Review: Forbidden Island
- # of Players: 2-4
- Best # of Players: 4
- Publisher: Gamewright
- Age Range: 10+
- Price Point: $29.99
Years of research in dusty library archives and countless expeditions into the forgotten corners of the earth have brought you and your companions to this lush paradise. All of your research and travels have convinced you that this is the resting place of an ancient civilization’s most powerful treasures, and that power is within the grasp of you and your companions. As your helicopter descends towards the island below you, the excitement is palpable. A moment later you feel a jolt as the helicopter touches down. Climbing out of the helicopter, you and your companions hurriedly gather your gear and supplies. As you do so, you feel the unmistakable rumbling of an earthquake. Looking down from your rocky perch, you could almost swear that the ocean was getting closer. Perhaps the dire warnings of old legends were true, that if strangers ever set foot on the island, it and they would sink beneath the waves.
Forbidden Island is a cooperative strategy game, from Pandemic designer Matt Leacock, that pits 2 to 4 players against the rising waters of a sinking island paradise in an effort to claim 4 mystical treasures and escape. During their turn, players may perform up to three actions. Of the available actions shoring up a waterlogged location is the most important. Choosing to shore up or not can literally mean the difference between escaping with the treasures and watery defeat. At the end of their turn, a player draws two treasure cards. Collecting four cards with the same treasure allows them to claim that treasure at the appropriate time. However, drawing a water rise card will raise the water level, and potentially cause tiles to flood faster. This can really increase the tension level as the game progresses. Lastly, the player draws Flood cards, which cause tiles to either flood or sink into the ocean. Waterlogged tiles can still be traversed and shored up to reverse flooding, but once a tile sinks it is removed from the game.
The game is simple enough that older children, 10 and up, can play without difficulty, but there is enough complexity that parents will enjoy the adventure as well.
Each player plays one of 6 unique roles within the game, and no one player can hope to win without working together with the other players.
Because each player has a unique role, it can be a big boost to a youngster’s confidence when their character helps save the day.
Parents will like the subtle rising tension the game has as players race the clock to claim the treasure and escape.
Because of the cooperative nature of this game, there is the potential for an Alpha player to bully the other players into playing how he/she wants them to play.
This is a great family game night title, and I will definitely play it often with my children, once they are old enough. I love the cooperative nature, the rising tension, and the theme of this little gem.
- Overall Fun - 9/109/10
- Ease of Play - 8/108/10
- Replayablity - 7/107/10
- Downtime - 9/109/10
- Game Length - 8/108/10
- Bang For Your Buck - 9/109/10
User Review( vote)
Special Thanks to Gamewright for allowing me to use their product photo. I greatly appreciate it.
If you like this game, you may be interested in Dobbers: Quest for the Key, another great family game.
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