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Game: Camelot (Parker Brothers)
Submitted By: Charles Bahl
Date: 5/19/2003 4:53:00 PM
?Camelot? is a great old game invented by the venerable George Parker himself, and one that always found a favored place in his heart. It last saw the light of day in 1985 under the title ?Inside Moves,? an incarnation which, unfortunately, also possessed the least comprehensible version of the rules and the least appealing pieces and graphics. With the advent of eBay and like-constituted Internet auction houses, however, ?Camelot? is now pretty readily available at modest cost?usually between $10 and $20. In fact, the game seems to be undergoing a sort of renaissance and is growing a solid, if still small, cadre of ?Cam-heads.?
?Camelot? is an abstract game immediately reminiscent of Checkers and Chinese Checkers (Halma). As in Checkers captures are made by jumping opposing pieces. As in Chinese Checkers you may make a series of jumps over your own pieces without capturing them. But ?Camelot? plays out in a way and with a flavor that is uniquely its own.
?Camelot? possesses two kind of pieces?men and knights. Both types of pieces can make three different types of moves. 1. The Plain move: a piece moves into any of the eight immediately surrounding vacant squares. 2. The Jump: a piece jumps over and captures an adjacent enemy piece. 3. The Canter: a piece jumps over a friendly piece without capturing it. In both the Jump and the Canter multiple leaps can take place in the same turn. A knight differs from a man in only one respect?it can make a Knight?s Charge. This is simply a Canter followed by a Jump, but it gives the knight significantly more power than a man.
One of the most important rules of the game is that a Jump (capture), as in Checkers, is obligatory if available. Games of ?Camelot? typically provide many opportunities to sacrifice a piece in order to gain some kind of tactical or strategic advantage via the ?forced jump? rule.
Winning is accomplished either by capturing all opposing pieces (unlikely) or by occupying the opponent?s castle (which is located behind his starting position) with two friendly men. Typically, games are won by depleting the enemy army to the point where he cannot defend his castle or by winning the race to occupy opposing castles.
To me one of the most interesting aspects of ?Camelot? is its relatively large board-to-piece ratio. Because there is so much space on the board the game almost always divides itself into multiple separate battles, which sometimes interact with each other and at other times remain isolated from each other. Another interesting aspect is that usually the most important action does not take place between the opposing armies but behind their lines as enemy pieces break through for assaults against the castle and friendly pieces maneuver to head them off.
If you are at all interested in abstract games, ?Camelot? is certainly one that will reward you. For more information, ?Camelot? problems, and official rules check out the World Camelot Federation at groups.msn.com/WorldCamelotFederation.