George S. Parker knew he had a great game in the making when invented a game that had more options than checkers but wasn’t as complicated to play as chess. In 1887 Parker introduced Camelot for the very first time, and it wouldn’t take long for checkers and chess experts to praise the concept of this game, which was originally called Chivalry. However, since the original size of the game board was considered to be too big, it was reduced to its current size when it was reissued in 1930 as Camelot. This game remained in print through the 1960’s and it was temporarily brought back in the 1980’s as Inside Moves.
Camelot is a strategy board game for 2 players that takes on the medieval theme of war. This game is played on a board of 160 squares, with 3 squares from each corner taken out and 4 extra squares extending past the core rectangle, 2 at the top and at the bottom of the board. The 2-square areas with stars on them are designated as a castle. Both players will have 14 pieces to start the game, 4 Knights and 10 Men (which are basically Pawns in chess).
Notation and Piece Placement
Like chess Camelot uses notation to record a player’s moves. For the white army the Knights are placed on C6, D7, I7 and J6 while the Men are placed on D6, E6, E7, F6, F7, G6, G7, H6, H7 and I6. For the black army the Knights are placed on C11, D10, I10 and J11 while the Men are placed on D11, E10, E11, F10, F11, G10, G11, H10, H11 and I11.
There are 2 ways to win in Camelot. You can either be the first player to occupy your opponent’s castle with 2 of your pieces, or you can capture all of your opponent’s pieces while retaining at least 2 of your own pieces. However, there is also a way for the game to end in a draw, and that is if both players have no more than 1 piece remaining.
How To Move in Camelot
All pieces in Camelot can move vertically, horizontally and diagonally in 3 ways. You can move your pieces conservatively like the King in Chess by moving just 1 space in any direction. This is called a plain move. You can also make a leaping move which is called “cantering”. By cantering you leap over an adjacent friendly piece to a vacant space immediately past it. You can also make a jumping move over an adjacent enemy piece to a vacant space immediately past it. By jumping over an enemy piece, like checkers, you will capture that piece.
Players are allowed to perform middle jumps with their pieces, just like in checkers, which means that pieces can jump as many times as they want. Only 1 type of move per turn is allowed for the 10 Men.
Knights have a special function where they can perform a combination of moves on a single turn. Knights can both canter and capture enemy pieces by jumping over them on the same move. Knights can perform numerous canters and jumps if they have the space on the board to do so, but the canters must always come before the jumps. Knights are not allowed to make a plain move and then canter or jump.
Players are not allowed to purposely move a piece into their own castle by themselves. Players can jump over opposing pieces into their own castle, but then they must immediately move their pieces out of their own castles on the very next turn if they are unable to move out of the castle on the capture. Once a player enters a piece into an opponent’s castle the player is not allowed to move that piece out of the castle. The player can move the piece over to the other vacant castle space, and the player is allowed up to 2 moves inside the castle.
George S. Parker of the famous Parker Brothers designed a game that appealed to both tactical chess players and casual checkers players, and Camelot appears to be a game that players can easily learn and get into playing very often. If you are looking for a challenging board game that will test your wits without it being overwhelming, then Camelot would be the game for you. In fact players can sign up for free to join the official World Camelot Federation.