27 Dec 2006

Game Review: Shadows Over Camelot

Name: Shadows Over Camelot
Genre: Board Game
Designer: Serge Laget & Bruno Cathala
Publisher: Days of Wonder
Category: Adventure / Medieval / Mythology
Mechanics: Co-operative play / Hand management
NÂș of Players: 3 to 7 Players
Cost: High
Quality of Components: Very High
Age of Players: 10+
Rules: Simple
Strategic Depth: Average
Learning Curve: Very Low
Set up Time: 2-3 Minutes

I bought this game as a replacement for Ticket to Ride Europe, that was unavailable when my order was processed.

Before launching myself in reviewing the game I must explain what a cooperative game is, since it's an unusual mechanic. Cooperative means that all the players are on the same team trying to beat the game, and the outcome of play (win or loss) is shared. This means that either all win or all lose. There are no individual winners. A cooperative game can also put a single player against all the other players, which is always nice, and usually, everyone wants to be that player.

The first thing to notice when you open the box is the quality of the components. From the cards to the boards and miniatures, they look awesome. The miniatures of the knights and the relics came in a plastic box case with spaces for each of them; just lovely.

The objective of the game is to fill the round table with swords. There are two types, white for completed quests and black for unsuccessful quests. To win the game, the round table but be fill with at least 12 swords and the majority of those being white. A draw always benefits evil and the game is lost when that situation occurs. The game is also lost when all the participating knights are killed or when the 12th siege engine is placed around Camelot.

The rules of the game are very simple; each turn, the current knight will perform a progression of evil action, followed by an heroic action. There are different actions but the principles are these.

The theme can be felt during the game, and even when a game is won, most of the time the knights are never comfortable with the way evil is progressing and there is always a felling in the air that the game could be lost in just a couple of moves. The presence of a possible traitor among the knights augments that feeling because, if not revealed before the game ends, the traitor flips two white swords turning them into black swords.

Depending on the game flow, this game could require some high strategic thinking, but since this is a cooperative game, all the players share the same effort. Because of that I've introduced this game to new players in a lot of success, but leaving the traitor outside the first time we play.

Overall, I love this game. The cooperative mechanic is something that is quickly becoming my favourite. I really enjoy the possible presence of the traitor, making the environment of the game very tense and sometimes stressful.


Blogger Davide Ferreira said...

So far its our best cooperative game, the traitor makes the game shine where it would otherwise be average.

3:26 pm  

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