WBG Score: 7/10
Player Count: 3-6
Published by: Blue Orange (EU)
Kameloot is an interesting set-collection game where players will either work together, on their own, or against each other, in constantly changing teams and dynamics. The concept is so simple, but the execution and smooth play will make playing Kameloot a highly entertaining one.
To set up the game, give each player a double sided Tavern token. One side shows the Hooting Owl symbol, the other the Black Cat. Flip it like a coin for each player to determine the starting teams. Players are then dealt four cards and the remaining ones are left in a pile in a central deck. That’s it. You will be up and running within minutes.
Each card shows one of seven magical objects. The Magnet Ring, The Two-Branch Magic Wand, The Six Fingered Glove, The Enchanting Potion, The Magic Cloak, The Permutation Parchment, and the ultra-rare Unicorn Horn. The cards will all have a number on them showing the amount of cards in the deck, and the minimum needed for that card to complete a set.
The idea of the game is to complete sets of cards in order to sell the magical objects to the other non-playing 'punters' in the Tavern that you are in. Once the minimum number of cards for each set has been reached, as a collective amongst all the players in the same tavern, the cards can then be sold. This is done by flipping them over to the coin side and distributing them, one by one to all the players who contributed to the set. Starting with the player who completed it. If three players completed a set with seven cards in it, one player will get three coins, the other just the two. This is not just about completing sets, but being in the right Tavern at the right time, contributing to as many sets as possible so you don't fall behind, and when possible, closing sets up so you can get the lions share.
Each card also has a power that can be enacted. Instead of adding the card to a set, you can play a card to use its power instead. Depending on the card you play, you will be either able to change your location of which Tavern you are in, change another players location, collect all of a certain Magical objects from the discard pile, place two different types of magical objects down instead of one, draw two extra magical cards from the deck, or swap a set of magical cards from your collection with another players.
The final card is the Unicorn horn. This acts as a wild card and can be added to any existing set to help complete a collection. It has no power of its own outside of this. Players will be making choices based on the cards they have in hand, those on the table in front of them and in the other players area, and the team that they are currently in. Could they help complete a set of cards already down from other players in the same Tavern as them? Could they switch Taverns and help complete another set? Or could they go rouge and be the only one in a certain tavern and complete their own?
There is a very interesting dynamic in this game created by teams that are constantly changing. You could be one card away from completing a large set that you started, with two other players on your turn, only for the next player to switch your allegiance without your consent, and then have another player complete that set on a subsequent turn. Leaving you empty handed, and there is nothing you can do to stop this. It’s fun to see players change teams so regularly like this. Sometimes of their own volition, and otherwise, less enthusiastically! Although there is obviously some frustration in this if it means you miss out. But games are light and quick and I would suggest this feeling of frustration is small and fleeting.
Some sets only need two cards to complete, so it is fun to watch someone be kicked off a team onto one on their own, and then for them on their next turn to place these two cards down, to then immediately claim them both for themselves! There are times when you want to be working with the other players around the table, and other times when working alone will benefit you more.
The game ends when a player can no longer draw back up to four at the end of their turn. So, the full deck will be seen. The winner is determined by the player with the most amount of coins from the cards they collected. As such, games are very quick, but a lot of fun.
The game works from three to six, but shines in a five. Odd teams seem to be more entertaining, with Taverns of three against two or four against one. And on occassions, all five in the same place. In larger player counts there are more changes of teams, which is where the fun comes! The game feels familiar and new at the same time. The set collection is a tried and trusted mechanism, but the switching of allegiances at this rate feels fresh.
This is a great, light, family-friendly card game that works quickly and can be explained in minutes. It offers the chance for players to enjoy a simple set-collection game, with quick and simple choices, but still with a lot of laughter and enjoyment.