You play as members of the French Resistance, Maquisards, during World War II. Your objective is to free your beloved France, starting with this town your are in.
Maquis is a worker placement game from designer Jake Staines. You, a group of three maquisards, are stationed in a town and your goal is to complete two missions within 15 days. A missions could be destroying a train or distribute an underground newspaper.
To do this you need to obtain goods and perform other actions. For instance, medicine can be obtained at the doctor, food at the grocer, information at radio stations, you can ask for air drops, exchange food for money and then exchange money for guns. All these things and more, can be done at certain locations in the town. However, this town is occupied by the Germans and you may not be caught by them. During the (worker) placement phase not only do you place your workers, but patrol cards are also drawn and these patrols are placed in the town. In this way patrols may block your route to your safe house and every worker needs to return to that house after the work is done. If he cannot, he is arrested and permanently removed from the game. You have the option to shoot an officer, but you have to have and use a gun and the military will march into the town because of your action. On top of all your worries, you also need to keep the morale of the inhabitants high or otherwise you attract more troops and maybe even lose the game.
This is a very nice, solo only, worker placement game with many elements I like. When you first look at the board it’s a regular, you place a worker and then do an action, game, but the interesting thing here is you have to create a secure route from these spots to your safe house, thereby avoiding the patrols. You can play safe and create an efficient chain of workers from the safe house to a location deeper into the town or you can press your luck a bit and spread them out, leaving locations empty in between. You can keep yourself from being captured by obtaining some a gun and shoot an officer when he blocks a route, but this has a negative effect (soldiers march in and morale drops). You have to manage these risks, that’s nice.
How officers are placed is fine, you draw a patrol card with three location on it and look, from top to bottom, for an empty location and place an officer there. But there is one thing that bothers me. When you can’t place an officer, because every location is occupied by a maquisard or another officer, the officer is going to arrest one of your guys (the one that’s on a location highest on the card) and this guy is then removed from the game. That’s OK, but it can happen and did happen with me in more than one game that because of that he also blocks the route of two other maquisards. I hadn’t obtained a gun yet, because it was early in the game, so my plan was to play it safe and created a chain of workers. Didn’t matter, I had lost three of my four (I’d recruited an new guy earlier) workers and before the game even started, I’d already lost. (I’m not really sure if it’s my fault or not).
In the end, Maquis is a fun game, a quick game, it’s challenging and the different mission combinations make that this game has a decent replay value. Plus, the artwork of Ilya Baranovsky is really nice (the original is also fine, but I like this versions better).