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willco

The little, er...caravan that could?

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It seems so simple, this game. And it is. I can explain it in ten or so minutes, play it in 30-45 minutes.

How, then, did Dr. Knizia make it so deep at the same time? Th:is can be a serious brain-buster if you let it.

And, it is a favourite at game nights...is that because of the gameplay or components?

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 I'd say it's both.

The gameplay is solid - I think it's actually underappreciated.
The components are the initial draw, I'll be honest.
You can get kids and even non-gamers attracted by the pastel camels with riders.

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Have you ever played "Go"? The principles are similar. Surround territory with your pieces. Both games are also very simple to learn. Yet they have astonishing depth.

I think that one of the reasons that they have such depth is because they are so simple. There aren't a hundred different things that could change and affect your plans that you have to consider. That lets you make deeper and longer term plans.

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psanfem said:

Looks quite interesting, i love GO and now i would like to try TtD... I think i would like it.

 

It is awesome! I have introduced it to a few people and they all did indeed enjoy it greatly.

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reapersaurus said:

 I'd say it's both.

The gameplay is solid - I think it's actually underappreciated.
The components are the initial draw, I'll be honest.
You can get kids and even non-gamers attracted by the pastel camels with riders.

 

True, it's definitely both, isn't it?

 

I'd say that the game play is the more important one, but you gotta get people to try it and it really does stand out from other abstracts because of the neat components.

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I personally don't care much for Go either. It is a litte too deterministic, without really any variation in gameplay or the decisions you have to make. Every turn results in the same decisions that have to be made over again based on your opponents moves. While I can respect it as a good game, I don't happen to like it myself.

But as the basic principle of surrounding territory is the same, I still use it as a comparison.

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I taught my daughter to play this game when she was 4, yes the colored camels are a nice draw. She is six now and is capable of providing a good challege. The most I have ever played with is three players- I can see the difficullty and need for strategy increasing with more players.

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I've had this game for a while, but had only played it a few times.  Last Sunday, I introduced it to two new players in my new gaming group.  It went over quite well and I really enjoyed playing it again.  I think I'd like it to be one of the games in the core group that I bring to my gaming events.  Perhaps as a two player game it has some resemblance to the surrounding territory nature of Go, but the ability to make territory with more players is very minimal.  Also, the other goals of connecting to oases and water holes has no equivalent in Go.  And, the idea of stringing out your pieces in a line is antithetical to structural framework approach of Go. 

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willco said:

 

It seems so simple, this game. And it is. I can explain it in ten or so minutes, play it in 30-45 minutes.

How, then, did Dr. Knizia make it so deep at the same time? Th:is can be a serious brain-buster if you let it.

And, it is a favourite at game nights...is that because of the gameplay or components?

 

 

Definitely the components.  How many other games give you little camles to play with? partido_risa.gif

Seriously!  I play with a group of guys that are all 40+ years old and the little camels are by far the main draw.  The game play isn't anything unusual.  It's like several other games including Go.  But then you don't have the little camels. happy.gif

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I have seen posts everywhere where people seems to really adore the cute plastic camels. I like the components in the game, they are very good with well crafted camels and a nice board, but don't like the colours. The game is good though...

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Hendal said:

 I need to get this one, I am just discovering Knizia games and they are pretty sweet I have to admit.   Camel meeples - sign me upgran_risa.gif

To me, meeples are all wood.  While I like this game, if you really want cameeples (or I prefer humples), then you gotta grab Oasis or Yspahan.  Yspahan is the better game, though.

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Is this really just like Go? This game always interests me when I see the little camels, and was thinking of picking it up some time. But if it's just only like Go it may not be deep enough for our group to really like it.

Can anyone explain it a bit better? It looks like there is a lot more to it than just being Go.

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I haven't played Go before, so I can't really compare/contrast it well, but I'll try to give you an idea for what it's like.

Setup
 

  1. The game board size varies with the number of players. There's a line that marks the boundry of lower player number board (2-3 players). If you play with four or five players, you use the whole board.
  2. The oasis markers (plastic palm trees) and water-hole value chits are placed randomly on the appropriate spaces on the board. There are more places marked on the board for oasis than there are markers. The oasis positions not filled by a marker are treated as a water hole and receive a random water hole value chit instead. I usually do this as a group activity to quicken set-up and to make sure one person doesn't somehow skew the chit/oasis distribution somehow.
  3. Each player chooses a caravan leader color. He/she places a caravan leader marker on each of the five camel colors: pink, green, blue, purple, yellow.


Play

This could be considered "setup", but because this part has a direct bearing on the tactics a particular player will use, I consider it part of the play. Going around the table each player places one of their five caravan leaders on the board with the restrictions that you cannot put a caravan leader directly next to an oasis or another player's caravan leader (of any color). This is done until all the player's caravan leaders are placed.

For the rest of the game, the play revolves around a player extending their caravans by picking two colored camels (the same or different in color) from five piles of colored camels and placing them adjacent to one of that player camels (as designated by the caravan leader that started the caravan) of the same color as the one being placed. For the first round, the first (and second with several players) player that placed a caravan leader may only place one camel as a balancing mechanism for getting the best choice of starting spots. The placed camels may not be placed next to the same colored camel of another player. This is importent to understand when placing caravan leaders as a player can be quickly blocked from an area by another player because of this.

Scoring

During the game:

  • The first time a player's caravan of a particular color becomes adjacent to an oasis, the player gets a 5-point chit.
  • When a player places a camel on a watering hole, the player picks up the points chit on that hole and adds it to their total.

At the end of the game:

  • If a player encloses an area using a single camel color, that player gets one point for each unoccupied space and any water hole points within that area.
  • The person with the longest caravan of a particular color gets a high value points chit for that color.

Winning
-------
The player with then most points is the winner. There may be ties, though this doesn't happen often.


Notes
-----
The feel of the game differs slightly with the number of players. Two players is probably the most like Go in that you are more capable of implementing a strategy. As the player count increases to a maximum of five, it becomes increasingly tactical (i.e. Chaotic). I personally really like a game of three to four players. I have also found having some skills in deception helps. There have been several games I've played where I've lead the other players to believe I was doing one thing (trying to reach an oasis, for instance) but was really doing another (like enclosing an area).

This is one of my favorite games. I highly recommend it. It's also an easier game to introduce to non-gamers because the appearance of the game is so non-threatening, which I find funny because it is a pretty cut-throat kind of game.

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     My initial fascination with the game was definitely the components.  My sister loves camels but isn't a gamer.  However, I thought due to the simplicity and components, this might be a game my sister would like.  She lives in Indiana, so I haven't had a chance to play it with her since I bought my copy.  However, that was part of the reason I bought it.  Though the main reason I bought TTD is because my friend who runs the board game club I belong to, really liked this game when we played it with another member.  And from the first time I played it, it was a game I knew I would have to add to my collection. 

     As people have mentioned, the concept of the game is simple, but it has amazing depth.  Although it does have some similarities to Go, it has much more depth than Go.  Its not surprising that this is another Knizia game........some of my favorite games in my collection are Knizia games.  Another Knizia game I own that is a favorite among my gaming group is King of Beasts.  It also has simple game play, but has a lot of depth at the same time, which is why everyone likes it.  That and it is about a 20 minute game, so it is something that can be played at the beginning of game night, while we wait for everyone to arrive. 

     Anyway, I would have to agree that the game play is definitely the more important factor here, although the components do make it an attractive game to even non-gamers.  Another thing about TTD is that the more people you have, the more challenging the game becomes, which is something else I like about it. Although the game board size is dependent on how many players you have, playing with five people does prove to be more challenging, changing your strategy a bit.

     Although the camels or "humpies" (I like humpies better than meeples also, because meeples I've always associated with wood components as well) as someone referred to them, are definitely a draw, one thing I dislike about them are the colors.  In my game, I initially had two sets of blue camels and no green ones.  FFG sent me some green replacement camels, which are practically the same color as the blue ones, so its hard to differentiate between the two.  I have seen and played the original version of TTD once, and if I recall correctly, its a much nicer, the colors of the components more distinct.

     I've heard of Oasis or Yspahan, but never played them before.  How do they differ from TTD? 

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elektra said:

  I've heard of Oasis or Yspahan, but never played them before.  How do they differ from TTD? 

Well... I've played Yspahan and can tell you that it's a significantly different game to TtD. Not really the same sort of thing at all. But it does also have camels in it, should you have a Dromedary fixation ;-)

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I agree with Godfeather that the pastels do not appeal to me either.  They actually turned me off to the game, though now I'm a tad more interested.  Hey Hoosier, Why do you think Yspahan is superior to this and Oasis? (I'm talking to you ColtsFan.) (Go Colts.)

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