Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Board Games: Shadows Over Camelot

I got a really good deal on a new copy of Shadows Over Camelot the other day:

If you've never played Shadows Over Camelot, it's a fun co-op game where the players have to work together to complete "quests" and stop The Black Knight.  However, at the start of the game, each player receives a "loyalty card", and one them may be "The Traitor" - who actually works against the other players.  You can earn points by exposing the traitor - but if you accuse someone wrongly, you lose points, making it even harder to win the game.

Funnily enough, the first time I played this game was not a good time - I remembered that I originally posted the story in a Board Game Geek thread titled "What's Your WORST Gaming Story!?"


The place: Origins 2009. The game: Shadows Over Camelot.

There were 5 of us playing - me, my wife, a guy in his late 20's / early 30's and his twelve-year-old nephew, and an older guy (early 50's, maybe). The twelve-year-old was the only one who had played before, and was being a bit of a know-it-all & criticizing other player's choices, but no worse than most twelve-year-olds I've played with. The older guy gets real irritated at this, until he starts making really inappropriate comments, calling the kid things like "idiot" and "jackass" and poking his finger at the kid's face while he's arguing with him. After all of us giving him the stink-eye several times, the uncle tells him explicitly to knock it off. The older guy mumbles an apology, and something about not usually playing with kids.

A little bit later, the older guy gets worked up over one of the rules (I don't even recall what it was - when to draw a card or something. It wasn't a rule that would have made a huge difference in the outcome, just would have made the game longer). Everyone else at the table is pretty easygoing, and we tell the older guy, "Okay, it's fine, if you want to play that way, then we'll play that way". This still isn't good enough for him - he gets up, finds one of the people from the club running the event, and yells at them until they get on the DoW web site to look up the rule.

A little bit later, it comes around to the older guy's turn. We look over, and he's asleep in his chair. The uncle reaches over and barely taps his shoulder and says, "Hey, it's your turn". The older guy jerks upright, grabs his lower back, and starts screaming "AAHHHH!! MY BACK!! MY BACK!!" and goes on a tirade about his back problems.

If you've played Shadows Over Camelot, you're familiar with the "traitor" concept. All of us are having fun with it, saying things like "Oh, you would do that, TRAITOR!" and "Nice move, TRAITOR!" We're doing it throughout the game, and it's obviously being done in a good-natured, humorous way. It comes around to the older guy's turn again, and the uncle says "Well, it's your turn... traitor". The older guy jumps up and screams, "THAT'S IT!! SCREW THIS!! I'M DONE!!" And starts gathering up all his stuff. The uncle is apologizing and asking him to stay. I was sick of it and say, "Just let 'em leave". On the way out the older guy points to the uncle and says "Oh, by the way, HE'S the traitor!" (The uncle had dropped a few of his cards on the floor early in the game, and the older guy must have gotten a look at them). We all sat there for a minute, bewildered, and we actually started laughing a bit at what a HUGE jerk the guy was.

Actually, a very nice younger guy who had been hanging out nearby came over - he was very familiar with the game, and we managed to salvage it, play it out, and had a great time relating stories about the jerk to the new guy.

This whole thing actually came up tonight - my wife & I were discussing our GenCon schedules over dinner, and she said "I was thinking of playing that Camelot game again". I said, "Well, it probably won't be as memorable as last time" and she cracked up laughing. So, at least we have a funny memory about it...

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