Last month I gave away my copy of Forbidden Island to my niece, Erin. As a replacement I bought Forbidden Desert and this weekend our friends, Val and Chris, came round to try it out. The game is obviously of a similar style; it is co-operative, searching for objects to escape the desert, whilst the game does all it can to hinder and kill the players. Tiles don’t disappear from the game (unlike the Forbidden Island) but are instead buried under sand, which players need to clear to allow movement and excavation. To find the locations of the hidden objects, the majority of tiles must be excavated because the desired location is at the crossing point of two directional tiles for each object. A blank, Sandstorm, tile moves around the board, adding sand and moving the other tiles. The Sandstorm increases in ferocity and all the while the players are forced to consume their valuable water. The timing of collective visits to potential wells is a crucial decision and the Watercarrier character is I think essential to surviving. The game does provide a range of useful tools for the players to find and the timing of use of these one-shot tools is again important.
We played two games, both set at the Standard (rather than Novice) level, and we failed in both! In each game we only gathered 2 of the 4 objects, and our deaths resulted from mis-timing our visits to wells to replenish water. I think we need to spend some more time working out our strategy and we need to be more focussed on the risk of water usage. The game plays fast and very well. My initial feeling is that it is more difficult than Forbidden Island but this may be incorrect because once we had worked a strategy for Forbidden Island, then it became easier. All-in-all, I am happy with the new game and look forward to playing more often.
To finish our game session we returned to our favourite, Dungeon Petz. Always an enjoyable experience. This time Chris won primarily by efficiently matching his pets to potential customers, and getting his imps on the auction square to increase his victory point multiplier. We all seemed to have ‘poo’ mountains which resulted in ‘sad’ pets. We rarely have pets escaping, but 2 of Elaine’s imps were hospitalised whilst restraining them.