Das Letzte Kamel (The Last Camel)

An unusual race from the 1001 nights for 2-6 players aged 8 or over by Tom Schoeps.

The story of the race for the beautiful Suleika.

Once upon a time there was a rich and powerful Caliph, who wished that his beautiful daughter should be married. Suleika was loved by the sons of all the most powerful and richest tribal leaders. The Caliph summoned them all to his presence, and announced that his daughter should marry the winner of a very unusual camel race. The strange feature of this race was that the winner would be the rider whose camel was the last to reach the finishing line. On the day of the race, all the suitors mounted their camels. They set off, but no one was prepared to take a lead, and all the camels stood motionless on the track, it was no sort of race at all. Then a wise man of the desert appeared, and asked the riders what they were doing. They explained to him their love for Suleika, and what sort of a race the Caliph had decided on. The wise man thought for a moment, and then spoke one short phrase. Like lightning, the riders sprang from their camels, and in moments the race was on in earnest.

So, what was the phrase that the wise man spoke? Quite simply, "Change camels."


Goal of Game

In memory of this unusual race from the 1001 Nights, this game was invented, and in the game too, the winner is the owner of the slowest camel, the camel which is the last to reach the finish. That means, the player who is best at moving the other camels forward.


There are 6 camels and 6 camel-owner cards, one per camel. The cards show the 6 different colour combinations of the camels saddles. The owner cards are dealt, as per the following rules, face down to the players who examine them secretly. Now each player knows which camel they own.

With 6 Players

All 6 cards are shuffled and one dealt to each player. All 6 camels are placed on the starting line.

With 4 or 5 players

All 6 cards are shuffled one card is dealt to each player and the cards left over are placed face down to one side. All 6 camels are placed on the start line.

With 2 or 3 players

The red/yellow and the blue/green owner cards are put to one side along with the corresponding camels. The 4 remaining cards are shuffled and one dealt to each player. Excess cards are placed face down to one side. The 4 camels are put on the start line.

The Start

The first player to roll a gold star on the dice begins the game. Play continues in a clockwise direction.

Movement with the Dice

The player on turn rolls both dice and moves one or two camels forward according to the colours shown. If both dice show the same colour then either one or two camels can be moved.

The colours Red, Yellow, Green and Blue mean that a camel with a saddle of that colour may be moved one space forwards. Example, a player rolls red and green: This means that the player may move two camels one space forward, one a camel with red on its saddle and one a camel with green, OR, the player may move the camel with the red/green saddle twice, one space forward and then a further space.

The Gold star allows the player to move any camel one space forward.

The Black start allows the player to move any camel one space backwards. Players may not move camels backwards from oasis squares or from the start space.

The Cameljump

If a camel moves as a result of the dice roll onto a space where one or more camels are already standing then it moves forward again, by as many spaces as there are camels on the first space. It is important to remember that each dice move is separate and may lead to a camel jump. It is therefore possible for a turn to comprise up to four phases:

  1. First dice roll
  2. Subsequent camel jump
  3. Second dice move
  4. Subsequent camel jump

If a camel moves as a result of a camel jump onto an already occupied space, then it gets no further camel jumps. Backwards movement with the black star does not cause a camel jump either backwards or forwards.


The three spaces with the Palms are Oases where the faster camels take a rest. Players who wish to move a camel forwards from an oasis, or who wish to cross it with a cameljump must first ensure that:

  1. If a camel is on the preceding oasis, or has not yet reached it, then the first camel must remain where he is, or break off his cameljump on the oasis.
  2. The camel may only move on when the previous oasis has been passed by all camels.
  3. If a dice roll only involves colours of camels which may not move forward then the dice rolls are ignored and the next player takes their turn.


All players continue to roll the dice until all camels have reached the finish. If some colours can no longer be moved forwards, because all the camels of this colour have finished, then the dice roll is ignored. It is possible that a player may be forced to move his own camel and so cut his own throat. Once all camels have reached the finish, all players turn over their owner cards and so show who has won.

The Winner

The winner is the owner of the last camel to reach the finish. In games with 2-5 players it is possible for the last camel to be one without an owner. In this case, all the players have lost, and had better play another round as soon as possible.

Desert Tactics

Every player should try to keep his camel as far back in the race as possible and to move the other camels forward as far as possible. But one shouldn't make it too obvious which camel you own, keep the other players guessing. Players should also try to organise the order of their moves to their maximum advantage.

This translation John Webley.

Distributed from The Rules Bank by Mike Siggins

The Game Cabinet - editor@gamecabinet.com - Ken Tidwell