Board Games

Non-Bookish Saturday Post: Forbidden Desert

It is quite interesting that I sat down to write this review on the day I attended my second board game fair. I spent quite a long time in the second-hand game line and bought a bunch of stuff which might eventually show up here.

The thing I like to bring up here is what a large amount of appropriate information can do. It made me a more discerning customer. I now know the kinds of games I like to play and those I can get played since my scope of a game group is quite limited. It helped me not go berserk like last year and want to buy everything! This has not worked in the book world, where I continue to buy based on the hope that I will get to it, but here it has put a limit to my spending/wanting, something I am enormously pleased with.

Moving on to the game I wanted to discuss today. This is probably my most wrongly played game. I kept finding out things I was interpreting wrong until a few months ago! I watched a complete playthrough for some other reason and figured out the last (hopefully) thing I was doing wrong. I bought this in my very first buying spree on the recommendation of a friend who had played the previous installment. Storywise, it continues from there. The team has collected stuff and is flying out when they crash in a desert.

The game is brilliant in its tightness. It is a completely cooperative game. The team loses if

  • You run out of sand tiles in the box
  • The storm reaches its highest point
  • Any one player runs out of water

It may seem backwards to begin with the ways the game ends, but it puts the rest into perspective. There are six possible people that people can pick from(2-5 players can play). Each person comes with one extra ability. There are sliding markers that indicate a player’s water level and the storm level. On a player’s turn – They can do up to four actions (all well explained at the back of the card, it will forever surprise me how I read that wrong!).

There is something hiding behind each of those desert tiles (it is very handy to carry around, even without the tin). You can only reveal (excavate) if there is no sand on it. Some of them give you equipment to enhance the move, and others reveal a coordinate of a missing plane (the one that the team crashed). Of the three water tiles, only two contain water, and the other is a mirage (very thematic). Once the row and column indicators of an item are revealed, the item is placed on the intersection, and someone from the team has to go collect it. Once all the pieces have been collected, if everyone reaches the takeoff point (also to be revealed) safely without dying en route, everyone wins – else the desert wins.

The big bad guy of the game is the storm. It begins at the centre of the desert (indicated by the empty square). After every person makes four moves, they have to pick as many storm cards as the storm tracker indicates unless they can mitigate it in some way. Then the storm moves as shown in the diagrams, spewing sand in its wake. This rearranges the board, making it more complicated for the team to escape.

This is probably one of the best ways to introduce cooperative board games to a family. It has all the thematic enticement for even the most hardened sceptic. The feel in handling all the pieces is also fun. I have played this game numerous times, survived very rarely, but no two games are the same. This latter part is how I recommend games to people.

I highly recommend this to families!

3 thoughts on “Non-Bookish Saturday Post: Forbidden Desert”

    1. Officially they are called conventions, but a fair it is for those who don’t sit down and avail the open tables( like me)…i haven’t been to the bigger ones in the US or UK 😅

      Liked by 1 person

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