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Shadows over Camelot» Forums » General

Subject: Played the game for the first time last night rss

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endofturn
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San Antonio
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Boy-oh-boy did we suck. The game ended at 1 white sword, 1 black sword and 12 siege catapults.

4 players, turned out to be no traitors.

Pretty much everything being done was sub-optimal from what I could guess. 2 players went for the grail, 1 for Excalibur, and 1 for the picts.

3 of the players just started top decking the black cards from the start -- mainly Excalibur and grail cards. We had enough grail cards to win it initially but the black cards caused us to need 6 more than we had. Excaliber, after being dumped the entire hand of the player who went there was still firmly in the middle due to topdecks.

The only quest passed was the picts after a second player went there and played the 5th card.

Lancelot's quest was auto-failed.

By the time we ran back to the round table we were all out of cards sitting at 1-2 life and had a board full of catapults. We sat there for turn after turn drawing cards until we finally got killed by a topdeck of the black card that adds 2 catapults at once.

It was fun though, and we were eager to try again and work better together.
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Josh

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I've had this game for 2 years and probably have a 25% win ratio. I feel like I'm finally starting to get an idea of an overall strategy.

But first let me ask, how did you end up with so many siege engines? If given a choice, definitely go for the black cards. As you finish quests, siege engines start to pile up.

My general strategy is to send one person to the grail to hold it off. They may end up staying there for the remainder of the game depending on how things play out. If King Arthur is in play, he should be trading cards to assist with the grail (and other quests if necessary). Meanwhile, the other knights can gang up on Saxons or Picts, even if they haven't even started. They're an easy way to get a quick sword or two.

Knights should probably also gang up on Excalibur. If one knight feels comfortable taking on Lancelot, he can do so, just not at the expense of another quest.

Knights should be deducting life points to take a second heroic action as often as possible (I usually don't drop below 2 life points just in case a quest is lost).

Once a couple Pict/Saxon quests are won and Excalibur has been claimed, it's a race to recover the grail before the siege engines fill up. All knights should stock up on grail cards and head over to finish it together. If you've stuck together as a team, you should be able to get enough white swords that an unrevealed traitor doesn't even matter. Of course, sometimes bad things just happen (Morgan and Vivien cards, etc.). If you can't stick to this strategy, my main recommendation is that you all try to stick together -- the game is merciless to groups that split up!

This game can feel hopeless, but despite the numerous times I've lost I still love it, and it's probably my favorite board game (with the exception of The Resistance, but that's not really a board game). Play it enough and I'm sure you and your group will see some strategies emerge!
 
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L S
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A couple of hints on strategies that I've found to be quite reliable (spoiler tag in case you want to figure it out yourself):
Spoiler (click to reveal)

As Superdude McTrendyface already said, most games are lost because siege engines pile up, so you should hold off from dropping them if possible. If a player has played the game before and drops a siege engine when he could reasonably do something else instead, he is the traitor.

Intentionally losing quests can be helpful because it speeds up the progression towards the end of the game. Usually, the Black Knight and the Dragon are good candidates for this because they're the quests that offer the worst effort/reward ratio. When you lose these two quests, you can afford another sidequest to go down the drain and still win the war.

Lancelot's armor is by far the best artifact out there, and as soon as a player is able to get it, he should go for it (pray it's not the traitor though). The other artifact quests (Excalibur and the Grail) are usually better done later in the game because once they are completed, the siege engines start piling up faster.

Even if you know who the traitor is, accusing him right away is often counterproductive. Often, even his pretense of contributing helps out in some way, especially if he desperately tries to prove that he's not the traitor.

Drawing cards early on and keeping a hand as close to your hand limit as possible throughout the game is helpful for many reasons. Besides the obvious (more cards to choose from), a big hand also acts as a safeguard against a revealed traitor. Moreover, the more cards the players can collectively hold on to, the less cards remain in the good deck, which in turn means that special cards like Merlin come up more often. Naturally, this effect scales with the number of players, so in large groups where everybody does this, you have to include the Traveller's deck and possibly a second traitor to keep things challenging.
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Josh

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Randombias makes a really good point that I failed to mention:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Quote:
Intentionally losing quests can be helpful because it speeds up the progression towards the end of the game. Usually, the Black Knight and the Dragon are good candidates for this because they're the quests that offer the worst effort/reward ratio. When you lose these two quests, you can afford another sidequest to go down the drain and still win the war.


We've taken advantage of this to win our last few games.
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