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Subject: (6p) A Thoroughly Entertaining Journey rss

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Phil Alberg
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Cumberland
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TALES OF THE ARABIAN NIGHTS: Mark, Phil, Bob, Anthony, Ken, James

Everyone but Anthony and Ken were new to this game of adventure and story making. This game is reminiscent of those solo adventure booklets, particularly the Death Test modules for the old Metagaming Melee/Wizard, which have you selecting different paragraphs to tell a story depending on the actions taken. However, TotAN is much more sophisticated, as it has different actions for different sections and locations, and the story will change based on the skills you start with and obtain throughout the tale.

Everyone starts with a quest and three skills, along with markers on wealth, destiny, and story tracks. Your overall goal is to increase your story and destiny levels to some pre-determined amounts as chosen by each player at the beginning of the game. The combined total is 20 points. In this game, I chose as my goals to obtain 10 story and 10 destiny points. These points are gained (and sometimes lost) as the result of encounters. On a turn, a player moves a certain number of spaces on the map (as governed by their current wealth), and then rolls a die, applies modifiers, and is presented with a scenario (as read by the player to his left). The player then has to decide which action (usually there are 10 choices) to take. This leads to a numbered paragraph, which may further be modified if the player possesses appropriate skills. Points are sometimes awarded, as are status cards (which may be helpful or a hindrance). If a quest is completed, then other status cards are taken, and a new quest is chosen. Play continues until someone achieves their victory conditions.

James visited Alexandria on his first turn, and was foiled in a thievery attempt and immediately imprisoned. His attempts to bribe or fight or sweetalk his way out of prison were thwarted. Finally, due to his acting skills, he was able to escape jail on his 4th turn. Bob was Ali Baba, and had to go on a pilgrimage to Amaninople (sp?) and then to Mecca, which he eventually completed. Anthony was Sinbad, Ken was Aladdin, and Mark was some chick in a green veiled dress. I was Ma'aruf, and my initial quest was to seek my true love. I succeeded in this quest during the 5th or 6th turn, which granted me the status of being married and being a vizier. Mark was kind to a beggar, who turned out to be the Sultan's son, and so he got a large reward. He also gained the Robe of Honor, but we could not locate the card for that status (it is a status, and not a treasure). Anthony was stabbed once while defending someone's honor, and Ken visited the sex-change fountain (but did not drink from it).

This game was quite enjoyable, and certainly different from any other games we normally play. We particularly liked how the paragraph book and the event chart were rotated each turn to either side of the active player, as this kept everyone involved in the game. We stopped after 2 hours, as it was getting kinda late. Mark was the furthest along both tracks (Destiny=8, Story=9), so he was declared the winner. I can see myself playing this with my family, so I placed an order for it as soon as I got home.
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