Last night Tom, Martha, Ed, Kevan and I spent three hours exploring the world of Tales of the Arabian Nights (3rd edition, Z-Man Games 2009). It was memorable. TOTAN is not a great game, it’s certainly not a gamey game, but it’s an extraordinary thing: a colossal, intricate and beautiful story generator with a board. It is the work of a mad genius, who you will encounter on table B and you should probably choose to beat him soundly.
Stories were told: comedies, tragedies, and a great deal of laughter at the misfortune of others. At one point I had become scorned, so I opted to undertake a long pilgrimage to serve penance for my deeds (and remove the negative status and its equally negative modifiers). The very next turn—having not yet started the pilgrimage—I became scorned again. Tom spent most of the game imprisoned, and having finally got out of prison he immediately became lost. Ed was simultaneously respected and scorned, and crippled, and envious which meant he had to rob everyone he met. Martha attacked almost everything which got her outlawed, and then she became accursed and grief-stricken, possibly as a result. People became amazingly rich and then astoundingly poor, often in quick succession. By the end Kevan was an ape with a flying carpet and I was insane. You may understand why.
Kevan snuck in a crafty win just as we were about to break for the evening, despite or perhaps because he had been turned into an ape. If there are tactics then I suspect he was the person who found them. I also suspect he may be keeping them to himself.
Would play again in a heartbeat, but then it’s a game that could have been designed for me and I played my copy of the first edition to death in the late 80s. Unique, quite bonkers, and delirious fun.