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Port of Hatay, key to Turkish fate,
Languishing upon th' Akdeniz shore
Alexander's newest Syrian Gate
Yonder thou shalt glimpse th' peaks of Nur

SCANDAROON is an English slang name for the Turkish city of Iskenderun, a thriving city port during the times of the Ottorman Empire and built upon the remains of Alexandretta (and, before that, Alexandria ad Issum) - as the earlier names suggest, the city was founded by Alexander the Great.

Movie buffs among you will recall that the name Alexandretta is also referred to in Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade, as one of the key locations on the way to finding the Holy Grail - regrettably, no such divine rewards await the victor of SCANDAROON, save the satisfaction of out-witting one's opponents!

For the record, SCANDAROON is also the name of a popular and common breed of pigeon, also known as "Bagdads", that originated from the region - rest assured there are no pigeons in this game.

See the Grand Bazaar - a thousand treasures
Collected, crafted, cage-ed, cooked or captured
A garden filled with perils and with pleasures
No visitor departs lest they're enraptured

The game of SCANDAROON originally started life in a medieval setting and was provisionally named "Shrub" - which is an Old English term meaning "to win everything from someone by means of gambling", in other words to take all of a man's money and, perhaps, the shirt from his back in an evening!

The mechanics of the game were identical to its final exotic reincarnation, but the scoring was much more simplistic; it was just about coming first or second and building up a score pile, with the highest total score pile winning at the end of the game. The four trump suits in the original game were Anchors (for the Merchant Navy), Compasses (for Artisans and Trade), Crowns (for the Nobility) and Crosses (for the Church).

With play-testing came the idea of expanding the victory points that could be earned, and the possibility of specific bonuses changing hands as the rounds progressed. This "super-Shrub" began to feel less medieval and more like a cunning, gambling game - it needed more the exotic theme of a roguish, Middle Eastern bazaar and its associations with heat, sweat, cunning, bustle, deceit and jeopardy…

…and, besides, we'd already produced a game with a medieval theme: Coppertwaddle!

Dust and incense, wine and spice and musk
Amid the tumult, all thy sense assaulted
Raised from dawn's cool light to fiery dusk
O'er all the broiling hours th' coin's exalted

Anthony Boydell, September 2007

 

 

Bloody Legacy / Confucius / Coppertwaddle / Fzzzt! / Guilds of London / Ivor the Engine / On The Cards / Paperclip Railways / Scandaroon / Snowdonia / Tara, Seat of Kings / Totemo

Surprised Stare Games Ltd.

Carrier Strike / Mission Command / The Cousins' War

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