Every so often, a board game comes along that combines several elements all at exceptional levels. Forbidden Desert by Gamewright is that game.

It's fun to play, reasonably priced, easy to explain, great for families, contains excellent components, takes only 30 minutes and has high replay value. This is the best all-around board game I have played this year.

Forbidden Desert: Thirst for Survival is the sequel to the 2010 board game hit Forbidden Desert. It is a cooperative game where the players work together to defeat the game. Everybody either wins or loses together. The cooperative aspect is great for building relationships with family and friends.

The players are a group of adventurers who have crash landed in the desert looking for a lost city. The city contains a legendary flying machine that will help them escape. The team works together exploring old ruins to find the necessary parts of the machine so they can get to the launch pad and escape.

However, the desert is punishing. Shifting sand storms threaten the players at every turn and the need for water is constant. The players must decide between dedicating resources to survive or discovering the flying machine. If even a single player is overcome by the desert, the game is over.

The artwork in the game is amazing because it evokes an adventurous feeling. The game parts are top quality and some of them actually come together to form a miniature flying machine. The final model looks so cool!

Families will love the game because it teaches kids and adults to think strategically, cooperate and problem solve. There are no violent themes, questionable artwork or suggestive characters. This is my favorite so far for 2013.

Ryan Morgenegg is a multimedia specialist for the Deseret News.