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I recently bought Shadows Over Camelot and its a great game, but it seems a shame that it only really works well with 5+ players. Is there anything I could do to combat this and make 3-4 player games more optimal when playing at home? Here's some ideas I had so far:

  • With 3 players, each player gets to control 2 knights and alternates which one he plays. He plays them as if they were separate eg. he can't swap cards between their hands. Don't use the traitor when playing this way.
  • With 4 players, one knight is played by all the players. His hand is face up the entire game, and the players make decisions as a group. The collectively played knight cannot be a traitor, but the other players might be.

Does anyone have experience with improving the game with 3-4 people or suggestions to offer?

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SoC is one of my favorite games. I'm going to assume that the answer you're looking for is how to make it easier for 3-4 players. I actually quite like three to four players games as there are more interesting decisions, risks, and strategies to playing and winning.

To make it easier consider mixing and matching any of these:

  1. Play without a traitor. Even with three players you're likely playing with 8 loyalty cards, so the traitor isn't likely to be in the game anyhow. Removing infighting and suspicion will make the game easier.
  2. If you're using a traitor, don't look at loyalty cards until 6 swords are around the table.
  3. REMOVE whole sets of fight cards from the white deck (1-5). In higher numbers of players, the game is easier partially because the knights get to cycle through the white deck making multiple use of special white and merlin cards
  4. Only require two merlin cards to cancel special black cards
  5. Do not play with the grail. Remove all despair, desolation, and holy grail cards from the decks. This focuses the number of quests onto a smaller number of knights for balance. Plus it eliminates a 'boring' quest. (Grail duty!)
  6. Increase the starting cards and hand limits, allowing longer quests for the knights.
  • Hand limits? I wasn't aware that there were supposed to be hand limits... – David Oneill Jan 26 '11 at 17:36
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    Indeed. You may not draw cards at Camelot if you already have 12 or more cards. A common 7 player strategy is for everyone to fill their hands then white can quickly cycle the white deck. Of course, don't forget that you need to shuffle BOTH decks when you shuffle white. – Neal Tibrewala Jan 26 '11 at 21:36
  • Please let us know on here if you try any of these variants and which you like best. – Neal Tibrewala Feb 28 '11 at 7:59
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Another idea: Allow players to choose which knight they play, instead of selecting randomly.

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