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Shadows over Camelot» Forums » Variants

Subject: Making the Game Harder rss

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Rich Cook
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After playing the game a couple dozen times, we found it was getting too easy. We decided that after six white swords are put down, lost quests would result in flipping white swords to black instead of adding a black sword. This makes the game much more of a nail-biter, and prevents the "win by losing" strategy that makes the game anti-climatic.
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Stephen Sanders
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rich3830 wrote:
After playing the game a couple dozen times, we found it was getting too easy. We decided that after six white swords are put down, lost quests would result in flipping white swords to black instead of adding a black sword. This makes the game much more of a nail-biter, and prevents the "win by losing" strategy that makes the game anti-climatic.


We've only played it 10 times, but I would guess you are getting the Grail Quest and also maybe Excalibur first. But we have found that a traitor can mess up the the progress if he plays his turns right and slows down the loyal knights. And if he remains hidden to the end, that is a two point swing.
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David Montgomery
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If you are winning those quests early on, the odds are that you will face grave danger from siege engines/catapults. It's rather hard when every Despair and Excalibur card results in a Catapult.
 
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LSU LSU
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My old game group hated playing with the traitor. They also disliked the Squire variant since part of the game is using the knight's special powers. They wanted a pure coop. So we did the following to make the game harder.

Game start:

Deal 1, 1.5 or 2, black cards per player. These cannot be merlined and must be played face up.
Start each player with 1 or 2 fewer lives.
Start each player with 1 or 2 fewer cards.

You cannot win by losing - so you must win by actually winning a white sword.

Mix and match to suit.
 
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Steve Mackenzie
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rich3830 wrote:
After playing the game a couple dozen times, we found it was getting too easy.


I'd like to be part of your gaming group! My friends and I have played Shadows countless times, including plenty of variants and house rules - but I'd never say it got too easy! We probably still have a flat win/loss rate of 50/50, then factor in the traitor every three or four games and we get it handed to us regularly! I have always found the game to be well balanced in this regard and a victory really does feel like a victory!

Can you elaborate in what ways it becomes too easy?
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Doug Hook
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The basic SOC game suggests rules for making it harder, such as the Squire rules.

I've found that most folks who say the game is too easy are not playing by the rules. A review of the official FAQ for SOC at http://www.daysofwonder.com/shadowsovercamelot/en/content/fa...? corrects much of this. One of the basic misconceptions is the what can be done as a Heroic Action (play/discard a standard white card OR draw 2 cards if at Camelot OR fight a siege engine if at Camelot. No way can you do 2 out of these 3 on one turn). The example of Tristan in the FAQ debunks that common misconception.

However, the best option (in my opinion) if you still don't find SOC challenging enough is to invest in the SOC extension entitled 'Merlin's Company' (and also read MC's official FAQ on BGG). The idea of 2 possible traitors, seven witches (naughtier than Morgan 1-5), new knights (especially if using only them), and uncertain movement from Quest to Quest should keep your Knights throughly challenged.

Also, skip 'house rules' and variants, they confuse folks who think they know how to play and infect others by teaching them bunk. Ever try telling someone that Free Parking in Monopoly don't get you $$$?
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Scott Morris
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What makes the game easier as it goes on? After playing a few times tonight, my gaming group is looking for a way to possibly make it easier. What are we not doing--what strategy are we missing--that made us feel like there was really no way to win. We've yet to win after several games, and I got on BGG to find tweaks to balance it, so I am surprised to find people on here trying to make it harder.
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LSU LSU
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The game gets a bit easier with more experience. There are definitely some goals that almost always help you win. For example, Lancelot's armor is very important, since it lets one player bury bad cards. The best way to go after it is to have at least a couple of players drop high fight cards onto the table in Camelot before the game starts - when everyone drops one card and then you redistribute them. Then let the player with the best fight cards pick them up and goes to Lancelot on the first or 2nd turn. If you have Arthur he can also trade high fight cards to that player. Typically you need one player to spend a lot of time at the grail, just to stop from losing it, but you don't need to win the grail to win the game. The same can be true for excalibur, but it's easier to win excalibur. We often ignore the black knight, but we try to win the saxons and picts before they attack because they add siege engines. Once you play a few more times you'll probably find that you're more likely to lose from siege engines than black swords.

Don't be afraid to sacrifice lives to either get extra actions, or avoid drawing black cards when doing so could really hurt you. The worst thing in this game is try hard to win a quest and fail. It's better to not try at all, on say the black knight, than go put three cards down and lose.

Hope that helps.
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