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Subject: Medical students defend camelot rss

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Steven Chen
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Wow my first session report ever! And I totally believe this is all part of my avoidance behavior. I have a big exam coming up in 12 days but I don't feel like studying anymore (I'm sick of reading about heart failure!!!). I feel like doing... well anything besides studying. So yeah... let's write session reports.

I had the privilege of hosting a pseudo Boardgame Convention last week when some of my seniors from medical school came over after sitting for one of their papers. We went through a gruelling 9 hour marathon running from 9:00pm-6:00 am with hardly any break in between, playing 9 sessions of 4 games (if I recall correctly..... and yes I don't have many games but that's changing ) with the paper being a taboo subject throughout. SOC ultimately turned out to be the game of the night, and with 5 plays accounted for more than half the games we played.

I'm glad to say that SOC is quickly shaping up to be a favourite among all my gaming groups (I have about 4; housemates, medical classmates - this group prefers to sit around watching Grey's Anatomy, church group and others) and has turned out to be one of my more successful purchases along the lines of Ra and Ticket to Ride. I suppose this is competely understandable as SOC has almost everything anyone gaming with a meaty gamer would like - a rich theme, brilliantly produced board and miniatures, a traitor, a unique co-operative mechanic and wonderful miniatures. Did I mention the miniatures? One of my mates would only ever play SOC because of the nice bits and he never plays any of my other games. I still wish though that sometimes somebody would have the courtesy of asking for Age of Steam or Power Grid to be brought to the table instead of me forcing everyone to play something heavier. I do feel bad when I do that ya know..

Anyway back to the game. There were 5 of us altogether (Kim, Dan, Danny, Kevin and myself) with only Kim, Dan and and myself having played SOC a couple of times before. We started off without the traitor for the benefit of those who was learning... and managed to successfully defend Camelot on our first try. Most of us would have gone meh let's change games this is too easy if we had indeed managed to win on our first attempt, but the fact was that nobody felt satisfied because a whole array of spontaneous house rules cropped up in that play.

Kevin: Oh no... it's another Excalibur card!
Kim: What have we done?? We've lost Excalibur!!!
Da: Let's put it back and you can lose a life point instead.
Myself: (that's not how its supposed to go........)

Yeah so that was pretty much how the whole game went.. -_-'' no wonder the knights won. But it was still good because the new players managed to pick up bit and pieces along the way. And we were now ready for game 2.

In the 2nd game we tried our hardest to stick to the rules i.e. no putting back cards after drawing, no re-rolling of dice when combating catapults but again some people did it anyway. Honestly it was quite annoying having some players draw cards, read it out and then quickly put it back because it affected the quest they were on. (You're not suppposed to do that!!!!! Can't you understand you hobbit????) And the result: Camelot completely destroyed leaving the knights facing 10 siege engines, 6 black swords, 3 white swords and.... no knights. Because everyone died. This was a shocker even for me. Multiple evil grail cards came up at the beginning followed by multiple evil excalibur cards causing us to lose both early in the game. And after that the siege engines just started having a party...

After this unfortunate incident some knights started feeling strangely bold and yelled out for the inclusion of the traitor in our next game. In a strange twist of fate the traitor turned out to be none other than myself. Me. The only person who buys games in the group. The only person who cares enough to stay up all night reading the rules to a new game just so he could explain it to everyone else. Me. The person everyone targets in a conflict game. Do the knights even thought they stood a chance? No way. They were minced meat right from the beginning. But this time I had the pleasure of placing the final siege engine on the border of Camelot. And again the siege engines threw a party. I suppose it is worth mentioning I was unmasked by Danny halfway through the game (I had no idea how he knew... I was pretty sure I was helping the knights dispose of all the good cards trying to win Excalibur.. but somehow I always run out of cards right before winning). The knights were down 2-1.

With a smirk on my face I asked if they would prefer if we not have the traitor in our next game. This annoyed a couple of them for some reason. But you guessed it... they refused to eliminate the traitor and we continued playing. And this time the traitor didn't show up. But did we know that? Nooooooo. Because the traitor was present in the last game he had to be present in this one. Suspicions were rife around the table with accusations being thrown around and Danny finally being officially accused by Dan. Of course he turned out to be loyal and a precious white sword was turned over into the hands of evil. This was it I thought. One of the other players had won it. Alas... it was not to be! The knights fought back and what happened next could only have happened out of the sheer unselfishness of every knight's heart. With much thought being given to the order in which each quest was won - one of the knights had the special white card that would add an extra sword to the table when a particular quest was won or lost. He placed it with the grail and we picked our quest, strategically racking up white swords until we had our 13th (or is it 11 now...) sword on the table. All the knights then rode over to the grail and we won it within 2 turns and.... YES!! We won 4 additional white swords and with the rules saying every new sword won or lost at the end replaces swords of the other type if there were insufficient spaces on the table, we managed to scrap a single sword majority. But then what would be the use if one of us turned out to be the traitor? 2 black swords would be added and the knights would have lost. Thankfully all were loyal and the knights were back up at 2-2. (In my opinion the game would have had an entirely different outcome if the traitor were to have graced us with an appearance. The knights were lucky this time.)


Finally game no 5 came around and by that time my eyes were getting sticky and a tinge of light was visible on the horizon. After 4 games the knights have finally learned to work together for the common good - this was a funny phrase that was thrown around quite freely during our earlier games of SOC;

Kevin: Hey Danny lose a life since you've got 2. You know... for the common good.
Danny: Screw you. You lose one for the common good. You've got 4.
Kevin: Screw the common good.

Again the traitor hibernated in a respite somewhere while the knights proceeded to pick up all three relics - the Holy Grail, Lancelot's Armor and Excalibur for the first time that night on their way to a famous victory over cardboards.

And so the battle was finally over. For now Camelot was invincible. But not for long. For soon evil will return. And the knights will once again be summoned to don their shining armor and to lift their javelin as they proceed once again to protect the Holy land of Camelot from the tainted hands of the enemy. But this time things will be different. The rules will be changed. For the knights will start out as squires, earning the right to be knights only when they have proven their worth. Only when they return triumphant from a quest will they be trusted with power so great it can defeat the Shadows over Camelot. But until then the knights need breakfast, and so we all drove down to the nearest Mcdonalds and bought ourselves a burger. I reckon the knights deserved it. After all we did win 3-2.
 
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Jim Harvey
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Quote:
...and with the rules saying every new sword won or lost at the end replaces swords of the other type if there were insufficient spaces on the table...


Where in the rules does it say that? We've always played that if the total sword reaches 12+ then the game is over but all swords are counted.
 
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Steven Chen
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Hm.. I'll have to to get back and check my rulebook. I just arrived at the clinic so that'll take another 10 hours.

I THOUGHT I read that was how it went. Maybe I'm just seeing stuff
 
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Steven Chen
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Hm.. my bad. Rules on the last page says: If severals swords are laid at once during the game's final action, the game may end with more than twelve swords on the round table.

So nothing about replacing. But I had a thought about it and... wouldn't it still have the same result whichever way you do it...?
 
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Jim Harvey
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Hmm, I think in most cases youre right, it probably doesnt matter. But say there were 8 black swords and 3 whites when you won the grail quest with Heroism, you'd win 7-5 by replacing them but lose 8-7 by just adding them. Maybe thats an extreme scenario but it could happen... Maybe
 
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Steven Chen
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lol that's true!! 6-5 you mean but yeah point noted. So the knights lost then? We didn't deserve our burgers
 
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