Through the Desert was a recent purchase and I have been absolutely loving it. I know it isn’t the latest and coolest new game on the market. In fact, it is considered as a ‘Euro Classic’ according to the box and publisher Z-Man Games. That sort of suggests it’s been around a long time – and it has! It was first published in 1998 which is absolutely bonkers! Especially when I think this first came out when I was having my first legal pint in a pub. I mean none of my incredible nieces and nephews had been born yet and some of them are at university now. Cripes, it was published in a different millennia! For 22 years this game has been missing from my life. Now I realise quite how much I have been missing out!
Through the Desert is one of Dr Reiner Knizia’s flagship games. For those that don’t know Reiner Knizia is a prolific designer with many awards sitting on his trophy shelf. His signature is probably to create games that are easy to learn but full of in-depth strategy thereafter. Through the Desert is no exception.
Each player gets to place two camels out of five different coloured options. That is all you can do. There are certain restrictions on how you can place the camels, but not many. With your camel train you need to reach waterholes and oases whilst considering blocking an area off as your own. This leaves you with the quandary of too many options and not enough actions to complete them all. I can imagine some might get analysis paralysis from this, but I revel in working out my options whilst others are taking their go.
Thematically you get a sparse desert board with hexagonal spaces on which are dotted some palm trees. You then get some gorgeous, almost good enough to eat, camel playing pieces in their lovely pastel palette to round off a great looking game.
I know there are other area control and piece laying games out there, Knizia himself has created the more modern version Blue Lagoon, which is a cheaper option. However, I’m still going to say this one is great. In fact Tony the Tiger would say it’s grrrreat – that’s how fun it is! It is without doubt, my game of the month.
Buy Through the Desert
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