GTM #204 - Tales & Games: Aladdin & The Magic Lamp
Reviewed by Rebecca Kaufeld

The day you found the lamp, everything changed. It looked like it fell out of a fairy tale. Gold and shiny, polished to perfection… yet rubbed down where someone wished too hard. Maybe you shouldn’t have touched it, but you needed to know if genies were real. It transported you to another time, another life, when a boy called Aladdin had a dangerous quest: find the Genie, escape the cave of riches and gold, and use his new wealth and the Genie’s power for good.

Unfortunately, it dropped you into the middle of the story, when Aladdin is trying to get out of the cave.

Lucky for him, you know how the story ends: happily ever after. Lucky for you, he’s already carrying more gold and jewels than he needs, leaving plenty in the treasure chests for you. Now you just have to find them and escape before the evil sorcerer (you know, the one that got Aladdin into the cave in the first place) gets impatient and comes in after you.

In Aladdin & The Magic Lamp, part of iello’s Tales & Games series for 2-5 players, each player has the opportunity to play Aladdin’s part in the story. By searching through chests of treasure and using precious wishes to get the Genie’s help, players try to collect gems and jewelry to carry back into the real world.

Now, it sounds easy. Walk in, open a chest, pull out some gems, walk away… but magic is a little more complicated than that.

Each player has a purple 6-sided die and a mini “board” with three treasure chest icons: one bronze, another silver, and a third gold. Each chest has its own stack of treasure cards, and the die tells how many treasure cards you want to draw this turn. Players secretly choose their treasure chest and a number of cards to draw, trying to find the magical balance between being greedy and getting more cards than anyone else.

Then, everybody reveals at the same time. (Because magic can be messy.) If everyone chose a different chest, great! Time to start drawing cards. Remember to avoid the scorpions -- if you find as many scorpions as the number on your die, they successfully scare you off, leaving the treasure behind as you run away. (Not awesome. Aladdin wouldn’t be impressed.)

What if one player chose the same chest as somebody else? Oops. Only one player can draw cards from a chest, so the less greedy player (the one who wanted less cards) will get to draw.

This is why it’s important to choose lower numbers. Greed, or wanting the most, doesn’t (always) pay.

What about the Genie? You can’t have a lamp and not have a Genie! Well, yes.

When two players pick the same number of cards — but not the same chest — someone summons the Genie to declare a winner. The first player to tap the stack of Genie cards in the middle of the table draws the top Wish card from the Genie’s deck: a bonus to make your turn a little easier. Ignoring scorpions, drawing extra treasure cards, and changing other players’ treasure chests are all things the Genie can help with.

That’s your first wish. Don’t like the top card? Skip to the next one. Don’t like the second? You can try a third one, but that’s your last wish -- after that, the card takes effect, whether you like it or not.

The sorcerer lurks at the bottom of each treasure chest. When he magically appears (always at the worst possible moment), the round ends and the game is over. The player with the most treasure wins!

And then, after escaping the cave and the evil sorcerer, you lived happily ever after.

The end.

Fast Facts:

  • Ages: 7 and up
  • Plays: 2-5 players
  • Time: 20-minutes
When a whirlwind of whimsical words beckoned from worlds away, Rebecca knew she had to follow. She fell into a rabbit hole of metaphors and cliches, mixed with more similes than water drops in a storm. Somewhere along the way, she picked up a love of games that would use her words to create beautiful reviews, and that's where she is today.