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Tips & Strategies (33)

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9
Miniature Painter
Rosetta Stone
Advanced Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
30 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“The Cup and the Sword for the win!”

When possible, I strongly suggest you complete the Excalibur quest and Grail quest as soon as you can. Not only can these get out of hand quickly, but completing both nets you 5 white swords and a couple of relics that can stave off destruction a little longer. True, your siege engines populate faster, but as long as you can keep those at bay you have nearly won the game.

Alternatively, should you let both of these quests lapse, you have 5 black swords on the table and destruction is nearly assured. The traitor needs only to falsely accuse one player and screw up one lesser quest to win it all. Even barring that, being undetected will net two black swords for an incredibly difficult 7 to overcome.

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10
Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Inventor
Advanced Reviewer
15 of 15 gamers found this helpful
“Failing a Quest to Run Down the Clock”

A common endgame situation involves loyal knights desperately trying to complete quests before siege engines overwhelm Camelot. They have a strong lead of white swords versus black swords, but it will not matter if they cannot hold off the invaders.

Often in this situation, you can use the game’s built in timer to your advantage. Assuming you have a lead in white swords, consider ignoring specific quests so that when they fail and add black swords they close out the game faster to ensure victory. Make sure that you will still have batter than half of the swords in your favor, taking into account an unrevealed traitor will cause a four sword swing.

Purposefully ignoring quests, and looking forward to them failing, seems wrong, but it can help you win before you lose for a different reason.

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6
The Gold Heart
Arrowhead
14 of 14 gamers found this helpful
“Never Fight the Black Knight.”

I have realized over several run-throughs that you should never waste your time and resources on the Black Knight quest. It takes one knight away from other more valuable and necessary quests, and it has the lowest penalty for failing. The fight cards required to complete it would be put to much better use fighting catapults and or defeating the Picts or Saxons.

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5
Gamer - Level 5
It's All About Me
13 of 13 gamers found this helpful
“The King belongs in his castle!”

After having played this game a grand total of one time, I feel I am qualified to start dispensing world class game tips… Here goes…
As King Arthur, I find it best stay in Camelot for pretty much the entire game. Use the “Draw 2” ability just about every turn, and of course use your kingly ability to feed cards to your loyal knights who are off vanquishing evil (or looking for grails- whichever). This keeps them at the quests where they can keep making progress, instead of running back and forth wasting time.
As a bonus for being in Camelot (and having a ton of cards), you get to utilize the “Take 1 damage” option for your Evil action, since you are often able to dump 3 identical cards for the heal.
As a second bonus for being in Camelot (and having a ton of cards), you are often able to dump enough cards to get a guaranteed catapult kill to keep the catapult population down.
Both of these secondary benefits means the team has the option of seeing fewer black cards, which is always a good thing!
So the next time you’re the king, act like a king! Sit on your throne all day telling everyone else what to do (while being a great king, and enabling them to do it)!
It should be noted that this strategy works better the more players you have. Also keep in mind that very rarely you may actually have to get up and do some questing. In my game I went to one quest the entire time: after my lackeys fought long and hard for several turns to mostly gain the grail, there was but one empty slot left to finish the quest. So in kingly fashion, I used my acton to go to the grail. Take a damage for the bonus action, play a grail card to complete the quest. *yoink* Take grail and go home. “Thanks for all your hard work, fellas. I’ll take that”. It felt very kingly, walking over the downtrodden backs of my minions to swoop in and claim the prize after all of the hard work had already been done…

Thanks for reading!
Gruns

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10
Critic - Level 5
Professional Advisor
Expert Reviewer
Marquis / Marchioness
36 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“Some ideas for the traitor (while keeping your cover)”

Here are a few ideas to think about if you’re the traitor. The situation of the game will determine which (if any) you use!

Excalibur quest – This is probably my favorite place to go to at the beginning of the game. Under the guise of having “terrible cards”, you offer to head to the lake and get rid of them. While you’re there, you empty your hand of high battle cards, Merlin cards, and other useful cards. Since discards are facedown, it’s easy to get away with. Even if you end up winning, you keep Excalibur from a knight who could use it.

Grail Quest – if you have a bunch of higher cards and it doesn’t make sense to hit the lake to dump them, you can take a couple Grail cards here. Good for having two or more, especially if you can talk the knights into letting you play it alone for awhile.

Camelot – This works well with the Excalibur/Grail quest. Once you’ve unloaded cards (or complained enough about having a terrible hand) you can spend/waste a few turns drawing cards in Camelot. The more turns you’re doing nothing useful, the better for you. You may want to spend some time fighting siege engines as well (especially early in the game when there are better things to be doing).

Running to join victorious quests – This tends to work well when you’re holding down the Grail quest. When you see a group quest is nearly complete, send your knight to the quest saying you really need the cards, or life bonus, or to share in the victory. It’s usally pretty easy to talk your way into joining, which again means you’re wasting turns where you could be doing good, while increasing your card draws to hopefully pull high value cards, or specials, away from the group.

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9
USA
I play blue
Paladin
Master Grader
27 of 29 gamers found this helpful
“Strength in (Concentrated) Numbers”

Playing Shadows over Camelot can frequently feel like a plate spinning contest as problems crop up all over the board. Consequently, it is tempting to send a Knight to each problem area in order to at least “hold down the fort” (my apologies for mixing metaphors). In most instances, however, this has proven to me to be a bad strategy. Instead, whenever possible, concentrate your numbers on one quest so that a quick victory is assured and your team can turn their attention to another quest, rinse, and repeat. In other words, get three, four, or preferably more knights all on one mission so that Excalibur, the Grail, or a Pict/Saxon war can be won quickly. By doing so, far more life points can be gained, cards won/shared, and you stop any traitors from wasting time or cards (such as when they sit at Excalibur and discard valuable card after valuable card b/c they are the only one there).

If you happen to be playing with the Merlin expansion (something I highly recommend), I believe this strategy is even more essential as it is difficult to hop around to different quests and if you can get Merlin to the site (something that is likely with most everyone moving there) you all will get to draw more cards — and these resources are ultimately how you beat this game.

I think some might fear that winning these quests quickly will lead to siege engine trouble but I think that is short sighted. You have to ultimately win these quests anyway, so the quicker the better. Yes, after winning one or two, your best fighter will need to concentrate on defeating siege engines but that is the nature of the game regardless. And again, with more knights on a winning quest you have more life points to sacrifice (thereby avoiding siege engines) and traitors become far less effective (they either become more obivious as they argue they should go off alone or they ultimately can cause less trouble by being forced to join in with the group effort so they aren’t discovered). Likewise, for those that fear a plate dropping (to return to my original metaphor), you are going to have to allow a plate to drop now and then anyway. Besides, no time is really lost (and it seems like it is gained) by everyone finishing one quest and then quickly moving to the most problematic area in order to win again rather than one sole knight slow playing an area by himself.

Finally, concentrated numbers is just more fun because it accents the team cooperation of the game. With everyone spread out, the game can become a little stale as you wait for your turn to come and then play one card that leaves you still miles from victory. In contrast, working as a team and consequently seeing fast results builds team morale, confidence, and ultimately fun (the real reason you were playing the game).

So, for good times and a more effective defense of Camelot, remember that there is strength in concentrated numbers!

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9
USA
I play blue
Paladin
Master Grader
26 of 28 gamers found this helpful
“Inexpensively Adding a Thematic Expansion”

I highly recommend the expansion Merlin’s Company when playing Shadows Over Camelot but many might not want to make the financial investment. For those that don’t, consider the following. One of the best thematic elements added by the expansion is that knights cannot automatically move to the quest that they want. In the expansion, you have to draw a movement card that either allows the movement, “aids” the movement, or hinders it. The most significant by far of the trio is the hindering of the movement because the knight has been lost, attacked, or even captured. Replicating this without the cards would be difficult, but to my mind, this thematic addition is nice. So, consider the following to increase the game’s challenge. Every time a knight moves to a quest have him roll the already present D8 and on a roll of one disallow the movement and end the turn with the thematic explanation that said knight was lost, attacked, or captured (you of course could roll again to determine which and have varying penalties depending but let’s not get ahead of ourselves).

Of course, due to the difficulty of the game, this addition might aggravate some players but frankly, I think they would just be being poor sports. If you have a fun group, the more likely result is guffaws and good-natured ribbing of a knight who is so incompetent they cannot even get themselves to the quest.

Saving Camelot is rightly a difficult task, this addition adds a nice thematic flair, and it adds a little more excitement to the otherwise inherently boring “move” action for players.

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6
Gamer - Level 6
Intermediate Reviewer
Amateur Advisor
Strategist
23 of 25 gamers found this helpful
“Work in teams”

It helps a lot to have backup for each group, and the more people you have, the better. Send two to the grail, two to Excalibur, and two in Camelot to handle the random middle build up.

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4
Gamer - Level 3
Zealot
26 of 29 gamers found this helpful
“How to get ahead”

After playing this game a few times our group has come up with a way to start the game that seems to help us most of the time. For every knight’s first Progression of Evil, we take the point of life damage. We can then move to either of the invading army quests, burn another life, and play a card. That will leave you with two life points but if you can get five knights there with the correct cards, you can finish a quest before the game has really started. You’ll gain one of the lives back by completing the quest and have a white sword on your table. It also works well with the Excalibur quest.

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7
Marquis / Marchioness
Advanced Reviewer
Professional Advisor
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
30 of 34 gamers found this helpful
“Too easy? Try not discussing cards in hand”

As a rule, you’re not allowed to say explicitly what’s in your hand, but you can talk about it. When you and other players start getting really good at this game and start finding it to be too easy, try this house rule:
Don’t discuss what’s in your hand at all.

You can still talk about what needs to be done, but don’t discuss “I can help at the grail quest or the black knight quest”. Let players have to figure this out on their own. Not knowing what other players are holding makes it much more difficult to know what to do, or what not to do.

This house rule will also help if your gaming group suffers from a solo-player trying to take control of the game and tell everybody what to do. If he doesn’t know what everybody has, he can’t boss them around!

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9
Miniature Painter
Rosetta Stone
Advanced Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
24 of 27 gamers found this helpful
“The King should be in the house!”

I really believe that when playing, King Arthur should be in the mix. For one thing, I believe it fits thematically, and the expansion Merlin’s Company adds this rule anyway, so obviously the folks who made the game think so to.

More to the point, not having Arthur’s ability to trade cards I believe pushes the difficulty of this already somewhat difficult game through the roof.

I am sure there are those who would disagree with me, but I believe that Arthur should accompany every group of knights questing to save Camelot.

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5
I Play This One a LOT
Gamer - Level 5
24 of 27 gamers found this helpful
“Explaining the rules to new players”

OK, the hardest thing to do with a game is to introduce it to new players, no? Especially those who have never played a cooperative game. And this is a good intro to co-op games.
So, here’s my spiel when explaining Camelot. My jokes are all bad, so be prepared. Here goes:
*I compare most of the quests to poker hands: Black Knight is two pair, Lancelot’s Quest is a full house, and Pict and Saxon Wars are straights.
*I tell first-timers, “If it’s your first time playing, do not go on the Grail Quest, because it’s a boring trench war. We want you to want to play again. The experienced players will take care of that. It’s a quest that we don’t need to win, just one we don’t want to lose.”
*First-timers will often be overwhelmed with all the quests, so I’ll say, “All you have to remember is that it goes ‘Evil Turn, Good Turn, Heroic Sacrifice.'”
*If I’ve got a crowd that wants to play with the traitor mechanic, but we’ve also got a first-timer, then I’ll give the first-timer a Loyal card and say that player can’t accuse.
*When explaining the sharing of hands at the beginning of the game, I either tell the new players to show me their hand or say, “Throw the card in that does not look like the others.”
*The more people at the table, the harder Lancelot’s armor is to get and the less good it does.
*If you want to remember which War figurines are which, remember that PIcts have PIercing weapons and sAXons have AXes.
*My girlfriend’s mother messed up a War because she didn’t see that one of the cards had been laid down already. So from then on, I’ve been turning the Pict and Saxon Fight Cards upside-down so that you can definitely see that there’s a card there instead of having it slip into the camouflage of the board.
*About posthumous wins, I say, “If you die and we win, we erect a statue in your honor.” This helps people unfamiliar with cooperative games.
*Sir Palamdes is a good knight for a first-timer, just because it’s a really easy power to keep track of. If someone gets Sir Palamedes for the first time, I tell them, “His name is Sir Pala-mooch-es and his job is to swoop in at the last moment and mooch off the rewards of the quest. So do so.” I had one new player who wasn’t familiar with cooperative games and she got really mad when someone else “took credit for my work”. I explained to her that it was a cooperative game and that Sir Palamedes is an immigrant and like most immigrants, though he uses resources of our country, he ultimately gives back more than he takes.
*When explaining ties, I tell people, “Evil wins all ties, just like in Florida (in 2000).” (Sorry if that offends you, but it helps people remember it.)

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7
Marquis / Marchioness
Advanced Reviewer
Professional Advisor
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
29 of 33 gamers found this helpful
“Start of Game - Stock up on Cards”

The first thing players should all do is try to stock up on white cards while they’re at the round table. What commonly happens when players charge out and start conquesting is they burn out of cards and can’t finish quests. Then they are delayed or have to sacrifice life to return back to the round table and stock up again. If you spend about 2 turns filling up your hand, you should be well stocked to handle quests.

Then, when the quest is completed, you’re automatically returned to the round table in case if you need to restock again.

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7
Marquis / Marchioness
Advanced Reviewer
Professional Advisor
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
29 of 33 gamers found this helpful
“Choose your losses”

In Shadows Over Camelot, you are certain to lose some quests. It is truly remarkable to never lose a quest (it might be possible, but I doubt it).

Therefore, if your team of knights selects which battles you will lose, then you won’t be wasting turns and cards fighting a losing battle, and you’ll be more likely to win in other quests.

To add to that, you can’t simply say at the start of the game “we always lose this quest”. It definitely depends on everybody’s starting hand. Start by finding out what everybody is good at and where everybody should start questing. From this, you can also identify everybody’s weaknesses and decide from there which quests you should lose. You should pick one or two to not even try for.

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7
Marquis / Marchioness
Advanced Reviewer
Professional Advisor
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
34 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“Don't use the traitor when learning the game”

When players are first learning the game, try it without the traitor. It can be difficult enough to understand not only the concepts, but also the strategy to battling the quests. Adding a potential traitor on top of that can be a bit overwhelming. This is especially true if one player is teaching the game, and that player is the traitor. After players play once or twice, then bring the traitor in. The game will become too easy without it. If at least 2 or 3 players understand the game well enough, though, then players should be fine with a traitor involved.

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6
Gamer - Level 6
Intermediate Reviewer
Amateur Advisor
Strategist
21 of 24 gamers found this helpful
“Beginner's Luck”

I mentioned this for Betrayal at House on the Hill, but it applies to this as well.

A few times when we have played, a new player has become the traitor. Sometimes they do well, and can enjoy it, but often they can become disinterested in the game, especially if they are one of the only new players. A way we have found to get around this is to simply not let them be the traitor.

If they pull the traitor card, they put it back, the cards are shuffled, and they choose again. It helps to have them choose first.

The other option is not to have a traitor. Less fun, but more forgiving for a first time.

While this prevents a “trial-by-fire” initiation, it avoids possible dislike for the game simply from a poor first experience.

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5
Knight-errant
Gamer - Level 5
Count / Countess
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
24 of 28 gamers found this helpful
“7 players”

the game seems to be very balanced for the traitor in a game of 5 people. But as the number of knights increases, the game gets much more difficult for the traitor, to counter this, try playing with 3 lives instead of the recommended 4.

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3
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
I Am What I Am
23 of 27 gamers found this helpful
“Choose your Own Knight”

With 3 or 4 players, the game can be very difficult for the knights with a traitor. Consider letting players choose their own Coat of Arms at the beginning of the game (not at random) to make sure powerful abilities like Arthur or Galahad are available.

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3
Reporter Intern
Critic - Level 2
22 of 26 gamers found this helpful
“Let the loyal knights do your dirty work.”

The key to being the traitor is to remember that your goal is the downfall of Camelot, you absolutely do NOT need to take down Camelot yourself. Keeping this simple distinction in your mind as you play will help you immensely.

As the loyal Knights try and decide what to do, try and plant the seed of ruin as soon as possible. Don’t let them take on easy quests, instead say that they should find the Grail. If someone says to take on a long quest, say they must be the traitor for bogging down the Knights on impossible quests.

Remember when Camelot falls, you win, no matter who did all the hard work.

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9
Mask of Agamemnon
Paladin
The Gold Heart
Cooperative Game Explorer
22 of 26 gamers found this helpful
“Grail-Opening”

A good opening in a 6-7 player game (maybe in a 5 player game too) is the following:

When all knights came to Camelot, each knight with 2 or more Grail cards give on of them into the round table. Each knight without a Grail should then take one. In the first round each player can normaly draw a black-card, moves to the grail, lose a live and put a grail-card on it. Depends on the black cards drawn, the following players can setup a catapult (not to many) to “save the grail”.

This is an tricky situation for the traitor, since he can’t deny help without a very good excuse.

This strategy depends on the grail-cards draw by the players at startup, but in the last two games i made (in both the knight start with this strategy) the grail was taken in round 2 or 3!

After the grail-quest is done, the next quests depends. Lancelot can be done, if possible, excalibur should be held at least in the game, if it is needed the group can often rush out Pikts/Saxs in one round.

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