Lancelot Board Game Review - Round Table Adventures
- Game Type – Euro
- Number of Players – 2 - 4
- Mechanics – Variable Player Powers, Set Collection
- Difficulty to learn – Medium
- Release – 2018
- MSRP - $54.99 (Currently $19.99 on Amazon)
- Publisher – WizKids
Like many young men, I loved tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round table when I was growing up. The epic quests of these men of legend is fertile ground to set a game in. Between the gorgeous box art and the theme, I was stoked to play Lancelot and go on an exciting journey to the misty realm of medieval England. Unfortunately, this was one trip to the past that wouldn’t be turning out well for me.
In Lancelot, players move around England going on quests and completing heroic deeds to gain Virtue Points (VP) to become the greatest of the knight of them all. Each turn players move around a circular board with a number of spaces that give players cards and resources that they can trade in elsewhere to gain virtue points. Players can move any number of spaces stopping as much or as little as they like but cannot move backwards. Once a player goes all the way around the board they must stop at the Camelot space and wait for the other players to catch up. Upon reaching Camelot players get to choose the special power of a knight of the round table on a first come, first serve basis. Once all players have reached Camelot the next round and lap around the board begins. After the eighth-round players score points for majorities in resources such as swords and maces, how far they are on the game’s grail track, and for holding Excalibur. These points are added to existing points scored during the game with highest score being the victor!
The gameplay is interesting in that you can conceivably stop at every space on the board, picking up a plethora of resources and what not, but at the cost of being the last to pick a powerful special ability for the next turn at Camelot. On the other hand, you could zoom along the board, jumping to Camelot early to get pick of the litter on the aforementioned abilities, but if everyone else is moseying along your advantage might not mean as much with the resources they’ve acquired. In either case, you can end up timing things so that you’ll move to spaces A and B to collect resources to cash in for VP’s at C, only to find that someone else jumped onto C right before you forcing you to go around!
Unfortunately, the gameplay, while somewhat interesting at times, is not very compelling and it doesn’t often feel like any action is really that much better then another one.
This game is not very complex but I gave the difficulty a medium. Why you may ask? Because the rulebook is near incomprehensible! This has to be one of the worst rulebooks I’ve ever read. The wording is vague in a lot of places and certain phrases could apply to multiple different things. I pretty sure this was an Italian game or by an Italian designer and it seems like the rules are a poor foreign translation.
Considering this game has such rich source material, I’m disappointed to say the theme is not very strong. There are a lot of references to Arthurian legend, but none of it feels like it really meshes well with the gameplay.
There’s also some weird disconnect here in the rules as well. It says under end of game that the player with the most points is Lancelot. I loved that story in tales of King Arthur where random knights rode around playing in tournaments, looking for the holy grail, and pulling Excalibur out of the lake in a quest to become Lancelot! I have to say though this did give me a chuckle.
At least set up in pretty painless. It’s pretty quick unless your one of those people that has to obsessively sort all the counters into separate piles before playing. Of course, even if you are that person you probably already put them in separate baggies (not that I’d know anything about that…).
Nothing to write home about here. The physical quality of everything is fine, but wow, is this game ugly. Between the color scheme on the resources tokens and the uninspiring looking board, this game is not very pleasant to look at. I had such high hopes seeing the box art too!
I need to make a special note of the cards in this game. During the game, you’re trying to collect various sets in the different colors of cards to score points so you have the side with the flag showing the color on it face up most of the game. This art is pretty poor, however there is absolutely breathtaking art on the other side of the cards, the side you never look at while you play the game. I can’t fathom what they were thinking, seemingly blowing their entire art budget on a part of a card you’d never be looking at during the game. Are they purposely taunting us?!
To no one’s surprise, I was not a fan of this game. Both learning the game and playing it was a slog, which is not helped by unpleasant looking components. However, I would like to say that Lancelot, is not all bad. It does some interesting things with the mechanics and gameplay did feel tight. If not for the awful rules and butt ugliness, I think I’d be more into it. If there’s ever another edition that fixes these problems, it would definitely be more compelling. As it is though, I have to say buy this one only on sale or if you’re an Arthur uber fan.