So, on a recent trip to Germany, I fell over this game by chance. It was cheap, and my girlfriend loves tile-laying games and Settlers (also made by Klaus Teuber), so we didn't hesitate to buy it.
So, we just had our first playthrough.
When opening the box, the first impression is quite good. There's more than enough rooms in the box for all the different pieces (something that's very important to me). The pieces are of sturdy material, and not likely to break. The most important resource in the game, Water, is actually small pieces of glass, and not cardboard-tiles. I love it!
In this game, you are a desert caravan, represented by a camel meeple (what my gaming group quickly decided to name the "cameeple"). The goal of the game is to be the richest caravan of them all, by gathering different trading goods from oasis' you find whilst exploring the desert, and making sure the other player's trade goods are of a low value.
While exploring the desert, the tiles are divided by white and brown lines, representing travel routes. You can travel over as many brown lines as you wish, but whenever you reach a white line, you can only travel across one. When moving, you can pay one water to move across as many white lines as you wish.
Whenever you stop, you have to explore.
You can either
a) take a tile, that you have lying in front of you face-up, and place it.
b) take a tile from the tile-pile
or c) pay 1 water, to steal a tile from another players' face-up tiles.
If you choose to take a tile from the tile-pile, and you can't place it on the board, from where you've ended with your camel, you need to place it face-up in front of you.
When you draw a tile with an oasis on it, and you are able to place it, you get to place a marker in the oasis. All player's have 4 markers of varying size - not two are the same size! When the oasis is finished (eg: is completely sourrounded by desert), the oasis is scored.
Throughout the oasis tiles, you find small field, representing one of the games six goods: Water, Myrrh, Salt, Jewels, Incense and Rumours. Each marker is then placed after size, tallest to smallest. The tallest marker need to pay one water, or else they'll be removed from the oasis. When the water is payed, the tallest marker gets placed on a marker, then the second-tallest and so forth. When they're all placed, you take the corresponding trade goods.
Water is used to pay for different special abilities.
Myrrh, Salt, Jewels and Incense are used to calculate VP's at the end of the game.
Rumours are used to alter the number of VP's each good is worth at the end of the game.
After all these things are done, you can pay one water to get an extra turn.
The game is all in all a very enjoyable game. It's filled with chances to annoy the other players by taking their tiles and altering the prices of their trade goods, while not being a game where other's can sabotage you completely.
If you like games such as Carcassonne and the like, chances are you'll like this game a lot as well.