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Shadows over Camelot» Forums » General

Subject: How to make the game the most balanced rss

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Alex Rockwell
United States
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Balance is important to me, and in games like this, having a roughly 50-50 balance between winning and losing is important to me. I dont like it when you either usually win or usually lose.

I have found that the difficulty of the game varies wildly based on the nubmer of players, and especially, the existence or lack of a traitor. A low # of players with a traitor is pretty much impossible. Too many players and the game seems quite easy (even with a traitor, in something like 7 player, and probably 6).

The two games I have found to be most balanced are:

5 player with Traitor. (Either guaranteed traitor, or traitor + 5 loyal cards, for a 5/6 chance of traitor).
3 player with Squires Rule and guaranteed NO Traitor (dont use loyalty cards).

I suspect that 6 with traitor and squires rule is also close to balanced, but it might be too hard. 7 with traitor and squires rule might be the balance point there, but I havent tested this.

These seem pretty close to 50-50 balanced, and almost every game I have played like this has come down to a fairly close endgame, in several cases, incredibly close (where knights are killing themselves off as they run out of useful resources, but the remaining knights still pull it out, or maybe they run out of stuf fand barely lose).

Communication Rules:

What rules one uses regarding communication is important to balance as well. I have found that allowing large amounts of communication just makes the game too easy.

Therefore, I find the following concrete rules to be helpful in determining what you can say:

Face Down cards: a player playing a card face down may in no way indicate the size of the card, either by number, description (big/small), or by saying things like 'its a problem' or 'we can handle it' or 'we need help', or ANYTHING like that. If a player who has played a fce down card indicates to the others in any way what the card was, it was cheating.

Looking at the top Black Card: A player who looks at the top black card either via their ability or via clairvoyance, cannot say what the card is. They may only tell each player on their turn: 'You should draw the top black card' or 'You should not draw the top black card'.

King Arthur's Trading: Arthur cant ask for certain cards, nor ask who has certain cards. Players cant ask Arthur to trade with them. Players should make educated guesses about what is needed, and who has it. Discussion of cards that were drawn face up from quest rewards is ok, since those were known.

King Arthur declares his desire to trade with a certain player, without solicitation. That player then declines or accepts. If they decline, Arthur cannot trade that turn.

Thus, if Arthur is on the Picts or Saxons quest, he could try to trade with a aplayer who he suspects has the number he needs. That player if they have the number and dont desperately need it, would then look at the situation, and pass Arthur the next card in the sequence, guessing it was the card needed.

Arthur can use his ability to do things like pass numbers to people who look like they need them (on the picts/saxons or lancelot or black knight), pass special cards to people who look to be able to use them well, pass grails to people on the grail quest, etc.

In discussing quests, especially the Picts/Saxons quests, players cant reveal what numbers they need/have. If a player manages to convey the information of what number(s) they are missing, it is cheating.
Players who see that the sequencing of their arrival and card play could help out, should probably go there and help.

This is an area that is particularly ripe for communication abuse, but I find the game too easy if players can plan the way in which they will defeat the picts/saxons.

Communication rules must be decided and agreed upon before play. Otherwise you'll probably have some players saying too much, and people who argue against allowing it will seem to be the traitor.
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