Through the Desert is a good PC version of Durch Die Wuste, Reiner Knizia's classic board game of tile placement (one of the three games collectively known as his “tile laying trilogy” – the others being Samurai and Tigris and Euphrates). |
Designed for 2-5 players, the objective is to accumulate as many points as possible. At the beginning of the game, players place camels on the board, as "anchors" for a caravan. During each turn, each player must place two camels of any of five colors. These camels may only be placed next to one of the player’s existing camels of the same color. In this way, "caravans" begin to develop across the board. The players continue to place their camels, increasing the length of their caravans. Points can be scored in four ways: extending a caravan onto a water hole, extending a caravan to an oasis, having the longest caravan in a particular color, or surrounding or "walling off" part of the board. No player can dominate in all of these areas. Additionally, players usually abandon a caravan or two to concentrate on getting longest caravan or to isolate an area. The game ends when the last camel is placed on the board.
Typical of Knizia's games, Through the Desert presents you with many options for each turn that leave you wanting to do more than you are allowed to. This computerized version of Knizia’s classic game is faithful to the original board game, with excellent SVGA graphics to boot. The main attraction compared to the board game is that you won’t have to spend so long setting up (although I do miss the feel of those pastel camels), and you can compete against competent computer players by yourself. If you are looking for a “light” but fun strategy game that is all strategy and no luck, Through the Desert will entertain for hours – hopefully long enough for you to consider buying the actual board game and investigate Knizia’s other classics such as Medici, Samurai, and Lost Cities. Highly recommended!
Reviewed by: Underdogs