Overview: Forbidden Desert is a cooperative tile shifting strategy game. Players work together to clear sand, excavate tiles, and find parts for their flying machine all while avoiding death by thirst or sand. After each turn, players reveal a number of cards which move certain tiles, add sand, cause thirst or the storm to pick up (potentially increasing # of cards drawn). Each player has a special role which can aid their friends, which can be to give extra water or clear extra sand tiles. Players also receive gear cards when they excavate certain tiles, which can be the difference of winning and losing. End game is when one player gets to zero water, sand storm meter gets to skull symbol, or players collect all the flying machine parts and fly off to victory.
Forbidden Desert is the sequel to Forbidden Island by Gamewright. Forbidden Desert, however, is much harder and has much more strategic depth than its predecessor. The constantly shifting tiles, fear of thirst, and working together cohesively makes this game quite challenging, which also adds to its replay value. Forbidden Desert makes balancing between excavating tiles, keeping thirst level at bay, and finding flying machine parts a very challenging act. Players must plan ahead together, and agree on what the priorities are, whether it be getting water or getting to a tunnel, which protects from “sun beats down”.
Don’t count out Forbidden Desert because of the difficulty, however, since one can set the sand storm level to novice, which can help keep the game accelerating too quickly. Also, because of its cooperative mechanic, players will want a challenge and not just to beat this on the first try. Forbidden Desert is highly recommended for those who enjoy cooperative games that provide a unique challenge.
2 Player Review
Two players seems like a breeze compared to four player. It’s much easier to gain water as you only have to coordinate with two pawns instead of four or five. This makes losing on thirst much harder to do. Even though you get less special roles, it balances itself out because now you can share the gear powers much easier like with the water. However, this doesn’t mean two player isn’t fun or challenging, as you can up the sand storm level starting point on each game. The shifting tiles makes for great replay value, because each game can be different depending on what you excavate first and what cards get revealed. Two player works well because of the ease of communication and good replay value.
4 Player Review
Forbidden Desert is quite challenging with four players. Coordinating water and items can be tricky if all your pawns are spread across the map. Careful planning is very important in four player as you don’t want to spread yourself thin when death is on the line. In this way, four player can be more interesting than two player because of the balancing act. Players will enjoy the challenge and the interaction between all their friends and the special roles in play. Four player is enjoyable because of the strategic challenge it provides.