a tactical, memory board game
Game invented by Heinz Meister. Published by ? (Moskito?). Copyright 1992, Heinz Meister
For 2-5 players, 6 years old and up.
15-20 minutes per game.
The action is assured, let's head for the desert! There's a camel race there and all the players (plus their camels!) are going to be taking part.
The desert is a harsh place, and if your camel goes lame and starts limping along at the back of the caravan, then it won't be long before it's thrown out of the game. The race continues until only one player is left, all the others having fallen by the wayside, and at that point the winner can start celebrating. It's high time then to introduce the camel drivers to the rules, tactics and memory will be needed if you're not, in the true sense of the words, to be left at the starting place.
First lay out the 16 desert cards face-up, into a 5 x 5 square track as shown on page 2 of the rules. It's not important in what order they're laid out, but it's probably better not to have an oasis card and a snake card next to one another. Each player takes the camel of his choice, and fits it with a holder so that it will stand up. The players now choose where they want to start and put all the camels onto that card. The marker stone is put down onto the same card. Finally the 30 number cards are laid, face-down, in a 6 x 5 grid within the track, now the race can start.
The first round, the youngest camel, (sorry, we mean player), starts. In subsequent rounds, the player who was the first to be eliminated in the previous race gets the first go. Each player in clockwise order then gets their turn.
The player whose turn it is turns over one of the number cards. The only exception is that he may not turn over the card that has been turned over by the last player, ie at least one turn must come between two turnings of the same card. The number card so turned shows how many squares, in a clockwise direction, the camel must move. Absolutely simple if all the cards were desert cards, but they're not!
If a player lands on a desert card then his turn is over and the next player takes their turn.
If a player lands on an oasis card then his camel is refreshed and revivified and he may turn over another number card and go galloping off again, perhaps to a further oasis card and so on!
If a player lands on a snake card then he's had bad luck, his camel has been bitten and must go to the back of the caravan, that means that the camel is placed one square behind the rearmost camel. It's best therefore to avoid snake cards.
The marker stone shows where the back of the caravan is. The last player to move away from the start field also moves the marker stone onto the square of the camel who's at the back of the pack. When the owner of this camel moves the stone is also moved forward to the rearmost camel and so on. It can be pretty bad to be the last, because when another camel reaches or overhauls the rearmost, then that camel is removed from the game. If several camels are all reached or overhauled in the same turn, perhaps they're all on the same square, then they're all eliminated. Now the marker stone is moved forward to the square of the overhauling camel, and he now becomes the rearmost, possibly to be removed in his turn.
Unfortunately there are a couple, hopefully no more. If a player is the rearmost, and then lands on a snake square, then he returns to his previous square along with the marker stone.
If a player overhauls the rearmost but then finishes on a snake square, then nobody's thrown out of the game, but the overhauling player is put one square behind the rearmost and the stone is set back one square so that the overhauler becomes the rearmost.
The winner is the last player in the race. He may reward himself with the title of Camel driver King. The camels aren't likely to thank him for it though, and the other players certainly won't.
If there are only two players then each should take two camels, and they should play in turn, ie player 1 camel 1, player 2 camel 1, player 1 camel 2, player 2 camel 2 and so on. Play the goes on as before.
If the game is a bit too easy then try putting the number cards, not in regular rows, but all mixed up with each other like sausage and turnips (I couldn't resist translating this literally). If that's not hard enough, then try replacing the turned up number cards somewhere other than where they've been taken from. And if that's still not hard enough then we want nothing more to do with you.
The Game Cabinet - firstname.lastname@example.org - Ken Tidwell