Thursday, February 08, 2007

I'm A Deputy!

The title of this entry refers to the tendency of everyone in my group who has played Bang! to claim repeatedly and often that they are, indeed, a deputy. Even the Sheriff, on occasion. Sadly, Bang! was one of those games that was really really fun exactly once, and after that it was just tedious. So, no report on Bang, but instead on a fifth cousin: Shadows Over Camelot.

SoC is one of those games that suffers in a game sense from having more players, but gains in an experiential sense. By that, I mean that while the game seems to have more of what you would technically call "downtime," at the same time, it's more fun. So there we were, six of us at Mike's on SouTues, trying hard not to pull out Medici *again*, when someone suggested SoC. I looked at Dave, fully expecting the patented "I rode on the bus for an hour for *this*" look, only to be met with enthusiasm. It must be that new car smell that's affecting him.

Characters were dealt (I got the guy that can play Special White cards easily, Liz got Sir If You See Kay, Dana got Arthur, Dave got the Special Bonus Character that came in a magazine or something, and Ben and Mike got supporting characters. I just can't keep track of who's who in this game, which really didn't matter much as I was blissfully dealt the traitor. I really like being the traitor, as I'm nothing like that in real life, and I find it to be a wonderfully cathartic experience. In fact, I hope and pray that at least someone will be the traitor, as this game is not nearly as much fun without it (although I do like the idea that we may all be looking for a traitor that doesn't exist).

Things started out promisingly for me, with Excalibur sinking at a record rate into the lake. Sadly, Liz took Launcelot's Armor, and the Grail quest went far too well for my tastes. We did have a nice Saxon and Pict invasion going, but I was forced to hold it off a bit longer as Arthur finally figured out that he could give me special cards that I could then play on my turn. Sadly, I was then forced to play them or be exposed.

And therein was the rub. You see, the rules for the traitor are only on the back of your character card, and turning it over to look at it repeatedly tends to make you look like maybe you're the traitor. So, I waited for a little while into the game while others were debating how best to find the Grail, took a look as though I was bored and wondering what would happen if someone else were the traitor, and singing a little untraitorish song to myself, which went something like this:

"Hum-de-dum, hum-de-dum, I'm not a little black traaaaai-tooor, hovering over your catapult,"

And so forth.

As such, it surprised everyone as much as me when, near the game end, I exposed *myself* as the traitor, mistakenly thinking that I had some extra bonus stuff I could do (like pull two black cards and pick one). Whoops. I also didn't realize that I lost the two-sword-shuffle that happens if the traitor is still alive *and undetected*. Whoop-whoops. Man, was that annoying. Clearly, there needs to be traitor rules somewhere that it's a bit less obvious to check as the game progresses. And believe me, I did look in the rules, although a few at the table said they suspected me because I was, you know, looking in the rules a lot. Which I was, but only once for the traitor rules.

The other thing that nearly gave me away was my lack of playing special cards. Sadly, aside from the Merlin I got at the start of the game, and the two Merlins passed me by Arthur, I never drew a special card. That meant that I couldn't play a couple to look like I was fighting the good fight, plus I never got to horde them. Sigh.

The really dumb thing was that I may have been able to pull out a win had I not revealed myself, as I would have been able to switch two swords. If I'd timed this right, like with a false accusation (another way to point out that you are the traitor, the "you smelt it you dealt it" factor), I could have swung three swords if I was lucky and won the game. Seeing as both Dave and Mike died before game end, it was a clear possibility.

Perhaps I liked this game because I got to be the traitor, but it certainly felt more like Arkham Horror than when I played with four players (or even five). Having six is a great number because there is a chance there will be no traitor, but not much of one. And yeah, you don't usually get a lot to do during your turn, but with a group game like this, it really doesn't matter so much. I will admit that had I been loyal, the game would have really sucked because I wouldn't have gotten any special cards and so not gotten to use my special power, but that's the way it goes.

Oh, and we also played a couple of hands of Frank's Zoo while waiting for Peter. I wasn't winning that game either.

Thanks to Mike for hosting my black-hearted alter ego and everyone else!

No comments: