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Subject: SHADOWS OVER CAMELOT - it is worth getting? rss

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Dustin Miller
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I'm thinking about getting Shadows Over Camelot, should I? Is it still fun after a bunch of plays? What does everyone think?
 
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david funch
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It's more fun to just play Rummy (not to mention a better game). At least Rummy doesn't pretend to be a board game.
 
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Steve Bernhardt
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I think the game sucks. If you can, play a few times on someone elses game and buy it if you like it. Be sure to play several times and avoid my mistake, I bought it after one play and later found it was an exercise in tedium. The communication rules gall me the most; you cant tell people what you played or what you have, so its this weird exercise in giving "clues" that essentially tell everyone what you played or have. Other things gall me also. If you must have it, I suggest finding a trade. You have been warned.
 
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Barry Figgins
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I've played it maybe 12 times, and I'm still having fun with it. It's one of the few 10s on my list - not because it's an absolutely perfect game, but because it's a game I always want to play, with anybody.
 
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David Turner
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I have seen a lot of negative posts about this game (more than positive), but it has a very high rating. I am very perplexed.


I personally love the game.

 
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marc lecours
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I have played about 5 times and most of the games were loads of fun. THe traitor rule is great.

I think it can continue being fun until players start having "fullproof" strategies. If for example everyone agrees that the knights should all go to the grail quest push it to the limit without completing it, move on to fight lancelot etc. Then the game will lose its interest fast. So don't go reading all the strategies on BGG.

Also to keep the game fun each player must make his own decisions. There should not be one dominant player who tells everyone what to do or makes remarks like "there goes the game, you had to fight the black knight at this point". Make a point to get players to keep talking vague and in character. Otherwise the weaker players might as well leave the room. Also when a dominant player gives advice it makes it more difficult for the traitor to play badly without it showing. We limit comments to when players are in Camelot together and only vague comments are allowed: "Fellow knights, at prayer this morning a vision came to me. A vision of "the" "grail". I am compelled to go on this holy quest. Who will join me? With the company of 2 or 3 brave knights I am sure that we shall find "the" "grail". Other quests are fine but cannot compare to this holiest of quests. We will gain for Camelot eternal glory for our names and eternal peace for our souls."

There are mechanisms in the rules for making the game harder once your group starts winning a lot.
 
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Harold Jansen
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As you can see from the responses so far, it's a bit of a polarizing game. It's probably in the "try before you buy" category. That said, I sprung for it sight unseen and I'm happy I did. It's fun and interesting and a different experience. It's not perfect, but it's a good time. I don't know about the long-term replay value, but if I get ten plays out of it, I'm happy.
 
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Jonathan Tang
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Well, the game is certainly pretty unique, and non-gamers seem to love it. Its good for the occasional play, especially if your group likes role-playing.

A good 2 hour party game.
 
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CHAPEL
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It's a novel game. Has some interesting game play, but the novelty wore off pretty quick, and I truefully don't think I will ever play it enough to get my moneys worth out of it. Don't get me wrong it was pretty fun for the couple times I played. Maybe best if you can find someone who already took the plunge.

 
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Jay Rendon
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I played it twice. The first time was okay. By the second game it was starting to feel long and uninteresting--and that despite the fact that I got to play with Derk and Aldie who bickered the whole game like an old married couple.

If you like the traitor aspect, check out Saboteur.

j.
 
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Ryan Olson
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I think it has a limited lifespan, until DoW comes out with some expansions, but that lifespan will depend on who you play with.

But I am guessing (don't know from experience) that Lord of the Rings also had obvious strategies, but the expansions helped the game out. That and being able to adjust the difficulty.

But I think it's the nature of a co-op game to be "solvable", for lack of a better word. Eventually your group develops a plan, and it makes the game too easy.

I have played Shadows with different people every time so far (the gaming group has been inconsistent due to the holidays), and we have fun. Plus we are not very analytical gamers, and we absolutly suck at the game too . So far, we have not won a game where there has been a traitor. That will probably change eventually, when we realize startegies, hence the need for expansions.

Except for the MM44 expansions, DoW tends to do free small expansions (Mystery of the Abbey & TTR both had free expansions.).

It is a fun game. It's is really nice to look at too, and is good for non-gamers too. But I think it will wear off. But how fast depend on you and your reinds/family. I doubt it will wear off soon for us...
 
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David Tracy
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I personally enjoy Shadows quite a bit, but I also think cooperative games as a whole can suffer in terms of replayability over the long haul. Even dear old Knizia's Lord of the Rings suffers from this.

As for Shadows over Camelot being like Rummy because you play sets of cards...that's not really accurate. You need to play sets of cards in many boardgames, but they are still board games. You could not play Shadows with just the cards, because, well, you need a board, and Days of Wonder is not known for being cheap with materials.
 
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Jeff Coon
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I loved it the first time I played it. So much that I bought a copy for myself. Then I played 3 more times. The last time it really lost its luster, and now I really don't want to play again. It's the same game over and over. Replayability is going to be a problem. I may hang onto it, just because it is unique (tough to find co-op games) and has a cool theme. But I don't see it hitting the table more than once a year.

My suggestion: find a friend with a copy and play it with him/her.
 
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Barry Figgins
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I don't agree with the opinion that there's a single best way to play the game. Everyone I've talked to thinks they know the best way to play the game - but every response is different! A lot of the game depends on the way the black cards turn up, but it seems like there's always some quest that's one step from being lost. That tension really makes the game for me.
 
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Karl Deckard
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I've had fun every time I played it. Why LotR gets so much love, and this game doesn't, is beyond me.
 
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Lyman Hurd
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I've really enjoyed this game. My favorite game has to be the one in which I was introduced to the game by Frank Branham. He was teaching us as we went and was considerate enough to win Lancelot's armour to keep up from the really bad cards (you may guess where this is going). We, of course, trusted implicitly. He finally "came out" by playing a card that would make completion of the Grail quest impossible but he had forgotten that we had previously won Excalibur...which could undo a black card...

It might be the most memorable (shared) victory of my gaming career.

Another memorable game was the time we played with a full complement of players and when the good guys won I could not wait to find out who had been the traitor since they had been really subtle. It turned out that as chance would have it there wasn't one!
 
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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Cue post from marioaguila in 5... 4... 3...
 
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Rod Spade
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Shadows is a fun game. If you think you'll like it, you probably will.

The first several times you play it's great, then interest starts to wane. But if you find some more newbies who haven't played it before, it's fun again!
 
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Play Games - Interact - Have Fun!
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Prior to New Years I had played Shadows over Camelot twice. One win (with 6) and 1 loss (with 4). The game was fun but I really had no desire to play it anymore as the group I gamed with had already played it quite a bit and seemed to have OD'd on it.

My sister and her family came for the weekend over New Years and I had picked up SoC for her as a Christmas gift. We sat down and played it (without a traitor on purpose as they were learning it) and had a really good time. So we played it again. This time there was a traitor in our midst and their enjoyment level went up quite a bit as the accusations flew. Everyone had even more fun than the 1st game and it was set aside for some food and wine.

As soon as the plates were cleared, cries went up to play it again - and I was among them. All in all, we played 4 times on New Years Eve and once more the next day. The kids even got into it on a couple other games, and my sister pulled me aside to thank me for the "awesome" game I had given her.

I think the reason, I enjoyed it more the 2nd time around is because everyone was just playing it to have fun and not figure it out (like my more serious gaming group tends to do). So what if we didnt play optimally, the laughs and shenanigans made it that much more entertaining. Did Scott "forget" about not drawing a card and taking a life point legitimately, or was that something a traitor would do?

If your group can just enjoy a game for the sake of playing, then go ahead and get it. If your group is the type to dissect a game, then borrow it from someone and try it out.

Have fun!
 
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Andrew H
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jttm wrote:

A good 2 hour party game.


And there it is. It is not enough game for the time it takes.
Also it can be an exercise in extreme frustration exaccerbated by the limited communication rules if the players (who are not the traitor) play poorly. It is apparently a game of foregone conclusions if the players play optimally.
 
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Chris Shaffer
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I think Shadows Over Camelot is more of an activity than a game. Thus, its success or failure is completely dependent on groupthink. If your group is likely to dissect it for strategic and tactical choices without getting into the roleplaying and characterization, you should avoid it. On the other hand, if your group likes roleplaying and having social fun with your games, it could very well be a winner.
 
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Travis Hall
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I have fairly thoroughly dissected the play of SOC, and have figured out the best strategies to play in most situations which can occur in the game. I still have a lot of fun playing the game, even after dozens of games. I just wish I would draw the traitor a bit more often, so I would get more chance to experiment with traitor strategies.

I will admit, the game doesn't get pulled out as much as it did when I first got it, but that holds true for every game I've ever bought.

If you are playing two-hour games of SOC, you need to learn to play faster. It just isn't a two-hour game. The game says 60-90 minutes, and beyond the first maybe four plays I would say that even that is overestimating the time requirement. I find that 45 minute games are not unusual.

I do recommend being strict with the table talk. I find that the game lacks challenge if people treat the tabletalk rules as "I must couch secret info in non-game terms" rather than "I must not reveal secret information". When knights are forced to communicate with actions, rather than words, getting the response you want from your fellow knights can be very tricky. Also, it means that a dominant player can't make all the decisions for a less dominant player, as the dominant player won't have the information necessary to make the decisions.

Opinion on SOC is heavily divided. I can't promise you that you will like it. I do, but there are many who don't. If you have the means to do so, I would recommend trying it before you buy it.
 
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Robert Washington
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Dustin Miller wrote:
I'm thinking about getting Shadows Over Camelot, should I? Is it still fun after a bunch of plays? What does everyone think?


As someone else said, the game is very polarizing - it's easily compared to games that have been around for a while to build a rep, many a grognard seems to have it in for games with pretty bits and pieces, and even games that are very solid tend to get slammed if they're not complex enough to suit certain "deep dish" types.

I think it's worth keeping in mind that while there are no universals with humans, it is true critics tend to be more vocal than fans; for some reason, humans tend to be more interested in talking about what they didn't like than what they did.

I recall not long after the game came out, there was a big discussion of people taling in-depth about how "impossible" the game was to beat. A week or so later, an entirely different crowd was going over how ludicrously easy it was!

Most games have replay value issues if you play them into the ground; SHAODWS is guaranteed to have more than LOTR or BEOWULF thanks to its nonlinear nature - Knizia's group games are good, but essentially you're moving along a track like unto "Uncle Wiggily" - you have some ability to take slightly different paths at some points, but overall it's all laid out to be primarily the same every game. SHADOWS is designed so that the "crisis points" where danger lies are in differing orders and at different points each game. For my money, that makes it the cooperative game with the most replayability almost by default.

Again, for my money, people who hate on it were either looking for something more complex or weren't into either the theme or style of play; I haven't seen a game so consistently well-received since the original TICKET TO RIDE.
 
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Matthew M
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oldmanrivah wrote:


Most games have replay value issues if you play them into the ground; SHAODWS is guaranteed to have more than LOTR or BEOWULF thanks to its nonlinear nature


Funny...I've already played Beowulf more than I've played Shadows, and have played at least 5x as many games of LotR. And I crave more of both.

-MMM

 
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Ken B.
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Octavian wrote:
oldmanrivah wrote:


Most games have replay value issues if you play them into the ground; SHAODWS is guaranteed to have more than LOTR or BEOWULF thanks to its nonlinear nature


Funny...I've already played Beowulf more than I've played Shadows, and have played at least 5x as many games of LotR. And I crave more of both.

-MMM





I really, really enjoyed Shadows Over Camelot when we first played it. It was a blast.


Subsequent playings, however, have yielded diminishing returns. I've played about six games of Shadows, and I'm fairly bleh on whether it hits the table or not. Everyone else is still into it, though, so I'll gladly play along if it does. No biggie.


I think the reason I prefer LOTR to Shadows is because there seems to be less going on at one time during a game of SoC. You only have a few quests to worry about, and these are the quests you'll be facing all game. In LOTR, each board is a different experience, you have multiple activity lines and the random event tiles means that you will likely be facing a different situation at differing points in the game.


I think Shadows will have its replayability issues fixed with an expansion, though.



Bottom line--if you enjoy party games or social games, Shadows is a solid choice. Certainly fun for what it is.
 
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