Why You Should PLAY Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island

My 11 year old daughter came home from camp raving about the Forbidden Island game. A sinking island, treasure, and some movie with the Rock was all I could get as an explanation… I had to play Forbidden Island myself. And I’m so glad I did.

First thing I noticed…. The Rock doesn’t come up at all. I think she had it confused with the movie loosely based on the Jules Verne story, The Mysterious Island. (True, in both the game and the movie, the island is sinking…) But besides that (or maybe, because of that) Forbidden Island is a pretty engaging game for all ages.

Forbidden Island Game Review

The game comes in a tin box (love games in tin). The pieces are all fairly well made… the island squares are thick cardboard, playing pieces are wood or plastic, and it’s compact enough to fit into my bike basket (we have been known to ride bikes to a local coffee place and play there). I do wish someone had spent an extra 5 cents to include an thicker plastic bag for the character pieces… the flimsy one they included tore immediately, but that’s just a nit-pick.

forbidden island game reviewThere is a bit of a learning curve, it’s not a “roll the dice and move forward” kind of game…BUT… since it is a co-operative game, we could all help newbies get up to speed pretty fast.

On that note… it is a Co-operative game. My older daughter HATES co-operative games, and will intentionally sabotage them. We don’t play with her. Choose your fellow players wisely.

The object of Forbidden Island

The object of the game is to collect all four treasures… then get all of the players to Fools Landing (the helicopter pad) and helicoptered off the island. Meanwhile, the island is sinking.

How To Play Forbidden Island.

forbidden island game reviewBegin by setting up the board. The Island tiles are shuffled, and then placed in a squarish layout on the table. Players choose their Adventurer (either at random, or by choice). Each Adventurer is endowed with certain traits that can help in the game. And they are placed on the board.

Treasure cards go on one side…. Flood cards on the other.

At the start of the game, some flood are chosen to see which cards are flipped to start sinking the island. Flooded island pieces have the same picture, but are in shades of blue.

Two Treasure cards are given to each person.

Set the Water Level to your start point.

Order of Play

  1. Take up to Three actions– a player can move from one tile to the next, shore up (flip over) a flooded tile, give a treasure card (only if on the same tile), or capture a treasure (if they have all 4 corresponding cards… and they are on the tile where the treasure hides).
  2. Take 2 Treasure Deck Cards– These could be wonderful, like a helicopter ride or sandbag… good, like a treasure card… or devastating, like a Water’s rise card.
  3. Draw Flood cards– to determine which part of the island goes under next. The number of cards chosen corresponds to the flood meter…If a card that was already flooded is chosen from the flood deck, it vanishes altogether. The number of cards chosen goes up every time a Waters Rise card is chosen. YIKES!
forbidden island board game review

waters rise!

It is a much easier game to lose than win. If a player dies (because his tile sinks, and there is no neighboring tile to swim to… he drowns), everyone loses. If the both tiles for a specific treasure sink before you collect the treasure, game over. If Fools landing sinks, there is no way to escape, you lose. And finally, if the water reaches the skull and crossbones… blub blub… you all die.

Collect those treasure cards, and gather up treasures. Be sure to shore up the sinking island as you go!

Either everyone wins, or everyone loses.

The game takes about 30-40 minutes to play (depending on how much time you like to spend debating various moves). The best way to learn is to play. Read through the rules, and then break out the box and play. Co-operative games are good for learning a game.

Game is great for anyone 10 and up… although, since it is a cooperative game, younger players can play with help.

You can find the Forbidden Island Board Game on Amazon!

Forbidden Island

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  1. November 4, 2015

    […] Forbidden Island Game Review […]

  2. April 10, 2016

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