27th October 2019
Sunday at 'The Sovereigns' in Woking and our gaming continues.
The final game of the day was 'Forbidden Desert', the second game in the 'Forbidden series' of co-operative games.
'Forbidden Desert' is a co-operative game of exploration.
The players are a band of adventurers and explorers, scouring the desert (Which I guess is a forbidden?) for the remains of a legendary flying machine. But during your trip, a ferocious sand storm forces your helicopter to crash in the remains of a lost city. The only way to escape the desert is to fly back out of the desert. Your helicopter is a wreck, so your only hope of survival is to find and reconstruct the flying machine before the storm and desert spell your doom!
What's in a game?
'Forbidden Desert' comes in a natty tin box, the game's components are good quality with some nice artwork.
How's it play?
During the active player's turn, they have 4 actions that they can perform (in any order and repeatedly.). These are:
Once the active player has completed their 4 actions, the storm gets to act.
Cards are drawn from the storm deck, the number drawn depends upon how severe the storm is, this ranges from 2-6 cards. There are 3 types of storm card.
Gear cards are all beneficial for the players and can be played at any time by the owning player.
If the players manage to retrieve all 4 missing parts of the machine, all manage to reach the launch pad at the same time and the launch pad is unblocked. Then the players win the game. As the adventurers escape in their new flying machine.
Forbidden Desert has essentially 2 timers running, the sand tokens pouring on to the tiles and the strength of the storm (Which also increases the rate in that sand tokens appear.).
Water is a resource that must be managed.
Players are faced with the choice of being prudent to preserve their water levels, acting to manage the sand token levels or having to work towards their objectives. Especially since the storm can move the game area about which can cause big problems or be an opportunity to exploit.
I think the key to doing well in Forbidden Desert are the characters. Each character has their own special ability. Remembering to utilise these abilities and working them into any strategy used vital in my opinion.
Forbidden Desert is a cooperative game in which the players play against 'the game'.
Games of this type must balance strategy and randomness in order to be good games.
Too much strategy and once the players learn the game's systems, they'll learn to rinse it every time.
Too much randomness and player decisions become meaningless as their fates will be left to the whim of luck.
Forbidden Desert manages to straddle this line pretty well and is one of the better examples of this type of game.
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