Our game group has gone through many stages of Shadows: in the beginning, Evil crushed us, but lately our experience has paid off and allowed us to win, even in the presence of a traitor. Our strategy is careful: if we don't know whether there's a traitor, we make sure we have enough white swords to cover for the two black swords we get from the endgame unmask; we never add siege engines as our evil action; in short, we cover our bases.
This time around, we have a full table. ("87.5% chance of a traitor," Sir Palamedes and I mention on cue when Sir Tristan asks.) I pulled Sir Percival -- the worst knight in the Table according to our game group's common opinion -- and the traitor card. Intrigue!
The game is off to a rocky start and it looks like I won't even need to help. I sit at Camelot and draw for a bit before heading over to Excalibur to dump the awful cards in my hand. (This is a good traitor strategy for players with nice cards to get rid of, but in this case my hand was bad enough I'd have done it anyway.) The Grail quest is being soloed by Palamedes and Evil is dishing it out rough with those Despair cards. It looks like we're losing that quest. Ouch for Good.
Meanwhile, on the other side of Britain, Sir Kay dukes it out in a losing battle with Lancelot. Palamedes uses a Merlin to knock out a particularly nasty Lancelot card he'd drawn, which results in a win for Kay. Following a couple more minor quest victories, most of the knights congregate at the Grail to keep it from losing, but they are thwarted when someone pulls the Dark Forest -- no more Grails until we win another quest. This results in a mass exodus to Excalibur, where I am still dutifully sloughing two-fights. Heroism gets played on the quest, which is quickly beaten.
Here's where the game gets exciting for me. Good is ahead: no siege engines, four white swords, only one black. Whereas we were behind, now we're ahead, and I'm wondering what to do to interfere. It's my turn now, and I pull Vivien from the black deck: no more Merlins until we win a quest. "That's not too bad," I tell the others, pointing out that Palamedes is set to win the Black Knight quest in short order. We shrug and Vivien hits the table. This will be the knights' downfall.
Arthur is next, who pulls a Morgan card: this one says draw and play the next three black cards. Triple ouch, and I am secretly pleased. I mentally note that Tristan's Excalibur could still cancel Morgan. (Palamedes points this out several turns later. "That's true!" I say, feigning surprise. "How tratorious of you to point that out now." "Traitorious? You mean... traitorous?")
The siege engines are starting to pile up now, with Excalibur off the board and a war or two down the drain. The knights have deduced that they can still pull off a victory regardless if they can but finish the Grail quest. I'm inconspicuously drawing white cards at Camelot meanwhile. I have a few now-useless Merlins in my hand, but not a lot to help on the Grail quest. My cover gets shaky when the knights point out that my life total is still at four. Everyone else is at two, except Palamedes, who's at one after losing to the Black Knight. Surely I can take life points instead of drawing more black cards?
"That's... true," I mumble, then in a spark of inspiration: "But I can peek at the top black card!" It's Morgan again, who this time demands a life point from every player. "Just take the life point," someone demands. I look around at my companions' meager life totals. "I could do that," I think aloud, "but I'd rather have all of you lose a life point." For my "heroic" action, I accuse King Arthur of being the traitor, flipping one of the white swords to black.
There are nine siege engines surrounding Camelot. There are five knights left, each with one life point. The traitor is unmasked. The Grail quest is nearly finished. The Saxons and the Picts are both closing in. This is it. This is the closest game yet.
The knights are forced to draw cards for their advancement of Evil: they have no life to spare and the siege engines are almost victorious. A stray Excalibur ups the siege engine total to ten, but by the time it's back to me, only three Grails are needed to finish the game off. I decide to draw from the black deck: Mercenaries. Poetically, I add it to Mordred's army of Saxons, who storm Camelot with two additional siege engines to win the game. Thank you, Vivien. You were priceless.
OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's little brother ate Pop Rocks and drank a soda at the same time and his head exploded! 'K, bye.
Great report! I've only played this a couple times, but have yet to be the traitor. I am sooooooo looking forward to that day.