Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tales of the Arabian Nights

Isn't it pretty? Peter, the graphic design genius behind Headless Hollow, did the redesign for this upcoming release and has more about it on his blog.

If you want to see the official release site, it's coming out NEXT MONTH (July!) from Z-Man Games. You can even download the rulebook - or read this bit of descriptive blurb:

In Tales of the Arabian Nights, you are the hero or heroine in a story of adventure and wonder just like those told by Scheherazade to her spellbound sultan! You will travel the land seeking your own destiny and fortune. You will learn stories and gain wisdom to share with others. Will you be the first to fulfill your destiny? The next Tale is yours to tell! There is, of course, a winner in Tales of the Arabian Nights, but the point of the game is less to see who wins and more to enjoy the unfolding and telling of a great story!

In this new edition of the groundbreaking storytelling game, you enter the lands of the Arabian Nights alongside Sindbad, Ali Baba, and the other legendary heroes of the tales. Travel the world encountering imprisoned princesses, powerful 'efreets, evil viziers, and such marvels as the Magnetic Mountain and the fabled Elephant's Graveyard.

Choose your actions carefully and the skills you possess will reward you: become beloved, wealthy, mighty - even become sultan of a great land. Choose foolishly, however, and become a beggar, or be cursed with a beast's form or become insane from terror! YOU will bring to life the stories of the inestimable Book of Tales in this vastly replayable board game with over 2002 tales that will challenge, amuse, astound and spellbind you for years to come.

And here's a short description of the game mechanics from Brian Schoner over on BGG:
There are no stats for your character, but you begin the game with three different skills that you select from a list of 15-20. Skills are things like Weapon Use, Stealth and Stealing, Piety, Minor Magic, Seamanship, etc.

There is no provision for cooperative play, and there's relatively little player interaction at all (though there are optional rules that add more interaction).

Movement does not use dice, but is based on your character's wealth (which goes up and down during the game). More wealth means you move faster at sea (because you can afford a better ship) but slower on land (because you have more belongings to carry).

On your turn, you move and then draw (or get from another player) a card which tells you what kind of person, creature, or situation you encounter. A die roll determines the specifics of the encounter; if you encounter a Princess, for example, the roll may determine that it's an Enchanted Princess, or a Disguised Princess, or an Arrogant Princess, or any of several other options. As the game progresses and you move farther from civilization, die modifiers mean that more exotic options start coming into play.

Once you know exactly what you are encountering, you can choose how to react from a list of options which changes based on what you are meeting. If it's a Disguised Princess, for example, you might be able to Help her, or Follow her, or Rob her, etc. There are usually anywhere from 3 to 8 or so options for a given encounter. A final die roll here chooses from one of three possible paragraphs to see specifically what happens. Some of these reactions may lead to the same paragraphs; for instance, one of the "Rob her" rolls may lead to the same story as one of the "Follow her" rolls. However, I believe the new Z-Man version eliminates this duplication.

At this point, another player (or you, if you're playing solitaire) reads a brief paragraph describing what happens. Sometimes you just get a certain result and that's it. Sometimes you may get one result if you have a certain skill and another if you don't. Sometimes you may need to make further decisions and move on to other paragraphs.

Eventually, the paragraph book will give you the results of your action, which may include Story or Destiny points (the main victory condition), wealth gained or lost, Statuses (like Wounded, Cursed, or Respected) gained or lost, treasures found, or the opportunity to enter special locations (which have their own, longer encounter stories). You record these results and play passes to the next player.

The original version has 1,001 1400 paragraphs (though many of them are taken up with encounter tables); while a few stories tend to recur fairly frequently, every game seems to come up with a tale or two that's new to me. The new version apparently has a lot more paragraphs, and has moved a lot of material from the paragraph book to separate cards, so there should be a lot more fresh material in Z-Man's version.
Seriously, I can't wait for this... I think it will be a blast to play with Braeden - and with a chunk of the Fresno Gamers!

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