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Subject: So what is the game actually like? rss

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UA Darth
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I tried reading the one review and many of the personal comments under the other geek entry of TotAN and really couldn't get much of a gist of how the game actually plays. It seems like you get choices via quests and get rewards for them...

Do you create a character with stats? Do you use dice rolling? Is coop possible or just competing against others?

Does it stay fresh with finite quests? How many does it come with?

Are the quests almost like the encounters in a game like Duel of Ages or Arkham Horror?

It looks very interesting so I am trying to get a better idea.
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Brian Schoner
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Here's a (relatively) brief summary of how the original West End version works; the new version will probably be pretty close.

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.

Hope this helps!
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Hawaka Winada
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TotAN contains rules for the Standard game, the Storytelling Game, the Adventure game and the Solitaire game. The only one I've played is the Standard game which doesn't have 'Quests' (they're part of the Adventure game), but which does have tons of 'Encounters'. Each character will draw a card and have an Encounter nearly every turn, which can earn them one or both of the two types of victory points (called Destiny points and Story points). All answers below apply only to the Standard game.


shadow9d9 wrote:
Do you create a character with stats?

In a minor way. You start the game by selecting 3 Skills for your character (from about 20 choices, such as Bargaining, Quick Thinking, Weapon Use, etc)) and selecting a victory formula of Destiny points + Story points = 20. The skills you have will change the results of your Encounters, and your victory formula will change your strategy to win the game.


shadow9d9 wrote:
Do you use dice rolling?

Yes, there is lots of dice rolling. Dice are used to resolve Encounters and to resolve City Fate cards, but are not used for movement.


shadow9d9 wrote:
Is coop possible or just competing against others?

No coop, each player is competing with the others to reach their victory conditions first.


shadow9d9 wrote:
Does it stay fresh with finite quests? How many does it come with?

Yes, there is tons of replayability in the game. There are 1400 paragraphs in the 'Book of Tales' which is used to resolve Encounters; since most Encounters have 3 possible result paragraphs there are over 400 distinct Encounters. Since the Encounter you get depends on the card you draw and the type of terrain you're on, and the result depends on the skills and statuses you have and multiple choices you can make, and various die rolls, and you can choose different starting skills and victory formulas, the game plays quite differently each time.


shadow9d9 wrote:
It looks very interesting so I am trying to get a better idea.

Yes it is a very interesting and FUN game. The game is unpredictable and chaotic and can be extremely funny with the right crowd. You can't help but laugh at what happens to your fellow players, and laugh along with them when nasty things happen to you. This is truely a game where winning is not as important as playing and having fun. Highly recommended if you can find a copy.





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Hawaka Winada
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Hah, I'm a slow typer and Brian posted a much better reply. But one oddity - I have the original West End games version and it definitely has 1400 paragraphs not 1001 (at least the highest number is 1400, maybe they skipped some numbers??)
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Brian Schoner
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D-Rider wrote:
I have the original West End games version and it definitely has 1400 paragraphs not 1001 (at least the highest number is 1400, maybe they skipped some numbers??)


That's what I get for posting without having my copy of the game nearby. For some reason I thought there were 1,001 paragraphs, but I'll definitely defer to someone who's actually looking at the book. cool
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UA Darth
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Sounds like a fun game for both gamers and non gamers alike. Essentially, no skill is involved... just choices and fun?
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Brian Schoner
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shadow9d9 wrote:
Essentially, no skill is involved... just choices and fun?

I wouldn't say no skill - there is a little skill involved in selecting reactions that are likely to use your character's skills to best effect - but not enough to make it a big determinant of your success. I normally hate games in which my decisions have little impact on the results, but Tales is a highly entertaining exception for me.
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UA Darth
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It sounds pretty neat. Nice that a new edition is coming out.
 
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Sue Moon
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Done straight it is fun, done as a storytelling game with the right participants it is marvelous. The paragraphs are evocative enough to get someone who has the knack going, and can lead to incredible tales.

It has been a very long time since we played, and I have always wanted to spend a little time finding the right group, but never really have.
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Carter
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Interesting. So, basically it sounds like a sort of multiplayer Choose-Your-Own-Adventure. Too bad that it doesn't have more player interaction, though I suppose that makes sense since everyone is meandering around generating their own storylines.
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