Thursday, December 11, 2008

Review -- CAMELOT


When your a game which has been around for more than a century I suppose it's not surprising that along the way some marketing type has tried to 'spice' things up via a name, and that is the case with Chivalry, a game created in 1888 by George S. Parker, who initially self-published the game. However, the game really gained its most ardent fans in the 1930s when the game was renamed Camelot and published then by Parker's new company Parker Brothers.Just to muddy the waters a bit the game has also been sold under the name Inside Moves, and has a scaled down version which came out as Cam.While the name lineage has been somewhat convoluted, (to make matters even more interesting there have been at least three other distinct games produced under the name Camelot in the last 20 years), the vintage game of Camelot remains a gem.While you will hear about many games which have elements of chess and checkers, this one really does combine the two well. The mechanics are pretty straight forward, you must get one of your pieces into the enemy castle, a two square area on the opposite side of the board.The board has 160 squares, with each player having 10 men-at-arms, and four knights, with which to do battle.The pieces move only a single square, but can jump their own pieces, think Chinese checkers, to gain ground more quickly.Capture is by jumping as in regular checkers, with multiple captures possible. Of course the men and knights do have specific rules regarding how they may capture, adding to the depth of the game.The game play can be quite strategic, and in the '30s this was reportedly a huge success with national championships being held in the United States. This game is quite easy to learn, but it requires skill to be good at it.This is the kind of game for people who are scared off by chess, but still want a game with a look and feel of chess. There is also something that is just intrinsically interesting playing a game with the history and heritage that Camelot has.The game still has a strong following, and well it should since this is a wonderful classic. The game is still supported through the World Camelot Federation, which can be accessed at HTTP:// game pieces for Camelot are generally molded plastic, having been around 120 years there are a number of editions of course. The men-at-arms are medieval-style soldiers with shields, while the knights are mounted on horseback.Another plus of this game is that many older versions out there have great box covers, with art depicting charging knights etc.. They are a throwback to an era where there was greater effort put into such things as how the box will look on the shelf.If you see this game in a pawn shop, or a yard sale, grab it, it will not disappoint. A true classic still worthy of being enjoyed.

-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper May 7, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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