Control Your Portion of the Desert
Be sure you’ve eaten dessert before playing Through the Desert. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to eat the cute pastel camels that are found in abundance in this game.
To setup Through the Desert, you place plastic palm trees on most of the oases that are printed on the board. Then you randomly place point counters (values 1, 2, and 3) on the spots marked for them.
Each player has a gray camel that is only used to identify the player by the color of its rider. Each player also starts with a set of 5 pastel camels with the same color rider. These are placed on the board in turn. There are a few restrictions on placement so that no single player can dominate one area automatically or score any points during this setup phase.
You score points for extending one of your caravans to an oasis. You score points for landing on the point counters that were laid out during setup. At the end of the game, you’ll score points for any area that you have completely surrounded – one point per hex. Also at the end of Through the Desert, you’ll score bonus points for having the longest caravan of a given color.
Through the Desert’s delightful dromedaries will keep you coming back for more of this tactical game. The solid, somewhat hefty bits are just plain fun to hold and place onto the board. It’s also very difficult to tell who’s going to win until the final points are awarded. Through the Desert plays fairly quickly, especially with only 2 or 3 players.