If you haven’t played this – check out my review of this traitor / co-op. If you have, then I have also decided to add to the vast forums out there on the best strategies with a small number of my thoughts on it…
During the Game:
Hidden Traitor; Hiding the traitor at least for the first part of the game is broadly agreed. It’s not a benefit to go all out “traitor” from the start as the group has ways to benefit from identifying you. So, you should play well and then reduce your “skill” as the game progresses or indeed you move to a full traitor action of putting in a hidden card that will sabotage a quest. These inefficiencies that you can pick up during the game will include holding back a merlin card, not playing the optimal card from your hand, moving too much or eventually starting to vote for the less favourable outcome during key decisions. You will steadily degrade your play, but you will do it subtly. If someone suggests moving to a quest, you offer to help with one card but then declare you have no further cards to help. If you are needed in two places on the map you jump about between the to. If there is a clearly lost quest, you go and fight it until you “yield” to bad luck and the game pushes against the knights. These are what I have seen across my games of Shadows over Camelot.
Excalibur, Grail, Lancelot’s Armour; These three quests can come to an end and if they are the focus of the knights they can be one. It’s tempting to push all in for one of these, but the rest of the board may move so badly against you in the interim that this is a Pyrrhic victory in a lost war. See which ones can be one in the mid-game. One or even two of these will generally be won by a winning team, but they will be one in the mid-game (with a focused push) and one in the late game (generally for the win). The mid-game one would ideally be the grail. It’s probably the most powerful item because of the impact of the additional health, but the other’s have value and if the grail is too hard, then don’t worry.
Why not?!; The counter to the above is that keeping these three quests in a manageable state allows you to chip away at the automated computer in a sensible strategy. It’s hard to hold back Lancelot particularly, but you can use the other two quests to simply hold at “70%” complete for a while before choosing to go for them. The disadvantage of completing them is that this will lead to additional catapults outside Camelot. Not individually terrifying but cumulatively game ending. Taking out too many quests early will mean they build up faster and a near constant defence of the castle becomes necessary.
Winners; For me the easy winners are the Picts and Celts. These guys are easily defeated by a good team and regular victories here will keep the wolves at bay and add white swords to the table. Once you have enough that one of the major quests is sufficient for a victory, the traitor will reveal himself through play and an exerted push should get you over the line.
Who has it easier?; A good traitor probably has it easier than the team, so if you are struggling to get a win, keep rotating the traitor and keep rotating the knights. You want to see the combination of knights / traitors / players that will allow for a win.