Tibs Manor

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Return to Camelot

After Ted requested it last week, I brought Shadows Over Camelot to CalTech Game Night last night (we also played an unremarkable game of Bang! to close out the night). We played a 6 player game, with 2 newbies. It went quite well, I think we're getting a better hang of the system after losing terribly our first time out. This time we won nearly every quest - the Grail, Excalibur, the Black Knight, Lancelot's Armor, and even the Dragon. The only ones we failed on were two of the Pict/Saxon invasions, and the last one we were happy to lose just to close out the game as we had victory locked up by then. So we finished with 10 white swords and only 2 black ones. I was convinced there was no traitor as everyone made pretty solid moves. It turned out one of the newbies was the traitor, which may explain my mistake, it is a little hard to know how to play that role your first time out and he seemed to have some trouble with the rules. So two of the swords flipped but the good guys still won an 8-4 victory.

I think everyone liked it, I know I did. We did have really fortuitous card draws at times, but we played well. Our three key strategies were exerting for the extra action early and often, making decisions early on committing wholeheartedly to a quest or ignoring it completely, and trying to take better advantage of the knights' special powers. So we tried to mass knights at the various quests, and funnel special cards to the knight who plays them for free, that sort of thing. The nice thing is we can up the difficulty even if we "solve" the game, by dropping initial life points or adopting the Squire variant where you can't use special powers until you've successfully completed a quest. I also think I'll give it another few months before I bring this back to the group...it's a very fun game with a lot of theme, but especially because I'm fearful that it will turn into a puzzle that we know how to complete, I want to space out the plays a fair amount.

The other possibility is that we just got lucky this time out. With fewer players, or a more effective traitor, or worse early card draws, we could have lost. As it was a few of us were knocked down to 1 life at times and Ted even had to use the Grail. So I'm not ready to say that our strategy was foolproof or anything!


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