Monday, January 6, 2014

Camelot!


There are two possible sense-memory responses when hearing the name "Camelot." The first possibility is the stirring chorus of "O Fortuna" from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, beloved of goths everywhere and brought to popular attention in John Boorman's 1981 film Excalibur. But it's much more likely that it will be the "Knights of the Round Table" musical number from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

I fall into the latter category, so in spite of the relatively serious, scholarly tone of Camelot Legends, whenever I play it I can't help but mutter "it's only a model" under my breath when we set out the Camelot location card.

If you can get past the Monty Python associations, Camelot Legends is an interesting game that features a basic quest solving and location control game mechanics along with some excellent artwork and literary detail. Most of the cards represent knights, squires and damsels whom the players control in order to complete quests played to specific locations (Camelot, Cornwall and the Perilous Forest) from a separate Events deck, which is also sprinkled with cards that give certain characters temporary bonuses to their abilities.

Each character has six ability scores, and the quests usually involve having a certain amount of one of these abilities (such as Chivalry, Diplomacy or Cunning) at one of the three locations. Completed quests are worth points that are totaled at the end of the game, after one of three possible Final Events are completed.

Game play is relatively simple and straightforward, but there is very little depth to it, with games frequently hinging on which player is lucky enough to draw the best characters for the quests in play. However, the Event Deck is made up of a certain number of cards based on the number of players, plus one randomly chosen Final Event, which prevents the games from being too repetitive.  The main character deck is large enough that you don't usually see the same characters in every game, either.

On the rare occasion that we get this game out we always find it more engaging than we think we're going to, but that same simplicity prevents it from really making us want to play it a lot.

Rating: 3 (out of 5) A good light game, but not one with a lot of strategy to it.


Date played: December 8, 2013

UPDATE July 20, 2015: Another look at Mystery Rummy, Lost Cities, and Camelot Legends

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