Tales of the Arthurian Knights – Games Let’s Talk!

I made a presentation thread on the forum in 2007, but I don’t know why my first message had problems with special characters… However, 5 reaction pages are readable.

Please note, this is a message from 2007, and meanwhile the game was released in 2015 in English by Z Man and in French by Filosofia, making the old 1985 edition obsolete, especially the French one with its bugs.


And the second more thread dedicated to the volunteer translation of the VF and the reactions to the French edition 2015. That said, the VF 2015 has become rare and expensive…


So I give you my presentation of “Game of 1001 nights” with corrected special characters.

“A small thread to highlight “The game of a thousand and one nights”, published in 1985 by West End Games in the USA, then translated here in 1987 by Gallimard.

First, a little journey through the years. Like all teenagers of my era who loved role-playing games and board games, of course I got this box when it was first released. I didn’t like him anymore. I was a bit embarrassed by the sometimes rough rules for example (the famous wild lands!), and I didn’t really trip this game at the time. In any case, I hardly had time to play it because my brother borrowed it from me and kept it for a long time, his girlfriend was a fan of this game at the time… We lost this copy. I bought “Le jeu des 1001 nuits” again a few years ago, when it reappeared at discounters, but due to lack of space at home, I cleared it. Since then, I want to die! Fortunately, I got a new French copy in plastic at a reasonable price (20 euros) thanks to the announcements on this forum and to Mr. Zotopatate. Thanks Tric Trac…

First contact with the material: Ouch, it’s getting old! The box illustrations and the covers of the two booklets are beautiful, the board is artistically successful. The idea of ​​having the rule book illustrated with French engravings of the Gustave Doré genre was a true stroke of genius on the part of Gallimard! So far so good. On the other hand, the big white plastic box is still quite old. It’s pretty ugly, it feels flimsy, and as a storage locker it’s far from optimal. If you try to store the deck upright, like a book, you can be sure that half of the pawns and cards will get mixed up by accident. Pawns and cards, let’s talk about them. Pawns printed on super thin cardboard have been a wargame from the early 80’s. You can break one or two of them by removing them, in addition. Ditto for the cards, quite fragile, which must be separated with the greatest care under penalty of screwing some of them! As for the aids in the game, monochrome, they are mainly Spartan. But hey, Sparta is trendy now…

The French edition suffers from some bugs. For this reason, I designed an errata fixing the biggest issues (see below in this thread). Most of these bugs result in a poorly finished game (the board!) by the folks at Gallimard. Approximate translation, examples missing. Damage…

However, the guidelines read very well and appear more clear and pragmatic than other booklets published recently (I think randomly from FFG or GMT games!). If in doubt, looking at the English edition of the rules can be a great help for English speakers. They are available for download on Boardgamegeek:


So I started to see him turn to the simple game (without the accumulation of statuses) with 3 characters. Setting up the game is pretty quick. Well, you have to adjust the skills, but compared to setting up an “Arkham Horror 2nd edition” or a “War of the Ring”, it seems incredibly light! The clutter on the table is also very realistic, which is not a bad thing in our era of fast megalomania (Eagle Games, among others, did not really understand that the price per square meter tends to increase more than decrease these days!)

And as soon as the game starts, it immediately becomes extraordinary. As soon as a character stops in a city he manages to treat a dignitary with a good woman and finds himself named vizier! But well, after a few turns, he finds himself reduced to the rank of a beggar, driven mad, accompanied by a whirling dervish, before being forcibly married to an infidel or captured by a fish man who abandons him on the shore of Ireland! That’s really the magic of this game: it’s not a “Talisman” or “Arkham Horror” style game where you have to optimize your character to be as effective as possible. What matters is not what the character will be, but the adventures he lives! The more extravagant and fun adventures he experiences, the more fortune and story points he gets, which are the keys to his success. Of course, a character with the “Use of weapons” skill will quickly defeat a fisherman in an armed duel. but he won’t get much.

While if he tries to talk to the fish-man, the latter drags him to the Underwater Kingdom where he falls in love with the princess, which leads the fish kings to curse him and cut off his leg … There he earns points for sure! In other words, “The Game of 1001 Nights” succeeds in highlighting not the player’s “goodness” in his victory tactics, but his ability to make eccentric choices, to find himself in impossible situations! In other words, fun is more privileged than competition. Furthermore, there reigns a very particular sense of humor and spirit, truly unparalleled. A storyteller comforts a prisoner by telling him stories of a cuckolded jinn, which helps the prisoner put his problems into perspective, for example! Or, using one of his best skills can be a disastrous choice for a character!

Let’s be clear: the chronically aggressive or the Big Bill on duty will be disappointed by what barely matches the perception they have of a mixed board game-role-playing game. Competition fanatics will remain speechless in front of this game that will remain completely foreign to them (I experienced it with such a player: funny, you should have seen his disgusted face after a round!) The calculation of enthusiasts in management and the detailed planning raise a confused eyebrow at these mechanisms and exclaim, like Mr. Spock: “But, Captain… It doesn’t all make sense!”

During the game, time flies, and the three hours that such a game takes seem like half an hour! Even though the characters are in prison, they continue to live exciting adventures, including the cult character of the hunchback who serves as the prison guard!!

Obviously, there are still some logistical problems. The relatively dense rules related to statuses and wealth should be presented in the form of separate cards or a player aid. Yes, it’s very difficult to use (especially if you play a lot of statuses!). To overcome this concern, I designed status cards to be given to players as a memory aid (also, see my other message further down the thread).

Here, I want to take my hat off to this game which, contrary to what we read here or there, is, I find, remarkably aged. Not through its visuals, of course, but through the mechanics of the book of meetings that remain truly unparalleled, remaining an incredible machine to play. Of course, an engine that is a bit taken in places, but the playful pleasure is still there. It would take a pack of several thousand event cards to transcribe the finesse, the variants and other twists! And most of all, it is a game that is unique in its funny, wonderful, completely unique and incomparable spirit. Undoubtedly, from the height of my 13 years, I could not really taste the particular spirit of this game… Thanks again, Mr. Goldberg!

“The game of a thousand and one nights” was therefore released in its first edition at the West End Games in 1985 and translated into France in 1987. The American version fetches about a hundred dollars on ebay. The French version, on the other hand, is more affordable. The game has a less good reputation than in the USA (maybe because of the Gallimard bugs?) and above all, stocks reappeared at bargain prices about five years ago, in cdiscount or in Mona Lisait bookstores (in between 5 and 10 euros). You won’t find them there anymore, but it’s not a huge rarity, so be careful not to pay too much for it…

Subsequently, Goldberg created a second version of the game that was corrected and slightly improved, but it was not released in Anglo-Saxon countries. On the other hand, it was released in Germany, where it is still available at a very decent price, for example here:


The visual of the second edition German box

But be careful, the storybook of this new version is not compatible with the first edition (and therefore the French game), because the numbering has been completely changed. For those who cannot speak German, an individual has created a full kit in English to download and print to have a playable game in English. But be careful, it’s a big job (you have to redo the maps for example). To receive this kit, you must of course be the owner of the German box (they check by asking you about its contents). More info in this thread:


Veil, all that to give some life to this fascinating game in France. It’s incomprehensible that it hasn’t been reissued in the USA in 20 years, especially since this game doesn’t seem to have any particular rights problems. So let’s hope he gets out there soon, and maybe even in France, who knows? Inshallah, they say!


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