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Tales of the Arabian Nights» Forums » Rules

Subject: What cities are in what country? rss

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Mont A.
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The cities in India (which includes the two islands in the southeast) are easy to tell apart: they all share India-specific city icons, based (as far as I can tell) on the characteristic profiles of Hindu temple architecture.

Same for Europe: they all have their own Europe-specific city icon (based on European castles).

Africa starts at Alexandria.

Asia I'm not sure about. Two cities in the northeast have Pagoda-derived city icons, but I can't believe that these two cities alone are considered to be in Asia.....
 
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Mont A.
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MikeDowd wrote:
How do you know Africa starts at Alexandria? What is your source?


I have to confess, for Africa I'm just using standard geographic boundaries, nothing derived from the game's icons. Though I guess the forest space between Alexandria and Damascus--corresponding to the Sinai--could be up for debate. I think most people would be tempted to include the Sinai with Asia rather than Africa, but there's no real concensus. (Bizarre to make that a forest space, by the way, since the Sinai peninsula is actually a barren rocky wasteland.)

You know, the more I examine the city icons, the less I think they correspond to physical geography and the more they correspond to religious geography. The five cities of Daybul, Gaya, Tana, Serendib, and P'an P'an correspond to India, but only incidentally, I think, insofar as the Indian realm is predominantly Hindu (which is what the shapes chosen for the cities there allude to: Hindu temple architecture).

Zarandj, Herat, and Samarkand are a good indicator of the fact that the city icons indicate medieval religious affiliation, not geographical boundaries: technically those towns are in Asia; but the game gives them the same city icons as those used for Arabia and the Middle East. Why? Because they were all Muslim cities from the medieval period onward, thanks to the spread of Islam eastward along the Silk Road and other trade routes. This must also be why the same city icon is used for all of Africa (which, similarly, had embraced Islam)--with the exception of Bantus in the very south (indicating that Islam had not yet spread that far south).

And again, this explains why Rome, Balts, Adrianople, Constantinople, and Leon in Europe all share their own separate, castle-derived icon (because they were all Christian at the time)--but Cordoba, technically also in Europe, is shown with the icon used for Arabia, Africa, western Asia, and the lands along the Silk Road instead: because central and southern Spain was part of the Muslim world during the medieval period.

Religious geography also explains why the game uses different symbols again for Kiev and the (city of the) Bulgars. This must reflect the fact that they were neither Christian nor Muslim during the (early) medieval period, but rather still polytheist. (Kiev'an Russia didn't begin Christianizing until approximately 1000 AD.)

This actually gives us a window: since Samarkand had already entered the Muslim world by the 8th century, but Kiev didn't Christianize until the end of the 10th century, we can say that the map represents religious boundaries as they were during the 9th and 10th centuries. thumbsup

Sure, it's a fantasy game. But I'm still glad that the designers decided to code the cities in a smart and internally consistent way, reflecting a specific time period. (The only exception is the island of Serendib, corresponding to Sri Lanka--which was during the medieval period, and still is, a majority Buddhist land, not a Hindu one as the city icon would lead one to expect.)

But the upshot is that, because the city icons indicate religious affiliation, not geographical boundaries, they aren't actually much help for figuring out what exactly the game means by "Arabia", "Asia", "India", and "Europe".
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Mont A.
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MikeDowd wrote:
I had a quest that sent me to a city on a random country and the result for 5 was Africa and 6 was Asia. I think 1-2 was Europe and 3-4 was India. This kind of led me to believe that the city icons represent the country since the African and Asian city icons are the most remote locations from Baghdad.

I wish I knew for sure but I'm gonna play that it's the city icons.


Hmm, I see what you mean. So you would take Su-Chou and Lhasa as the only two cities in Asia, and Bantus as the only one in Africa?

I seem to remember someone saying that the first edition of TotAN indicated the regions somehow. Can't remember where though.

Sounds like something for a F.A.Q. laugh
 
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Will
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The cities icons on the board look differant depending on the region.
 
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Mont A.
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Yargo wrote:
The cities icons on the board look differant depending on the region.


Yes.... That's what we've been discussing....
 
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Will
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Typhon wrote:
Yargo wrote:
The cities icons on the board look differant depending on the region.


Yes.... That's what we've been discussing....


I guess I'm missing something then... The back page of the rulebook shows the differant icons:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/43583

Is the discussion about the reasons WHY city icons were chosen in the various areas on the board (i.e. religious reasons, geographical reasons, etc)?
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Mont A.
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Yargo wrote:
Is the discussion about the reasons WHY city icons were chosen in the various areas on the board (i.e. religious reasons, geographical reasons, etc)?

Yes, insofar as we're trying to figure out exactly what the different icons correspond to.... Because while many of us originally assumed that the variation in city icons was intended to demarcate and correspond with the various geographic regions mentioned in the game ("Arabia", "Africa", "Europe", "Asia", "India"), it's clear once one starts to look at the map that the city icons DON'T actually correspond to those geographic regions.

Or if they do, it means that, in game terms, "Africa" has only one single city in it (Bantus), and "Asia" only has two (Su-Chou and Lhasa), while "Arabia" covers almost all of Africa and Asia. And that would be ridiculous. I just can't believe that's what the game designers intended.

So I'm saying: we're mistaken if we think the city icons are intended to mark out the various geographic regions mentioned in the game. The city icons actually represent something entirely different: religious affiliation (that's what my discussion above was intended to show). And that has no bearing on game play at all. Looking at the city icons doesn't help at all when we read our quest cards and are told to put somebody's token in "Africa".
 
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Mont A.
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MikeDowd wrote:
That's a bummer because using city icons would be a really flavorful way to solve this problem.
The designer joined the geek, I supposed I'll ask him.


Oh neat. That's awesome.
I love the 'Geek. kiss

 
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George Trosper
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In case anybody's found this thread first (which I admit I'm making more likely by bumping it): Full description of what's where is given in the FAQ, which is quoted in a different thread here, but may as well appear here too LATER: This is all also on p. 6 of the Rules of Play.

THE BOARD

For purposes of quests, “Arabia” consists of any space without a number printed in it. “Europe” is any space north and west of Arabia, stretching east to Bulgars and the ‘5’ forest east of Yalta. All the spaces in the Mediterranean are part of Europe. “Africa” includes the forest space between Damascus and Alexandria and all land spaces south and west from there. “India” starts at Shiraz and the ‘2’ forest space between Shiraz and Hamadan, and all the land spaces south of the word "India" on the map, including Serendib and P’an-P’an. “Asia” is all the land spaces east of Europe and north of India, including Samarkand, Lhasa, and the mountain spaces west of Herat.

Baghdad, the City of Peace, is a city for all game purposes. The City of Brass is not; it is a Place of Power.

 
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