Terrycloth (terrycloth) wrote,

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Arabian Luck

Sunday, Eric's D+D was cancelled, and Tom had said that we'd still meet to play board games, but I was the only one who showed (or could be gotten in touch with after I showed up and no one else was there). So we needed to bring his kids in on the game to have a game, which meant playing Arabian Nights, which I thought sounded pretty cool from the description.

You pick a character like Ali Baba or Sinbad, pick some skills, draw a random quest to accomplish, and have encounters that work in a 'choose your own adventure' fashion, usually with different options depending on your skills. So, say, you'll draw 'efreet' from the encounter deck, roll a die and add some danger modifiers to find out that it's a 'trapped efreet', which is encounter table J, and on J you choose to 'aid' the trapped efreet. Cross-referencing the 'aid' column with the 'trapped' row on table J, you go to page 1889 (or 1888 or 1890, depending on the 'destiny die') where a scenario is read out, and depending on your skills various things can happen, but usually you get a few destiny or story points and maybe a 'status', like 'pursued'.

Which is all fine. But in order for this not to be COMPLETELY RANDOM, you need to be able to make choices that fit your skills. During the game, I had master weapon use -- master meaning that if weapon use was useful in any of the options based on the destiny die, I'd get to take that option instead of a random one. So I always chose 'attack' or 'rob' or 'capture'. "Do you have luck?" "No..." "Do you have wisdom?" "No..." "Do you have seamanship?" "um... no..." Nope! Weapon use never came in handy.

Also, since I was being a dick to everyone, I ended up being pursued across asia by an angry efreet and murdered in the desert. Dying just means that you lose all your statuses and your brother takes up the quest, though. And after dying and being replaced, I was doing much better.

...of course, Tom had already won the game by then, through no fault of his own. He'd chosen poorly in one sequence ('I'll honor the strange customs') and ended up being buried alive and driven insane, which meant the other players got to choose what action he'd take. ("Hee! I think you should Court the mad wizard!") Then he married a mad wizard and became ensorcelled, which meant that other players got to choose where he'd move to ("I think you should move to the city where you're an outlaw and become imprisoned."). But without being able to maek any choices, he *always* got at least one destiny and story point per turn, usually 2 or 3, while I'd get turns where nothing happened or where I'd *lose* points because I didn't have storytelling to get the good result after I tried to travel through a mild storm (thinking that maybe 'enduring hardship' would be useful, ha!).

...I might be willing to play it again. It was fun kind of in the way mario party is fun. Fun things happen, even if actually winning the game seems entirely luck based. That is, if you think making the insane sheherezade court the mad wizard is fun. q:3

But it really seems like with a little more thought put into the options, it could have been a much better game.
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