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SHADOWS OVER CAMELOT

SHADOWS OVER CAMELOT

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The Drink: Mordred's Revenge

3/4 oz bourbon
3/4 oz coke
Top with a few dashes of chocolate bitters
Enjoy?

Our Review

First things first, Shadows Over Camelot is a really solid cooperative game. 

Okay, now that that's out of the way...

One of the unique elements of this game is that not only are you not allowed to look at each other's hands, you are not allowed to tell other players what cards you have. This is, of course, very useful for the traitor. But it also means that each player needs to make their own choices on their turn with the information they have. You can, of course, advise the other players and try to sway them toward something you think would be more helpful, but nobody has all the information so nobody can call all the shots. Some other cooperative games (Forbidden Island, etc.) can feel like a single player game if there is one more experienced player who really wants to win, and this rule successfully avoids that trap. Not to mention, it's hilarious describing how "the Black Knight could bench press a horse right now" or "my armies are tripping over their own gear." Waaaaay more fun that "this is a Black Knight 7" or "I have a Fight 1." 

Compared to something like Pandemic, where the bad stuff that happens every turn is basically the same, Shadows Over Camelot gives you some semblance of control by forcing you to choose between a few bad options. Do you want to lose a life point? Probably not, you're most likely already about to die. Do you want to add a siege engine to the field in front of Camelot? Also probably not, those siege engines can build up really quickly in the later game and they're a pain to defeat. Well, your only other option is to draw a black card from the deck, and some of those are really bad. So what will you choose? And no pressure, but if you choose the wrong option, everybody will probably suspect you of being the traitor.

The traitor is a fun mechanic where you don't quite trust your fellow players. Does Sir Galahad actually have a hand full of bad cards that they're discarding over at the Quest for Excalibur? Or are they the traitor secretly discarding all of the amazing special white cards? Did Sir Palamedes actually think it was a good idea to go to the Holy Grail Quest with only three Grail cards? Or are they just intentionally stalling? And, there might not even be a traitor. You could waste all of your actions and victory swords accusing every other player at the table, and they might not be there at all. (Actually, if you could pull it off, that would be a pretty great traitor strategy.)

 That's one sneaky traitor.

That's one sneaky traitor.

For how many pieces and parts there are, it's actually a fairly accessible game and you can pick it up pretty easily, especially if you're playing with someone who has played before. It is pretty difficult if you get unlucky and have to be the traitor on your first game, but you'll still survive.

One interesting facet of Shadows Over Camelot is that it's really hard to know at any given point exactly what you should be doing. There are so many different areas of the board that you can be working on, and so very many ways that you can lose. You might have a great hand with fight cards 1 through 5, so you head over to battle the invading Saxons, but as soon as you get there every other black card adds to the incoming army. It's really hard to know whether you should double down and try to deploy your forces as quickly as possible or just run away and cut your losses.

And making the correct choice isn't exactly something you can get better at as you play the game more. You might get a sense for how common each type of card is and figure out when it's worth losing a life to avoid drawing cards, but there will always be quite a bit of randomness so there's no way to know for sure you've made the right call.

One last note, this game can be played with 3-7 players. Which is a pretty big range. Magically, you can actually have a successful game with any number of players, from a pretty small game all the way up to the larger group. With a big group, it does take some time to get around back to your turn, but we found it stayed interesting even so.

 Excalibeer!

Excalibeer!

 

The Breakdown

Overall rating:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ - a really solid cooperative/hidden-traitor game

Recommendations:
🍹🍹🍹🍹 - DRINKERS: You'll be even more likely to lose, but the stakes seem higher
💭💭💭 - THINKERS: Definitely some strategy, but a whole lot of randomness
⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜ - THEMERS: Especially with good card descriptions, the theme is excellent

Accessibility:
📖📖📖 - LEARNABILITY: There are a lot of pieces, but it's remarkably easy to learn for that
⌛️⌛️⌛️ - LENGTH: Medium length game
🙈 - COLOR-BLIND FRIENDLY: The colors aren't super contrast-y, but are also not necessary

Want More?

Buy it: http://amzn.to/1TeAAgA
Learn more: https://www.daysofwonder.com/shadowsovercamelot/en/

SPLENDOR - Review

SPLENDOR - Review

THE RESISTANCE: AVALON

THE RESISTANCE: AVALON