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Subject: Is Evil that Wimpy? rss

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Scott Mellon
United States
Erie
PA
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After the Twilight Imperium 3 game ending in only three hours, we still had time to play, so we jumped into a game of Shadows. We had Me, Pez, Josh, Big John, Beckwith, Jamie, and a new kid who didn’t get to stay for the whole game.



We started with throwing down the shared cards, one of which was the ‘get cards for each knight in Camelot’ . We opted to give it to Pez, who could play specials without using an action. Each of us pulled cards for our turn, waiting for Pez to play the special we’d given him. I was Arthur, and Pez was last, so a lot of cards were drawn while we built up our hands. I asked if anyone was headed to the grail quest. Beckwith said he planned to, so I started passing him grail cards.



We got a nasty Mordred card early, and opted to Merlin it. We all noted that Josh, Jamie, and Big John were very reluctant to play their Merlin.



Another Mordred card came out, and we opted to Merlin again, and Big John declared that he’d traded his Merlin away in the initial trade. After the remainder of the Merlins were gathered, I noted that no one had traded a Merlin, as we’d all seen what was there. I declared John the traitor (not officially, since no swords were even on the table yet.)



He didn’t deny it, so we figured we had the traitor and moved on with the game. Beckwith, Jamie, and the new kid went to the grail quest and started tearing it up. John the traitor headed to the black knight preventing the rest of us from being able to go there. Josh headed to Lancelot, and the rest of us headed to the Picts who were up to three already.



Pez put a heroism on the Pict quest, which we all sacrified life (instead of drawing cards) to finish it quickly. We then all headed to Excalibur as it was 2 away from being lost. Josh finished up Lancelot, getting us more white swords, then joining us at Excalibur. Pez tossed another Heroism, the Grail quest was won, and then Excalabur. We lost the black night, and John joined us at Excalibur earlier, and helped us win it.



It was weird, he was being farely helpful for the traitor.



At this point we won, and Jamie showed herself to be the traitor. I was baffled as to why John hadn’t protested my claim as to him being the traitor.



I’m starting to feel that unless you use the Squire variant, it’s re-playability is about gone if your group can coordinate well. This one is going to drop off my personal hot games list, to my disappointment. I hope this isn’t a trend in cooperative games, as I thought this was an interesting innovation.



 
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A. B. West
United States
Beech Grove
Indiana
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I just want to say that the problem is more with the number of players. Seven is simply too easy - even with an active and intelligent traitor. Try it with four. Much harder. Try it with three. Nearly impossible.
 
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Luca Iennaco
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Some ideas (I've used them all; in effect it is how I've played SOC depending on the number of players, after the first plays to "learn how it works"):

3 players: do not deal Loyalty cards; when ready to rise difficulty: use squires; then get -1 starting life, then -1 starting card, then yet another -1 starting card.

4 players: use of the Loyalty cards can make the victory for the Traitor quite easy (i.e. if you're veterans, you should always win if "Traitor" card isn't dealt and always lose if it is), but you can try if you dare. Alternatively, play as explained above for 3 players. (Yet another alternative is to play with a "fake Traitor": do not deal Loyalty cards, but put a sheet on the "Traitor side" as if dealt to an imaginary fifth player. That player simply plays his Evil Phase, rolling a die to choose between "place a Catapult" and "draw a card"; numbered cards he draws are always placed face up and Mercenaries are used as Picts or Saxons based on a die roll.).

5 players: use the Loyalty cards (remove two "Loyal" from them to rise the chance of a Traitor). It should be quite balanced and tense in this way (maybe still slightly favourable to a cunning Traitor, but very easy if "Traitor" isn't dealt).

6 players: use the Loyalty cards (remove a "Loyal" from them to rise the chance of a Traitor). It is favourable to the Loyal knights now, but a skilled Traitor can still try to win against the odds. If you want to rise difficulty, play with the suggestions listed above for 3 players.

7 players: use the Loyalty cards AND the "squires" variant (otherwise it's too easy to win, once you're expert, even with a Traitor present). If you want to rise difficulty, play with the additional penalties suggested above for 3 players.

Besides, a generic way to rise difficulty (may be combined with any of the above) is to put the "Mists of Avalon" Special Black card in play during setup.
Finally, another generic way to slightly rise difficulty (may be combined with any of the above) is to exclude King Arthur from the possible knights when they're assigned at the start of the game (if you are 7 players and haven't Bedivere, just change Arthur's power into Bedivere's one: "You may discard a card from your hand to draw a White card (once per turn)").

Have fun!
 
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Paul Imboden
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Evanston
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The more I play, the more I like the "no Merlins at startup" house rule.
 
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Travis Hall
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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adamw wrote:
I just want to say that the problem is more with the number of players. Seven is simply too easy - even with an active and intelligent traitor. Try it with four. Much harder. Try it with three. Nearly impossible.

Exactly. The seven player game is very, very easy. I find a four-player game is much better. The other night, I played with some generally competent players, and using the squire rule with five, the loyal knights were never challenged.
 
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