Through the Desert

Last updated
Through the Desert
Designer(s) Reiner Knizia
Publisher(s) Kosmos (German)
Fantasy Flight Games (English)
Players 2-5
Setup time Approximately 5 minutes
Playing time 20-45 minutes
Random chance None
Skill(s) required Tile placement, Area enclosure

Through the Desert is a German-style board game designed by Reiner Knizia. It was originally released in 1998 by German game publisher, Kosmos, under the name Durch die Wüste. Players place pastel colored plastic camels on a hexagon-based board in an attempt to score points by capturing watering holes and reaching oases.

Reiner Knizia board game designer

Reiner Knizia is a prolific German-style board game designer.

Kosmos (publisher) German publisher

Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH & Co. is a media publishing house based in Stuttgart, Germany, founded in 1822 by Johann Friedrich Franckh. In the nineteenth century the company published the fairy tales of Wilhelm Hauff as well as works by Wilhelm Waiblinger and Eduard Mörike.

Camel genus of mammals

A camel is an even-toed ungulate in the genus Camelus that bears distinctive fatty deposits known as "humps" on its back. Camels have long been domesticated and, as livestock, they provide food and textiles. As working animals, camels—which are uniquely suited to their desert habitats—are a vital means of transport for passengers and cargo. There are three surviving species of camel. The one-humped dromedary makes up 94% of the world's camel population, and the two-humped Bactrian camel makes up the remainder. The Wild Bactrian camel is a separate species and is now critically endangered.



Before the game starts, the board is seeded with watering holes and oases. Each player then places one camel in each of the five colors with a caravan leader of their color on the board.

On a player's turn, he places two additional camels of any color on the board. A camel must be played adjacent to a camel of the same color and that group of camels must include the player's caravan leader. A player may never combine two different groups of the same colored camels.

During the game, players score points by placing a camel on top of a watering hole or playing a camel adjacent to an oasis. At the end of the game, players score points for the longest caravan (most camels) of each color and for areas that have been enclosed by one of their caravans.

The game ends when the supply of camels for any one color has been exhausted. The player with the most points wins.


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