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In the Realm of the Desert Sons

What’s It About?

You are a merchant, exploring the desert with your caravan. You are looking for valuable commodities, such as incense, myrrh, salt, and precious stones. Together with your game partners you explore card after card. Each card shows either desert or parts of oases. If you explore part of an oasis, you may place one of your 4 Influence Stones on it.

Once an oasis is completely explored, rating takes place. On the Oasis cards, action fields with commodities, camels, water, and rumors are depicted. The Influence Stones all have different heights, and according to the heights of their Influence Stones the players select one action at a time.

After drawing the last card from the stack, each player takes one more turn before the game ends. The player who has the most valuable commodities wins.

Outline of the Game Turn

1. Moving the Caravan

At the beginning of your turn, click on a field from which you would like to explore the desert with your caravan (Camel). You can reach the green fields without having to pay. The yellow fields cost you 1 water, because you have to take your caravan across more than one white connecting line.

2. Exploring

Now you try to place a matching card next to the field where your Camel is standing. You have 3 possibilities:

  1. Click on the stack of Explorer cards.
  2. Click on a matching card in your display.
  3. Click on a matching card in an opponent's display (cost: 1 water).


  • If the card does not match its surroundings, it goes to your display, and your turn is finished.
  • If the card matches its surroundings, it appears next to your mouse cursor. Move it onto a green field, rotate it if necessary, and finalize its position by clicking on the arrow.

Afterwards, your Camel moves onto the card. If you have placed a card showing only desert (no oasis), you may immediately move your Camel again.

3. Placing an Influence Stone

If you were able to place a card depicting part of an oasis so that it matches its surroundings, you may place one of your Influence Stones on this card.

For this, click on one of your 4 Influence Stones at the bottom of your status bar and place it in a red circle.

Sometimes, an Oasis card consists of two different oasis sections. In that case, 2 circles appear and you may only choose one of them.

If you were able to place a card so that it matches the surrounding area, and you don’t want to place an Influence Stone, you may remove any one of the Influence Stones you had placed before. After placing or removing an Influence Stone, your regular turn ends. However, you still have the possibility to pay 1 water and take one additional turn (bonus turn).

Oasis Rating

Once an oasis is completely explored, rating takes place.

All symbols and Influence Stones of this oasis appear in the Oasis Rating menu. If there are at least 2 Influence Stones in an oasis, the player who has the highest Influence Stone must pay one water. If the payment cannot be made, this player is not allowed to use his/her highest Influence Stone to select a symbol. The players now select a symbol in order, according to the heights of their Influence Stones. There are the following symbols:

1. Commodities

At the beginning of the game, each of the 4 commodities myrrh, incense, salt, and precious stones are worth 4 gold. At the end of the game, the player whose commodities have the highest total value wins.

2. Camel

Altogether there are 10 Camels in the game. At the beginning of the game, each player has 2 Camels. Since each Camel can accommodate 2 commodities, you initially have only 4 free spaces for your commodities.

Jedes zusätzliche Kamel erlaubt es Ihnen, 2 weitere Each additional Camel allows you to include another 2 commodities. Therefore, it will be nearly impossible to win the game without additional Camels. aufzunehmen. Ohne zusätzliche Kamele werden Sie daher kaum gewinnen können.

3. Water

You can spend water to make use of cards from the display of your opponents, buy a bonus turn, and move your caravan over any distance. Water is scarce, so use it carefully.

4. Rumor Chips

You can use Rumor Chips to determine the price of a commodity. At the beginning of the game, each commodity is worth 4 gold. 2 Rumor Chips may be assigned to each commodity.

Each Rumor Chip can increase or lower the price of a commodity by 1 or 2 gold. When you have selected a rumor, click on a chip next to the rumor board. Now you can see the number on the chip and assign it to a commodity.

The Turban

Figur mit TurbanAfter the owner of the Influence Stone with the Turban has used it during the oasis rating, the Turban goes to the next player in clockwise direction. Whoever owns the Turban also has the highest Influence Stone.

End of the game

Once the stack of Explorer cards is depleted, each player takes one more turn. Then all Rumor Chips are revealed and the value of each commodity is determined.

The player whose commodities have the highest total value wins. In case of a tie, the player who owns more water wins the game.

Special cases:
1. Display is full

If 3 cards have accumulated in your display, you no longer may draw Explorer cards from the stack. In this case, you should move your caravan to a field where you can place a card from your display.

2. Remove Rumor Chip

If, during an oasis rating, you have selected a rumor, and all Rumor Chips are already placed on the rumor board, you may take a look at a Rumor Chip (click on a chip) and choose whether to remove the chip or leave it where it is.

3. Opponent steals card

If a game partner takes a card from your display, you receive the top card from the stack as a replacement.

Game Option:

desertBorder

If a card is placed adjacent to the border of the game area, the side of the card depicting desert must face the border.

The effect of this rule change is that the "cleaning up strategy" – where a player moves his caravan along the border to single-handedly scoop up commodities and camels – loses much of its attractiveness. Now it is much more interesting and lucrative to discover oases together with the other players and outfox the competition by skillfully using one’s own explorer tokens and saving water – because it still holds true that in the desert, nothing is more valuable than water!

To play this variant, please select "desertBorder" in the Options menu when setting up the game.