Avalon Rules

Do you like the world of Arthur? Then you might like Avalon. It is a game of strategy, bluffs and reflection in which players embody famous characters from the Arthurian universe. The aim is to remain loyal to your side and to foil the plans of the opposing side. The “good guys” must complete at least 3 quests, while the “bad guys” must stop them!

Game Content

Avalon is a game that pits two sides against each other: the good side led by Merlin and the evil side led by Mordred.

The game consists of :

  • 7 cards representing the agents of good including Merlin’s card. These cards have a blue background on the characters
  • 7 cards representing the agents of evil, including the Assassin and Mordred cards. They have a red background.
  • A leader marker: a card with King Arthur’s crown, which designates the player who proposes the quest groups
  • Voting markers: cards with a white circle (to approve) or a black circle (to refuse)
  • Quest cards that allow you to complete a quest or to fail it.
  • Game boards
  • a lap counter marker
  • a quest marker to mark the progress of quests
  • 2 allegiance cards
  • a Lady of the Lake marker

Setting up the game

Depending on the number of players, you must select the appropriate game board. You can play with 5 to 10 players. Depending on the total number of players, there will be a number of corresponding agents of good and agents of evil.

Then, depending on the total number of players, you must choose cards for the good and evil characters.

Let’s stay with a classic 6-player game: the leader should take 4 good character cards and 2 evil servant cards. Please note: the Merlin and Assassin cards must always be part of the game, no matter how many players there are!

Once the cards have been selected, they must be placed face down, shuffled, and then each player must be given a character card without looking at it: these are the roles for the game.

Finally, one player will randomly take the leader token. 

Before starting 

Once the character cards have been distributed, each player discreetly learns about their role by looking at their card. Once everyone has seen their role, the leader (the one with the leader token) must give certain instructions.

What are these instructions for? We are in the enchanted world of Merlin and Arthur. To be in the right mood, two things are necessary: 

  • that the evil servants recognise each other, as they are supposed to work together against Arthur’s servants
  • that Merlin knows the servants of evil, because Merlin is the great sorcerer who sees all and knows all 

To do this the leader will give the following instructions one by one

  • Each one closes his eyes and holds his closed fist before him.
  • The Servants of Mordred, except Oberon, open their eyes and look around to recognize all the agents of evil.
  • The Servants of Mordred close their eyes.
  • All players must have their eyes closed and their fists outstretched in front of them.
  • Mordred’s servants, with the exception of Mordred himself, give a thumbs up so that Merlin can identify you.
  • Merlin, open your eyes and behold the agents of evil.
  • Servants of Mordred, give a thumbs down and keep your fists closed.
  • Merlin, close your eyes.
  • All players must have their eyes closed and their fists clenched.
  • Merlin and Morgana, give a thumbs up so Percival can recognise you.
  • Percival, open your eyes so you can recognise Merlin and Morgana.
  • Percival closes his eyes.
  • All players must have their eyes and fists closed.
  • Everyone opens their eyes.

Once this step is completed, the game can finally begin!

How the game is played

valon is played in a maximum of 5 rounds. Each round is divided into 2 phases: team building and questing. 

Forming a team

The leader looks at the game board to determine the number of players needed per team to complete the chosen quest. 

The number of players is marked directly on each quest.

You can decide whether to play the quests in order (one after the other until the 5th quest) or out of order. Even if you do not follow the order of the quests, you are not allowed to play the last quest before you have completed the other quests!

Once the quest is chosen and the number of participants is known, the leader takes an equal number of team tokens. He must then form the team that will go on the quest.

However, all players have the right to give their opinion on the constitution of the team: arguments, discussions. After listening to the discussions, the leader gives the team tokens to the members of the team he thinks will be formed. He can of course be part of the team.

Then, all the players take a vote (yes, we don’t send everyone on Grail quests for the King). 

Each player takes an approval or rejection marker and keeps it hidden. Once everyone has chosen, the counters are revealed at the same time. The team is approved if it wins a majority of approvals (e.g. 4 approvals against 2 rejections). If there is a tie or a majority vote against, the leader passes his or her leader token to the next player, who in turn must form a team, and so on. If after 5 leaders no team is approved, the evil side wins the quest. If the team is approved, the quest phase begins.

The quest

The leader gives 2 quest cards (1 failure and 1 success) to all members of the team. Each player in the team must choose a card face down and hand it to the leader. The leader receives the cards face down and shuffles them. The other

Cards that are not given to the leader are shuffled face down and discarded without anyone seeing them.

Remember that there are two sides fighting. Both sides can therefore be on the same team. 

  • The servants of good on the team must choose a quest success card and hand it to the leader
  • The evil servants can choose a quest success or failure card to hand to the leader.

Once the leader receives and shuffles the quest team’s cards, he reveals them to everyone. For the quest to be successful, ALL the cards must be SUCCESS cards. If so, the quest is successful, and the leader places a blue marker on the quest stage of the game board.

If there are any failure cards, then the quest is a failure, and the leader places a red marker on the quest stage of the board.

So, where is the con in this game?  If there is at least one failure card, it means that there was at least one evil servant in the team . And even if the quest is successful, no one can know if there is an evil servant hiding in the team … So doubt sets in very quickly.

Once the quest is successful, the leader passes his crown to his left-hand neighbour, and moves the turn marker forward one space on the board. The next player will then lead the next quest, and so on. 

End of the game

Normally, the game ends automatically after 3 successful or unsuccessful quests. However, if 3 quests are successful, the minions of evil still have one last chance : to flush out Merlin and assassinate him  ! This is when Merlin’s discretion should pay off. If he has sold out during the team-building debates or with certain signs…   

The servants of evil in play reveal themselves, show their Character card, and then discuss to agree on who Merlin is. Once they have made their choice, the player with the Assassin card chooses the one whom the servants suspect to be Merlin. This player must turn over and reveal their character card. If it is Merlin, the evil servants kill him and win the game! If not, all is well and the game ends with a victory for good.

Special characters

If you want to spice up your games, you can play with some special characters. 

  • Percival: he is an agent of Good, a great friend of Arthur. He knows Merlin. If you play with Percival, at the beginning of the game, when the players have to recognise each other, the leader will have to ask Merlin to give a thumbs up and Percival to open his eyes in order to recognise Merlin, all the other players keeping their eyes closed of course.
  • Morgana: She is an agent of evil posing as Merlin. You can only play with Morgana if Percival is also in play. When the leader asks Merlin to give a thumbs up so that Percival recognises him, Morgana must also give a thumbs up. This will sow doubt in Percival’s mind.
  • Mordred: the ultimate evil character, invisible to Merlin. At the beginning of the game, when the leader asks the servants of evil to give a thumbs up so that Merlin can recognise them, Mordred does not give a thumbs up (it is Mordred himself after all, not a servant).
  • Oberon: a rather special evil character because his allies do not recognise him.  At the beginning of the game, when all the servants of evil are asked to open their eyes in order to recognise each other, the one who has the Oberon card keeps his eyes closed. 

Playing the Lady of the Lake

The Lady of the Lake is a special card that should only be used in games with 7 or more players. It allows you to check a player’s allegiance (whether they are on the side of good or evil).

At the beginning of the game, the player to the right of the leader receives it. He can only use it at the end of the 2nd, 3rd or 4th round, and the Lady of the Lake can only be played a total of 3 times during the game. How to play it? 

  • If the player in possession of the Lady of the Lake decides to play it, he passes 2 Loyalty Chits to the player he targets.
  • The targeted player must give the Lady of the Lake player the token corresponding to his or her Loyalty without lying. 
  • Only the Lady of the Lake player knows about the target player’s loyalty by looking at the card the target player has given back. He can talk about it during the debates, but only he will know if he is telling the truth or not.
  • The player being examined then gets the Lady of the Lake token, and can use it on another player. However, he may not use it on the player who asked for his loyalty (the player from whom he took the Lady of the Lake token).