Infinite storytelling adventures
Tales of the Arabian Nights is an enormous, silly, messy game about having adventures and telling stories. This is much more an engine for creating funny interactions and shaggy-dog stories than anything else: it works well for 3-4 players (2 works fine, but a slightly larger group generates more laughter) and is good for families, though we always reduce the score required to finish the game so that it doesn’t drag.
You move your character around the board encountering randomised characters and situations, and choose how to respond from a grid of possible actions. In each case you get a new and different response, all drawn from an enormous book full of carefully numbered and cross-referenced paragraphs. The system works amazingly well and any available action produces a reasonable response. Using the books and grids gives a fantastic feeling of tactility, and everything is very attractively produced, so you feel you’re getting your money’s worth.
For me this is definitely not a 'serious' or 'heavy' game (except in sheer weight!). There’s no real strategy to speak of, and the game’s scoring and end-point is fairly arbitrary, but when you’re the Ensorcelled Ape Vizier of Muscat, roaming around middle-ages Europe in search of a spouse but prevented at every turn by your friends magically forcing you to choose ridiculous actions for every encounter (“Drink the lion! Drink it!”), you’ll be having too much fun to care.