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Through the Desert» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Through the desert, a humble review. rss

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Reuben Sim
Singapore
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I finally got to try this game earlier today with a couple of friends at school, choosing it due to the fact that is is YET another game by Reiner Knizia. Having played some of his other titles like Blue Moon City, Easy come Easy go, Ingenious etc, i was curious how this one would play out.

First lets us talk about the Game Box
My first impression of the cover art was that it could possibly be something regarding adventures in the desert and stuff, as Through the Desert could mean a quest or an adventure. When i flipped over to the back to take a look at the blurb, and some images of the game, i was fairly surprised that it would be somewhat a resource(points) gathering game. I then proceeded to uncover the secret within the box.

Components
Within the box comes a white pouch full of little pastel camels in 5 colours, as well as riders that come in an additional 5 different colours. The rider colours represent the 5 different colours for 5 players.
caravan
There are also 5 neutral grey camels for u to place a rider on, so you would not forget what colour you are in control of.
What we have to do is that the riders snap onto the top of the camels in a seating position, so that we can tell it apart from the other camels.Basically the camels and the riders bear no colour similarities, and as such are not affected by each other. There also loads of counters, used for scoring and calculating points, as well as marking mini objectives, called Water-holes, which gives you an instant point increment.

Gameplay, Flow of the game
The objective of the game, is to gain points by Linking oases, capturing waterholes as well as enclosing areas within the Cut Throat Desert. The board is essentially for 4-5 Players, though they do have a variant where u can play with less, by using a smaller areaof the board.
The board is simple, and elegant,using hexagonal tiles thruout, packing visual information using just a palm tree as an Oases, and a blue dot as a waterhole. Thats about all the information u need and can get out of the board.

So the games set ups pretty quickly, markers depicting oases and waterholes are placed ont he respective spaces on the board. Waterholes are worth a value ranging from 1-3 point, so the strategy will vary, while the oases are always worth 5. Players take turns placing Caravan leaders,camels with riders on the back on hexes on the board near resources like water holes and oases. They then take turns to place two camels each turn, with the objective of claiming waterholes, or enclosing spaces on the maps and linking oases to these caravans.
Having played a four player game, I conclude that the board tends to get
crowded pretty quickly, but yet there are always an alternate option for each player. Sometime past mid-game, blocking each others various caravans then become a viable strategy, as there are only limited resources on the board. The game ends when the last piece of any of the 5 different camel colours is placed on the board. Scoring then takes place and needless to say the player with the most points win. Extra points are given per hex enclosed within your caravan, as well as forming the longest caravan etc.

Conclusion
Overall i find it a pretty good game, requiring sufficient thought, and having a multitude of outlets during the gameplay, in which you could attempt to hamper others' progress, attempt to grab as many points of the board as possible, or go for the lucrative enclosing strategy while you are at it. It offers you a chance to react to situations on the fly, as each player should get an average of 15-25 turns thruout the game. Depending on how confrontational your game group is, the gameplay experience could lean towards the points grabbing race gamplay, or the stop each other at all costs style.
I found it to be similar to Ticket to Ride as well as Transamerica in certain ways, but Through the Desert has almost managed to eliminate the Luck factor from it. A clean fun strategy game for the family, but I do not find myself wanting to play the game as much after the first play thru.

Rating :

And if you like camels, then definately worth caravancaravan
 
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Cliff
United States
Western Great Lakes - Owashtinong Aajigaaning
Michigan
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Very nice.

I recently played the game for the 1st time and am pretty excited about getting back to it. Oddly enough, I played Tigris & Euphrates for the first time, but would call myself more excited about getting back to Through the Desert. But that doesn't say anything about replayability duration and says everything about those 'sweet tart'-flavored camels. Hell, it'd make a heluva specialty candy.

Your rating: 7 1/2 stars but 10 camels. To me, this represent rating at two different levels: in-depth BGG rating and insta-fun rating ; )
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Reuben Sim
Singapore
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Haha, thanks, I have not tried T and E but would like to someday. The camels were an accident but thanks again for the heads up. Those camels sure look like candy to me, gotta make sure kids don't nick one and pop it in the mouth!
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Marco Grubert
United States
San Diego
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Herbalfresh wrote:
I found it to be similar to Ticket to Ride as well as Transamerica in certain ways, but Through the Desert has almost managed to eliminate the Luck factor from it.
To me it feels like Ticket To Ride would with 6 players fighting for the segments. Also in TTR you get to place your markers where they are needed- not just where your previous markers are. That's why I don't like Through The Desert much- there's too much that needs to be done and the players are put in straightjackets preventing them from making those moves.
 
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