Since board games are so expensive and it’s often a hit or miss whether you’ll actually like a game, I spend about a month researching board games before choosing one to potentially waste money on. I trolled a lot of gaming sites, read a lot of reviews, and watched a lot of YouTube videos. I like strategy games, co-op games, and I love anything with miniatures, but I wanted something different than what we typically play at our weekly game nights. I finally settled on Shadows Over Camelot (not to be confused with the card game of the same name) by Days of Wonder. It’s co-op, strategy, and it contains miniatures. Perfect.
Each player plays as a knight of the Round Table and must collaborate to complete a number of quests. Your ultimate goal is to fill the round table with white swords (by completing quests) before your enemies can fill the table with black ones. But here’s the catch; one of you might be a traitor. The traitor addition was the thing that caught my attention and made this game stand out more than any other that I was contemplating getting.
Game play goes like so:
Every player is randomly dealt a coat of arms card and places their corresponding miniature knight on the board. There’s not much difference between them aside from a special ‘power’ that each one gets. For example, being able to draw an extra card or take an extra action on your turn. Each player is then randomly dealt a loyalty card. There are 8 of them, with 7 being loyal and 1 with the word “traitor” on it. The remaining loyalty cards are put back in the box unseen, so nobody knows who the traitor is, or if there is one at all. Players set their life die at 4 and are each dealt 6 white cards. The white cards assist you in completing quests. Each turn, each player must take an evil action and then a heroic action which will either work for or against the quests. The saxons are coming for you on the beaches and the picts in the mountains. Lancelot must be destroyed, Excalibur must be saved, as well as the Holy Grail. Not to mention the dark knights rounding the corner. And, of course, after you’ve completed some of these quests, whether successfully or not, some of them flip over and become something more. There’s no end to the madness that could destroy your kingdom. I won’t get into detailed explanations of the different quests, but if you complete one you gain white swords and if you fail the quest, you get black. 7 or more black swords loses the game.
At some point in the game you can accuse one of your fellow knights of being a traitor and if you’re correct you’ll earn your round table a white sword. But keep in mind that A) if you’re wrong, a white sword flips to black and B) once the knight is called out, he does vicious things right out in the open. And also, once you falsely accuse someone, they’ll dislike you the rest of the game. Maybe even the rest of the night. Maybe even say “my mother was right about you, you backstabbing swine” and make you sleep on the couch.
This is a great game overall. It’s currently my favorite. The miniatures are excellent and just begging for someone to come along with a tiny paint brush. The board and cards are sturdy and well designed. The artwork is great. I rate it 5 out of 5.
You can purchase Shadows Over Camelot on Amazon for about $45.