Game Title: Forbidden Desert
Designer: Matt Leacock
‘Batten down the Chronotron’ he said. ‘We’ll make it so long as the power crystal holds out’ he said. ‘The only way out is through’ he said. And now here I am, the finest engineer my guild has ever seen, and what am I doing with my life? Digging, with a shovel no less, through this gods-forsaken desert in some vain hope that I’ll come across our engine. The Sun beats down like a raging inferno, the desert winds do little too cool me off and, of course, that damn dust storm covers up ground twice as fast as I uncover it. ‘You get the engine’ he said, running off with both our sand blasters and the reserve “water” supply, which we all knew was gin ’I’ll get the rest!’. If we get out of here alive I swear I’m throwing the captain back overboard.
Forbidden Desert is a 2-5 player cooperative game about the crew of a crash-landed steampunk airship. You need to search the desert for the missing components of your ship, desperately digging them out of sand that keeps piling up and trying to chase them down in an ever-shifting environment before the sandstorm truly picks up and all chance of leaving is lost. The game certainly feels a lot like Matt Leacock's previous game Forbidden Island, but refined, made more difficult, and with a cute airship model.
The game consists of a 5x5 grid of tiles (with a gap left in the centre) which all feature desert on one side and a feature on the other. Thee of the tiles have a small water drop on them indicating that they have water on the reverse side, however only 2 actually do, one is a mirage. The feature side of the tiles can be wells; which restore water to everyone on the tile when they are revealed, tunnels; which provide fast travel across the desert and shelter from the harsh sun, empty bits of city which provide an equipment card, and clues which tell you which row/column a ship part is in. Find both clues for a ship part and you place it at the intersection of the clues, all that’s needed then is to go there and collect it.