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Steel Inferno
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Strategies for the traitor Thu, 25 January 2007 05:03
Our group has played a decent number of games now with a traitor. The traitor has won a total of once, when he convinced the other knights to join him on the dragon quest towards the end of the game on the assurance that he had the cards needed to beat the thing. Then, when the Dragon was almost ready to go, he randomly accused one of the other knights (for the black sword) and bailed out of the quest. The next card drawn was a dragon, a couple of the knights died, and he ended up winning.

I've seen a number of strategies used by traitors, none of which seems to have worked very well. It may be because we play almost invariably with all 7 knights, making it easier on the loyal guys.

Strategies I've seen:

1-Play possum: Go for the two black swords at the end of the game: Very bad idea. Traitor definitely needs to be proactive in order to have a good chance. Guy who tried this ended up losing very badly

2-Be obvious: Go nuts as the traitor right from the start. They can't accuse you until there's six swords or siege engines anyway: This can give evil a big leg-up early on, but you know the first thing that'll happen when there's 6 of something is that you'll be accused. This does however, free you of the need to pretend to be loyal, so you can screw around with them all game long. A traitor that did this actually almost won.

3-Play the "hard-luck knight." Act like you have a lousy draw and go to the long quests where you don't really affect the game in a big way (excalibur or grail) and stay there as long as you can. Don't burn life to do more stuff. Then go back to camelot and get more "bad" cards. Excalibur's nice because the others can't see what you're throwing away: This seems to be a very passive approach to playing the traitor, and I don't think it's wise on its own. As with number 1, the traitor needs to be proactive. However it can lead into number 4.

4-The Great Betrayal: Play the game as per number 1 or 3 and bide your time for a great act of betrayal. Seen this done twice. One occurred when the knights were all gearing up for the last big dash to victory. Everyone was rallying to one quest to complete it for the victory. The traitor didn't come and instead accused someone. The other was the one time so far when the traitor has won. I described it earlier: This seems to be a decent strategy, assuming you get the opportunity to make a really killer betrayal at the right time.

5-Race to Defeat: Go nuts as a loyal knight would at the beginning. Get Excalibur or Lancelot's Armor for yourself as quickly as possible. By doing this you set up for the siege of camelot to progress more quickly and for the dragon to do it's thing more rapidly as well. The loyal knights get some swords early on, but suddenly get in a bit of trouble with siege engines, not to mention a quick dragon. From this point, a (dis)loyal knight can be excused for going back to camelot to re-stock his cards for a few turns. Depending on the overall situation, he could do a number of things from this point: I've seen this done only once. Unfortunately for the Traitor, things remained under control for the loyal knights pretty much throughout the game due to aggressive play on their part as well as fortunate card draws.

      
atefec
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Re:Strategies for the traitor Thu, 25 January 2007 08:28
Steel Inferno schrieb am Thu, 25 January 2007 05:03

Our group has played a decent number of games now with a traitor. The traitor has won a total of once

In our group the traitor has LOST only once Twisted Evil

Quote:

1-Play possum: Go for the two black swords at the end of the game: Very bad idea.

I would say it's not a bad, but it's the best idea! The unrevealed traitor wins almost every time in our group by turning around two swords at the end of the game. So what to conclude? The best strategy of the traitor depends on the group of knights, there is NO tactic that succeeds in every group and there is NO tactic that looses in every way. BTW: This is one of the reasons why SOC is such a brilliant game Thumbs Up

Note: The knights have to win with 9 white vs. 3 black swords, because 8 vs. 4 is not enough when the traitor turns around two white swords at the end of the game (6 vs. 6 is a defeat). When he manages to stay unrevealed and he just plays ineffectively (enough to handicap the knights, too little to raise suspicion), in almost every of our games there are at least 4 black swords and so the traitor succeeds. Twisted Evil

I have to add that in most times we play with 5 knights. The smaller the group, the easier the traitor can win.

Quote:

2-Be obvious: Go nuts as the traitor right from the start.

The only time a traitor lost in our group was when he decided not to to maintain a low profile and he tried to act active.

Again: It depends on the group you play in. In our group the traitors try to remain undetected and that's why they are so successful.

Quote:

3-Play the "hard-luck knight." Act like you have a lousy draw and go to the long quests where you don't really affect the game in a big way (excalibur or grail) and stay there as long as you can.

True, very good way to play a traitor!

Quote:

Don't burn life to do more stuff.

Any knight who is not ready to sacrifice life points, is suspicious in our group. Burn life points ineffectively very early by hurrying to quests - nobody corners you to sacrifice more life points if you have only 2 points left. Avoid to participate victories in order to receive new life points.

Your strategies obviously work well in your group of knights. In our group the traitor is longing for the greatest victory of all: When the knights complete the last quest and believe they have won with 8 white vs. 4 black swords. But now one knight reveals himself as the traitor, turns around two white swords and it's 6 vs. 6 - the knights have lost! Spiteful laughter of the traitor and the other knights aghast at this sight! Wonderful!
Very Happy

[Aktualisiert am: Thu, 25 January 2007 08:37]

      
Steel Inferno
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Re:Strategies for the traitor Fri, 26 January 2007 05:40
Yeah, our group is quite paranoid. It is always assumed that there is a traitor (appropriate, as with 7 knights, there usually is). As such, the knights always go for enough white swords to win even if the traitor is not unmasked. This is possible with seven knights. It is probably far less so with only five. It is quite likely that this makes things quite different (and more difficult) for the traitor, forcing him to be more proactive in order to counter the knights. It's far less profitable for the Traitor to lie doggo when the knights have a good chance of overpowering the two-sword thing if he doesn't do anything about it.
      
AK_Aramis
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Re:Strategies for the traitor Sat, 27 January 2007 12:09
One other strategy I've seen used:

The Card Waster
This player draws a lot, and runs the white deck out as quick as possible to get the black specials back into play faster, due to simultaneous reshuffles.

Most of his time is spent fighting siege engines so he can burn cards faster.
      
atefec
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Re:Strategies for the traitor Sat, 27 January 2007 21:02
AK_Aramis schrieb am Sat, 27 January 2007 12:09

One other strategy I've seen used:

The Card Waster
This player draws a lot, and runs the white deck out as quick as possible to get the black specials back into play faster, due to simultaneous reshuffles.

Most of his time is spent fighting siege engines so he can burn cards faster.


Interesting strategy... But a reshuffle of the black card pile will also bring back the white special cards, especially the Merlins. Fighting siege engines is somehow counterproductive, too. The siege engines are the greatest threats for the knights, so I wouldn't fight them as traitor... On the other hand it's a very good way for the traitor not to raise suspicion Rolling Eyes

I wouldn't arrogate to myself that the strategy of the "Card Waster" can't work. As I said before: It depends on the knights' way of playing which tactic can succeed.
      
Steel Inferno
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Re:Strategies for the traitor Sun, 28 January 2007 07:02
I agree.

I don't think such a strategy would work very well in my group. They're too paranoid. Anyone who is seen to be stooging around doing something relatively useless and drawing lots of cards is immediately suspect. I don't know about the deck-reshuffling part of it and how that would work out though.

It is also true that destroying catapults is very good for the loyal knights. Not something I'd think the traitor would want to do. The catapult buildup is generally something the traitor can use to keep the knights honest. As the siege tightens, the knights cannot add engines to avoid black cards, and they may need to detail a guy or two to prune them back. This makes siege engines generally too good a resource for the traitor to waste, especially when there are other ways to disguise himself without hurting his own cause too much.
      
AK_Aramis
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Re:Strategies for the traitor Sun, 28 January 2007 11:09
atefec wrote on Sat, 27 January 2007 11:02

AK_Aramis schrieb am Sat, 27 January 2007 12:09

One other strategy I've seen used:

The Card Waster



Interesting strategy... But a reshuffle of the black card pile will also bring back the white special cards, especially the Merlins. Fighting siege engines is somehow counterproductive, too. The siege engines are the greatest threats for the knights, so I wouldn't fight them as traitor... On the other hand it's a very good way for the traitor not to raise suspicion Rolling Eyes

I wouldn't arrogate to myself that the strategy of the "Card Waster" can't work. As I said before: It depends on the knights' way of playing which tactic can succeed.



It worked quite well for the two players who have tried it. Since one player always drew a black card, and held on to the merlins (He had 5 of them when revealed). And since the "Next three" Morgan was not cancelled due to his hording of merlins, it worked quite well...

It's not a game winner by itself, but it contributes to "more mayhem"
      
Timlagor
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Re:Strategies for the traitor Sun, 09 September 2007 18:39
I haven't been able to play this much yet but I have a few thoughts

1) Being blatant is probably not the most efective way and is certainly against the spririt of the game

2) Lancelot's armour seems key to me. Being able to choose the worst black card (while loudly bemoaning the quality of the other one) is a *huge* ability; and someone else being able to shuffle the specials to the bottom will seriously cramp your style.

3) Getting rid of Excallibur one way or another makes it impossible for the loyalists to dump poor cards in a really useful way.

4) Hang onto enough life that you can afford to lose a quest or two. If youc an set yourself up for a loss and get everyone else to join you on the quest near the end (to gain the life) then you have probably won.

5) I found accumulating catapults at the beginning so that quests can be completed early to be devastating for the loyalists.. so pick cards and try to persuade others to do so -catapults may well win you the game later.

6) Abandon a solo quest if you get an excuse.

7) If you pay a low black knight/ dragon / lancelot card, tell the others that it's huge and try to persuade them to Merlin it away (or do it yourself for a wasted Merlin and Good action).
      
travisjhall
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Re:Strategies for the traitor Wed, 12 September 2007 09:44
Steel Inferno wrote on Thu, 25 January 2007 14:03

1-Play possum: Go for the two black swords at the end of the game: Very bad idea. Traitor definitely needs to be proactive in order to have a good chance. Guy who tried this ended up losing very badly

You can't act completely loyally and hope to win, but the flip of two swords is nothing to be sneezed at either. It is possible to walk a middle path. I've done it successfully a few times.

Quote:

2-Be obvious: Go nuts as the traitor right from the start. They can't accuse you until there's six swords or siege engines anyway: This can give evil a big leg-up early on, but you know the first thing that'll happen when there's 6 of something is that you'll be accused.

Not if they are smart, it won't. Accusing you lets you start pulling out a white card from someone's hand each turn. There's usually no good reason to give you that power. Obvious play usually gets you accused about two turns from the end of the game.

Quote:

5-Race to Defeat: Go nuts as a loyal knight would at the beginning. Get Excalibur or Lancelot's Armor for yourself as quickly as possible.

Lancelot's Armor is extremely valuable for the traitor. Hence, it is extremely valuable for a loyal knight as well, if only to keep it out of the hands of the traitor. So, by immediately making a play for the Armor, you advance your cause while not giving yourself away, because nabbing the Armor, if you can, is exactly what a loyal knight should do.

Smart loyalists should capitalise on a traitor questing for the Grail or Excalibur, though. You do actually help them this way, so you have to be a bit careful about it. If early completion of one of these quests leads to siege engine overrun, it's generally due to poor management in the mid-game on the part of the loyalists. This isn't to say you shouldn't go on these quests, of course - you have to do something. You just need to be aware of the consequences, and know when to bug out of the quest.

Probably the most effective long-term strategy I've seen from traitors generally has been to hoard the most valuable cards. Hoarding lots of Grail cards while persuading the loyal knights to quest for the Grail en masse is pretty effective if they fall for it. You want to have them waste their time on the Grail and fall just short of finishing it.
      
Zanapher
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Re:Strategies for the traitor Sun, 06 September 2009 19:52
In our group, the traitor can never get Lancelot's armor because the loyal knights' strategy is that whoever has the necessary cards to get the armor goes there, then we put 6 siege engines in front of Camelot (might seem bad but gives 6 free actions at the beginning of the game which is not so bad and then use siege engines sparingly) so we can accuse the knight on the Lancelot quest before he gets it for free (we do all that before there is any white sword on the game so wrongly accusing someone has no consequence).

This way, if the knight on Lancelot is loyal, there's no harm done and we know the armor goes to good, if not the traitor is discovered and cannot get the armor...

So far, we have found it very hard for the traitor to win, but we were a lot of players (7 usually) so the traitor doesn't play much and the other knights can easily secure about 10 white swords.
      
travisjhall
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Re:Strategies for the traitor Sun, 06 September 2009 20:16
Zanapher wrote on Mon, 07 September 2009 03:52

In our group, the traitor can never get Lancelot's armor because the loyal knights' strategy is that whoever has the necessary cards to get the armor goes there, then we put 6 siege engines in front of Camelot (might seem bad but gives 6 free actions at the beginning of the game which is not so bad and then use siege engines sparingly)

... except for the Traitor, who continues to place siege engines every turn, of course. Your Traitor does play openly evil in response to this strategy, doesn't he? Given that approach, it is pretty obvious that his only real chance at victory is to overrun Camelot with siege engines, and it is a loyalist strategy that maximises the chance of that happening.

If the loyal knights always win anyway, then I'd suggest it is time to start playing in smaller groups or to use some of the optional rules for increasing the difficulty of the game. Watch the loyal knights start scrambling to adjust their strategy when they realise they can't come close to winning when starting with no special powers and only three lives each.
      
Aiiane
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Re:Strategies for the traitor Tue, 05 January 2010 23:22
In my group, we have a house rule to prevent exactly that strategy of "abusing" accusations with no white swords on the board. It's fairly simple: if you make a failed accusation with no white swords on the board, instead of flipping a white sword to black, just add a black sword instead.

Very effective at making the game more interesting, especially where Lancelot's Armor is involved.
      
graham_butters
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Re:Strategies for the traitor Mon, 30 December 2013 17:50
Correct me if I'm wrong but how would one abuse the accusations? There must be 6 siege engines or swords to make an accusation and in the slim chance that you had no swords but 6 siege each player only gets one accusation. I guess I don't see how accusing with no white swords is an abuse but more like a waste of your only accusation and a shot in the dark in most circumstances as no quests have been completed.


Also in my group any knight who attempts Lancelots Armour is immedietly accused since that item is so beneficial to the Traitor. My last game the traitor finished the grail and on the following turn jumped over to Excalibur, burned a life point to steal Excalibur at which point it was obvious but the damage was done.

[Aktualisiert am: Mon, 30 December 2013 17:56]

      
    
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