Shadows over Camelot: Boardgame review

Shadows over Camelot is a great board game, and awesome crowd-pleaser. This Arthurian-themed board game was published in 2005 by Days of Wonder, making it an older game, as things go these days. I have played it a couple of times with friends now, have both won and lost, so I feel like I may venture a boardgame review at this point.

The plot/backstory for Shadows over Camelot is that king Arthur, along with the knights of the round table, are having to fight off various threats and enemies to protect their beloved Britannia. You play as the king or one of the knights. Each player has special abilities which would make his play style both unique and also crucial to the game mechanics. It’s a cooperative game, in other words everyone is playing against “the game”, trying to beat it.

Off the bat, I really loved the cooperative aspect of the game. Instead of everyone going at each other’s throats, everyone is trying to work together, strategize and plan the plays to best move against the game. Compared to the other co-op boardgames that I have played, like Pandemic or Battlestar Galactica, this one was the best for groups because it can take the most amount of players: 7 in total (3 minimum).

The mechanics of the game is all about quests. There are various quests around Camelot that the players can go on. Each turn, there will be a progression of evil (something bad happens) and a progression of good (something good that the player can do). The goal is to pick and choose your heroic actions (progression of good) in such a way that the good will outplay the bad… summed up very roughly. Each quest has some loot to gain when it is successfully completed, and some punishment when it fails.

Then there is the traitor factor… probably the most interesting part of the game. At the beginning of the game, all players are given a loyalty card. There are 7 “loyal” cards and one “traitor” card. If you are handed the traitor card, then you have to try and let “the game” win without being caught out. The traitor factor brings an awesome dynamic to the gameplay. Each player’s choices are weighed up by everyone else, accusations fly to and fro, and players have to defend their choices to the rest. You never know if there is a traitor or not, so you can’t plan with that assumption as a guarantee.

As far as physical props are concerned, the game is awesome and good value for money. The artwork is beautiful, there are a couple of boards (the main board and others for quests), a couple of card decks, figurines and other props. The game takes up quite a lot of table space when everything is packed out and does a good job immersing you in the fantasy world of king Arthur.

I can go into more details for the game, but I think watching a play by play video would be more informative than reading about it all, so maybe head over to YouTube and check some out.

This is my first board game review, so I am not to clued up with ratings. But from what I can tell I would say the game is at least a 7-8 out of 10. Great game, great fun, good value.

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