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Subject: Sprawls-a-Lot rss

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PAUL OCONNOR
United States
Encinitas
California
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Played a 4-player match of Camelot Legends today -- my previous experience was limited to one-on-one matches. It was a tight game (at the top, at least), with a final score of 21-20-15-5 ... and yes, I scored the five (and was lucky to get it -- if I hadn't captured some fool in the forest and quickly dispatched the Archbishop of Canterbury to deal with the pesky French, I would have drawn the goose egg).

I had hoped the game would play better with four than two, but it didn't really. It was different, but not much better or worse. The game is still terrifically strong in theme, and adding more players does make it a bit more chaotic and less deterministic (which I think is a good thing). But more players also magnifies this game's flaws -- now there are even more things to read, and the cards are facing in four directions, rather than two. And because there are a lot more cards on the table, you're sprawling out a lot more than before, and all those beautiful cards start to look like a big sloppy mess.

I think the game is also less forgiving with four players. There's a snowball effect to being firstest with the mostest with a large company at a location, and it can take a couple turns to plink down your opposition with swords and roses while the other guy is collecting quests. In a two player game, there was plenty of room to move -- maybe have one strong area, be contesting a second, and sniping in a third. Here it felt like each of the players held firm control of one location, with the fourth (again, me) being the guy without a chair when the music stopped.

A deeper understanding of the game may offset these concerns, but I don't know if we'll ever attain that understanding. We'll play at least one more time, because we like the theme, and the events of the game generate stories you can laugh about, but I doubt we'll ever play this enough to master or benefit from all the moving parts this game possesses (in the form of special powers and card combinations). I wish the game was lighter, and the strategies more transparent.

I do like the game but I can't shake the feeling that less would have been more with this one. Cut the powers down from six to four or five (with bright and contrasting colors for each, rather than the attractive but less distinct icons currently employed); simplify the special powers and make them less dependent on location and combos; and add some interrupt cards that can be played from your hand to allow sudden reversals when events are resolved ... a different game, to be sure, but one that would hit my table more often than Camelot Legends.

None of which is to say that I didn't enjoy the game, or that Camelot Legends isn't a good game in it's own right. It is what it is, and in this case the problem is probably with the gamer, and not the game.
 
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Jeff Khoury
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White Oak
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goldenboat wrote:
and add some interrupt cards that can be played from your hand


Ugh, interrupts, timing rules. Too many comparisons to CCG's as it is. Valid points otherwise as many seem to agree on them. . .
 
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