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You are Camel Drivers guiding Caravans from Home Village thru the Desert, gathering various Valuable Things to trade and sell when and if you reach The City. Along the way watch for sudden Sandstorms that can eliminate you. Also Thieves who can appear anywhere. Help each other look after all the Caravans. Discuss... plan strategies together... keep an eye out for one another. Travelling through the Desert requires care and alertness. The Storm can move quickly, sometimes almost unpredictably. Be wary, fellow adventurers, for the Dangers are many, but the Rewards are oh so great! May Allah bless your journey a thousandfold!
Oasis is one of Jim Deacove's more recent designs. As a game system, it works quite well. There is only one caveat: this is basically a solitaire game that can be played by committee. There is no concept of a player turn here. The game is played in turns, but all players control all pieces, and with multiple players the idea is simply to discuss the best way to move those pieces. If the players understand this from the outset and don't mind playing on those terms, then they will find Oasis to be an interesting challenge.
The players as a group control three pawns representing caravans. They are trying to guide these caravans from their Home Village to the City, while retrieving nine "Valuables" cards that are scattered in various locations around the board. The Valuables are inverted and mixed in with other cards at each site. As you might imagine, some of these cards are helpful, and some are quite the opposite.
There are two thieves lying in wait out there somewhere that will steal everything from a caravan not protected by a guard. Alas, you only start with one guard and must find the others. The real villain of the game, however, is the Sandstorm. This juggernaut moves relentlessly around the board destroying anything in its path that is not protected by Tents. It has a nasty way of swallowing entire caravans. If it gets in front of you, it tends to wipe out stacks of cards (potentially containing Valuables) before you can get to them. All of this makes for some really tense moments and difficult decisions. The players never really "lose" unless all caravans and valuables are destroyed. The object is to get as many of these to the City as possible and maybe do better "next time".
There are actually three games in the box. The one described above is the Master version. There are two other easier versions suitable for the younger set. Any of the versions can be played to completion in less than 30 minutes.
Again, the co-operative emphasis of this game is not about "Let's help the other players", as is the case in many other Family Pastimes games. The emphasis here is on "Let's discuss how we can best reach our goal". If that is what you are looking for, Oasis will fill the bill.