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Subject: A "Memento-Style" telling of Shadows Over Camelot rss

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Bob McMurray
United States
La Grange
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King Arthur (Nancy)
Sir Kay (Robert)
Sir Percical (Reed)
Sir Gawain (Emily)
Sir Palamedes (Bob)

Shadows over Camelot...told "Memento-style" from ending to beginning - illustrating the plight of our protagonist(?) the traitor Sir Palamedes!

Our Final Act - 'Last Knight Standing'

Our saga comes to an end as the traitorous Sir Palamedes steps into a conquered Camelot with no fear of resistance from the knights of the Round Table who entrusted him with their special relics and even their very lives. Credits roll....

************** FLASH BACK IN TIME TO... ****************

Act V - 'Sir Palamedes' lone defense of Camelot'

Only Sir Kay and Sir Palamedes remain of the original company of 5 knights. Thinking that Camelot's best chance was to fully outfit the fittest knight, Sir Palamedes, with maximum ability and weaponry and then get out of his way so as not to introduce additional progressions of evil, Sir Kay accepts his fate and performs one last heroic action (his fate card) and gives one last white card to Sir Palamedes (his 7th) and then dies.

************** FLASH BACK IN TIME TO... ****************

Act IV - 'Sir Kay's choice'

Sword count

Upon immediate completion of the Excalibur quest, which Sir Kay had jumped into to gain an extra life point the round table tally stood at:

White sword count (6) - Saxons (1), Black Knight (1), Lancelot's Armor (1), Excalibur +Heroism (3)
Black sword count (4) - Black Knight (1), Black Knight (1), Dragon (2)

Only Sir Kay and Sir Palamedes remained...according to Sir Palamedes, who not only had the most life (and the ability to gain life strength twice as fast as any other knight) but he possessed excalibur and lancelot's armor, their best chances stood with maximizing resources with one knight - him - and mad rushing the black knight twice (quickest way to 2 white swords) and victory.

Could Palamedes pull it off? Was this Camelot's best hope? Here's what Sir Kay had to consider:

Sir Palamedes inventory of resources

3 life points

Special Saracen power

Decent hand of cards (1 fight card left over after winning excalibur, managed to get 5 of the 7 cards from the Excalibur quest which was public knowledge, plus card from Fate (from Excalibur booty) played by Sir Kay on his dying breath for a total of 7 cards - 6 fight cards, (need minimum of 8 to beat Black Knight twice) one of which was Clairvoyance). Kay himelf held only 2 cards - Fate and a Grail both public knowledge from the Excalibur quest booty.

Excalibur relic

Lancelot's armor relic

Sir Palamedes' challenge

Defeat the Black Knight twice in succession before game ends due to siege engines (9 are on the field, 3 Picts and 3 Saxons are on the borders, Dragon Quest and Excalibur quest are over. One Grail card remains while 5 Despair/Desolation cards remain, 2 cards already exist on Black Knight quest - one of which is known to Palamedes only to be a 1)

Turns needed:
1 - play clairvoyance and stack first 5 black cards for use with Lancelot's armor
1 - move to Black Knight quest
4 - play Fight cards and win Black Knight quest; receive life points and 3 new cards
1 - pick 2 cards (between this + booty from Black Knight quest this, hopefully, will be enough to win it)
1 - move to Black Knight quest
4 - play Fight cards and win Black Knight quest
12 (possibly 11 if white cards won fit existing hand of fight cards, "roll the dice" on black card sequence / "get lucky" minimum turns is 10)

Risk free turns:
2 surplus life points
1 life point earned from 1st defeat of black knight
1 life point bonus for Sir Palamedes
2 siege engines (placing of 10th and 11th siege engines either directly or due to unfortunate Lancelot's armor draws of black cards)
Excalibur (basically one free black card after using Lancelot's armor - use during 2nd Black Knight quest)
7 - risk free turns

Mitigated risk turns:
2 or 3 - 1st pulls of Black cards after they have been resequenced by Clairvoyance
2 (3?)

Riskier turns:
n # of black card pulls - Use of Lancelot's armor - Card decks had recently been shuffled
3 (2?)

Black Card situation

Things like Vivien, Dark Forest, and Mists of Avalon are basically free cards. Could afford 2 Despairs or 1 Desolation as there was one Grail card and 5 Despairs left on the track. Certain Morgan cards would not have been a problem such as the lose 1 life or lose 1 white card one. All Black Knight cards would have been welcomed particularly as a fortunate white card might further remove the need to draw 2 at Camelot and one loss of the Black Knight quest would have even reduced the # of turns needed for a 7 - 5 win. Mordred was already on the board.

************** FLASH BACK IN TIME TO... ****************

Act III - 'Desparate Knights'

Sir Palamedes, using Lancelot's armor, "anguishs" over the dastardly cards he picks and, in the community of knights best interest, places the 5th Dragon card allowing the dragon to slay Sir Gawain despite 29 pts to the good for the knights up to that point (how did that 11 Dragon fight card, which tipped the battle in the favor of the dragon, get in there...hmmm). Boy that other black card must have been really bad!

Percival had no cards left and was getting too expensive to carry so he used his last life point to prevent any progression of evil. Same for King Arthur soon after.

************** FLASH BACK IN TIME TO... ****************

Act II - 'Why were all these knights so desparate ?'

1) There weren't enough early/minor quest wins and zero early Black Knight and Lancelot cards. This left players with too few cards really. Those who won solo quests had cards but the others were always card starved.

2) Early on there were many Despairs/Desolation cards and lots of Excaliburs. Keeping these quests viable drained cards without ready replenishment.

3) Other things working against the knights included the fact that Piety and Heroism were at the bottom 10% of the deck and, without quest victories exhausting the deck, there was very slow deck turnover to get more Merlins, heroism, special whites, etc. back into the game. Funny how Piety hadn't shown up yet with just a few cards left. Sir Kay ominously remarked, "If the white cards get reshuffled and there's no Piety played yet we know that there is a traitor..."

4) In a case of poor timing, virtually immediately thereafter, Arthur played Piety casting a long and suspicious shadow of doubt his way - most notably voiced by Sir Palamedes.

5) Convocation, reinforcements, and Lady of the Lake were never played. Yet, the traitor only threw Clairvoyance into the lake. Where were these cards? Sir Palamedes was glad that they never seemed to appear.

There were a few good things working for the knights...

1) Not much really, but Mists of Avalon was nowhere in sight.

2) Arthur traded with Palamedes near the end of the Excalibur quest hoping to re-commission a large fight card into the dragon quest instead of having it end up at the bottom of the lake. Although Palamedes had just a few cards in hand, he sent a 1 fight card back to Arthur...but what was Arthur to do with this confusing information? In the end, bewildered, Arthur chose to die and leave the defense of Camelot to the capable and powerful Palamedes.

************** FLASH BACK IN TIME TO... ****************

Act I - 'The early game'

Not much card taking at Camelot as heroic actions. Knights were anxious to get started. Gawain only used his power once at the start. Here's what each knight accomplished in the early / mid game:

Arthur - lots of Grail time. He must have had 8 grails.

Kay - Early Saxon win, then mostly on to Grail

Palamedes - Early Lancelot's armor win, then on to Excalibur which was in trouble where he remained until it was won

Gawain - Early Grail then Black Knight win

Percival - lots of bluster, very little production as he drew cards in Camelot, spent a lot of time and cards on the Dragon quest thereafter...looked at lots of black cards and hardly ever played them.

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Tim Mossman
United States
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Very creative session report. "Memento" was a great film that flew below many radar screens.
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