"At the incarnation of the Knights of the Round Table, you join forces against the game itself in an attempt to protect Camelot.
Your victory hinges on the successful completion of legendary Quests, such as the search for Excalibur, the Holy Grail, or Lancelot's Armor; the tournament against the Black Knight; and numerous wars against the Saxons and Picts.
But beware. .. all is not as it seems among these noble Knights. One of your number might yet turn out to be a traitor-in-waiting, biding his time while sowing havoc and destruction from the Shadows..."
That's the somewhat official description of the game.
Shadows Over Camelot is a cooperative/semi-cooperative hand-management and deduction-based board game.
Basically, you get to play as one of the Knights of the Round Table. You go on quests, stop sieges against Camelot, and find artifacts to help you along the way.
The real catch here is that in the 3+ player mode, one of the players is a traitor and working against you to bring down the kingdom.
Basic gameplay is handled by following a turn process. First, an evil action happens. This could be more invaders, a curse on the kingdom, or any number of horrible things. Then you get a heroic action which can be you moving to a new quest, playing a card, building up your hand, or fighting the sieges against camelot.
You have cards in your hand that you must play to complete quests. Some require combinations of cards that will out-number the enemy cards, and some simply require playing specific cards before it's too late.
As you complete quests, the round table receives white swords. As you lose quests, black swords go onto the table. When there are 12 swords, and 7 or more at black, you lose.
Meanwhile, the traitor is secretly working against you and the group has no idea who. Each player gets one chance to correctly accuse. Once the traitor is outed, he more overtly works against the players by helping the forces of evil.
Shadows Over Camelot 2 Player Variant
Since my wife and I don't often get a chance to play with more people, we had put off even learning Shadows Over Camelot. We recently found a two-player variant that simply removes the traitor and lets you play two knights each.
The variant is actually pretty fun, and a great way to simply cooperatively work to beat the forces of evil in a PvE questy game.
Shadows Over Camelot is really fun, but stressful. You have to constantly work to avoid Camelot being taken over by siege engines, and also worry about a traitor simply the forces of evil messing you up.
It's not uncommon to go out on a quest with the cards you need just to find the forces of evil make you discord those cards. When you leave a solo quest, all progress is lost. It's common to lose games, so if you're someone who has to win (even on coop games) then you might steer clear.
Definitely worth picking up for 2 player and for groups of 4+ where you can experience the game the way its meant to be played.