That is it with all of the components to play Maquis. Now, we can learn how to play the game.

How to Play

Maquis is a solo only game. I guess anybody turn this into multiplayer session where they discuss as how to carry out their action.

The estimated playtime is about 30 minutes. This next video is a tutorial from The Game Garage series (GIVEPAUSE Hobby channel) that teaches how to play this game.

Setup

1st. Place the GAME BOARD on the table in front of the player. We have to leave some spaces on the top area of the board as we will be placing mission cards.

2nd. Shuffle the 10 PATROL CARDS and place them in a facedown stack to create a Patrol Deck. Make sure to leave some space for the discard pile.

The game also suggests to keep track of which Patrol card have come out but we are not allowed to look at the face down deck. We can use the table in the rulebook to keep track.

3rd. Place the MORALE/SOLDIER TRACKING BOARD next to the Game Board.

4th. Take the 3 TRACKING CUBES, the White, Blue and Red Cube. Put the Blue one on the DAY TRACKER from the Game Board. The cube should cover the space that says START.

Put the White one on the sixth space of Morale Tracker from the small board. That space should also say START with a number 3 next to it.

Lastly, put the red one on the 1st space of Soldier Track from the small board. That space should also say START with a number 0 next to it.

5th. Place all of the RESOURCES TOKENS on the table to form the General Supply. Player may or may not use any of them depending on how they play.

Each resource has 4 and they are considered as limited supply.

6th. Place all of the SPARE ROOM TILES on the table next to the Game Board. It is possible that player will be using all of them in any game.

7th. Place 3 RESISTANCE WORKERS in the Safe House location of the Game Board. This will be the starting pool of workers.

Then, place the REMAINING 2 WORKERS in the Café location next to the Safe House. These 2 can be recruited in the game.

8th. Shuffle the MISSION CARDS and randomly choose 2 of them. Place them at the top area of the Game Board so that the white line exit will be connected to the white line at the bottom area of Mission cards.

For the first play, the rule suggests picking the 2 0-star-mission cards. Then for subsequent play, the rule suggest choosing a mix between 1-star mission and 2-star mission cards.

If they are not challenging enough, we can choose 1 3-star mission and place that one on the right exit.

9th. Place all of RED AND BLUE PAWNS and YELLOW CUBES near the Game Board for future use. Depending on the missions and how the game is played, we may or may not use any of these.

Now, the player is ready to begin the game.

Gameplay

The game of Maquis will be played over 15 rounds. Each round consists of 3 phases: PLACEMENT, ACTION and UPKEEP PHASE which has to be resolved in that order. Each phase also has a couple of steps to resolve them.

At the end of each round, we move the cube on the Day Tracker one space below. If the cube ever reaches the END space the game ends.

Alternatively the game could end immediately when the two missions have been completed. Or, if the Morale tracker ever reaches the 0 Level space that says FAIL.

Determining the Number of patrols

The first step of placement phase is determining the number of Patrols that will be placed on that day. To do this, we have to check two things: the number of active Resistance workers and the number on the Morale trackers.

The number of patrols of the day is the higher number of the two. It can be as low as 2 or as high as 5 patrols and it will not change until the next day, regardless of what happen during that day.

The second step is determining from that number of patrols, how many of them are Milice (Blue patrol) and how many of them are Soldier (Red patrol). To do so, we need to check the Soldier track.

The number on that Soldier track represents the number of Soldiers will be parts of the patrol. For example, if the number of Soldier is 2 and the number of Patrol is 3 then on that day, we have to play 1 Blue Patrol and 2 Red Patrols.

Now, for the third step of this phase is the placement. Player will have to place the Resistance and Patrol pawn, back and forth, one at a time. It always begins with 1st Resistance, then the Patrol, 2nd resistance, and so on.

The number of Resistance workers that we can place is limited to those at the Safe House. If there is less number of Resistance, then we will place the next patrol pawn until all of patrols have been placed.

Resistance Placement

Player can choose to place one Resistance Worker pawn on any of 16 locations on the board plus the 2 Mission Cards that hasn’t been occupied by another pawn.

As general rule, only one pawn can occupy one space.

NOTE. We can only place Resistance on either FIELD location if the Field already has a resources on it.

While we should consider the Escape Route back to any Safe House but at this point, we can place the Resistance in any location. More about Escape Route later.

NOTE on FAKE ID (Expansion). If we have Fake ID token and want to use it, we have to place this token alongside the Worker on any location. Only that worker can use the Fake ID to clear the escape route later.

Patrol Placement

To determine where to place the Patrol, draw the top card of the Patrol deck. Each card will have 3 locations with number 1 as the top priority.

If the location number 1 is empty then we can place the Patrol pawns accordingly. Otherwise, the Patrol will try to go to the location number 2 or similarly to location number 3.

If then all 3 locations have been occupied, the Patrol will enter the ARRESTING MODE. Start again by checking on the location number 1 of the same Patrol card moving down to number 3.

If any of them has Resistance worker, then the Patrol will arrest that Resistance, removing the Resistance from the game. Then the Patrol will occupy that location.

If then all 3 locations have been occupied by another Patrol, then we simply do not place that Patrol.

We can discard that Patrol card and proceed to either the next Resistance Placement, Patrol placement or move to the Action Phase.

Shooting Previous Blue Patrol

During the Patrol placement phase, it is possible to shoot the previously placed Milice Patrol. The idea is by eliminating that patrol, it will open the Location so the next patrol can occupy that location again, avoiding getting arrested.

There are a couple of requirements for this to happen.

One. Player needs to have a Weapon already. This is before the action phase where we can get another Weapon.
Two. Player can only eliminate the Blue Patrol but not the red one.
Three. Player can only eliminate the Patrol once per day. This can limit shooting the next patrol of the same day or during finding an Escape Route.

But there is consequences for this. We have to increase the Soldier track by 1 and lose the Morale Level by 1. If then the Morale Level drops to zero because of this elimination, player lose the game immediately.

Action Phase

After we are done placing all of the active Resistance Workers and Patrol pawns, we proceed to the Action Phase. The Action Phase consists of 3 steps for each active Resistance Worker on the board: ACTIVATING WORKERS, FINDING ESCAPE ROUTE and GAIN RESOURCES / LOSE WORKERS.

If the workers cannot find a clear Escape Route, either the worker will get arrested or they can shoot the Blue patrol the clear the Escape route.

We can choose the order of workers to activate. Resources acquired during the Day may be used later in that day to pay another action.

Activating Location Action

The action that we can activate is based on either the Location or the Mission Cards where we sent the workers on. Either of them can only be activated once per day and for only the amount that is shown.

If it is from a Location, we can see the icon on that given location that either generate resource or trade resources into another. Here are all of the locations and their actions.

Café: Spend 1 Food to Recruit 1 Worker
Grocer: Gain 1 Food
Black Market: Spend 1 Food / 1 Medicine for 1 Money
Radio A / Radio B: Trigger Airdrop Action / Gain 1 Intel Token
Poor District: Spend 1 Food + 1 Medicine for 1 Morale Level
Doctor: Gain 1 Medicine
Fence: Spend 1 Money for 1 Weapon
Spare Rooms: Spend 2 Money to convert the Spare Room
Fields: Generate the resource from Airdrop action / Gain the Resources

Rue Baradat, Pont du Nord and Pont Leveque don’t have a Location Action. Most of the time if we send the worker there, it will be for securing an Escape Route. Other time it will be based on Mission action.

For Airdrop Action: Generate either 1 Money, 1 Weapon or 3 Food on any empty Field. That resource cannot be picked up on the same day.

For Spare Room actions, we can choose any of the Spare room tiles and put them on the Spare Room locations. After that, that Spare Room location will have that new action for the rest of the game, cannot be changed again.

Spare Room tiles are considered as limited as well. If one room already has that tile, it cannot be used for the other Spare Room.

At this point, if we gain a resource from any Action, the Resistance worker who got it must bring it safely to the Safe House. If they can’t then we will lose the resources or unless there is an ORANGE SHIELD on the Location or the Mission cards.

This includes the Airdrop action. If the worker who triggered the Airdrop cannot return to Safe House, there will be no resources on the Field.

Activating Mission Action

Most of the time to activate Mission Action, we need to send worker to the Mission cards but it depends on the mission cards. In that case, the Mission cards will have a box on the illustration parts.

These boxes is where we put the workers on. Some boxes have number which indicates the order of objective. We need to complete objective 1 before the objective 2 or so on.

Some boxes can be empty or show a set of resources that we need to deliver to this Mission cards. If we can successfully deliver those package, or just complete the objective we put the Yellow marker on these boxes.

Some mission cards may require to complete the objective on Locations on the board. In that case the boxes will have a dotted border and we do not need to send the worker to this mission cards.

Some mission will just say additional requirements that we need to meet in order to complete the goal. As example, the additional requirement can be about having 5 Morale + 3 weapons or eliminate all Milice patrols. It can also change some rules like Fields or Spare room cannot be used.

Like the Location Action, if the worker who activate the Mission action cannot return safely to the Safe House, then the objective or even the Mission fail. Unless, the Mission cards have an ORANGE SHIELD icon.

Finding Escape Route

This is the second part of the Action phase. After the worker has activated the action either the Location or Mission action, they need to find a clear way to either of the Safe House. They need to deliver the resources or information back to their group.

The clear way means two things.

One. It must follow the white line connecting the location the worker is at through other locations back to the safe house.

Two. None of the location in between is blocked by any Patrol pawn.

If we can find the safe route, then we bring back the worker pawn to the Safe House and the action has been successfully activated. Only then we GAIN RESOURCES or MAKE PROGRESS TO THE MISSION.

Otherwise, the worker will be ARRESTED. They have failed on delivering the resources or information about the mission. That worker is removed from the game and there is no way to get it back.

NOTE on FAKE ID (Expansion). If the worker has Fake ID with them, they can spend the token to pass through 1 Patrol, either red or blue. However if they have to pass another Patrol, they will get arrested.

One worker can only bring one Fake ID.

Shooting Milice as Additional Action

Aside from Location and Mission action, we can also shoot the Blue Milice Patrol during this part of the action phase. This is not related to the action that the worker can do on a Location or Mission.

As long as we have 1 Weapon and we haven’t shot any Blue Milice on that day, we can eliminate one now. Shooting any Blue Milice will still increase the Soldier Level and also lose Morale Level by 1 each.

In addition to having 1 Weapon, we can also shoot right after the Worker activate an action that let the worker gain 1 Weapon. For that situation, the other Worker cannot shoot unless they already have from the previous day.

Most of the time, if we do it at this point, it is to clear the escape route. However, we can also shoot any previously placed Blue Milice Patrol just to  complete an objective in a mission.

Remember that we cannot shoot the Red Soldier pawn. They will shoot back or arrest the Worker.

Upkeep Phase

After we have finished with the Action phase for all Resistance Workers, we can proceed to the Upkeep Phase.

During this phase, we are simply preparing for the next round by removing all of the Patrol Pawns from the board. Then, we can move the cube on the Day Track to the next space.

If the cube enter the orange space, we have to decrease the Morale Level by 1. This can mean losing the game immediately.

If then the cube enter the END space, the game ends immediately.

Ending the Game

As mentioned before, there are a couple of ways that we can LOSE the game immediately in the middle of the game.

One. If our last worker is arrested.
Two. The Morale Level drops to zero.
Three. We have not won the game when the day tracker reach the END space.

To win the game, the rule suggests different winning condition based on the mission difficulty.

If we are playing with any mission except for the Hardest (3 Stars), we have to complete both missions. As soon as we complete the second mission, we get a WIN.

If we play with one 3-Star mission, we can either get MAJOR WIN, WIN or DRAW.

MAJOR WIN means we complete both missions.

We get a WIN if we complete the 3-star mission but we fail to complete the second mission before the cube reach the END space.

DRAW means we only complete the regular mission but fail the 3-Star mission.

Difficulty Setting

The rule that I have been describing above is considered as the NORMAL or MEDIUM difficulty. These are the option to change the difficulty to make the game either easier or harder.

VERY EASY. In this one, when the day tracker reaches the END space, the game does not end. Instead we put the marker back to DAY 1 space and continue as normal.

In addition to that, if we use Airdrop action, we can choose between 2 MONEY, 2 WEAPONS or 4 FOOD.

EASY MODE. This just change the Airdrop resources to 2 MONEY, 1 WEAPON or 4 FOOD from the Normal setting.

TRICKY MODE. For this, we start the game with just 2 Workers and can only recruit 2 workers. The fifth one doesn’t exist. In addition to that the game also ends when the marker reaches DAY 12.

HARD MODE. Use the setting in TRICKY MODE. Additionally, instead of decreasing Morale when Day Track marker lands on an orange space, decrease Morale when it lands on a space with a triangle or an arrow.

VERY HARD. Use the same rule as TRICKY + HARD MODE. Additionally, we also lose 1 Morale everytime the worker get arrested.

That is it with how to play Maquis board game. On BGG, we can find more fan made contents like more missions and how to turn this into campaign game that we can try for free.

My Experience and Thoughts

I already mentioned above that the theme and setting of Maquis are not exactly the type that I’m interested in. It is really hard for me to enjoy this kind of survival game.

It is also very punishing. Losing the worker will definitely make the game harder, at least when we can only have 2. Even three is already difficult when we have to go to the mission cards multiple times.

Maybe other people who love this game and very good at it can still make it with just 2 workers. But for me, it seems easy to tell and it’s like we already lose the game even a couple rounds ahead.

Other game with the closest similarity that I have played is probably Tiny Epic Defenders, which is a tower defense game. In that one, when we lose a region, at least, we get something from 3 action points per character into four.

While the game will be more difficult but at the same time we have another opportunity. Maquis doesn’t have that. If anything, when we only have 2 workers against just 2 patrols, it is even more difficult to predict the card as each round we will only reveal 2 Patrol cards.

Some people might say that it is supposed to be punishing. That replicates the actual situation on that era. Sure, but that other game that I have tried still feel punishing.

My issue is that I keep asking myself whether to proceed by accepting the penalty or just reset the game. When I choose to reset, I’m still not convinced that I can still win. At that point, why not just restart the game.

Luckily, I think there is a way to just restart the round. To restart, we just remove the pawns from the board and put back the Patrol cards to the deck.

We know exactly the number of Patrol cards and which card to return to the deck. Even if we return everything, it can still open to a new challenge.

Some might say it’s cheating. Sure. But it makes the game more enjoyable for me.

On the other hand, I also encourage new players to try to play that way. I think it makes me aware of as why the worker got arrested.

On the forum I also saw other players got frustrated with how punishing this game is. Also, even though the designer has said that we are supposed to keep track on the Patrol cards, some people seem to keep playing randomly.

To be fair, sometimes it does feel too easy. But then again, the game doesn’t seem to give alternative way to play or to recover from failure.

I haven’t tried shooting the Milice just to avoid getting arrested or clearing the escape route. It’s a nice, even thematic idea. But then, even getting a Weapon is already expensive.

At least, we already lose the time to get the Weapon and spending it just to open the blocking doesn’t seem to help that much. We also lose Morale, which we have to pay with time to increase it back.

Then, eventually we have to deal with Soldier. That shooting become meaningless. I can see that maybe shooting can be an alternative towards the end of the game.

Like when we know we only need one more round. On the final round where we don’t care about getting the workers back after completing the mission. Other than that, I don’t feel shooting is a good idea.

For the spare room, for my first couple of plays, I rarely touch them. Except when the mission requires specific resource that we can only get from the spare room.

I think it is more challenging. Now, after I learned more, I have to agree with a lot of players that having another Safe House helps a lot. There is still a trap though.

I want to say that maybe some missions should forbid using certain spare rooms. But then again, it feels like it’s already tight even if we use them.

At most, 10 or 12 rounds is the fastest, again, with my poor play. Unless it double the speed to complete, forbidding the spare room just makes it impossible.

So far, from my 1 play with 3-star mission, I completed that mission but didn’t make any progress at all for the other one. That is after what I thought as optimal play.

Sure that other people can point out a better strategy. But my point is that the game is about finding tiny extra efficiency with really no rooms to be flexible and very punishing for failing.

From what I understand, that can come from taking a risk after reading the left over cards. If we can find a situation where we don’t need to spend workers doing nothing but securing the location, then we can get extra action.

That might be true and that is very satisfying when we can spot them. But then, it is still relying on the random order of the card. So, a good portion of that chance comes from the luck of the game.

There is a chance that we might not find it at all. Or, we do find it but we also need to do something else.

I already mentioned above that I think because the board is mostly static, there is almost no setup variability. For the most part, if we want to get certain resources, everybody knows where to go and it may be the only one.

What will happen is that the the overall strategy will be the same from game to game. Missions will spice things up by adding extra requirement like time but chances are, we are doing the same thing.

The only things that make it difference is probably the Spare Room Tiles. Even they are very limited and some might be required to complete the mission. In that case, that means the variety of that mission is also not that much.

The combination of missions might change the game a bit but what the player can do is still the same. I even think maybe they cannot go even more complex than 1 3-star mission. As I said before, I barely had time to work on the other mission.

So, the game kind of stuck. Not only from the player’s perspective with their strategy but also how far the game can grow.

I think this is not a criticism specifically for the game but for game with Worker Placement game in general. At least the standard worker placement game as there are a lot of attempts to improve that systems.

If the board is static with no or limited way to modify each spot, the chances are there will be an optimal strategy. Players will just keep going to that strategy again.

Some people say that we might not want to play this game multiple times in a row. I think I will agree to that.

It will be different if the game uses Modular Board system, not just for the Spare rooms tiles. Like if we can switch places between Safe House and probably Doctor location.

Of course, this will lead to a lot of design issue like connection, distance and probably the Patrol card. Also, I don’t know how accurate the locations in this game to the actual places. That is another limiting factor if the designer wants to stay close to the fact.

Despite all that, the gameplay is solid. Trying to read and predict the leftover cards and make decision based on in is a fun challenge. Taking a risk and it turns out well is very satisfying.

It’s just that I wish it wasn’t so punishing. Even if it’s not another mitigation, but I wish there is a chance to comeback from getting arrested.

Otherwise, we are dealing against layers of randomness. We have to play safe and may not succeed that much with higher difficulty missions.

Maybe that is the experience and theme that this game is trying to introduce. Some people may like it but there are others like me who don’t always want to play that kind of game.

I guess it’s not a game that we can just buy one game and get a lot of experience. I think for solo gamers, this is a nice addition to the collection where we can play once in a while but we probably will seek other game.

Expansion

Up to this point, there is only one major official expansion for Maquis. Fans have been creating and sharing their own unofficial missions for free that we can print and play with.

It is possible that in the future, the publisher will be including those fan made variants as official contents. Maybe they will do another crowdfunding campaign for the third print run. We can follow the publisher’s Kickstarter account for the latest update.

New Content (2021)

For those who bought the second printing of Maquis from Side Room Games, the content of this expansion is included in the base game box and has been mentioned above in this article.

The publisher is offering the expansion content separately for those who bought the first edition. We can purchase this expansion for $6 from the publisher’s website.

The expansion contents includes the 3 new type resources, each with 4 tokens, which are POISON, FAKE ID and AA GUNS tokens. We will also get 3 new SPARE ROOM TILES, which are the FORGER, FIXER and PHARMACIST.

Lastly, we will also get 4 3-STAR-MISSION CARDS as discussed above. The cards for these 4 missions will use Tarot Size, which is different from the regular mission cards.

This expansion will come in a tuck box also a separate rule sheet to add to the first edition copy. If the size of the box from both edition are the same, we can put the content of the expansion to the base box. However, we probably have to discard the tuck box itself.

Conclusion

Maquis was originally a self published game by Jake Staines from back in 2013 as a Print and Play game. It was so popular that Side Room Games as publisher picked the game and released a retail edition with a great production value.

This is a worker placement game for one player only set in France during World War II. We are playing as a Resistance group trying to dismantle Nazi from occupying their city in guerilla warfare.

Each game we have to complete 2 missions like destroying a train, assassinate patrols. We do that by first gathering the required resources from around the city and then deliver them to certain place while avoiding getting arrested by the Patrols.

Each round we have to place the Resistance pawn or worker on any of 16 locations on the board to either get resources or trade them into other resources. We start with 3 pawns but we can recruit more up to 5.

After placing 1 worker, we need to flip the Patrol deck and that card will tell us where the Patrol or Milice Pawn will occupy. We keep doing this until all active pawns have been placed on the board.

Like the standard worker placement game, each location can only be occupied by one pawn. So, if we do not send the worker to a location first, the Patrol might take that preventing us for placing on that spot until the next round.

The challenge is that the Patrol can arrest the Resistance. Each Patrol card has 3 locations and if the first one is occupied, the Patrol will go to the next one.

However, if all 3 locations were occupied, the Patrol will switch to arresting mode. Any of that 3 locations that has the Resistance on it, start from the top location, the Patrol will go there and capture that Resistance.

Once captured, the Resistance will not be available again for the rest of the game and make the game even harder.  Because of that system, while we can predict the leftover cards to come out next, we cannot just consider the first location.

We have to make sure that the next couple of cards will still have empty locations for Patrols to occupy. Placing the Worker on that location first can definitely change where the Patrol will go.

In addition to that, we can also try to eliminate the regular Patrol so the previously occupied place will be open again. However, there is a cost to this.

For subsequent rounds, Soldier will take over the eliminated regular Patrol. We cannot eliminate the Soldier.

Also, we lose 1 Morale Level, starting from Level 5 and if it drops to zero, we will immediately lose the game. So, while working on the missions, we also need to maintain this Morale level.

That idea might be nice and possibly thematic, but most of the time eliminating a Milice is more like a last resort. Getting a Weapon is not cheap and there is no upside to that situation.

Another twist idea to the standard worker placement is that the Resistance pawn must be able to return to Safe House safely in order to successfully activate the action. What that means is, each location on the board is connected by a road.

There will be a couple more locations between the target location and the Safe House. If any of them is occupied by the Patrol, the Resistance cannot return and thus fail to bring the resources or progress on the mission.

Unless, the mission or the location has the Orange Shield icon. Even if the worker got captured, the work is still done.

So, placing the worker in this game is not just because we want to activate the action from that location but we also need to secure the Escape Route. This is very thematic but also very punishing.

There is also a time limit of 15 rounds to complete both missions. Ideally, we don’t want to waste time just placing the worker for securing the route with no action. But it is better than getting multiple workers arrested.

The game comes with a lot of different missions from 4 different difficulties that we can mix and match. Some of them just required different set of resources to complete but others require additional constraint like time limit just for that mission.

While that can give a lot of setup variety, the overall strategy remains similar. The main game board and their locations are very static. Where we get certain resources will always be the same.

There are 3 Spare room locations that we can convert to specific functions. However, there is a cost for each conversion and if the missions required specific special resources, it is probably from one of the Spare Rooms Tiles.

That is another limiting factor for the replay value of this game. As it is, I feel like the game kind of stuck for more content. Adding new element to the game will just replace the existing one without opening the same level of opportunity.

Despite all of that, I enjoy the challenge that this game offers and from learning the thematic reasoning behind every aspect of the design. It’s just that it is probably not a game that we want to keep playing multiple times in a row.

More Similar Games

There are many tabletop games out there whether a board or card game that might share some similarities to Maquis. Some people may look for those similarities that they enjoy. It can be the mechanism or even just the same theme or setting.

Unfortunately, this setting in World War II and survival theme is not really the kind of game I’m interested in usually. So, I probably don’t know other games with that similarities.

Maquis is also a solitaire only game. The only solo only game that I have tried is Finished!, which is a totally different game.

Games for multiplayer can have solo variant. So far, the games that I have played do not seem to have similar experience as Maquis.

These are just some games that I have tried, played and written a review for them, up to this point.  Check out the link to each article to find out more and also check this Complete list for more games.

Action Point System – Forward Planning

While the main mechanism of Maquis is worker placement, I think the main appeal is about figuring out where the Patrol is going next in a given round.

This requires some forward planning several steps ahead. Sometimes we also need to consider carrying out the plan in the next round. We have to read the Patrol cards and make decision on what is left from the deck.

We know what is coming and make plans around it. Another thing to consider is how to decide in which order to activate the action. One action can help the other actions.

In a way the worker pawns are like ACTION POINTS that the player will get each round. Player will then have to find the best way to spend them all.

Targi is probably the closest example not just for this forward planning aspect but also for the Worker Placement aspect. Unlike Maquis, which is a solo only game, Targi is designed specifically for 2 player as competitive game.

Similar to Maquis, in Targi, we will be placing all 3 Worker pawns as the first part of each round and then we have to decide which action to activate first. Maybe one action can generate resources that we can use for the second or third action in the same round.

What’s interesting about Targi is that the 3 workers can create intersections on the board which can lead to additional actions. So, there is extra spatial consideration which is different from Maquis.

For games with Action Points but not worker placements, we can also try Café. This is a card game where we have to overlap cards so that the similar icons will be adjacent to each other. Another game with spatial aspect.

In this game we start only with 1 Action Point per turn and there is a way to increase the Action Points. However, by creating a group of adjacent similar icons, the result of the action based on those icons can be increased.

So, even if we only do like 4 actions at the end of the game, there will be a sense of progression or engine building as the result keeps getting better.

Tiny Epic Defenders is another game with Action Point system. This is a tower defense game in medieval fantasy settings where we will be controlling characters like Elves, Dwarfs to protect a castle.

Each round we only have like 4 Action Points per character to do a lot of different actions like moving, attacking, defending or activating the abilities. While we will not lose the character or pawn like in Maquis but overtime the threat level will keep getting higher.

Worker Placement – Action Selection

In a worker placement game like Maquis, it is basically a drafting game. From all of the available option, we have to choose one by placing the worker pawn and leaving the rest to our opponent. There is a blocking element, preventing the opponent from accessing certain action by going to that action first.

Unlike drafting in card games, where the market will constantly change, these actions we can choose in worker placement game tend to stay the same. So, it is easier to predict and make a plan from it because we know what is available in the next round.

The challenge in this type of game would be figuring out where the opponent is going to go next.

In Maquis, we are choosing the location to occupy. Each location has a unique actions that we can activate whether to get or trade resources or to complete a mission.

I already mentioned Targi above, which is also a worker placement game. It also has locations to get more resources, trade them or to fulfill the objective.

Another one that I have played is Mint Works. This is mostly a micro game, where the game component can fit in a small tin.

The unique thing about this one is that the Mint token which is the only resource serves as the workers as well. The location we can send the workers to sometimes has a requirement as for the amount of tokens we need to spend so we can occupy that space.

For a bigger game, I have played Architects of the West Kingdom. However, the blocking part in this worker placement game is a bit different as we are allowed to have multiple workers at the same locations.

This has that idea but only in minor portion with the Black Market location where only 1 worker can occupy that space. For the other locations the more workers we have there will increase the value of actions that we can activate from any given location.

The twist is that other player can then try to capture or arrest the opponent’s worker from a single place. The more workers that we can capture, the more reward that we can get.

Unlike Maquis, getting the workers arrested in this game is not that big of a deal. We probably can get them back even if we have to pay.

For a card game, Oh My Goods! is kind of worker placement game. However, this is mostly a multiplayer solitaire. So, we are not blocking our opponent but we can only choose which of our own factories to activate by playing that worker card.

We start with just one worker card and over the course of the game, we probably add one or two at most. The unique thing about that first worker is that there are 2 sides.

We can choose the efficient or sloppy workers. This will affect the result of that factory production.

Final Words

That is all I can share with you about Maquis, another worker placement game but this time for 1 player only. This is probably the first game that I have written a review about that can be considered as a thematic game.

I may have missed something that I should have discussed regarding the game. Please don’t hesitate to point that out and share what you know related to this game and I will update this article.

I keep saying that these tabletop games can be a good way to spend some time without looking at the screen of our gadget. If we do have someone close, that we can play with, there are other games where we can play cooperatively or competitively but with a lot of player interaction.

The game can be very fast or like a filler type or it can take hours to play. Some games can also be played in solitaire mode and they are still more engaging than other entertainment activity. Some may say, it’s like a workout for the gray matter of our brain.

So, what is your experience on playing this game? If you know other games similar or even better than this, please do share via the comment section below. I would love to learn and play that game, assuming I can get a copy.

This article is just my notes about what I can find from the internet. Hopefully this can help anybody who reads it.

Thanks for reading.

 

Mark M.

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