As an owner of many board games, choosing which one to review can be a challenge. Shadows Over Camelot makes sense, not just because it’s theme closely matches one of our rooms, but also because its co-operative divide-and-conquer nature is similar to how most escape rooms can be approached.
In Shadows Over Camelot you play as Knights of the Round Table, heading off on various quests while dark forces close in on Camelot – Mordred, Morgan, the Saxons, the Picts, and myriad others are always looking to disrupt your quests in their own nefarious ways. Even Guinevere is an antagonist here, cutting your quests short with a delinquent pout because you’ve been gallivanting around instead of spending quality time with her.
Throughout the game knights must fill up the round table with white swords by successfully completing quests such as the search for Excalibur or the search for the Holy Grail. Failing quests results in black swords being placed on the table. Six black swords means disaster, and the traitor emerges triumphant whether they’ve been unmasked or not.
How does the traitor aspect work? At the beginning of the game each player is given a loyalty card which is kept secret. One lucky (depending how you look at it) guy or girl gets to be the traitor. The traitor must try to derail things by encouraging other players to partake in never-ending quests, hold back useful cards, waste time and resources without the others realising, and do anything else that could potentially disrupt or slow down everyone’s progress. Knights can accuse each other of being the traitor but should exercise caution; a false accusation means placing a black sword down on the table and a general feeling of mistrust.
From my experience, some people relish playing the traitor and excel where others fail. One memorable game involved the traitor cracking under the pressure when it was hinted that she could be a traitor, causing her to throw her hands up in the air and cry out ”Yes! You’ve got me!”
Other players have wreaked total havoc, yet managed to remain undetected. It’s possible to have games without a traitor, where no one draws the black traitor card. This makes for a very interesting game as suspicions fly around despite everyone being on the same side.
Each turn evil progresses, and players are allowed a single heroic action. The progression of evil can mean picking up a black card resulting in some unfortunate event or summoning a villain to cause trouble, losing life points, or placing a siege engine around the walls of Camelot. Ah, the dreaded siege engines. Place a twelfth siege engine down and the loyal knights automatically lose. And those siege engines build up quickly.
With so many quests, events, and opportunities for failure, Shadows Over Camelot requires teamwork and coordination from the brave knights who attempt the challenge. It’s an immersive game and players get out of it what they put in, like stepping into character and addressing their follow knights in proper medieval fashion.
Shadows Over Camelot gets 8 swords out of 10
Fancy a real life game in Camelot?
The kingdom of Camelot was once a prosperous and magical place, ruled by the legendary King Arthur – home to the Knights of the Round Table, Merlin the wizard and the secret to Camelot’s strength – the sword of Excalibur.
In a treacherous turn of events, Arthur was mortally wounded by his evil son Mordred, forcing Merlin to spirit away the enchanted blade and protect it deep within the ruins of Camelot’s walls.
You must prepare for a noble quest back to Medieval England to unlock your way through Merlin’s magic and retrieve the symbol of Strength.
Our informer suggests the castle is now deserted …. But is it?
Medieval Zone availability