TABLE GAMES REVIEW: Camelot The Build

Welcome to International Tabletop Day and we review another board game in our 7 reviews in 7 days challenge. This time we get our building hat on and go back in time in Camelot The Build by Wotan Games. A simple tile laying game that will have you coming back for more.

A game of medieval interior design with all sorts of dubious stratagems, dirty tricks and subtle ploys designed to challenge all ages and types of players. Having only three rules, a playing time of a half-hour, and bright, humorous graphics — it is the first title in “The Camelot Chronicles”, a series of easy-to-play games with a target of three rules, maximum playing time of one hour, and universal playability and appeal.

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So that is the very simple premise for Camelot The Build by Wotan Games. I first saw this game back at Dragonmeet 2013 and had  few goes and was surprised by just how easy this game was and also how much fun it was in it’s simplistic approach. This is a tile laying game first and four most but it is also one that needs you to have a strategy to gain points.

Lets start by explaining the set up. There is a nice designed board with a basic layout of  castle which you lay down and then takea  look at all the tiles. Some have numbers on them and other don’t ranging from 1 to 5 which is score value of that tile. You take the tiles that have 3 or more points and any garden tiles and place them to the side. Then place all the other tiles in the bag provided.

Now depending on how many players there are you either lay some tiles already on the board (3 & 4 players) or none are laid (1, 2 and 5 players). Next you turn the tiles you put aside and deal them out to each player, 2 scored tiles and 1 garden tile. Now we place the rest of tiles back in the bag and shake that thing up. Now in turns each player will pick at random 7 cards each making their pile 10 cards. Every player may keep 3 tiles face down as a sort of secret weapon for when they need them. Then choose your score counter and place the on the “0” space on the board. Now we are ready to play.

The rules to this game are so simple it will take one round to learn them. In turns each player will choose up to three tiles to play in an area that the tile is allowed to be placed. By this I mean that if it is a tile with an external wall then it can only be placed on the board in that section. If it is a tile that has a inner wall on it then it has to be placed in those sections. Garden tiles can be placed in any clear area not in a room and so on. It is very easy to see which tiles are allowed to go where by the simple board design.

Where you place the tiles will help you gain points. As mentioned before some tiles have points on them and others do not. If you place all three of your tiles in an area that they all have edges touching then you get all the points on the tiles but then you double it because you have placed them in a group. If you place them in separate areas then you still take the individual points but no “group” bonus. Add up your score and move your counter long the score track. Then take three tiles to replace the ones you just placed on the board.

So that is simple enough but here comes the really cool game mechanic. When placing your tiles if your tile touches and existing tile that has already been played in a previous round then as long as your tile is touching the edge of the of that tile you gain those points as well. So if you lay  a tile that has 3 points and it is touching edge to edge another tile that has 2 points you gain those two pints to give you 5 points. BUT WAIT… What if you lay your three tiles all touching and they are touching other tiles with points. Simple you get all the points and then double them because you laid yours in a group.

Garden tiles are like a super powered tile because while they work in the same way as other tiles they have an extra power which is that you get points of the corner of your tile is touching another tile not just the edge so use them wisely.

Also don’t forget that when it come to laying your last tiles your score is deducted against you so try and keep a few blank tiles for your last go. It really does take a few rounds to get the rules and away you go.

Below shows our game from start to finish.

The board is a lovely design showcasing the various aspects of a castle keep. The areas are clearly marked where you can lay certain tiles and when you do start to lay them the castle comes alive in a great looking tapestry. Because you have to the option to lay the tiles in different places each game the castle will never look the same twice.

The tiles are really well designed showing where they can be placed and also where some have higher points values than others. This is something to learn from because the decision to lay tiles together or in separate places could mean the difference between winning or losing. Also make the time to look at the details on the tiles and you will see some cool looking things including King Arthur’s magical sword Excalibur.

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The more you play this game the more strategy’s you will be trying out. Which cards do you hide, what cards do you lay first. Should you be aggressive with using other players cards to gain extra points or will you be more stratagic by placing tiles to block your opponents. No matter what you choose I can guarantee your maths will improve.

This is one of those games you could use as filler as it is light, easy to teach, educational and fun all at the same time. It is one those games where the theme is vital to the actual game and not just a tacked on theme as some games do so regularly. I would bring this game out for younger players and new players who want to experience a new style of board game.

Just to push this point is that I played the game with some people who’s first language was not English and they picked it up really quickly and I have also played it with a 10 year old and a 15 year old both of who got the rules within 5 minutes.

The components in the box are simple, a board, the tiles, and bag, some counters and a rule book. The board is sturdy and the tiles are from the same stuff so this game should last a while. The actual artwork on the game is half humorous and half tapestry esque but it all works perfectly for this game.

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The game costs around £30 ish which is very reasonable because I know that no two games will be the same which means that you can be assured that every time you grab the box it will be a different experience. Wotan Games have said that this is the first in three Camelot themed games with the second one the way soon but for now this core game is a great little starter game and also a perfect filler game on those big game nights.

So while this is a game I would keep in my collection it is not one I would rush out to grab every time but it has a lot of postives and I would be happy to recommend this to a new gamer.

Also right now there is a Kickstarter for the digital app of this game HEREJudging from the looks of it, it could be a great app. Want to see excatly how the game is played then check out the official video guide below.

GS RATING: 3.5/5

For more board game reviews on Geek Syndicate go HERE

Source: Camelot The Build
Reporter: Montoya

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One comment

  1. Thank you for the review, much appreciated. Note to the readers – its on £25 – but come to UK Games Expo to Play and Pay choosing the price.

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