Shadows Over Camelot, The Card Game

Shadows Over Camelot, The Card Game
From: Days of Wonder
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Shadows Over Camelot, The Card Game is a new Card Game from Days of Wonder.

Every once in a while, when I am running events at a convention, a dealer who knows me will drop off a game for me to check out.  At ConGregate in Winston-Salem, NC, Dan of Walt’s Cards (out of Maryland) dropped off Shadows Over Camelot, The Card Game, a game based on a very good board game.  I love the board game, so I was very intrigued about the card game.

From the back cover:
“Dark clouds gather over Brittany again…”

The card game is a cooperative effort between players taking on the roles of sons and daughters of Knights of the Round Table.  The players unite together to defeat various challenges presented in the game through Rumor cards.  In a sense, they are working together to defeat the game itself.  Right off the bat, this has broad appeal.  Cooperative games are a lot easier to win over  players in mixed crowds.  And they are just plain fun.

The group works together to acquire 7 white swords.  Meanwhile, based on Loyalty Cards distributed at the start, a Traitor may be working against the group to find 7 Black Swords.  Through the sequence of play, each player listens for rumors by flipping Rumor cards and waiting for the right moment to go on quests, while at the same time trying to fish out the traitor.

The bulk of the Rumor cards is related to individual quest like Picts, Saxons, Dragon, Excalibur, and Holy Grail.  These cards each have values that add up.  The “sweet spot” for a successful quest is 11 to 13 points.  As the Rumor cards are flipped, they form the Threat stack. People have to keep the values in the Threat stack straight in their head or the run the risk of being too high or too low.  Too high or low, means you gain a black sword if you attempt the particular quest.  Within the range of 11 to 13, you gain a white sword.

Players can do one of three things each round.  Listen For Rumors is the most common action, where the players flip cards from the Rumor stack to the Threat stack.  The player also can choose to Go On a Quest based on the card on the top of the Threat stack.  When that happens, the Threat stack is laid out into different quests, totaling up their numbers.  For the primary quest, the one that matched the top card, the numbers have to land in that specific range to earn a white sword, otherwise a black sword is awarded. So this is where remembering your totals are important.

From the back cover:
“…and the rumor has it that a Traitor might conspire against the Round Table.”

Communication between players is key to remembering the totals.  However, there are special cards that might impose silence during the game.  When a Morgan card is drawn, all communication between players must stop until another special card – the Merlin card – is then drawn. Like in life, people do not realize how important certain things are until they lose it.  Communication in this is so essential.

The special cards – Morgan, Merlin and Mordred – all have other effects that either occur during play or while totaling a Quest.  As indicated above, Morgan cards are usually bad and Merlin effects are usually good or helpful.  The Mordred card is also bad thing, but not as bad as Morgan.

The Traitor and Loyalty cards are integral in the game.  In the first game I played, I was the Traitor.  However, it was a learning game, so I was not as effective as I probably should have been.  I think I can personally claim responsibility for 1 black sword.  Through the normal course of play, the Traitor can simply feed misinformation to other players about what he remembers in the stack, feigning poor memory, for example.  However, through certain cards, primarily the Morgan cards, more lucrative opportunities arise for the Traitor to thwart the efforts of the other players.  The key is to not let these opportunities go to waste.  The game is short (60 to 90 minutes) and getting 7 white swords easier than you think, especially if you are playing with very intelligent players like I did.

There is also on other card in the deck that could create another Traitor.  The game plays up to 7 players and it contains 9 Loyalty cards (7 Loyal and 2 Traitor).  Game set up creates a Loyalty deck based on the number of players and always arranges it so that there are two extra Loyalty cards left over after dealing them to players. Those two cards remain in play in case the special card called Vivian comes up.  When that card comes up, the player picks one of the extra Loyalty cards and hands the other to someone else.  Both then pick between the new and the old one.  This creates a sense of shifting loyalties and in a large game, increases the chances of two Traitors in the mix.

The third and final thing a player can do on his turn is accuse another player of being a Traitor.  There are benefits and consequences to this.  If the Traitor is revealed, for the rest of game, the Traitor can only flip two cards from the Rumor deck to the Threat stack.  This of course increases the speed that the cards accumulate and forces to players to do more quests and take more risks.  If the person accused is not the Traitor, the group gains a Black Sword.  So the players have to be very careful when they accuse and the Traitor has to be very subtle about his actions.

There are also other cards in the set that the rules say are used in the advanced game.  These are called Knights to the Rescue cards.  You only add this into the game once you are familiar with it.  In a normal game, you usually have 3 extra Morgan cards that do not come into play.  However, in the Knights of the Rescue variant, the 3 extras are in play, set beside the 9 Knights cards.  Every time a Quest is successful, a new Morgan card is shuffled into the Rumor deck.  When a Quest fails, however, the balancing factor is the Knights cards.  The player that failed draws a Knight card and keeps it secret.  These cards can be used to change another player’s course of action, gain intelligence out of the Rumor deck and a number of other things that is advantageous to the players.  However, these cards are dangerous in the hands of the Traitor and give the Traitor more options to sow the seeds of deceit.

In conclusion, this game is about communication, memory and subtle group manipulation (in the Traitor’s case).  It’s a brilliant social game as well as a fun memory game.  I thoroughly enjoyed playing it.  It definitely has some interestingly subtle nuances that players have to master (especially in the Traitor’s case).  It’s fun in general to play the cards, with the switching back and forth between imposed silence and group communication, but with a Traitor in the mix, it is even more fun.  I almost would be inclined to make sure at least on Traitor gets played in the game to keep things interesting.

I want to thank John and Lisa Grigni, Alan Hyde, Jesse Riggs and Mike Welham for sitting down and play-testing this game with me.  It was a blast!

For more details on Days of Wonder and their new Card GameShadows Over Camelot, The Card Game” check them out at their website http://www.daysofwonder.com, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 19

Product Summary

Shadows Over Camelot, The Card Game
From: Days of Wonder
Type of Game: Card Game
Game Design by: Serge Laget, Bruno Cathala
Artist: Julien Delval
Number of Pages: 15 page rulebook
Game Components Included: 62 Rumor cards, 9 Knight cards, 9 Loyalty cards, 16 Swords, 10 Tokens, 1 Rules booklet
Retail Price: $24.99(US)
Number of Players: 1-7
Player Ages: 10+
Play Time: 60-80 min
Website: www.daysofwonder.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Ticket to Ride, The Card Game

Ticket to Ride, The Card Game is a new Card Game from Days of  Wonder.

Ticket to Ride is riding the rails of success in its board game format. It was inevitable that the game would break into the card game format, since at least two-thirds of the game mechanic of the board game is cards.

The small Ticket to Ride, The Card Game (T2R:TCG) box contains 148 illustrated cards.  There are 8 different sets of train cards in 10 different colors, including 10 multicolored cards.  There are also 16 locomotive cards, 6 Big City cards, and 46 Destination Ticket cards. The object of the game is to score the highest number of points by completing the Destination Tickets in your hand.

Although  there are some similarities between the board game and the card game, this game stands totally on its own as a different way to play the Ticket to Ride concept.  In the small box, there are 3 types of cards.  There are Train cards that come in all colors, Route or Destination Ticket cards that have point values and color values on them, and Bonus cards which give you bonus points if you have the most of a certain city at the end of the game.

Setting up, each player first gets a Locomotive card which are the wild cards.  Then each player gets 7 Train cards.  The rest of these become the Train pile.  From the Train pile, 5 cards are put face up on the table in the Draw area.  Then each player gets 6 Ticket cards and the rest are placed in a pile as the Ticket Deck.  Then the player chooses at least one Ticket
card from his six, although he may keep all six.

From the back cover :

“A new train adventure begins…”

The object of the game is to gain points by completing the Ticket cards at the end of the game. To do this, one needs the right color of train cards that the route cards requires in his On-the-track pile. To get trains in his On-the-track pile, the player must first place cards in his Railyard, then move them to his On-the-track pile one at a time.  At the beginning of one’s turn, one card from each color that a player owns in front of him is placed face-down into your Railyard pile. However, an opponent my place cards in his Railyard and Train Rob other players with fewer cards of that particular color.

It may sound confusing but it is quite simple.  There are two areas that a Train card can be in – the Railyard and the On-the-track.  In the Railyard, trains are vulnerable to Train Robbing, if a player lays more of the same color that you have.  Once in the On-the-track pile, they can be used at the end of the game for scoring.

During each player’s turn, he first moves one of each different color that he can from his Railyard to his On-the-track pile.  Then he can do one of three things: Draw 2 new Train cards from either the Train deck or the Draw area, place Train cards in his Railyard, or Draw a Destination Ticket card.  When placing in the Railyard, a player can either place a stack of 2 or more of the same color or 3 cards of a different color.  Once the Train cards run out, a round of scoring occurs.  The players use the cards in the On-the-Track pile to complete as many Destination Ticket cards as possible. After scoring, if it is a 2 or 3 player game, then the game is over.  With a 4 player game, the game can continue.

In conclusion, although not quite the same game as Ticket to Ride, it is an entertaining game.  It has a good balance of individual strategy and character interactivity.  It captures the essence of T2R but is a different game.  It plays fast and challenges your memory as you try to remember what you placed in the On-the-track pile.  It is fun and easy to play, and it is also more portable than the board game as well.

For more details on Days of Wonder and their new Card Game “Ticket to Ride, The Card Game” check them out at their website http://www.daysofwonder.com, and at all of your local game stores.

Ticket to Ride, The Card Game

From: Days of Wonder
Type of Game: Card Game
Game Design by: Alan R. Moon
Artist: Julien Delval
Number of Pages: 4 page rulebook, three languages
Game Components Included: 148 illustrated cards
Retail Price: $ 25.00 (US)
Number of Players: 2-4
Player Ages: 8+
Play Time: 30 min+
Website: www.daysofwonder.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries

Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries
From:  Days of Wonder
Reviewed by:  Ron McClung

Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries is a new Board Game from Days of Wonder.

Probably the most successful line Days of Wonder has, they have now released Ticket to Ride (T2R) Nordic Countries for your T2R pleasure.  Surprising me at first was the fact that it was a maximum 3 player game.

From the front cover:

“Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries takes you on a Nordic adventure though Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden as you travel the great northern cities of Copenhagen, Oslo, Helsinki, and Stockholm.”

Opening the box, you see more or less what you would expect for a T2R series game.  For those that don’t know, see our review on Ticket to Ride for the core basics of the game.  In general, the object of the game is to score the highest amount of points by claiming routes between cities, completing a continuous route between two cities, and completing the most destinations.  You do
this with Train cards and Destination Tickets.

The basics of the game are the same.  Only the map is different and the game does add a few new elements.  The two new elements are Ferries and Tunnels.

Tunnels were introduced on T2R: Europe and then T2R: Switzerland. When building a tunnel, one must play it as normal route, except that in addition to the Train Cards necessary to complete the route, the player must also flip the top three cards of the Train Deck.  If any of these cards match the color of the train cards being played or are locomotives, the player must play one extra card for each.  If this is not possible, the player takes his played cards back into their hand; and his turn is over.  He must attempt the tunnel again at a later turn.

Ferries are special routes denoted with a locomotive picture in at least one of the spaces along the route.  Along with the normal colored cards one has to play, the player must also play a locomotive card for every locomotive symbol along the route.

One thing I noticed at first was that there was one long route between Lieska and Murmansk of nine spaces, making me think that perhaps the routes were longer in this expansion.  However, this is balanced out with many shorter routes throughout the map.  I think on average, the length of a route remains the same as standard T2R.

In conclusion, this is just as good a game as T2R  or any of its other off-shoots.  The only real issue I had with it was the price tag.  For a 2 or 3 player game, it is expensive.  It should also be noted that this is a special-edition English-language version that was previously only available in Scandinavia.  A limited number of copies are being printed.

For more details on Days of Wonder and their new Board Game “Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries” check them out at their website http://www.daysofwonder.com, and at all of your
local game stores.

Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries

From: Days of Wonder

Type of Game: Card Game

Game Design by: Alan R. Moon

Artist: Julien Delval

Number of Pages: 2 page rulebook

Game Components Included: Type List of Items

  • 1 board
  • 120 train cars
  • 110 train car cards
  • 46 destination tickets
  • 1 globetrotter bonus card
  • 3 wooden scoring markers
  • rules booklet

Retail Price: $ 50.00 (US)

Players: 2 – 3

Time: 30 – 60 minutes

Ages: 8 and up

Website: www.daysofwonder.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Ticket to Ride: USA 1910

From:  Days of Wonder
Reviewed by:  Ron McClung

Ticket to Ride: USA 1910 is a new Board Game Expansion from Days of Wonder.

Ticket to Ride is without a doubt one of the more popular games in the industry.  Illustrating the flexibility and expandability of a great game, Days of Wonder has released the USA 1910 expansion.

From the back cover :

“The USA 1910 expansion will fundamentally alter your strategies and tactics; surprise even long-time veteran railroaders; and bring hundreds of hours of new fun to your family and friends.”

Contained in a smaller tin, the three decks of nearly two-hundred cards and 1 page rulebook (in 9 languages) make up the sum total of this expansion.  It is meant to be used with the original Ticket to Ride (T2R) board game.  All the cards from the original T2R game are reprinted, which is handy if your older set needs replacing.  Also included are four cards from the out-of-print Mystery Train expansion.  What this expansion brings to the game is thirty-six completely new cards. These are the 35 new Destination cards as well as a new bonus card – the Globetrotter card.

All the cards are in a larger 3.5″x2.25″ format. This is a relief to those that have issues with the smaller cards.  I have found that there are some in the board game community that hate the smaller cards, but I do not join them in that.  However it is nice to have larger cards for the base game. It also makes it easy for you to switch between the game versions.  It should be noted, however, that some of the reprints have changes to the point values.  There are 4 Destination Ticket cards that have had their point values “revised downward.”

Along with the original rules, this expansion has three new ways to play: 1910, Mega Game,
and Big Cities.

In 1910, you simply play with only the tickets with the 1910 logo and replace the Longest Route Bonus card with the Globetrotter card.  Other than changing a few routes, this is simply a rearranging of the original game. For those that perhaps are tired of the same old routes, this refreshes the game a little.

In the Mega Game, you use all the cards given in the set, including both bonus cards. This is probably the most attractive way as it gives each player a chance to have a little of the old and a little of the new.  Each player gets 5 Destination Ticket cards at the start and keeps at least 3 but can keep all 5 if he wants to risk it.  In game, when you decide to draw tickets, draw 4 and keep at least one.  This is a version that makes a good game better.

In the Big Cities game, you only use the ticket cards that feature at  least one Big City – denoted in red text. There are only seven big cities – Chicago, Dallas, Houston, LA, Miami, New York City, and Seattle. This limits the routes and ensures the players will be stepping all over each other in the game. This makes for a much more competitive and interactive game.  Some might say it is more cutthroat.

In conclusion, if you are an old T2R veteran – those who might have memorized all the cards and the routes – I would dare say this is a must have. This is an expansion that simply makes a good game better all around.  I like the additional variety and playability.  The larger cards are also very
nice, and after playing with them, I felt more inclined to use them than the smaller ones.

For more details on Days of Wonder and their new Board Game Expansion “Ticket to Ride: USA 1910” check them out at their website http://www.daysofwonder.com, and at all of your
local game stores.

Ticket to Ride: USA 1910

From: Days of Wonder

Type of Game: Board Game Expansion

Game Design by: Alan R Moons

Number of Pages: 1 page rules

Game Components Included: 181 new large format cards including 35 new “Destination Tickets,” a new “GlobeTrotter” bonus card for completing the most tickets, plus a complete replacement deck for all the cards from the original game deck.

Game Components Not Included: Game board and game pieces
from Ticket to Ride

Retail Price: $ Type Dollar Value (US)

Retail Price: $ Type Dollar Value (Can)

Players: 2 – 5

Time: 30 – 60 minutes

Ages: 8 and up

Website: www.daysofwonder.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Ticket to Ride: Switzerland

From:  www.daysofwonder.com
Reviewed by:  Ron McClung 

Ticket to Ride: Switzerland Expansion is a new Boardgame Expansion from Days of Wonder.

Ticket to Ride (TtR) is one of those staple games you can always see at a convention.  It is right up there with Settlers of Catan as one of the more popular games to play.  Ticket to Ride: Switzerland is an expansion of that great game that takes you into the tough terrain of the famed country.  It adds a few new things and challenges the player in different ways.

It is first important to note that TtR: Switzerland is an expansion and not a stand alone game.  If you do have have Ticket to Ride or Ticket to Ride: Europe, it might be a good idea to have one of those and played it before you buy this expansion.  It contains a new board and Destination Tickets for the game, but it needs the playing pieces and the Train cards to play.

From the back cover :
“From the shores of Lake Geneva to the slopes of Davos, this expansion takes you through the heart of Switzerland’s mountainous geography.”

The basic mechanics of the game are the same as TtR.  I am going to write this review under the assumption that you are familiar with the base game.  What TtR: Switzterland brings to game are the following:

  • Country destination:  Along with the city to city routes, there are routes that connect city to neighboring countries, suck as France, Italy, and Austria.  These act similarly to cities in general.
  • These give rise to the Country Destination Tickets which can be from city to country or country to country.  These cards give 3 or 4 points value options for the player to choose from.  For example, from Germany to Italy is 13 points, Germany to France is 5 points and Germany to Austria is 5 points.  The player can complete more than one route on the card, but the number of points earned are ONLY the highest points of the completed routes.  If none are completed, the player only looses the lowest points on the card.  These cards can be some of the more valuable cards in the game and the loss is minimal if you don’t make the destination.  In most cases, the player should keep these cards when drawn.
  • Starting Destination Cards and Drawing Destination Cards:  Also related to this subject is the starting Destination Card hand.  The players are dealt 5 cards and get to choose up to 3 for their starting Destination hand.  Also, when the person wants to draw an additional Destination Card, they draw 3 and keep one.
  • Discarding Destination Cards:  Destination cards in this version are not discarded for later use. They are completely taken out of the game.  This includes ones discarded during the set up as well as when cards are drawn.  This can result in the game running out of Destination cards.
  • Tunnels:  Like Tunnels in TtR: Europe, tunnels in Switzerland are very prevalent.  When building a tunnel, one must play it as normal route, except that in addition to the Train Cards necessary to complete the route, the player must also flip the top three cards of the Train Deck. If any of these cards match the color of the train cards being played or are locomotives, the player must play one extra card for each. If this is not possible, the player takes his played cards back into their hand; and his turn is over.  He must attempt the tunnel again at a later turn.
  • A Change in the Locomotive Card:  The 14 “wild” Locomotive cards that come in the base set are played differently.  They are treated like normal Train cards when drawn and can only be played on Tunnel routes.

From the back cover :
“You’ll climb aboard the Mont-Blanc Express connecting Martigny to France and ride the Berina Express over soaring passes into Italy.”

The Tunnels are nothing new if you played TtR: Europe.  However, there are quite a few of them in this expansion. They tend to add a bit of luck to the game, but not a devastating amount. It is always good to have a few extra cards prepared if you plan to build a tunnel.  One or two is probably safe and it is very rare that you will actually need three.  The loss is not bad if you don’t have the cards – at least you do not lose the Train cards you played.

The change to the Locomotive card tends to make the regular routes a little more difficult as you have to match the colors exactly.  However, it also forces the players to build tunnels because the Locomotive cards come out as often as regular cards and they tend to build up.  It can get frustrating as you wait for the right color.  This is really one of the more felt changes in the game.

One of the other more significant changes to the game are the Destination cards.  The fact that they are discarded out of the game makes them a more valuable asset, especially in the case of the country destination cards.  Destination Ticket cards are the real difference makers in this game.  The layout of the map is much different from the standard TtR, as it is more tight and crowded (as one can imagine).  The geography of Switzerland plays a big role in this game, making it harder to strategize.  One can not win by simply playing random routes.  It is a far more competitive and interactive game.  There are many ways to “put it to” the other players, like cutting them off and preventing them from getting to their desired destination.

In conclusion,although similar in many ways to the base game,TtR: Switzerland is definitely different in many ways.  It is more competitive and “cut throat” than the Ticket to Ride.  Because of the nature of Switzerland’s terrain and size, the game has a claustrophobic feel.  It is definitely a game in its own and not a game for those new to the Ticket to Ride series.

I like Ticket to Ride for many reasons but one primary reason is that is it so elegantly designed and simple in mechanics that you can have some fairly different versions of the game by simply tweaking the mechanic here and there. Ticket to Ride: Switzerland is tweaked really well, making it a fun addition to the series.

For more details on www.daysofwonder.com and their new Boardgame Expansion “Ticket to Ride: Switzerland Expansion” check them out at their website http://www.daysofwonder.com, and at all of your local game stores.

Ticket to Ride: Switzerland

From: www.daysofwonder.com

Type of Game: Boardgame Expansion

Game Design by: Alan R. Moon

Art by: Julien Delval

Number of Pages: 1 page rules in 8 different languages

Game Components Included:

  • A full-size game board
  • 46 Destination Tickets
  • A multi-lingual rules booklet (English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Finnish, Swedish)

Game Components Not Included: Complete Base set of Ticket to Ride.
Retail Price: $ 25.00 (US)

Number of Players: 2-3

Player Ages: 8+

Play Time:
30 to 60 minutes

Website: www.daysofwonder.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung