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In the ZMan version of Tales of Arabian Nights, you choose 20 points between Story and Destiny. I tend to do 10 of each or something similar. Is this the best strategy?

Also, the game is very random, which I'm OK with, but are there any variants where there is some strategy or planning involved? Especially with some of the quests, it's like it doesn't really matter where you go on the board, just that you go somewhere.

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it seems you have two distinct questions here. You might get more responses if you break them down into individual questions. –  LittleBobbyTables Dec 18 '10 at 23:39

4 Answers 4

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I've pnly played the WEG version of this game once, so my memory is a bit foggy. It was an interesting concept, but we had one player who rolled so badly that she hardly got to do anything the whole game. The only strategy I tried to employ was try to make sure I had a chance for something interesting to happen every turn. I suppose you could invent your own variant where it's known ahead of time what will happen at each location instead of rolling for it.

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Been playing a fair bit of this over the weekend, so here's a few thoughts:

  1. It seems that Story is a bit easier to get than Destiny (and there's a couple effects that convert Destiny to Story, plus some that remove Destiny), so I tend to skew a few points towards Story. I haven't seen a particular reason to skew too far away (the furthest I've gone is D7/S13) because there's no guarantee you'll get lots of story points.

  2. The game is fairly random, but there does seem to be some (at least loose) correlation between your choice of reaction and the skills required. So you can work around bad luck to some extent by being a bit more cunning in your opening skill selection and picking reactions that hopefully you have good skills for. (This is admittedly still pretty darned random)

2a. One good way of beating down the randomness is to aim for master-level skills (which let you shortcut the destiny die, and are generally-but-not-always good results), and remember to use any effects that let you skew the game in your favor. (Blessed, Respected, Determined, to name three.)

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Here are two variants that my friends and I play with, each of which addresses your questions.

  1. This is perhaps unsatisfactory but to beat the meta of how to split points is simple for us - we don't play with points! We just go until it's time to stop, this way it really doesn't matter if someone is doing way better for no reason and there's no competition.

  2. A useful way to incorporate strategy is to allow users to pick a mastery at the beginning. We started off with 2 talent, 1 mastery, but now just for diversity we do 2 talent, 2 mastery, and a lvl. 1 treasure. This last one can be great because treasures are really hard to come by (normally) and some of them open up new story options. Choosing mastery and (possibly) treasure means that you can develop a personality and a strategy - for example, just today my friend was a pirate with seamanship and stealth and stealing who always robbed, while I was a bravo with appearance and weapon use who always attacked.

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Our group ignores the story/destiny split and just uses the total as a victory condition. (20 for a shorter game, 25 for about the same, 30 for slightly longer).

This does weaken some of the effects a little, but it saves pretending the game has any strategy at all and removes the fiddly tokens.

If the game is being really fun (or really boring!) we may agree to adjust the target mid-game.

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