Recommend
90 
 Thumb up
 Hide
23 Posts

Tales of the Arabian Nights» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Of Stories and Strategy rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: storytelling [+] [View All]
Geoffrey Engelstein
United States
Bridgewater
New Jersey
flag msg tools
designer
Pit Crew avaialble now! The Expanse coming in October!
badge
Ludology Host and Dice Tower Contributor
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Tales of the Arabian Nights, the reprint of a hard-to-find classic is an odd duck. On the one hand it looks like a game -- it's got a board, pieces, dice, and rules. On the other hand, it's more of an 'activity' than a game. Players have very little choice -- or, I should say, players have the illusion of choice -- and there is little player interaction.

So for me, a eurogamer and wargamer, who thrives on strategy, analysis, and decision making, this seems like the kind of thing I should run away from at top speed.

And yet, despite this, I really enjoyed my first play of Tales. So much so that we played again the next day. And enjoyed it again.

The key is in the name. The game is about Stories. Your goal is even to collect Story points (along with Destiny points). So yes, you get turned into a monkey, fall overboard from your ship, and wash up on a distant shore, and are now many more turns from where you are trying to get to. That would normally be frustrating. But, gosh darn it, you got a good story out of it. And so it's all worthwhile.

A very brief overview of the way the game plays. At the beginning of the game you choose your victory points by selecting a combination of Story and Destiny points that totals 20 (sort of like Careers). Then you select a starting Quest card, which gives you initial goals and starting Skills, like Stealth, Weapon Use, and Seduction, and set off on your adventure.

You move around a map of the world, your speed determined by your wealth. Then after moving you select an Encounter card, which you look up in the Giant Book of Adventures -- which has over 2,000 different passages in it. This will direct you to a certain 'adventure' like Hungry Beasts, or the Disguised Prince, or the Black River.

You can almost see in your head the title - The Tale of the Black River.

This directs you to a list of potential actions, like Avoid or Drink or Examine. You select an action which then sends you to look up a particular paragraph (actually one of a range -- there is a small randomizing factor that sends you to one of three possible outcomes).

Another player reads the paragraph to you, and at certain points it may branch depending on what skills you have, or whether you choose, for example, to accept or reject the offer from the sultan to marry his child.

So perhaps you gain destiny or story points. Perhaps you grab a treasure. Perhaps you gain or lose a 'status' like Imprisoned, or Pursued, or Wounded, or Insane, or Respected. If you've finished your quest you get a bonus and a new quest.

And that's your turn. Then the next player goes. Wash, rinse, repeat until you reach your secret Destiny / Story combo, then return to Baghdad to win.

Above I noted the illusion of choice. You do get to choose your reaction to an encounter. Will I avoid or drink from the Black River? But the reality is that you really don't know what will help or hurt you. So you pick something and hope for the best.

But actually this randomness leads to good replayability. I am sure that you will, after several plays, start to see the same encounters occasionally. But because the game is not about winning, you will find yourself trying different things just to see what happens. If the focus was on winning I could see people trying to remember the best things to do to get the best result. But this game is definitely about the journey and not the reward.

So why did we love this game? Well, one of the things that's fun about any game is when you leave with a story (Remember when Bob attacked you and rolled six ones on a row? Do you remember when we were playing Formula D and I went from last to first place in the last three turns of the race?). Well, the writing is very well done and humorous, and the game leaves you flush with stories.

I could tell a dozen stories from our first two games, but let me leave you with this one. In our first game a player cried out for help and attracted first a wild beast who attacked him, then a young boy that kicked and robbed him, then villagers that laughed at him. He ended up Crippled and Lost, but boy, did he have a tale to tell.
61 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
A. B. West
United States
Beech Grove
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Why aren't you PLAYING a game?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the review! Even though this is yet another reprint (a disturbing trend in our beloved board gaming market), it still feels to me like a cool drink in a rather dry land these days. It helps that I have fond memories.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean Dooley
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
adamw wrote:
Even though this is yet another reprint (a disturbing trend in our beloved board gaming market)


Just curious as to why it is a "disturbing trend." Is it a bad thing to reprint long OOP games with nice updates?
20 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joshua Gottesman
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Does Allah still throw you down a well? Because I'm not interested if he doesn't.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geoffrey Engelstein
United States
Bridgewater
New Jersey
flag msg tools
designer
Pit Crew avaialble now! The Expanse coming in October!
badge
Ludology Host and Dice Tower Contributor
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Joshuaaaaaa wrote:
Does Allah still throw you down a well? Because I'm not interested if he doesn't.


Haven't seen that yet! But there are surprises around every corner....

Geoff
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gunther Schmidl
Austria
Linz
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
I think
Spoiler (click to reveal)
it's the last entry in the book, which you can't get to normally.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Duff
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Reminds me of the old clue books to Sierra adventures:

Q: How do I get the jewel encrusted egg out from under the aardvark?

A: Have you tried lifting it?
A: Maybe you could convince it to move on it's own.
A: Maybe it's a vampire, perhaps his reflection in the mirror will scare him away.
A: Have you tried the sneezing powder?
A: There is no egg or aardvark, you cheater!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joshua Gottesman
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
gschmidl wrote:
I think
Spoiler (click to reveal)
it's the last entry in the book, which you can't get to normally.


Spoiler (click to reveal)
That's how it was in the old game. Actually, there were a few like that towards the end of the old game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom McThorn
United States
Newark
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
wittdooley wrote:
adamw wrote:
Even though this is yet another reprint (a disturbing trend in our beloved board gaming market)


Just curious as to why it is a "disturbing trend." Is it a bad thing to reprint long OOP games with nice updates?


I own a copy of the West End version and have pre-ordered a copy of this one. I don't see a problem with reprints at all especially when eBay prices on some of these games is really high. I've also purchased a reprint of Conquest of the Empire; I have a complete MB set plus the new one.

There are a few games I'd like to see re-done: AH Advanced Civilization (with Western map included) and AH Merchant of Venus. I also wouldn't mind a re-reprint of TSR Divine Right...with the rules cleaned up a bit.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
A. B. West
United States
Beech Grove
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Why aren't you PLAYING a game?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
wittdooley wrote:
Just curious as to why it is a "disturbing trend." Is it a bad thing to reprint long OOP games with nice updates?

For me, reprints along with a glut of expansions marks a decline. When a market reaches for safer bets, it's harder for original ideas to get noticed and hence, see their share of the market. Every market gets to this point - so it's not a surprise.

Having said that, this particular reprint looks very nice.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Franz Joseph
Australia
Melbourne
VIC
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Of Stories and Strategy and reprints
To my mind there are two potential problems with the reprint trend.

The first is that it can destroy the investment that some of us have made in collecting games because the 'game' is no longer rare. Talisman, for example, was reaching up towards $500 at one stage but I doubt a 2nd edition copy would fetch that now.

The second is that it can mark a trend towards laziness in design. The 'easy' option, as was mentioned earlier in this thread. We see this in rereleases of music. And the problem with this is that our society may have become bankrupt for ideas and is simply raping the art of the past.

However, in this case I think neither of these is true. The reprint of Tales is respectful of the original material and lavishly produced. It will become collectable itself. I look forward to playing agin in this new version.

And I appreciate this sympathetic and honest review. These are exactly the reasons why Tales deserves to be available again. Well done.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Johnson
United States
Bothell
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Duck!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Bottlesorter wrote:
The first is that it can destroy the investment that some of us have made in collecting games because the 'game' is no longer rare. Talisman, for example, was reaching up towards $500 at one stage but I doubt a 2nd edition copy would fetch that now.


Sigh. Games are not investments. Publishers don't release them so that 20 years down the line you can sell them on Ebay. They make games for people to play. It's always better to have games available to play. Reprinting in old game is never a bad idea.
64 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Franz Joseph
Australia
Melbourne
VIC
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
Publishers don't release them so that 20 years down the line you can sell them on Ebay


Very true. Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that the only reason for a game to exist is so that it can be not played and saved.

Classic cars and motorbikes were not built to be collected either. They were built to be driven. People loved them. They became classic. Now they are collectable. Wines were made to be drunk, and those that were not but instead saved can become collectable. And so on. Collecting is a normal human trait for the things that we love. Games included. Like it or not, games are collectable and are collected.

Having pride in what you have collected and seeing that others value it too - and price is a good reflection - is a good feeling. Seeing that eroded is a bad feeling.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Johnson
United States
Bothell
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Duck!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Bottlesorter wrote:
Very true. Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that the only reason for a game to exist is so that it can be not played and saved.

Classic cars and motorbikes were not built to be collected either. They were built to be driven. People loved them. They became classic. Now they are collectable. Wines were made to be drunk, and those that were not but instead saved can become collectable. And so on. Collecting is a normal human trait for the things that we love. Games included. Like it or not, games are collectable and are collected.


I'm not saying that you can't collect games. I'm saying the collectible aspect is a stupid reason to NOT reprint a game. Why be selfish? Does someone else owning a game diminish your ability to enjoy your own copy? For some people maybe, but that's rather petty and selfish. If the game is good and people want to buy it, re-release it and let them enjoy the game as well.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Franz Joseph
Australia
Melbourne
VIC
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
If the game is good and people want to buy it, re-release it and let them enjoy the game as well.


Fair enough. But what if the reprint is just cashing in on the name/brand, and does not do justice to the original material? This diminishes the original game, and does not make it available to a new market.

My point was to reinforce and earlier comment. Reprints are good if they are good reprints. Slapping out any old thing and giving it the same name so that it will sell is not a reprint. It is crass commercialism. And it does nobody any good.

Important point: this is not the case here. As I said. This reprint is good.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Johnson
United States
Bothell
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Duck!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Bottlesorter wrote:
Fair enough. But what if the reprint is just cashing in on the name/brand, and does not do justice to the original material? This diminishes the original game, and does not make it available to a new market.


What your describing is not reprinting a game. It's making an entirely new product that happens to share a name. I don't really see this happening very frequently. I still don't see how it 'diminishes' the original game. Does your 'good' copy magically disintegrate and they make you play the new one? Didn't think so.


Bottlesorter wrote:

My point was to reinforce and earlier comment. Reprints are good if they are good reprints. Slapping out any old thing and giving it the same name so that it will sell is not a reprint. It is crass commercialism. And it does nobody any good.


I guess we agree here, a reprint, that is not a reprint, is not a reprint There are still very few products that everybody hats universally. I'm sure there will be some that will like the crappy product better. I don't think there are many people or companies in this very niche industry/hobby that go out of their way to make a bad product. You might not like it, and I might not like it, but someone does or the companies would quickly go out of business. Just curious of any examples of what you consider a 'bad reprint'.

Bottlesorter wrote:

Important point: this is not the case here. As I said. This reprint is good.


I agree!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Franz Joseph
Australia
Melbourne
VIC
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
Just curious of any examples of what you consider a 'bad reprint'


This is just my opinion in this unscientific hobby of ours.

Take Talisman, since that was where I started. 1st edition was just a game. 2nd edition improved the art and polished a couple of rules. It was a good reprint. Third edition redid the art completely to fit into GW's increasing emphasis on skulls and skeletons and to showcase it's miniatures. It also tinkered unnecessarily with the rules. This was a bad reprint. 4th edition did not tinker with the 2nd edition rules and redid the art keeping in 2nd edition spirit. Except for the problems with tiny font on the cards this was a good reprint. Now GW have passed the license to another publisher who have reissued and have tinkered with the rules. I call this a bad reprint.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Huston
United States
Paragould
Arkansas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
I like my Fantasy Flight Games 4th Edition Talisman reprint. I never had the chance to play it when I was younger and over the Christmas holiday I played it with my teenage nephews and we all had a lot of fun. I call this a good reprint.

Not sure why you're calling the FFG edition inferior to the GW 4th Edition reprint. I sold my GW reprint and bought the FFG version and it cleans up some of the mistakes that GW made (board font for one). Plus it's supported with a new expansion and a reprint of a classic expansion. Nice.

BTW, Tales of the Arabian Nights reprint = awesome.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
William Crispin
United States
Wilmington
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
GW never took good care of Talisman. The FFG version seems like it will be the best produced version of the series and with the most consistent rule set. Also FFG has a great deal of experience with just this type of game. GW 2nd edition Talisman is only great when you consider the base and not the expansion mania "cashing in" that GW did later.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Bottlesorter wrote:
Now GW have passed the license to another publisher who have reissued and have tinkered with the rules. I call this a bad reprint.
Only the rules are now cleaner and less broken, and the typos are fixed; thus, good reprint.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tristan Hall
England
Manchester
flag msg tools
designer
Gloom of Kilforth reprint Kickstarter Sept 29-Oct 31
badge
Gloom of Kilforth reprint Kickstarter Sept 29-Oct 31
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Excellent review, really looking forward to this.

Shame the thread got hi-jacked into a meaningless debate when everyone knows that Talisman 2nd ed will never be beaten by a reprint.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Mattlokk
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
.... a meaningless debate that ninja dog can't help himself from continuing.

I couldn't agree more with the original review here. Tales is much more of an event to enjoy and experience rather than a series of strategic decisions.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bogdan Petrar
Romania
Timişoara
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
To be honest I'm up for reprints. Even if I found the OLD game I coudn't get it.

1. No access to eBay
2. To mouch trouble just to find a game I don't know I will like
3. New prints make a new hype about the game, new discussions, reviews
4. New and better artwork. What attracted me to read about this game was the actual artwork
5. New reprints get the games into europe and of course, into shops from my town (easyer to order)
6. New reprints make my friends & me happy.

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.