Shadows Over Camelot Board Game Review

shadows over camelot board game review

Year Published: 2005 | Number of Players: 3-7 | Game Length: 60+ minutes

We are a bit late to the party with our Shadows Over Camelot board game review, but how could we not let you know how we feel about the Godfather of modern co-op games?

Most people are fans of Bruno Cathala’s competitive games, such as Five Tribes and 7 Wonders: Duel, but is this one worth owning? Read on to find out!


What is Shadows Over Camelot?

Shadows Over Camelot is a cooperative hand management game set in Arthurian legend. Playing as the Knights of the Round Table – with possibly one traitor – you have to complete quests and keep the kingdom safe from the invading Picts and Saxons.

It might seem pretty complex at first, but the Shadows Over Camelot rules are quite simple to understand. It could even be called a gateway game since it is known to be excellent for getting new players into board games.


Shadows Over Camelot Gameplay

The main focus of Shadows Over Camelot is the board and its quests. You each have special abilities as Knights of the Round Table, and as a group you have a variety of quests to choose from.

The Shadows Over Camelot board is expansive to say the least, with each section representing a set of quests. The main board is the quest for the Holy Grail, with the three other boards being other sets of quests or invaders to explore or deal with as you will.

Each player has a heroic action per turn to take, and what they can do with that action is determined by playing cards to move forward with quests or to help each other out. When you succeed at a quest, you gain a white sword to place on the round table; if you fail, you place a black one instead.

shadows over camelot review

The game ends when twelve swords have been acquired and placed on the table. If there are more white swords than black, good has prevailed and the knights have won. If there are more black swords than white, the kingdom has fallen and evil has won.

What makes Shadows Over Camelot a bit different than other cooperative games is the introduction of the traitor. While you are all playing as knights, one of you may be a traitor. This is not guaranteed, as there is only one traitor card in the deck and it may or may not be dealt at the beginning of the game. Players can use a turn to accuse a fellow player of being a traitor. If you falsely accuse someone, a white sword on the round table is turned black.

At the very end of the game, if the traitor is alive and well, they turn two of the swords on the round table from white to black, potentially winning the game for the powers of evil.


Check out Shadows Over Camelot at Amazon


Pros

  • The gameplay of Shadows Over Camelot is simple yet compelling, keeping your interest as you move through the different quests. The simplicity of the gameplay allows it to be more accessible to players in a very wide range of ages and experience levels.
  • Even though we aren’t usually fans of traitors in cooperative games, it works really well here. The best thing about it is that there might not even be a traitor, which leads to a lot of great interactions between the players.
  • Shadows Over Camelot is an Arthurian coop board game that focuses on the abilities and loyalties of the Knights of the Round Table. It definitely covers that theme quite well, so anyone who enjoys medieval folklore should get a kick out of this one.

Cons

  • Shadows Over Camelot happened to be one of the first cooperative board games, which means that other games have improved on the ideas implemented in this one. One example would be Battlestar Galactica, a game that many people think is a more advanced version of SOC.

Final Thoughts

If you are a fan of Arthurian legend, knights and intrigue, you will most likely enjoy Shadows Over Camelot. Even if this game does not end up hitting the table very often for you after 10 or so plays, it is one that you will probably keep in your collection simply because it is one that most people would be happy to play if you suggest it. It is very rare to find someone who outright does not like this game.

We wouldn’t put Shadows Over Camelot on our top cooperative games list, but it might just make our list of top gateway games.

If you end up liking the game, check out the Shadows Over Camelot expansion, Shadows Over Camelot: Merlin’s Company.


Shadows Over Camelot Links

BoardGameGeek | Amazon | CoolStuffInc | eBay


Thanks for taking the time to read our Shadows Over Camelot board game review!

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