Forbidden Desert: Thirst for Survival

gamewright gameOne of the games my family and I enjoyed playing over the holiday was Gamewright’s Forbidden Desert. This cooperative game holds lots of adventure and excitement for the entire family.  Working together we may not have escaped the desert, but we all had fun trying to!  It is now one of our favorite games as we continue to try and beat the coming sand storm and hot sun at the different levels of play! 

The story of the game (as told in the directions) is as follows:  “Your team of adventurers has been sent on a mission to excavate an ancient desert city and recover a legendary flying machine that’s rumored to be powered by the sun.  Moments before arriving at your destination, an unexpected sand storm forces your helicopter to make a crash landing.  Now stranded in the vast desert and exposed to an unrelenting storm, your only hope for survival is to quickly excavate the city, find the parts to the flying machine and rebuild it for the escape.  If, however, any of team expires from thirst or the storm gets too intense, your whole team loses and you become permanent artifacts of the Forbidden Desert!”

The previous story sets the scene and gives enthusiasm to players of the game!  After this tale was read my family and I were all ready to start excavating and get the heck out of there!  No one wanted to be left in the Forbidden Desert!

The game includes 24 desert city tiles which are double-sided.  One side displays desert sands, while the other side shows the city.  At the start of the game, these are secretly placed with the desert side up so that players will need to excavate (flip-over) in order to find the 4 parts needed to build the flying machine.  This must be done before players run out of water or the sand storm buries them.  Players move across these tiles, and if they are fortunate enough and have discovered the lost items, they meet on the Launch Pad tile (which also needs excavated and remain cleared) to escape the desert in the repaired vessel.

The 31 storm cards of the game (a certain number picked at the end of each turn based on storm level) adds more sands to the tiles, depletes the player’s water, or indicates the storm level is rising!  The picking of these cards always cause anxiousness!

With so much going on, my family and I were glad to be working as a team.  Strategizing together, we planned our escapes.  However, it seems the shortage of water, the piling of sands, and tunnels too far away to hide in to keep the hot sun away, have been too much for us.  We keep being lost to the desert.  But, hey, there is always another chance, and the games can begin again!

Both Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert are fantastic family board games to play.  They are a wonderful way for a family to have fun together. 


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Jenny Kile

Admin. of All About Fun and Games. Along with being an avid collector and player of table top games, I am a writer, researcher, treasure hunter, and Founder of Kardtects ( ) I believe fun is everywhere and you are welcome to visit my other sites: (which explores mystery, adventure and the search for treasures) and (which takes building card houses to completely new levels. Kardtects is the next generation of card house building!) Email:

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