Forbidden Island (Gamewright) is good entry game for those players, especially younger players, to try out a cooperative game where it is the players against the game. The goal is for players to work together to recover four treasures and return to the helicopter pad before the islands sinks or a player does not have a return path to the helicopter pad. The game is either lost by all or won by all. This game was designed by the same designer from Pandemic.
Components: 58 playing cards, 24 island tiles, 6 pawns, 4 treasure figurines, 1 water meter, 1 water level marker
Number of Players: 2 – 4 players (suggest 3 or 4)
Age of Players: 10 and up
Average Game Length: 30 minutes
Forbidden Island is a simple game to learn and explain. You are given a profession at random at the start of the game. Each profession as a unique trait that will help the adventures achieve their goal of collecting the four treasures on the island and eventually leave. During your turn you perform three things: Take 3 actions, draw 2 treasure cards, and draw flood cards equal to the water level. Your actions can be to move about the island, shore up flooded lands before they sink, give a treasure card to a fellow player, or capture a treasure if you have four cards of that treasure and are on part of the island where the treasure icon resides. You then draw two cards from the treasure deck that will either be treasure cards, special action cards, or the Waters Rise cards. Once you have resolved any special effects from this draw, you then turn over the Forbidden Island cards and flip over the matching Island tile to show that it is flooded. If the tile is already flooded, it is removed from the game along with the matching Forbidden Island card. Play continues like this until the adventures gather up the four treasures, all then must make it to a special tile called Fool’s Landing and escape the island by playing a special action card called Helicopter Lift. Players will loose if the special treasure tiles sink (are removed from the game) and the treasure can’t be claimed, Fool’s Landing sinks, or a player cannot make it back to Fool’s Landing.
Hardcore Score: 3
This game is a great introductory game to the whole idea of a co-op based game where all the players win or they all loose. Young players will like the treasure gathering aspect and will teach them that in order to win, we all have to work together. This game will also help you gauge if your gaming group is receptive to games of greater challenge like Pandemic, Last Night on Earth, Shadows of Camelot, etc.
Wifecore Score: 7
Due to the quick setup and easy to follow rules, this is a very good casual game to play with neighbors and that gives it high marks from the wife. She likes the interaction it brings to the table unlike card games and those games that are more competitive.
Kidcore Score: 9
Like I have stated before, this game is a great for introducing kids to a game where you are not competing against one another. The game doesn’t punish for a simple mistake, so let them test the “waters” and see if they can figure out the best strategy as a group. Anyway, if the group doesn’t survive then reset and go again because set-up is a piece of cake.