Game Title: Shadows Over Camelot
Designer: Bruno Cathala & Serge Laget
Manufacturer: Days of Wonder
Shadows Over Camelot was probably one of our best charity shop finds ever! I think it was just £3 and a fantastic early Christmas present to ourselves. I’m not sure I had even heard of the game, but the Days of Wonder logo caught my eye and Amy grabbed it before the incoming geeks who had been distracted by some Warhammer in an adjacent cabinet. This is a co-op game we’re very happy to own.
Shadows Over Camelot is a 3-7 player cooperative game. In each game there is a chance that there is one traitor, although all 7 players might be loyal. The game can also be played without a traitor if you do not enjoy the traitor mechanism. Each player takes on the role of a knight of the round table, each of whom has a unique special ability. The Knights work as a team to complete quests before the progression of evil overwhelms them.
The game is won by the loyal knights if they have a majority of white swords on the round table at the end of the game, when the round table is full of swords. White swords are obtained for completed quests, whereas black swords are collected for failed quests or for false Traitor accusations made against loyal Knights. The game is also lost for the knights if there are 12 siege engines on the board, waging war on Camelot.
|The Quests in progress. No-one is yet taking on the challenge of the Vikings, nor entering the tug-of-war to obtain Excalibur or fighting for Lancelot's Armour.|
On a Knight’s turn they first must complete their ‘bad action’ to progress evil. This can either be to reveal a black card from the top of the deck, to heroically lose one life or to place a siege engine on the board. They can then choose one action, which can be to move, to play a card, or if you are in Camelot, you may fight a siege engine or draw more white cards to help improve your hand to take future actions. A particularly heroic Knight might also exert his self to take a second action and lose one life point.
|The 7 Knights of the base game and the secret loyalty cards to determine who (if anyone) is a traitor.|
The game is primarily about hand management. Each Knight typically tries to specialise their self to take on a solo quest or work together to take on the quicker quests, for the Holy Grail, Excalibur or to fend of Picts or Saxons. The Holy Grail and Excalibur quests simply require you to play a card to advance the quest one step forward more quickly than the black cards for each quest are revealed. The fight against the Picts and the Saxons require the cards 1,2,3,4 and 5 to be played in order on that quest before 4 Saxons or Picts have been revealed from the black deck. All players may also cooperate to fight the dragon which is on the reverse of the Sir Lancelot quest and requires 3 matching sets of 3 cards. One solo quest is fought against the Black Knight, where one player must play two pairs with a total value greater than the Black Knight cards which have been drawn from the black deck. The second solo quest is fought for Sir Lancelot’s Armour and requires a full house (ie. 3 cards of one number and 2 cards of another number) and these need to be of greater value that all of the Lancelot cards drawn from the black deck.
|Brave Sir Galahad (this games Yellow Meeple) has chosen to take on the Black Knight. He has managed to muster 10 troops to take on the fight and the Black Knight has only 9, making this a victory for the Knights of the Round Table!|
There is no doubt that this is a fun co-op, but I am not its biggest fan. Without a traitor I find that the base game is too easy, however I don’t enjoy games with hidden traitors and therefore I don’t enjoy Shadows Over Camelot with the traitor, even though it is harder. I have heard that the expansion ups the difficulty so maybe this is what I need to do to really enjoy the game. All of the above said, I still enjoy the fact that this game is a good co-op that plays a crowd without slowing down the game too much. It definitely has a place in our collection, but for me it’s a very infrequent visitor to the table. The game is a 6/10 from a personal point of view, even though I can see its appeal.