The caravan slowly moves through the scorching desert. The heat, dunes and mirages hamper the camels’ progress. Sudden sandstorms come up and swirl everything about! Who, with a bit of tactical thinking and some luck, will be able to bring the most camels to the Oasis.
HABA Games brings us this torrid camel competition through the desert for 2-4 players ages 6-99.
The game comes packaged in the highly recognizable yellow box that HABA is famous for. Inside the box there is a game board, 16 wooden camels, 48 camel cards, and a multi lingual rule book.
HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED
At the beginning of the game, players place the 4 camels of their color on the board on the desert town.
Players also take the 12 camel cards of their player color and shuffle them up. Draw a starting hand of 3 cards.
Play will occur in a clockwise direction, starting with whoever has seen a mirage, or else the youngest player. On a player’s turn, they will play one card from their hand. Then the next player takes their turn playing a card. There are 4 different card types. The first card type is an oasis card which moves your camels forward.
When a camel moves, there can only be one camel on a square, so you only count the free squares when moving a camel forwards or backwards.
There are mirage cards that can be played to move other players’ camels backwards the number of spaces as there are palm trees.
Playing the Cameleer card you can place one of your camels one square ahead of the camel who is in the lead of the race.
The sandstorm, when played has all players re-shuffle all of their cards and draw a new hand of 3 cards.
Play is going to continue until all 6 spaces of the oasis are filled with camels. Each of the spaces in the oasis is worth different amounts of points. When moving into the oasis, the spaces must be reached by exact count. A camel cannot be moved past the last square of the oasis.
Once all six squares of the oasis are filled, the game is over. Each player counts the spaces where he/she has camels. Add up the points and whoever has the post points is the winner.
The Caravan presents itself as a family friendly, light strategy game. The desert theme comes across nicely in the board art as well as the cards and pieces.
Production quality is good. Nice sturdy board, durable cards, and cute wooden bits. The camels can easily be knocked over, so be careful when moving them around other camels. Simple rules make the game quick to learn and easy to play. The main mechanism that drives the game is hand management. Timing of when to play certain cards help the players win the game. Using the sandstorm can help you refresh your hand. The game plays in roughly 20 minutes there is little downtime, keeping all the players engaged. There is a little bit of take that with the mirage cards and offers some friendly competition for the younger players.
We enjoy this game, finding it playing best with 3 or 4 players. With 2, there is not enough competition to make is seem like much of a race. This game can be an alternative to Camel Up if you are not into betting games. It shares a similar theme of racing camels and provides a fun experience as well.
This is a game I recommend if you are looking for a lighter style race game that plays in a shorter amount of time, that can provide some quality time for a family to spend together.