It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home…

I’m not going to review Inglourious Basterds. I’m just going to tell you to see it.

Today’s post is going to be on “Tales of the Arabian Nights”, a board game reprint from Z-Man games. The original was quite popular as far as I’ve heard, but I never played it. This version is an expanded and improved version.

The game is a “storytelling game”. There is a winner at the end of the game, but it’s more about the ride and the story than anything else. It’s a board game though, with rules… there’s no roleplay or larping involved, don’t you worry. Think of it like a gigantic choose your own adventure game.

You pick one of several classic arabian nights characters (I went for Aladdin in our game) and you pick a set of skills, then you wander around the land and achieve quests and have adventures, hoping to pick up destiny and story points along the way.

The adventures are randomized in all kinds of weird ways, but you’re presented with an encounter, such as “diseased hag” or “vengeful prince”. From there, you must choose a reaction from a set of possible things you can do. You pick one, and then flip in a gigantic book to find out what happens (again, think choose your own adventure, or a better version of the encounters from Arkham Horror).

This moves along at a really good pace though, and the book is pretty well written. The style is supposed to imitate the old 1001 nights stories, as well as some of the situations and cliches involved with them. It has over 2000 possible paragraphs that each have slightly different responses to each possible situation.

All kinds of wacky things can happen to you. In our game, one character got lost in the desert, then wounded, and then grief stricken. Another player became the Vizier, but then got his sex changed when he pissed off a genie. I stole a ring from an old lady and managed to get a pet monkey that was really a genie in disguise (very appropriate for Aladdin).

The events and so on can be quite random, but it’s not a game that is meant to be played with any serious strategy in mind. It seems like it will be a great game for joking around while playing, and telling stories. Quite often, the bad things that can happen to you will give you just as many story points as the good things, just with other negative effects tacked on.

So, it’s unlike anything else in my game collection… which is enough to justify it for me. With all the randomizing factors and the sheer volume of encounters, I don’t think it will get old anytime soon. It was a huge hit during my first play of it, even with the occasional rules question or two… I can’t wait to play it again.

Perhaps I’m biased just because I got a pet one eyed monkey though…


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August 2009
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