Forbidden Desert

Forbidden Desert Board Game

Sometimes cooperative board games need the right themes to make them noteworthy, and in the case of Forbidden Desert, this is a game that found a fantastic theme that would reignite anyone’s childhood imagination. Forbidden Desert is an inspiring addition to the game Forbidden Island, created by Gamewright. This is a game that can be played by 2 to 5 players and the time of play Forbidden Desert usually takes is around 45 minutes. The clever theme of this game is that your plane suddenly crashes in a random desert, and the only way that you can get out of this desert is to locate all parts of an ancient flying airship along with your friends.


The airship that you and your friends will be fixing up contains 4 different parts that you will need to assemble in order to get off the desert. You will also have dual-sided cardboard tiles that will make up your variable game board. You will set this board up in a 5×5 grid while leaving an empty spot in the center of the playing surface. The game also provides X shaped sand tile pieces and 2 decks of special playing cards.

How to Play Forbidden Desert

Each character that players can choose from will have different abilities that players can utilize. No matter which character you choose to be, you will be given a certain ability to use in order to either find an airship part or keep yourself and your friends alive. All players will put their colored pawns on the crash landing tile to start the game and they will take turns in clockwise order until they either win or lose together as a team.

Your turn will be separated into 2 parts. First of all you can take up to 4 actions. You can either move your pawn to any adjacent tile, remove sand by taking away one Sand Token from a tile, excavate, or flip a tile over to possibly reveal the location of an airship part, or you can actually pick up a part. After performing any one of these 4 actions you will draw Storm Cards which will affect the sandstorm level on the playing surface in some way.

When flipping over a tile if you happen to discover a flying machine part, then you can go to the location of that part and collect it. There are 2 marking tiles for each part. Once you find both of these tiles you will be directed to the location of the airship part.

Storm Cards

In most cases it is best to prepare for the worst when you draw Storm Cards because they will involve the imaginary sandstorm in the middle of the playing surface changing the way it operates. You will either be drawing a Wind Blowing card, which the center sandstorm will spit out more sand (more sand tiles are placed on the playing surface), a Storm Increase card where you will have to draw more Storm Cards per turn, or a Sun Beats Down card, which will cause your character to lose a water level unless you have protection.


In order to win at Forbidden Desert you and your team must successfully find all flying machine parts and escape the desert. On the flip side, if you are not successful in doing so you can lose the game in 3 different ways. If one player runs out of water that player’s character will thirst to death, and that ends the game for everybody. If all players run out of sand markers to place on the game board, then everyone will be buried to death and lose. If the Storm Meter reaches the top of the track then all players will be swept away by the raging sandstorm, making their escape from the desert impossible.

General notes to take in Forbidden Desert is that players will have to constantly juggle responsibilities and tale care of many things at once. Tough choices will need to be made on turns in order to keep the game going. One wise strategy for all players to use would be to use the oasis tiles since these tiles can restore the water levels of the players. Going to these tiles also encourages teamwork and interaction since players will have to map out how they are going to tackle the playing surface. The choices that a player can make when it is his or her turn are very flexible.

While this game is considerably more complex to master than Forbidden Island since players will not know beforehand where to look for the ancient airship parts, Forbidden Desert is a brilliant cooperative game where not just one player will be prompted to take charge and direct traffic for everyone else. This is the kind of game that encourages all players to equally pitch in and do their part in finding the airship parts and staying alive. If you ever loved to pretend that you were stuck in a desert and you wanted to make a courageous and daring escape by way of flight, then this is certainly the game that you would want to play many times with friends and family.

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