Ghawar, located in Saudi Arabia, is the world's biggest oil field. Set to this background the players represent members of the royal family and try to locate good sites for new oil wells, find and deliver the different oil qualities and ship them to their base camps.
However, the oil field is so huge that the players have to memorize where which oil quality is to be found. Moreover, the competing players are likely to interefere with the player's intentions.
To win the game, it is mandatory to collect oil qualities of different kinds, always keeping an eye on the ever changing prices. Balancing this will help !
From the Boardgame News annoucement.
As for the game play, Ghawar is a pick-up-and-deliver game with a roll-and-move mechanism on top of a memory element. On a 13x13 game board, 36 oil platforms are laid out in a 6x6 square with one empty space between each pair of platforms. Players seed these platforms with 36 coloured "oil stones" with nine cubes in each of four colors.
Players take turns rolling two dice and placing one of their five oil wells on the unoccupied platform at this location in the grid; if a player rolls 2-5, for example, she can choose row 2, column 5 or the other way around. Once all the oil rigs are placed, the second half of the game begins.
On a turn, a player either rolls a die to move the truck, train or both vehicles a number of spaces equal to the die roll or moves one of the oil rigs to an adjacent location, most likely covering an oil stone previously exposed.
If a player's truck starts or ends its movement by an oil rig and doesn't already have a load, the truck's owner can lift the oil rig and buy the oil stone underneath it, paying the rig's owner the current value of the oil.
You can't purchase oil stones that aren't covered as there must be a well in place to bring the oil to the surface. You must bring the oil to your side of the board to deliver it before you can pick up another oil stone with the truck.
When your train ends its movement by an empty platform the train picks up the platform so that you can carry it back to your camp. At the end of the game, players lose points based on their relative standings in the number of platforms collected.
The game ends once all the oil stones have been delivered. If any player has failed to collect at least one of each type of stone, that player loses the game. Players still in the game score points for each oil stone they possess, for having more of their favored type of oil than anyone else, for collecting barrels, and for having lots of money due to sales. If you have the fewest stones of a type, less money than anyone else, and fewer platforms than someone else, you'll lose points. The player with the high score wins.