Bunker Project Log

04 Mar

Shadows Over Camelot

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Much like Kyle Reese, I was in love with this game even before I played it. First, it is by Days of Wonder, which gives it a ginormous amount of points right out of the gate. Second, it is damn beautiful and oozes theme, which I have been needing lately. Finally, it is a co-op game, where my ineptitude and complete lack of luck will drag the entire group down, not just myself all by my lonesome.

Sort of.

You see, this game is mostly a co-op game, except for the traitor.

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At the beginning of the game, eight loyalty cards are shuffled and handed out to the players. One of them, however, is the Traitor card, and whilst the loyal knights are working to save Camelot, the traitor is secretly working against the group, plotting their ultimate demise.

Now, the game allows a maximum of seven players, so there is always a chance that their is no traitor. But, as you are forbidden from telling anyone your loyalty, you can only guess at who is on your side… unless of course you are the traitor!

So, how can this possibly work?

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First, there is only one way the Knights can win the game. This is by having a majority of white swords on the round table when the twelfth sword has been placed. Swords are usually acquired by completing quests.

Conversely, there are a bunch of ways the knights may lose:

  • The moment the seventh black sword is laid on the round table
  • The moment all of the loyal knights are dead
  • The moment the twelfth siege engine is placed in front of Camelot

Here we have seven siege engines…

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On each turn, the player is required to take a heroic action. This can be to move to a quest, participate in a quest, or heal thyself. The majority of these actions require cards that are acquired only at the round table, or by completing previous quests.

Here are some examples of the white hero cards. The most common are the “Fight” cards numbered one through five.

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Once the heroic action is complete, the player must now perform the “Progression of Evil” phase. This is how the game fights back.

For the Progression of Evil, the player must choose the least painful of the following choices:

  • Take a single point of damage (your character starts with four, and dies at zero)
  • Add a siege engine to the front of the castle
  • Draw the topmost black card from the black deck and resolve its effects

Here are a few of the black cards. The more common ones negatively impact the status of the various quests. There are also special cards that have particularly dire effects for all of the knights.

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Of course, the Traitor may choose the most painful choice, but should do it as subtly as possible, the point is not to be discovered!

There are several quests that the heroes may embark on. These are all related to the theme. Below is the Excalibur quest.

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In this quest. The players on the quest merely discard a white card each turn to move Excalibur closer to the “good” side of the river.

If the players successfully move the sword to the good side, they are rewarded with two white swords for the round table, and seven white cards to share and one health point for each knight currently on the quest.

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The player who liberates Excalibur by playing the last white card receives the sword and gets a combat bonus as long as it is in the knights possession.

There are black cards that move Excalibur the other way when drawn. If the sword is moved all the way to the “bad” side of the river, the sword is lost forever, two black swords are placed on the round table, and each knight currently on the quest loses a health point.

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To add insult to injury, when quests are completed, regardless of success or failure, the corresponding black card now adds siege engines to Camelot when revealed.

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Thus, sometimes, it is prudent to wait to complete a quest.

Other quests involve playing fight cards in sets. Below is the Picts quest, in which white cards must be played in ascending order from one to five.

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If at any point four Picts are placed on the board (as a result of playing a black Picts card), the battle is lost, resulting in the placement of a black sword and two siege engines.

I have played this game twice. In the first, Mrs. G was the traitor. She crushed VitaminZ, Markus, Pottse, and I with siege engines once she was revealed.

The second time, I was the Traitor. This is an unfortunate, and somewhat complicated position to be in if you are the one explaining the rules! Luckily for them, I am a softie, and they were particularly crafty. They won the game by causing themselves to lose a quest! The strategy was, they needed to get twelve swords on the table to complete the game, and they currently had seven. If they dillied any longer, their chances of losing the existing white swords increased.

As a final note, when the Traitor is revealed, s/he loses corporeal form and becomes very powerful.

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As his/her turn, the revealed traitor may steal a white card at random from any other player and discard it. Then, they may place a siege engine or pull the top black card from the deck and resolve its effects.

I heartily recommend this game. It has a lot of coop, and wondering who the traitor is really adds to the fun. Finally, the glee of the traitor is enjoyable.

Here is Mrs. G at her best.

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As I have said before, beware the Mrs. G!

3 Responses to “Shadows Over Camelot”

  1. 1
    Gma Christy Says:

    Now that is a good picture. The look is very stylish.

  2. 2
    Markus O'Reallyus Says:

    I’ve really enjoyed the co-op board games. Which makes sense because i tend to prefer co-op video games over free-for-all. I didn’t even know they made cooperative board games before. Someone was always declared a winner. Anyways, it’s cool when you and your cohorts start freaking or stressing out over eminent doom. I’m adding this and Pandemic to games i want to play again.

  3. 3
    MrRed Says:

    I want to play this game, please.

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