‘Shadows over Camelot’ board game review
By Ed Appleby, Senior Columnist
Who doesn’t want to team up with their friends and do battle against the unspeakable evils making their way across the land? In this age of massive team-up movie blockbusters, it’s the perfect time step into the shoes of the original ragtag band of heroes.
Shadows Over Camelot (2011) is a cooperative game for three to seven people designed by Bruno Cathala and Serge Laget and published by Days of Wonder. In the game, players take turns going on quests and defending Camelot by moving their hero around the board and earning white swords. On each player’s turn, they choose whether to take damage, add a siege engine to the army surrounding Camelot, or draw a card that may move the quests closer to defeat. The game is won by succeeding in enough quests to have more white swords than black on the Round Table.
Like many cooperative games, there are a lot of different ways to lose—too many siege engines, too many black swords, or everyone simply dying. However, Shadows Over Camelot has another infamous mechanic in which one of the players might be a secret traitor to the Round Table. Unlike other traitor games like Fury of Dracula or One Night Ultimate Werewolf, the players don’t actually know if there is a traitor among them. This adds to an atmosphere of suspicion in an already tense and complex game.
This game is a blast to play. Turns are fast, with players only being able to move or act upon a quest, but not both. This can cause a lot of strategic maneuvering and discussion as the game progresses. The theme of the game is very strong, and the gameplay is challenging.
The one downside to the game is that its complexity can be a bit much for new players. Though the rules are simple, there are plenty of chances for thrilling heroics—as some quests have to be attempted by only one hero at a time—but working together as a team is the key to winning.
I would recommend this game to any group of friends, though it would definitely be advantageous to have more experienced players, or at least those who can guide others through the game.