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Subject: First Play and it's the Official Solo Variant rss

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Justin Hwang
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I just want to write how an official solo variant played last night.

I love choose-your-own-adventure type books and I don't mind solo games at all. So I was very favorably inclined to TotAN to begin with. Knowing that I don't have a willing guinea pig opponent to try this game with, I started an official solo variant of the game.

To be short, in order to win solo game, you need to;
- be fabulously rich
- complete 2 quests
- meet destiny and story point goals
- before the deck runs out.

Sindbad with courtly grace, enduring hardship, and appearance starts very rough trip. Being fated, imprisoned, ensorcelled, going insane, scorned, pursued, becoming an outlaw, and getting a sex-change. It seemed like it's going really bad, especially when you lose a destiny point or a story point whenever an opponent has to decide something for you. For a while, I was stuck in Baghdad vicinity, not gaining much DP or SP.

As the initial quest was to court a princess at Baghdad with a treasure worth more than other suitors', I knew it was going to be tough, being sex-changed and all...

I will skip the storytelling part as I've never earned storytelling skill. In short, Sindad seduced a vengeful prophet, and a handsome prince (while he was a she), married a mermaid (I'm not sure if it was merman or mermaid), became a sultan, and whatnot, my encounter deck was nearly end of "day" stage.

It was about 3 hours into my first game, and I decided to quit there.

I thought I started with horrible luck but I can see that's really an inevitable, when you hardly have any skills. As the game progresses, it becomes easier and easier as you have 5,6,7, or 8 master skills and most of the time you don't have to roll the destiny die.

At this point, I had full 20 points on both DP and SP, completed the initial quest, had 10+ skills, was respected sultan married to a mermaid (or could be merman- can't tell just by shapes of fins). I was fairly sure I could win this game.

Hard part is the first part of the game, when you're wildly dependent on the destiny roll, with few skills. But even at such disadvantage, it's not hard to lose a bad status. This is because even if you go insane, you get to make a choice at a cost of 1 DP or SP, so you don't go attacking a friendly prince. Maybe a dice roll to simulate an opponent would be more "insane"?

There was a brief time in the game when it felt everything was too mechanical, as I had little hope of completing the initial quest required to win the game. Courting a princess in a woman form wouldn't be generally accepted custom at the time (unless you had a "strange custom" encounter.) But once I accumulated the master skills, it was all quite easy.

I did become lucky, or one can say I was in control of my destiny with all the skills I've mastered. I managed to turn back into a man by an NPC encounter, and I had all the master skills to choose the most sensical thing to do. You don't have to read the paragraph but you know using courtly grace with a prince would be beneficial for you. If I hadn't lost the sex-change status this way, I would have tried all the city encounter cards I gathered in hopes of encountering the sex-change fountain (or pond?). I had respected status and it might have worked.

Overall, the official solo variant works, and it goes through the encounter deck quite fast. It was enjoyable and had the narrative.
However, I feel that there should be some handicap in mid to late game, as 10+ master skills make the game too easy to gain even more skills.

I did miss a few rules in the beginning so the game would have been different but it's TotAN solo game we're talking about so I wasn't too upset about it. (And there's a rule on losing points if you make mistakes) Next time I try a solo game, I think I will limit myself to 3 master skills and 3 talented skills. Perhaps start at daytime, reducing the encounter cards by 1/3. But one thing for sure, I'll definitely play this solo again.
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Bill Eldard
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Thanks for the report, Justin.

Would it be fair to say that TotAN is more RPG than boardgame?

It certainly seems like a design that would appeal to RPGers.
 
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Brian Mc Cabe
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Some of the members of the club just played a game the other night.
Looks like tons of fun.
But you can't win while sex changed, much to my friend's chagrin.

Brian
 
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Freelance Police
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Eldard wrote:
It certainly seems like a design that would appeal to RPGers.


If you liked the "Choose your own adventure" books, you'll like Tales. If, by RPG'ers, you mean people who play D&D and the like, I'm not sure it's *that* good of a fit. Tales (and most boardgames) don't allow all the creative options (and powergaming!) tabletop roleplayers enjoy.

Dunno about videogame RPG'ers, tho.
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Bill Eldard
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Sam and Max wrote:
Eldard wrote:
It certainly seems like a design that would appeal to RPGers.


If you liked the "Choose your own adventure" books, you'll like Tales. If, by RPG'ers, you mean people who play D&D and the like, I'm not sure it's *that* good of a fit.


Yeah, that's what I was thinnking. I'm not an RPGer myself, but the descriptions of the game seemed similar to RPGs, at least to my untrained eye.

Sam and Max wrote:
Tales (and most boardgames) don't allow all the creative options (and powergaming!) tabletop roleplayers enjoy.

Dunno about videogame RPG'ers, tho.


OK. Thanks for the insight. I don't think this is my kind of game, but it does appear to be an interesting design, and one that should be conducive to good solitaire play as Justin described.
 
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Brian Mc Cabe
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Freelance

It's not really a roll-playing game, as the phasing player is having his adventure read to him. The reader can throw a little life into the party, though. There's really not much interaction between the players, so it's not a cooperative adventure game, either.

Complete your quests, garner your predicted story and destiny points, make it back to Bahgdad, and win the game. Getting there, though, looks like fun.

Brian
 
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Tong Chi Wai
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Today, I played 2 Solo Games with Aladdin & Scheherazade accordingly. It spent me for over 5 hours. I have a 6 players' game with my friends & my wife last night. but many rules were played wrong even though I acted as an game master solely. So, I "DETERMINED" to play the solo version today(mandatory )

Here are some records of 2 games:
Both games are goal-setted 10 pts for Story & Destiny.
1st game: ends with 15 Story pts & 19 Destiny pts.
Ended with 3 completed quests; Seek adventure, Merchant, A Dream Of Riches. One failed quest: Exiled.
With 4 status: Blessed, Respected, Robe of Honor & Sultan.
With 2 Treasures; Copper Drum & Flying Carpet.
Skills; Story-telling, Magic, Piety, wisdom.
Ever travelled to the Brass City and the Undersea Kingdom.

2nd game: ends with 20 Story pts & 20 Destiny pts with the last card of the encounter deck.
Ended with 2 completed quests; Purchase Slave & The Gourmet.One failed quest: Contest For a Marriage.
With 6 status: Beasted Form, Blessed, Determined, Married, Respected & Vizier.
With 2 Treasures; Celestial Planisphere & Brass Bow.
Skills: Master in Luck, Magic, Seamanship & wisdom. Talented in seduction, apperance, Piety, Bargaining and Evaluation & Scholarship.
Ever travelled to the Sepulchre of Solomon.

I've found that its so hard to get rid of the "Beast Form" in solo version, unless using city encounter with "Blessing" (I hope I played the offical variant right!) And for the "Insane" at the beginning of the game, I didn't know do I have to negative my story pt or destiny when I have to compensate for moving "by others". Hope Z-Man could revised the varaint or release FAQ that for a clear picture.

Also, I found that its so easy the get pts in mid-game, especially I have done some good choices with my master skills in the Places Of Power. Maybe the original winning requirment is not a real challenge to players.

Thirdly, the treasure cards are always under-used. Is this the design aimed for? Or do i have too much fanasty on those wonderful treasures?wow

BTW, as a non-English native speaker, I've tried my best when I read through the Book Of Tales.........shake
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