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Monday, August 01, 2005

Shannon: I've heard the complaint that there aren't a lot of decisions to be made on a turn, and I think that's because some people mistake what a turn is in Shadows over Camelot. You make decisions, but they're big things, what are usually termed strategic (as opposed to tactical) decisions. You discuss player's various strengths (within the limits of the game) and then you decide: Kay's going to fight the Black Knight, Arthur will continue the Grail Quest, etc. Afterward you have a few chances to play cards, and then because of your success or someone else's impending failure another big set of decisions comes along.

I think you could use Spades, Hearts, or most other traditional card games as a good analogy. Most of your turns are rote, but every three or four turns, as the overall picture slowly changes, you have to make some new plans. It's these meta-turns and their meta-decisions where the gameplay really occurs-in Shadows over Camelot, in Hearts, in Spades, and in a lot of other games.

Overall, through four games thus far, I've found Shadows to be great. It's got wonderful theming, wonderful production, enjoyable gameplay, good socialization, and great anxiety thanks to the traitor. I'd never call it the most strategic game I play, but it's definitely one of the most colorful with one of the most interesting social aspects.