Recommend
22 
 Thumb up
 Hide
13 Posts

Oasis» Forums » Reviews

Subject: First Impressions rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Froggy McFrogface
United States
FORT COLLINS
CO
flag msg tools
badge
When green is all there is to be, it could make you wonder why. But why wonder? I'm green, and it'll do fine: it's beautiful, and I think it's what I want to be.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I had my first two games of Alan Moon’s Oasis yesterday. This was not a game that was even in my consciousness until I happened upon a used copy of it at one of my local game stores. After looking over the components which were in pristine shape, and reviewing the theme of the game, and considering that it was a Moon design, I decided that it was worth a fifteen buck chance. And now, after playing it twice, it was worth that and another $3.47 easily!meeple

Most of the mechanics will be familiar to gamers: tile placement, meeple grouping (in this case, camel-meeples or camples) and advancing on a scoring track. What immediately struck me as unique in this game is the mechanism for getting tiles/camples/victory points. This mechanic is referred to as the Offering.

The theme of Oasis is pretty straight forward. Each player is the head of a family living in the Mongolian Gobi desert. Throughout the game, the social rank of your “family” will change, from Noble to Aristocrat, from Merchant to Monk, and lowest in this social structure, a Herder. How many of these social strata there are will depend on the number of players in the game, 3-5.

There are three tiles types that may be placed on the board: steppe, oasis or stony plain. In addition, there are corresponding multiplier tiles to match each terrain type: horses, water well & Ovoos respectively. There is also the camel track that runs down the center of the board. The corresponding camel multiplier is a commodity tile (that’s what camels haul, right?) All scoring takes place at the end of the game.

Each player selects a color and collects his/her 20 camples and four influence markers. The social rank/turn markers are then drawn randomly among the players. The player with the Noble/number one marker will go first, and turn order proceeds numerically.

Here’s where that unique mechanic, the Offering takes place. Each player begins the game with five cards face down, from which they will draw blindly. The Noble plays first, and turns over the top card from his/her stack. The cards depict the terrain tiles, the multiplier tiles, camels, or a Draw Three cards action. The cards depict different numbers of whatever they are offering, be it terrain tiles, multipliers or camels. If the player believes that his/her offering is appealing, he may stop at one, and draw two new cards, blind and face down from the draw pile to the bottom of his/her stack. However, the player may decide that the offer is not sufficient to attract the attention of the other players. He or she may turn over the next card from his/her stack, now offering two cards. If he/she decides to stop now, only one card is drawn from the draw pile onto the bottom of his/her stack. Finally, if a player really wants to make an “offer they can’t refuse”, a third card is drawn from their stack, and no new cards are drawn to replace the offerings. Three is the maximum allowable offering, with the only limitation being that a player must keep at least one card for the next round.

Next, and again in turn order descending, players consider the other offers on the table, and decide which one they will accept. The only proviso is that a player may not accept their own offer, unless they are the last player to choose and only their own offer is left. Once a player has accepted an offer, he/she passes the turn order disk over to the player who’s offer has been accepted, then collects the offer. This will result in tile or camel placement on the board, the collecting of a multiplier tile, drawing cards, or some combination thereof. When terrain tiles are placed on the board a player will mark his/her terrain with one of their Control Markers, claiming the new region as their own. On subsequent turns, players will continue to build on their regions as well as start new ones. Offers continue to be accepted through turn order until all players have accepted offers and exchanged turn order disks, which have been placed face down in front of the receiving player. They are now turned face up and the player who now holds the #1 (Noble) marker receives an extra tile or camel placement. This marks the end of a round.

Rounds repeat until either the last of a terrain tile type has been placed, or when any player accepts an offer that includes an unplayable card (i.e. the supply of what’s been offered has been exhausted.)

Scoring commences as follows: Each player counts the tiles in each terrain type that they wield control over. This may be only one type, or it may all three. Next, players count the corresponding multiplier tiles for each terrain type. They will score the number of controlled tiles on the board by the number of multipliers. If they have no multipliers of a terrain type they control, they will not score any points for that terrain type! Additionally, each player will count contiguous camels in a pack, counting only their largest pack, and will then multiply this number by the camel multiplier tiles (commodities.) Again, no commodity tiles, no camel score.

Balance and a bit of luck is the real key to this game. You may have a huge number of Oasis tiles on the board, but if you only have a few Water Well multiplier tiles to match with them, you will not go very far on the scoring track. Conversely, you may have a modest number of steppe tiles, say seven or eight. If you have an equally modest number of horse multiplier tiles, you can quickly score high double digit numbers and outpace your opponents. The luck aspect is in having the opportunity to accept offers that compliment your board strength. In my second game, I had a nice camel train started, but never had the opportunity to accept a commodity offer, and therefore never scored my camels. Ouch!

I very much enjoyed my first two games of Oasis (both four player games.) Although I don’t anticipate that this game will take the place of my favorites, I foresee much re-playability for a game with some truly unique dynamics.
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James
United States
Fort Worth
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Good review there LennyS! I also had never heard of Oasis until recently when Tanga put a bunch of them on there for cheap. I have played around 10 games now with 3, 4, and 5 players and can say that the appeal is holding for my group. We seem to gravitate towards the 4-5 player mark as 3 just doesn't have enough interaction for the auction phase.

It really is a great little game for the 45-60 minute time slot.

Cheers,

Ghost
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Froggy McFrogface
United States
FORT COLLINS
CO
flag msg tools
badge
When green is all there is to be, it could make you wonder why. But why wonder? I'm green, and it'll do fine: it's beautiful, and I think it's what I want to be.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
After coming home with the game, I read some threads about it here at BGG. The concensus seems to be that the game plays best with five, and not very well at all with three. I had enough people at the game group on Sunday to try it with five, but couldn't get them all to sit down at once, so had to go with four. I'm looking forward to trying it full.

Thanks for the nice words.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Darrell Hanning
United States
Jacksonville
Florida
flag msg tools
badge
We will meet at the Hour of Scampering.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Oasis came out around the same time frame as New England, and yet it seemed to me that New England got the lion's share of hype. Having bought and played both when they became available, I couldn't understand that - Oasis has always seemed the better game, to me.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joe J.
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice review. My group enjoys Oasis, but we've never played it with less than five. Even with the full amount of players it doesn't take that long to finish, and everyone really enjoys it.

One of our favorites!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Smith
United States
Troy
Michigan
flag msg tools
It's a love/hate relationship.
badge
Check out my board game instructional videos on my YouTube channel: "The Game Explainer".
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My group has played several 4-player games, and we've enjoyed it more and more with each play. Granted, there isn't as much conflict on the board with only four players, but with strategic tile placements, you can force confrontations.

It took us 2-3 games to really get the feel of the offering mechanism, but now it flows very smoothly.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Morgan
United States
Tucson
Arizona
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Oasis was the game of the month (January) for my game group, the RTEAM Gamers. I have played it twice, both times with five players. I like the game even though I have never won or even come in second.

I agree with LennyS, it is the "offering" that makes this game worth playing. Many times it is necessary to take an offer that is not so good or even worthless, to prevent your opponent from gaining a huge advantage.

I have only one tip to offer in playing Oasis, take score multipliers whenever you can. Since there are many more terrain tiles (and camels) than there are scoring tiles, taking them increases your scoring opportunities (best possibility) and/or reduces your opponent's opportunity to score.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Froggy McFrogface
United States
FORT COLLINS
CO
flag msg tools
badge
When green is all there is to be, it could make you wonder why. But why wonder? I'm green, and it'll do fine: it's beautiful, and I think it's what I want to be.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I totally agree regarding The Czar's advice about taking multipliers whenever you can - these will help you win.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Penner
United States
Tucson
Arizona
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
TheGameCzar wrote:
I have only one tip to offer in playing Oasis, take score multipliers whenever you can. Since there are many more terrain tiles (and camels) than there are scoring tiles, taking them increases your scoring opportunities (best possibility) and/or reduces your opponent's opportunity to score.


The only other thing I would like to add is to never under estimate the power of the camels!!!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Morgan
United States
Tucson
Arizona
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
The only other thing I would like to add is to never under estimate the power of the camels!!!


Camels suck, nobody wins with those!

OK, OK, he killed us with the camels. However, I think it was the smell and the spitting and not Ben's playing ability.

-Cap'n
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lee Hancox
Australia
Melbourne
Vic
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I rate this game highly. Very underrated in my opinion. It plays best with 4 or 5, although we have a house rule for 3 players that state the person going second can select their own offerings, otherwise it just doesnt work. But the game really shine with 5.

This game is much better with a group that you know and can have a laugh with. Its quite funny watching my wife trying to sell her camel rug offering to a friend, and then when she takes his camels turns around and blocks his camels off. It seems that the girls win more often than the boys in the group of 4 we play in, and more often the girls are more cut throat, they will start building straight near where you tiles are to cut you off quite early, ruthless. The bidding makes it real fun, great game, played lots and still called for, especially by Terry who still finishes last each game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
New York
flag msg tools
designer
badge
was once a plant in a fruit plot
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree that the game plays best with 5, but is still a very good game with 4 players. I have not had any good experiences at a 3 player game.

This is an excellent, underrated game. Its mechanics are well-thought out. I find that the luck factor is minimal; the card-turning aspect insures that a poor player will give away a lot to get a higher priority counter, costing him both cards and giving something to his competitors. The only resource card that I find nearly worthless in offering is the "Take 3," as it needs more to go with it.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James
United States
Fort Worth
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Osiris Ra wrote:
The only resource card that I find nearly worthless in offering is the "Take 3," as it needs more to go with it.


This really depends on your group. I play just fine with a short stack of cards for future offers, but I also know which people in my group get nervous and value the "Draw 3" card more highly. It is not often useful, but I have played several games where that was the edge to get me the 1st player token on the next to last turn and control the end game.

It is really better when you know the people you are playing with.

FYI - we have probably 30-40 games under our belt as of this writing.

Cheers,
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.