Well, it’s time to get back down to business. After taking a two-week break from spotlights, it has been nice to come back to see some really cool looking games and comics on KS. So many new and interesting one’s have released in the last week and a half, it was really hard to choose a spotlight from them, because I want to do them all!
In the end, I decided to go with one of the games that was on my last Meg’s Radar list. I love the theme of this game and the idea that everything can be negotiated seemed really interesting. I’m not usually one for games that do a lot of that, but the art and theme has sucked me in.
Trouble In The Dunes
I can see the heat rise up from the sand in sizzling waves. Behind us, the view of the city fades faster with every step. The journey is only a few days long, but an ominous feeling lingers within my mind. I feel as though we are being watched. The desert is known for its tricks, its mirages claiming even the most seasoned desert traveler. But this feeling is not a mirage… They are watching, waiting for us to get far enough away from the help of the city guards. As we round the bend, a large dune begins to close off the last remnants of the view of the city. The chatter of the rest of the caravan party drowns out whatever sound the watchers are making. We will never hear them coming…
Merchants of Araby is a 2-4 player game where players are trying to become the wealthiest merchant prince/princess. Players will put together caravans to send goods, teach their opponents virtues and call down djinn to give them a magical edge over the competition. Everything in Araby is negotiable, so players must use their wits and persuasion to get the best deal. Even a successful caravan can run into some trouble. Bandits will attack and depending on where your camels are in the caravan, could mean you are susceptible to losing your payout.
The game will take place over 4 rounds. On their turns, players will begin a caravan and take any actions they would like or are available to them. This may mean playing one of the 4 action cards: Merchants, Virtues, Djinn, or Allies. Playing merchants will help you generate resources to play a camel to the caravan. Since caravans are the primary source of wealth in the game, playing merchants is integral to getting your caravan filled. Other players can negotiate passage onto your caravan, which is another way to make money, but be sure that they aren’t going to be the ones with the big payouts. Having virtues will reward you and you can pass on some of those rewards to players who have helped you along the way, insuring your business agreements maintain their stability.
Players can also call on the powers of powerful djinn to help them obtain their riches. They can help be used as leverage to create goods, refresh your allies, or even help you join an opponents caravan without their permission. Djinn are powerful, so they must be used wisely. Another card players may use on their turn are Allies. Ally cards can help you to minimize the bumps along the way. The more allies you have the better, as they can help you to ensure the success of your caravans.
After the end of the 4th round, players will each receive a final resolution card for their caravans. Then players will total up all of their wealth and the player with the most money is declared the winner.
What’s In The Box
A copy of Merchants of Araby will include:
- 86 Game Cards
- 4 Player Merchant Cards
- 4 Player Tents
- 4 Reference Cards
- 60 Coin Tokens
- 20 Camel Tokens (5 in each players color)
- 1 Rule book
- 1 Beautifully Illustrated Box
- 1 Functionally Designed Insert
- 1 Cunningly Engineered Game Board
There are currently three technical pledge levels for this campaign. However, Kickstarter seems to have replaced the standard $1 pledge level with a more open ended option that allows you to pledge support for the campaign, for any amount, without getting a reward. I like this new system. So, if you’d like to pledge support for this project, but aren’t interested in a copy of the game, opt for this level.
Okay, so the first true pledge level is the $8 level. If you pledge at this level you will receive a premium Print ‘n’ Play version of the game and any applicable stretch goals that can be printed at home. Any of the physical materials for the game, i.e. camel meeples, will have to be sourced by you. You can technically get your hands on the PNP for the game right now, via the KS page (<–or click that link), but it won’t be as high quality and it will not have the applicable stretch goals.
The next pledge level will get you a copy of the game and all stretch goals for $35. This is a nice plain and simple pledge level. Lastly, for a pledge of $180 you will get 6 copies of Merchants of Araby. As far as I can tell, this is just a group buy option and not a tier for retailers. However, if you are a retailer, and are interested in getting copies for your shop, you must email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overall, shipping is pretty reasonable for this game, except be prepared to pay quite a bit for shipping if you live in Brazil or Russia. Not sure why those two place are so expensive while everywhere else is reasonable.
Currently there are four stretch goals (other than the initial funding goal) available for unlocking. I will list them below and any that have been reached already will get a purple diamond next to it.
- ♦$15,000: Funding Goal
- ♦$20,000: 5 Player Expansion
- New rules for additional player
- Punchboard for more tokens
- Set of camels in a 5th player color
- $25,000: Double-Sided Merchants
- Double-sided merchant cards that feature alternate genders
- $27,000: Auctioneer Ally Card
- This Ally will pay you whenever you have more camels on a caravan than any other players
- $29,000: Bandit Prince Ally Card
- This Ally will pay you whenever bandits remove a camel from a caravan
Daily Magic Games
Daily Magic Games is 6 person team based out of Seattle, Washington. The team is comprised of :
- Isaias Vallejo: Game Designer and Developer
- David MacKenzie: Game Developer
- Levi Mote: Game Designer and Developer
- Sarah Sharp: Convention Event Planner
- Dylan Pharaoh-Whitney: Graphic Designer
- Claire Donaldson: Illustrator and Graphic Designer
Their company focuses on making fun and accessible gateway games, in the hopes of getting more people to the table. They have had 3 previously successful Kickstarter campaigns, featuring the following titles: ManaSurge, Villages of Valeria, and Quests of Valeria. Merchants of Araby is looking to be another successful campaign for them and they already have several other games in the pipeline.
The art and the theme of this game drew me in for sure, and even though negotiating isn’t my favorite thing to do in a game, I do love the amount of player interaction it involves. I’ll be honest, I am a crap negotiator. It was easier when I was a kid and was cute and crap. My vocalized deal making is awful, if you’ve ever had to hear me explain anything verbally you would know what I mean. Hand me a pen and paper and I can explain perfectly. Anyway, I want a game to be challenging, and for me this will probably fit the bill. Perhaps not in a strategy way, but on a level that forces me to communicate deals to make my strategy work the way I need it to.
I think this will be a fun game with lots little ways to adjust your strategy beyond the negotiating aspect. I am curious if it is possible to have a winning strategy that involves zero negotiation, but that will have to wait until I have the game in hand. Perhaps, that will be the challenge I seek.
As of right now the game is 144% funded and there are 21 days left in the campaign. So, if you are looking to add a gateway negotiation game with a cool them and great art to your collection, you have plenty of time left to pledge.
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