There’s a long rant at the Game Table about Through the Desert vs Go, where he goes to show that Through the Desert has absolutely nothing to do with Go, and thus the games shouldn’t be compared.
I agree — his analysis makes sense. In the ways he describes, Go and Through the Desert have little to do with each other. However, I still feel a lot like playing Go when I play Through the Desert. So much so, that if I want to describe the feeling I get when playing Through the Desert, it’s simply easiest for me to say “it’s like multiplayer Go”.
Why is that? While the territory play is nothing like in Go, I still feel the game develops in a similar way, as your initial camel placements become actual territory. That mental connection is pretty strong for me, thus making Through the Desert feel enough like Go for me to make the comparison.
One response to “Through the Desert vs Go”
The most important aspect why Through the Desert feels like go to me is that you have to be very aware of multiple positions — there are certain moves you are going to make, but only when an opponent makes an attacking move first. That is of course true to many games, but the element appears in Through the Desert has similar qualities. This combined with how initial placements and small moves may in the end cover quite much territory for you makes the games similar in feel.
Also the analysis only comapres the core mechanics, and thus leaves out the fact that in though the desert there are already many “stones” placed on the board — indeed (virtually) wherever the player wants on the board. This combined with the amount of players makes the territorial battles much more tight than he shows in the example pictures — which again brings the game closer to go.
However, it is still a good analysis, and I agree games aren’t comparable unless you want to describe the feel of the game. Which is often what I want to describe when describing a game.