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Could you tell me a bit about your game?

Started by Spooky Fanboy, August 21, 2006, 12:12:22 AM

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Spooky Fanboy

Sorry, I did not see a webpage for it, and I'm assuming from the title it's based on 1001 Arabian Nights, and perhaps a competitive story game. Is that roughly correct?

Is there anywhere else I can go for more information?
Proudly having no idea what he's doing since 1970!


Sure! I've been talking about it on Fair Game, the blog I share with Emily Care Boss of Black&Green Games.You can also find more at  If this doesn't suffice, please ask!

Q: What's your game about?
A: You play Courtiers in the palace of the Sultan. No-one can leave Court. No-one can say directly what they think of each other or make any sort of move openly in Court. To pass the time, you tell Stories, which is also where all the pointed comments and political maneuvers happen. However, if you're not careful, the Sultan could get wind of it, and you could end up beheaded.

Q: Is it competitive?
A: It surely can be. You want to declare interests in the Story to get gems, which you then use to avoid being beheaded, achieve your ambition, or win your freedom to leave Court at will. You can also spend gems to undercut other Courtiers.

Q: Why the Arabian Nights theme? Did you choose it because it supported the storytelling, or on a whim, or because you've always liked it, or why?
A: I love it, I've always loved it, and it was what I thought of from the very begining. The idea of telling stories to pass the time, stories that are as dramatic and engaging as any RP session could ask for, seemed a natural fit. I write about this in the preface of the game, too, about the need for fantastical tales from places not our own.

Q: How did you go about getting it ready for publishing?
A: Mostly I tried not to write it (really), then I wrote it on two different computers. A very large part of the text was typed with one hand, using the lap-top while the baby was napping next to me. Then I spent some very late nights with Vincent and Adobe InDesign doing lay-out. The book looks so close to how I'd imagined it's kind of freaky. I also have a well-estabilished relationship with our printers from being the main person to deal with Dogs printing, so that was a non-issue.

Q: What's the art like?
A: Oh, the ART! I *love* the art. It's all beautiful black ink illustrations that were made by H.J. Ford a hundred years ago for Andrew Lang - I had nearly all the Rainbow Fairy Books as a child, and this game grew straight out of them. When I was a kid, Mom didn't buy us coloring books, so once I reached about 10, I took my colored pencils to the Rainbow Fairy Books, with Mom's blessing. Shading all those pictures taught me a ton about drawing and draping. I thought about doing the same thing in Photoshop with the ones I use in the book, but I decided against it. I really hope somebody somewhere colors in the pictures in their copy of the game.

Q: How did you choose the fonts and the front cover? - it looks as though a lot of thought went into the style generally.
A: Absolutely. I knew I wanted a sunset that was really rich in color, and that I wanted arches. I fiddled with gradients in Photoshop untill I was happy, and I free-hand drew the arch in Photoshop, then scanned a sheet from a Dover 'stained glass' coloring book for the rosettes. There was a brief time when the first piece of art in the book was on the cover, but it didn't hold up under examination.
The cover font is Calif - I wanted something with a very soft, curving shape. I considered doing hand-caligraphy, but my 'hand' for this style is lousy, and the font was fine.

Q: So, what about the story-in-a-story thing, does it do that?
A: Well, the basic game has our characters telling Stories, so it's already a story-in-a-story, so the simple answer is yes. To make deeper levels, all it would take would be for someone's Story character to start a Story-within, and see how it went. As far as mechanics, I'll have to think about it. I think it's possible to go down at least two levels, so Court, Story, Story-Within. I'd suggest having different GMs for the two Story levels. And you can definitly do linked Stories already, sharing characters or setting or whatever.

Ron Edwards

Dude, this game is about your character maybe winning their freedom from the lush but boring Arabian court, or rising high in its ranks ... while angling to get at lesat some of the other characters' heads cut off.

Seriously. This isn't nicey-sweet stories being bandied around. This is pure and vicious social combat, among the characters.

Best, Ron



Have you had a chance to try the game out on non-gamers? How'd it go over? Any hitches?
Robert Earley-Clark

currently developing:The Village Game:Family storytelling with toys


The lovely and talented Julia Ellingboe, in the credits, still counts as a new player. We'd played a 5-session PTA game which was her very first RPG, then she was a play-tester for 1001 Nights. She got the setting flawlessly, complete with bringing in whether or not the sheep was a proper Muslim sheep. The playtest is here. I played shortly thereafter with a couple (also credited) who had patchy play experience, and again it went ok, despite having five kids under 6 running around and interrupting the flow of game play constantly.  Since the playtest, I've made some changes to better structure the Stories, and I think it's pretty tight now.

Not having to worry about numbers or dice size helps, I think. And the layers of characters hit right at what Ron's talking about with non-gamers getting stronger involvement with secondary characters.


quite interesting reading. do you have a demo of your project in action? have you started the process to make it to a real and solid entity? just reading your story gets me wanting to write my own real quick!


I do have a solid demo, complete with characters. I'll try to get it written up, probably not in the next two weeks, though.