A game by Bruno Faidutti.
English rules by Chatherine Soubeyrand.
The oriental desert, its mysterious palaces, its proud nomadic warriors, its long and slow caravans...
A game of exchange and negotiation for 6 or 8 players.
Approximate length: 1 - 1.5 hours.
Download this Zip file containing the following PostScript files:
The players will have to get some pens and paper to program the caravan movements and the looters attacks.
Each player is a sheikh ruling a desert kingdom. He sends his caravans to oases and caravanserais to exchange his wares with the other sheikhs, and controls a group looters attacking opposers' caravans. The winner is the first to get all the goods listed on the treasure card that he picked at the start of the game.
The board is placed with one or the other face showing, depending on the number of players. The first side is used for 6, the second for 8. Each player chooses a caravanserai and in it places his three caravans and the looters pawn of his colour. He pitches his tent in front of him.
Next the players take the pack of treasure cards corresponding to the number of players (indicated on the top of the cards). The other cards are not used. Each player picks a treasure card, on which are indicated the wares he has at the start of the game. These constitute his treasure and are placed behind his tent, concealed from the other players. Each player's treasure card, and indeed treasure, must always be kept secret.
Each turn includes four distinct phases, which are always carried out in the same order. These are the phases of programming, movement, raid and business.
Each player plans on a sheet of paper the movements of his three caravans. When noting these moves, each caravanserai or oasis is indicated by its initial. A trail is therefore indicated by the letters representing its two extremities. For each caravan, the point of departure is first indicated, and then the point of arrival.
The caravans that are on a trail must move; those in an oasis or caravanserai can stay there or move.
A caravan can advance from one trail to an adjacent one, enter or leave an oasis or caravanserai. A caravan is never obliged to stop in an oasis or caravanserai and can always continue its journey beyond it. A caravan is not allowed to do an about turn, and therefore must always be placed on the trail in such a way that clearly indicates in which direction it travels. A caravan leaving an oasis or caravanserai can however leave in any direction.
A player can programm a looting attack on a trail of his choice only if he did not try to attack during the previous turn. Neither an oasis nor a caravanserai can be attacked. A player can not attack a trail where one of his caravans wil be situated after moving.
After the programmed moves and attacks have been written, but before they have been made known, the players load their caravans leaving their own caravanserai with the wares of their choice.
Each player reveals his program sheet, and all the caravans are moved accordingly, taking care to make their direction clear once on a trail.
A caravan entering an opponent's caravanserai must pay the proprietor a token of merchandise (the visitor's choice) in return for lodging. The proprietor must apply this tax to all visitors.
The wares carried by a caravan returning to its own caravanserai are immediately added to the sheikhs treasure.
There is no limit to the number of caravans that can be on the same trail, or in the same caravanserai or oasis.
After the caravans have been moved, the programmed raids are carried out.
When a player sends his looters on to a trail where there is an opposing caravan, he looks at the caravan's contents and can take two tokens of his choice which are immediately added to the sheikh's treasure. If there are several caravans on the trail, the agressor chooses which one he attacks without looking at their contents, and then takes two tokens of his choice from the chosen caravan.
If several looters attack the same trail, they fight amongst themselves, and there is therefore no looting.
A player can not attack a trail on which one of his caravans is travelling.
The looters can only be used once every two turns. Consequently, once a player has just used them, he places the corresponding pawn face down in his caravanserai, to indicate that they can't be used during the next turn. Players whose looters are available place them face up.
The length of this phase can be limited to five minutes.
Exchanges are possible only in the caravanserais and oases, and never on the trails.
When a player's caravan is in another player's caravanserai, the visitor can exchange the wares he is transporting (and only these) with those in his host's treasure, or with those carried by other caravans lodging in the same caravanserai.
When several caravans are at the same oasis, their owners can exchange the wares they are transporting amongst them.
Exchanges are secret and can be discussed aside from the other players. The players can also use the business phase to discuss future arrangements, to agree to send caravans carrying such and such goods, to get informed on the likely routes of their future caravans. Nobody is, however, bound to respect such an engagement.
Players who wish to give a more diplomatic turn to the game can choose to start the game with a discussion phase, without any exchanges, before planning the first programme.
During the business phase, a player can freely transfer wares between his own caravans resting in the same oasis or caravanserai.
As soon as a player has in his treasure all the wares indicated on his treasure cards, he reveals the fact and, by doing so, wins the game. Several players can win simultaneously, thus resulting in a draw.
A caravan can carry between 0 and 6 ware tokens - which are always kept face down on the caravan pawn.
The Game Cabinet - email@example.com - Ken Tidwell