Forbidden Island – Written Board Game Review

For decades, adventurers have consistently been exploring what would seemingly be obvious to avoid. Matt Leacock’s “Forbidden Island” does not change that. Despite the harrowing title, many gamers and families will be searching for treasure on this treacherous island as a group. Working together, will you escape treasure in hand or forever be remembered as a folk tale of the “Forbidden Island”.

Forbidden Island tabletop game review by Gameapalooza AustraliaForbidden Island – a lot of fun in a tin

Setup & Gameplay for Forbidden Island
In “Forbidden Island” a group of men and women of different talents will set out to explore a randomly generated grid of tiles. Their goal, retrieve the four items of treasure and return to ‘Fool’s landing’ and hitch a ride on a helicopter to safety.

The game begins with the team of adventurers spread around the board, hidden amongst the jungles, forests, swamps and temples of “Forbidden Island”. On a players turn they take actions that include: moving, sharing, ‘discovering’ and most importantly shoring-up (recovering tiles from their flooded state).

As the game continues, after each players turn, the game takes a turn as well (as “Forbidden Island” is a co-operative game it wouldn’t really be a game if there was nothing to overcome). During this phase, land-tile cards will get flipped according to the water level and the corresponding tile will become flooded, if that tile is already flooded it is removed from the game. It is important to note that the treasure the team desires rests on these tiles and if they drown, so to does any chance of winning, the same goes for ‘Fool’s landing’ (the name’s in red for a reason).

Players will also receive two cards following their actions, these can be treasure cards, special action cards (such as air-lift and sand-bags) and ‘waters rise’ cards. The ‘waters rise’ cards are the most frightening and dangerous cards in the game, they force the water to rise possibly increasing the water level (causing extra cards to be flipped every turn). They are then placed in the discard pile of the land-tile cards and placed back on top of the deck, thus causing the most recent cards that have been flipped to appear again, SOON!

Gameplay continues as outlined until a player has four cards of one treasure type, they then must use an action to discover the treasure whilst standing on a tile with that items image on it. Once all four treasure types have been found the team must make haste and fly by helicopter off ‘Fool’s landing’. If this all works as planned, congratulations your team is successful. However, it is far more likely that the entire island has become consumed by water, the water level has risen too far or it is impossible to discover all the treasures and escape, in which case your team will forever be forgotten in the myth of the “Forbidden Island”.

Forbidden Island tabletop game review by Gameapalooza AustraliaForbidden Island tabletop game – Rear of box

Game Build Quality
The game comes in a nice embossed tin with great art, wonderful to look at, not so great for storage. The tiles are thick and sturdy with art comparable to the tin they are stored in. “Forbidden Island” also comes with excellent wooden bits and plastic treasure items, excellent value for money.

Gameapalooza House Rules
A quick search online will expose alternate (approved) layouts for the tiles to be positioned at the beginning of the game.2-4 Players (Can be played solo if played with multiple characters)
Ages: 10+
Setup Time: A few minutes
Play Time: 30-40 minutes

“Forbidden Island” is an excellent addition to any gamers library, particularly if they are looking for an entry level game into the foray that is board gaming. Not only is it an exciting and tense time at the tabletop, it also has a tremendous amount of replay value due to the multiple abilities you can utilise as well as the randomness generated by the modular board along with an adjustable difficulty level.

Despite this, the game lacks depth, as the best move tends to be obvious therefore decreasing the amount of choices that, on paper, seem to be available. It also can be quite easy barring an unlucky card shuffle or multiple mistakes on the players part, however the adjustable difficulty level assists in this.

Caveats aside “Forbidden Island” is an excellent game for what it sets out to do, provide an exciting co-operative experience for people and their families on a lazy afternoon. If you require more complexity there is always “Forbidden Desert” or “Pandemic” both also by Matt Leacock. Definitely give this one a try, particularly if you enjoy co-operative games or are in the search to give one a trial.

[author] [authorimage timthumb=’off’]/content/images/2016/02/gameapalooza-micro-review-icon-sm.gif[/authorimage] [authorinfo]Micro Review – Forbidden Island is a quick co-operative game with simple options and tense gameplay. As a group, adventurers go to the island, gather the treasure and escape. With an adjustable difficulty level and a modular board, it provides a highly repayable game in an extremely affordable package. Do not hesitate to give this one a try.
info] [/author]

Review By Vincent.