The World Camelot Federation, successor to The Associated Camelot Clubs of America, is an international non-profit organization that is dedicated to the preservation, popularization, and play of Camelot, one of the finest abstract strategy board games ever invented.
Camelot, like chess and checkers, is quite easy to learn to play. However, also like those games, it is relatively difficult to play at an expert level. Not that expert play is ever a requirement for enjoyment of the game. Far from it; Camelot is a wonderful choice for the novice in that for him, it is far more fun to play than either chess or checkers. It is exceptionally tactical almost from the first move, and therefore quick to play to conclusion.
Camelot has a 127-year history. In 1882, George S. Parker began work on an abstract strategy board game named Chivalry. His goal was to invent a game not so difficult as Chess, but considerably more varied than Checkers. Parker created a game that was a tactically complex, but easily learned and quickly played mixture of American Checkers (British Draughts) and Halma (Chinese Checkers). When finally published by Geo. S. Parker & Co. in 1887 (and then by Parker Brothers in 1888), Chivalry won the raves of Chess and Checkers experts, but the game that Parker called "the best game in 2,000 years" did not catch on quickly with the general public. Parker never lost his enthusiasm for the game, though, and in 1930 he made a few changes to the game, and Parker Brothers published the game under the name of Camelot. A few rules changes followed in 1931. Camelot enjoyed its greatest popularity in the 1930s. There were over 50 different editions of Camelot sets issued, including a gold-stamped leather edition and a mahogany cabinet edition. There were tournament editions, regular editions, and low-cost editions. There were different game variants, too. Point Camelot, a tournament variant that counted and scored points, was released in 1931. Three-handed Camelot, Four-handed Camelot, and Grand Camelot, a variant for four players on a special large board, were released in 1932. Cam, a variant played on a miniature board, was released in 1949. There was even a variant called Camelotta, of which no known information survives. Camelot players included such famous individuals as Jose Raul Capablanca, World Chess Champion from 1921 to 1927, and Frank Marshall, U.S. Chess Champion from 1907 to 1936. Sidney Lenz and Milton Work, two world famous bridge players, also played the game. Camelot was eventually discontinued in 1968, then reissued as Inside Moves in 1985, and finally discontinued again in 1986. The World Camelot Federation was formed in 1999. The WCF has clarified and modified a few rules. The WCF Website was created in 2000. The variants of Camette, Tri-Camelot, and Grand Cam have been introduced in recent years.
Here is an abbreviated summary of Camelot rules: There are two players. Each player starts the game with fourteen pieces: four Knights and ten Men. Either a Knight or a Man can Plain-Move one square in any direction. Either a Knight or a Man can Canter (leap) in any direction over one or more friendly Knights or Men, but cannot begin and end the Canter on the same square. Either a Knight or a Man can Jump (leap) in any direction over one or more opposing Knights or Men. Each enemy piece jumped over is removed from the board. A Knight can combine a Canter and a Jump in a single move (called a Knight's Charge). The Canter must come first, then the Jump. If a Knight Canters next to an enemy piece that can be Jumped, it must do so, unless later in that move it captures elsewhere. A player must Jump or Charge if any Jump is possible. The game is won if a player either a.) moves any two of his pieces onto his opponent’s two Castle squares, or b.) captures all of his opponent's pieces and has two or more of his own pieces left. The game is drawn if both players have no more than one piece left. A player cannot Plain Move or Canter one of his pieces onto one of his own castle squares, but he can Jump onto one of his own castle squares. If he can continue Jumping (out of his castle), he must do so. A player who has Jumped one of his pieces onto one of his own Castle squares must, on his next turn, move that piece out from his Castle, even if a Jump is possible elsewhere. If a player can Jump out of his own Castle, he must do so. A piece that has entered the opponent’s Castle cannot come out, but is allowed to move from one Castle square to the other twice during a game.