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The King is Dead. Long Live the King! A Tournament at Avalon Board Game Review

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15 Apr 2020 00:01 #309271 by WadeMonnig
And now here we are, years later, with Wizkids saying...

Somehow, I never did a full “proper” review of Tournament at Camelot. I did, however, include it in my Top 5 Family Card Games. So, let me crib my own work and include my summation of that title:

“A trick taking game that comes with asymmetrical powers and mitigates the luck of the draw with a thematic double tiered catch-up system all while framing it around a melee to the death. It's not only a mouthful; it can be a handful. Like a skillful juggler, Tournament at Camelot has a lot of plates in the air and, sometimes, it can break a few plates due to it's over ambitiousness. It is not that it is too complex, it is that the flow can be broken as more and more rule bending/breaking powers come into play. It features a Feint system that strategically pushes “tied” cards out of a match that can be used to focus your assaults on a player of your choice... assuming it doesn't backfire. Godsend cards and special companion powers that trigger as your hit points become low are the aforementioned catch-up mechanisms. When you put it all together, it provides an experience that makes you forget you are playing a trick taking game and not actually engaged in a tournament of Arthurian proportions.”

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15 Apr 2020 11:47 #309272 by Jackwraith
Awesome detail. I've never played either and I feel like I'm missing out. May have to look into these more.

On the tarot-sized cards, that's one of the things I liked about Kosmos' original version of Blue Moon, even if it made shuffling more difficult. The artwork was great, so why not see more of it?
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15 Apr 2020 13:35 #309274 by Shellhead
I am filing this away under Play Before Buying. I love the production values and the setting, but I dislike trick-taking games and Tournament at Avalon seems somewhat convoluted.
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15 Apr 2020 14:09 #309277 by WadeMonnig

Shellhead wrote: I am filing this away under Play Before Buying. I love the production values and the setting, but I dislike trick-taking games and Tournament at Avalon seems somewhat convoluted.

It absolutely can get convoluted. The basic rules are pretty easy to grasp but, when you start firing off the various player powers and Godsends, it can feel akin to juggling trying to keep track of everything. But, as a testament of how well it plays, after more than a dozen games of Tournament at Avalon, my wife stated "This game just gets better and better with each play." It somehow transcends trick taking, and you feel as if you are fighting for your life (with your wits and strategy keeping you alive).
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15 Apr 2020 19:34 #309286 by n815e
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16 Apr 2020 16:37 #309313 by dysjunct
Between this and ETTIN, I am suspecting that Ken Shannon might be one of the great unsung designers working today.
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