This game takes its title from the storyteller in One Thousand and One Nights. In this story, The king was terrified his wife would cheat in him, so each day he would marry someone new and kill the wife from the previous day. Shahrazad was remarkably intelligent and well read in topics from history to science, poetry and art. She volunteered to spend one night with the king, but asked to first say goodbye to her sister and tell her a story. The king overheard the story and was completely enthralled, but Shahrazad advised him that he would have to wait until the next day to hear the ending. This went on for 1000 nights, with each night a new story, even better than the last.
In Shahrazad, you can either play solo or up to two players where you are wanting to play tiles in as much of a sequential order as possible in order to tell the perfect story for the King. We must be careful though, as it is possible to take too many risks in your storytelling, and tell a story which makes no sense, which will vex the king. We need to achieve balance between the competing aims in order to do well. The tiles are placed in columns, and can be played anywhere as long as it is touching one existing tile. If placing to the left or right, the new tile is offset half-way up or down the existing tiles. There is a maximum of three tiles allowed in a single column for the two-player variant of this game. If solo, you can play up to four tiles, and there is no limit to the number of columns allowed. During the game you can also swap/replace an existing tile with one from your hand. You must put the new tile in the same space the replaced tile just came from. If you have replaced a tile on your turn, then you must place two tiles on your next turn, and cannot replace any additional ones on that turn. Once the draw deck of tiles is depleted, the first round ends, and it's time to score your points.
This game is something of a puzzle. The production quality is top notch. Beautiful art, the tiles are substantial and have a nice finish, and even the box art looks lovely. The images on the tiles are clearly influenced by fairytale, folk-stories, classic books and tarot. However one can't help but feel that it is odd to have a game about story telling, with pictures from stories, that is about...numbers and colors? The theme just seems to clash with the mechanics, which for such a lovely game is a real shame. This isn't to say that it ruins the game, it only seems a little offset for an Arabian theme to encompass artwork from Pinocchio, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Peter Pan, Little Red Riding Hood, etc. etc.
Claire found the solo version to be much more pleasant. You are allowed columns of 4 rather than 3, which helps considerably. However, since there are no special skills or roles that the players take on, the two player game has the feel of two people playing a game intended to be solo. Neither of us really play solo games, but if you enjoy them, this is worth a play to see if you like it. The components and art are so nice and truly enhance your game play.
Overall Meeple Rating: 6.0/10
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