1001 Odysseys is the closest I have ever seen a board game come to being a choose-your-own adventure book. In many ways, the game is refreshing, offering a combat-less science fiction adventure great for cooperative play. In other ways, I could imagine the game being less interesting to many board game groups.
1001 Odysseys features four roles for a player, the navigator, the operator, the captain, and the information officer. The roles themselves are pretty minor. The navigator takes the location cards the game tells him to take and places it on the map. The operations officer takes the operations card the game tells him to take and places it on his board. And the information officer has a book with information about the world in case people are curious.
The meat of the game is the story and the decision making. Each decision leads to a new narrative path and, in the course of the story, different decisions can completely change the outcomes of the missions, leading to entirely different endings. After important decisions, the game manual will instruct the operations officer to add specific cards to the board. At other points in the game, the state of the cards will determine which narrative branch to read.
While the game is beautifully designed and the stories feel like a refreshing take on the science fiction genre, I do not think it will appeal to many hardcore gamers. With a large group, the game consists of one person reading for a while followed by the group choosing between a few options. Aside from some card fiddling, that is the extent of the gameplay.
That said, 1001 Odysseys feels like a perfect title for someone who wants a more interactive version of a choose-you-own adventure story, as all gameplay elements can easily be handled by one person. Additionally, given the family-friendly nature of the game’s story and gameplay, it looks like it would make a wonderful family game that increases interactivity between those playing and the story being read.