Tales of the Arabian Nights


Z-Man Games, 2009, 1-6 players, ages 12 and up. In this game, players take on the roles of various personages from the old Arabian Nights tales. At the start of the game, each player selects a number of "story" and "destiny" tokens (with the total of the numbers printed on said tokens adding up to 20). Additionally, players draw "Quest" cards, with each quest representing a mission that the player must accomplish (generally involving going to one or more locations on the game board). Players also start out with a number of "skill" tokens which will aid them in their travels.

Turns consist of a player moving their token around the board and having "encounters" (how far one can move being determined by one's current "wealth" level). At the end of movement, players then draw an encounter card ("friendly slave", "dark temple", "beautiful princess", et al) and select from a list of possible actions ("talk", "avoid", "attack", "trick", "use", etc). Each encounter / action has a number of possible outcomes (determined by what skills the player currently possesses). If you try to trick an angry effrete and have the "fast talking" skill, you might be rewarded for your audacity (earn story and/or destiny points, additional skills, treasures, positive "status", etc). And if you don't? Bad things happen, man (lost story and/or destiny points, become encumbered with a negative status, etc) "Status" cards (be they positive or negative) have long lasting affects on your character (being "blessed", "respected", "determined", etc tending to make the game easier for you, and "enslaved", "insane", "imprisoned", "pursued", etc definitely making the game more difficult). Getting rid of a negative status generally involves jumping through some painful hoops (go here, do this, hope for the best).

Whenever a player completes a quest, they are rewarded with story and destiny points, additional skills, etc (pretty much the same stuff as a succesful encounter, only more so). They then draw a new quest card and continue on. The ultimate goal of the game is accumulate the requisite story and destiny points (as determined by the tokens you selected at the start of the game) and then return to the Mecca square.

It's all very light and fluffy, and whatever strategy there is here is pretty much of the "rock, paper, scissors" ilk. Still, it's an entertaining game and a nice mindless way to wind down a long day of more intense gaming. The encounter book is freaking huge, with literally thousands of possible outcomes, so playability over the long term seems pretty viable.



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