Critical Play: Competitive Analysis

David G.

The game I’m interested in examining is Avalon. The theme of Avalon is that it’s a social deception game, focused on a Medieval/Arthur-themed narrative, roles, and gameplay.

Important formal elements of the game: round-based, where users close their eyes at the beginning of each turn. Important Objective of the game is to get 3 quests or more, or to fail 3 quests or more, depending on if you’re part of the Arthurian Knights or part of Mordred’s team. Players have roles, such as Merlin or Mordred, who in turn have special abilities they can trigger at various parts of the game. There are special conditions and interactions; such as if the Assassin kills Merlin, Mordred’s team wins.

The types of fun associated with Avalon are a combination of fantasy, narrative, and fellowship. For lovers of old-time games that are based around traditional narratives of Arthur and the Roundtable, this game features front and center quests with Arthur, and frequent characters of that time – Merlin, Mordred, Percival, etc. Players will enjoy the fantasy of going on these quests and making real-time decisions, using their respective roles’ powers to manipulate, control, or expose others and progress the game. 


Mechanics of the game are constrained to social elements: social proof, manipulation, and deception are the most used game mechanics. This is because the role of the players Mordred, Merlin, etc. often either involve needing  deception to be played correctly or directly use deception to make others believe others are opposing players. Because the game progresses by users choosing others to go on quests and players voting on their approval of the quest, manipulation and deception are integral to convincing users to either vote for or against a quest.

Various graphic design decisions include an oldy, middle ages feel with medieval-inspired accents and designs, such as knights, witches, and wizards at the center of the design. THis was to engage users into the fantasy aspect of the game. The graphic design decisions reinforce the theme of quests and Arthur through bringing the visual elements of that time to the forefront.

In terms of skill, the game is purposely open-ended and many game mechanics are kept secure through an implicit “good-nature” rule. Therefore, the game designers don’t deal with abuse at much, if at all.

Avalon differentiates itself from other games in the genre through its medieval-themed gameplay, specific characters from medieval times, and narrative that enables users to think more critically about how the roles are different from other games in the genre. By making the game more role-based, teammates play around the special abilities of certain roles, making the game less of a team-based sport and a medium between team and individual play. 

To make this game better, I would include more roles for players to play, such as interesting roles that have fun interactions with existing roles: e.g. a character called Remus that can shapeshift into a player on Mordred’s team for a turn and see who Mordered’s team is going to assassinate.

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