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Subject: Through the Desert vs. Oasis rss

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James
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Happy Turkey Day Everyone!

I recently picked up a couple copies of Oasis from Tanga and found that my group seems to like it quite a bit (memo to self: get session reports out!). I have been looking at Through the Desert for some time, but now I am not sure if the two games are different enough to warrant the purchase when there are so many other games on my list this season. Here's what I've got

Oasis
Camel Meeples: Check
Desert Theme: Check
Area Control: Check
Multiple Scoring Options: Check
Variable Turn Order and Auction of action cards

Through the Desert
Camel Meeples: Check
Desert Theme: Check
Area Control: Check
Multiple Scoring Options: Check
Set Turn Order and no auctions, but seems to have a shifting score focus and transition throughout the game.

I would like to hear some opinions of people who have played both (preferably extensively) as to how different the games are so that I can decide if TTD is still a priority over other games on my wishlist.

Cheers to all!
 
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Malachi Brown
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I find them to be vastly different. Yes, they do have some similarities, but they are mainly superficial. TtD is in my top four games of all time. Oasis is probably somewhere in the bottom 3rd.

TtD is a game with no luck and very little randomness. Some consider it a bit dry, but it is a great abstract strategy game that is probably as close as anyone has gotten to multiplayer Go. It scales well from two to five players. You are always in control of the decisions you make, and there is no hidden information on the board (the rules do state that collected tokens are face down, but that is trackable information). TtD isn't "area control" in the way that most area control games are. It is more about securing territory, but there are also secondary objectives that are worth paying some attention to as well.

Oasis, on the other hand, has a large luck factor. So much so that it basically turned me off of the game to the point that I didn't even seriously consider ordering it from Tanga. I would not consider them to fill similar "holes" in a collection unless you are just considering theme, in which case it might fill that desert spot.

You might find people that disagree with me, but you asked for opinions. =)
 
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Brad Miller
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Through the Desert is about a bazillion times more elegant than Oasis. You also have nearly total control of your play, (barring opponent blocking moves), as opposed to Oasis, where your bids are completely random, so how you fare can be dependant on the luck of the draw in terms of what you turn over, and therefore where your turn order is, and therefore, what you are able to accomplish.
 
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Mark Rollings
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I fear that you could be dissapointed if you were to purchase Through The Desert, having played Oasis. There's not much of a game there. The game is over in 10 minutes, leaving you wondering "is that it?".

Go with something else from your wish list.

 
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Keith "Boaty McBoatface" C
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I think the biggest difference that I can think of is that there is no luck/randomness in Through the Desert. It's a purely open game, all information is available. With Oasis, you'll be doing blind bidding, so you can't always have concrete plans in mind. I guess in Oasis, there is the added layer of playing against the situation as well as the other players.

I just got both recently myself (Oasis from Tanga and Through the Desert by trade), and I'd think they're different enough.
 
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Iain K
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I agree completely and whole heartedly with Malachi and Windopaene.
 
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Kevin Bourrillion
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markrollings wrote:
I fear that you could be dissapointed if you were to purchase Through The Desert, having played Oasis. There's not much of a game there. The game is over in 10 minutes, leaving you wondering "is that it?".

Go with something else from your wish list.


I guess all I can say is that I don't agree with that at all.

I like Oasis, it's very nifty. But TTD is different and better.
 
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james napoli
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i've played a lot of TtD, and while most in my group are not huge fans of the game, i really liked it.

i recently got Oasis as my doorPrize at bgg.con. We have only played it once and most in my group pref it to TtD.

i would think it depends on your group. in TtD, all you do is place your camels, it is over b4 you know it. there is also a fair amount of setup/cleanup compared to the amount of gaming you get out of it.

i think the offering phase in oasis gives it a slight edge for heavier gamers.

just another opinion. if you are budget cautious gamer and you are happy with oasis...i dont think u need TtD.
 
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Mary Weisbeck
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The themes are the same but the mechanics are very different. I enjoy both games because they fill different needs depending on my mood and they people I'm playing with.

If you'd like to try before you buy, I'd be happy to play a game online with you at ludagora.net.

Mary
 
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Billy McBoatface
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I haven't played Oasis but I think that TTD belongs in every game collection.

It's a very clever abstract that can be as fast or as thoughtful as you like.

I play it against my 4 year old daughter by leaving out the area control rule (AKA the "go rule"). This lets her play a decent game.

Playing with the full rules, it's very fun for adults, playing well with 2 through 4 (haven't played with 5 yet, but I'm guessing that works also). The only drawback is occasional kingmaking (eg, players A and B threaten to surround large areas at about the same time, player C can only prevent one of them), but that is an issue with most multiplayer games. The game is filler speed but has plenty of room for tricky play. Very nice.
 
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Jason Arvey
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I'm going to agree with the chicken, but cautiously. I like both Oasis and Through the Desert. They're very different games and I can't see either as being a negative addition to a game collection. However, I find Through the Desert to be dry and somewhat uninspiring. If what you like about Oasis is the social interaction and the element of chance, then Through the Desert won't give you the same kind of game feel. If what you like about Oasis is the theme or the stealing of opportunities from opponents, then Through the Desert will also probably work with your group. Also, if you or your group wants a game of similar low complexity of rules and similar theme, but which has a totally different feel than Oasis, then Through the Desert is a good choice.
 
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T. Rosen
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I'll just chime in briefly to agree with what everyone else has been saying. Through the Desert is not only very different from Oasis but also much better. While they both have similar themes, they have extremely different gameplay. As you've seen, Oasis involves playings cards to build groups of tiles, and claim multipliers as well. Through the Desert is a no-luck strategy game in which you simply extend one of five different areas of control each turn to try to score points in four different ways (links, enclosures, color majority, watering holes). Through the Desert actually seems much simpler and is easier to learn I think, but after numerous plays, is in fact much deeper than Oasis, despite it's more straightforward and deceptively simple rules. Oasis is good, Through the Desert is fantastic.
 
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Laurence Parsons
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They both have camels. End of similarity. There is no good reason why having one should preclude having the other.
Personally, I prefer Oasis. I find there's more in it. I like TTR, but for me it's a filler. Oasis is a main game.

Of course, these are my opinions and they will differ from others. However, I think most posters will agree that, apart from having camels, there is not much similarity.
 
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Joe Casadonte
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Add in a quick "me too!" for Through the Desert over Oasis. TtD is my favorite game, and I found Oasis to be, dare I say it, broken. But to each their own, and I mean no disrespect to those that think the opposite.

darlok wrote:
i would think it depends on your group. in TtD, all you do is place your camels, it is over b4 you know it. there is also a fair amount of setup/cleanup compared to the amount of gaming you get out of it.


You should play against our group....while we play speed-Camels here, it's a tense game, full of plays and counter-plays. As for setup time, you should invest in some sandwich bags -- if it takes more than 3 minutes to set it up, somebody's doing something wrong IMHO.

darlok wrote:
i think the offering phase in oasis gives it a slight edge for heavier gamers.


surprise

And here is where I would (respectfully) disagree completely & wholly. In the several times I have played Oasis, I have found it nearly random and very light and devoid of anything that makes it interesting. Through the Desert, OTOH, can be a very tense game full of "turn angst". Maybe our definitions of "heavy" are different.

All of this IMHO, and YMMV. One of the wonderful things about this hobby is that there are so many games out there, and most of them have their fans and detractors.
 
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Jeff Michaud
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ghost604 wrote:
Oasis
Area Control: Check


I really don't consider Oasis to be area control. In any case, Oasis and TtD are two completely different games (other than a desert theme).
 
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James
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Everyone, Thanks for the opinions. The breakdown is what I expected between the two because of the luck/no luck differences. My current group likes the social aspect of Oasis as not all of them are hard core thinkers (Not that they are mentally challenged of course! ) so TTD will probably be put back on my "Definitely someday, but not today" buy list.

Mary, I will definitely take you up on the game soon, but it will probably be after the Christmas rush. Until then, Cheers...

JeffyJeff - If you wouldn't call Oasis area control - what would you call it?

Have a great week everyone, and remember:

"If you eat a frog in the morning, nothing worse will happen to either of you for the rest of the day!"

Ghost
 
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The Fiend
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There is definately 2 trains of thought here on 2 different games. I bought TtD and played it with a group of people that liked it but there weren't a lot of Euros besides CATAN, TIGRIS and LOWENSTEIN back then. When I started playing it with a different group those people really just hated it. Most of all they hated the pastel camels. The complaining reached such a crescendo that I took the palm trees out for miniature scenery and threw the rest of the game away. As of now I really don't miss it or ever want to play it again because of the fiddly-ness of the bits and those damn pastel camels. As for being a "non-luck" game that is true but when playing multi-player (3 or more) other players can definately place their pieces to screw certain players at the insistance of others (like a guy I play with now who can't stop telling everyone what move they should make). That's the part I really didn't like and to avoid that you'd have to play it 2-player only.
Now OASIS is a different story. It's actually fun! This game sets up fast with minimal explanation on how to play it. You can play with non-gamers very easily where in TtD you can't. In fact, as you can tell from above, most Chess/Go players don't like this game because of the blind card draw aspect that I find so much fun. As in poker, you have to make your best play out of the cards that are dealt. Probably the thing most BGGers hate the most is the same mechanism in MAMMOTH HUNTERS (both Alan Moon games despised by "The Shrew" and the "Mouth of Sauron") in that you have to help others to improve your own position. OASIS is a game I'd pull out anytime I could muster 3 players and have just as much fun if I won or came in last.
 
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Jeff Michaud
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ghost604 wrote:
JeffyJeff - If you wouldn't call Oasis area control - what would you call it?

Mainly an auction game. I can see why you say area control, but I find there is relatively little conflict (unless you try the camel path).
 
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Malachi Brown
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Jimzik wrote:
...As in poker, you have to make your best play out of the cards that are dealt. ...


I'm confused about this point. Exactly how can you "make your best play" when you don't even get to look at your cards until you've already played them? At least in poker you get to look at your cards before you decide to bid.

Is there also strategy in how you "play" a lotto scratch ticket?
 
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James
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Malachi wrote:
Exactly how can you "make your best play" when you don't even get to look at your cards until you've already played them? At least in poker you get to look at your cards before you decide to bid.

Is there also strategy in how you "play" a lotto scratch ticket?


Sure, the odds on the back of the lotto and how much "flash" it has for you.

Out of four plays of Oasis so far I can say that there is strategy to the auction phase by seeing what other people have already put out. Third player has anywhere from 2-4 cards to consider and Fourth has 3, but usually 4+ cards to use as a judge of the current auction.

Its not perfect information, but that is why the gamble aspect of the auction makes it conversational and exciting, at least for us...

Cheers
 
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Joe Casadonte
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Jimzik wrote:
As for being a "non-luck" game that is true but when playing multi-player (3 or more) other players can definately place their pieces to screw certain players at the insistance of others (like a guy I play with now who can't stop telling everyone what move they should make). That's the part I really didn't like and to avoid that you'd have to play it 2-player only.


Alternately, you could play without that one fellow....

ghost604 wrote:
TTD will probably be put back on my "Definitely someday, but not today" buy list.


I forgot to mention that you can try Through the Desert online, for free, to decide if you and your group would like it. It's at Ludagora:

http://www.ludagora.net/durch/index.php?lang=1

Look me up if you'd like, my screen name there is 'Llama'.
 
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