Who were the Maquis?
This is the name given to the French freedom fighters who spent their time and their lives in resisting the Nazi occupation of France in World War II, and it’s the theme around which this excellent game is wrapped.
Their lives were fraught with constant danger. Everything about their work had to be conducted in the greatest secrecy, hidden from the gaze of even their loved ones.
Maquis is pronounced mackee
It members were maquisards – pronounced mackee-zarr
Who goes there?
During the game, on every day, members of the local resistance group (the Maquis) make risky journeys into town to liaise with others, and to plan as much havoc for the occupying Nazis as they can. They also pop into the countryside at times, to pick up an air-drop that’s been made by the Allies.
There are five maquisards (white) at the outset, and two potential recruits who are waiting near the café.
Also, there are patrols under the command of the occupying forces – every day. They drop unpredictably into locations across the town, determined to surprise, catch, and crush the Maquis.
The patrols are initially led by the militia that has been set up by the Occupiers, drawing in local residents. This militia, the Milice, starts off with five members (blue).
If any of these five are killed by the resistance, they’re replaced by Wehrmacht soldiers (red). Unlike the Milice, these cannot be killed – they’re simply too good at soldiering, and can shoot back better than can the Milice!
The player’s aim in Maquis is to control the actions of the resistance workers
as they seek to fulfil two challenging missions.
This must be done within the permitted time span – fifteen days at most.
The missions that Jake Staines, the game’s creator, puts before us vary greatly
in their difficulty and complexity.
One of the easiest involves painting graffiti on walls in town – great fun, but enormous risk.
Each game, two mission cards can be selected at random, or they can be purposefully chosen. Choosing them means that the player can control the difficulty level, which is oh, so helpful in the early days of being a maquisard.
So, the game is all about choosing just where to place your maquisards. Not only must they acquire weapons, money, medicines, provisions and the like, but they also must be able to get back to a safe house before they can make good use of them.
There are only a few cards which determine where the patroller will go to, but on every one there are three possible locations. They can only be placed in one that’s free – not already having a maquisard or patroller there. If all three places are taken already , then the patroller will try to arrest a maquisard.
Being arrested or being trapped means that one resistance fighter is lost – and it becomes more important to try to get one of the stand-by members into action.
Maquis is about placing maquisards, taking risks in the hope of avoiding patrols, and gathering together all that’s needed to undertake the missions. So it needs thought and planning.
In a nutshell …
- suits casual players
- definitely advisable to do the easy missions first
- the guide makes all pretty clear
- replayable … quietly exciting
- having someone nearby to help or comment is permitted
- shouting at the patrols is forbidden … 😊