Forbidden Island is a visually stunning cooperative board game. Instead of winning by competing with other players like most games, everyone must work together to win the game. Players take turns moving their pawns around the 'island', which is built by arranging the many beautifully screen-printed tiles before play begins. As the game progresses, more and more island tiles sink, becoming unavailable, and the pace increases. Players use strategies to keep the island from sinking, while trying to collect treasures and items. As the water level rises, it gets more difficult- sacrifices must be made.
What causes this game to truly stand out among co-op and competitive games alike is the extreme detail that has been paid to the physical components of the game. It comes in a sturdy and organized tin of good shelf storage size. The plastic treasure pieces and wooden pawns are well crafted and they fit just right into the box. The cards are durable, well printed, and easy to understand. The island tiles are the real gem: they are screen-printed with vibrant colors, each with a unique and pleasing image.
With multiple levels of difficulty, different characters to choose from (each with a special ability of their own), many optional island formats and game variations available, Forbidden Island has huge replay value. The game can be played by as few as two players and up to four (though it can accommodate five). More players translates into a faster and more difficult game, though the extra help can make all the difference. This is a fun game, tricky for players of almost any age.
Forbidden Island is one of those rare games that someone else has brought round for me to play and I enjoyed so much that I simply HAD to add it to our collection. The premise is simple, collect all four necessary parts and then get all players to the helicopter pad before the island sinks or you loose a member of your team (is one person 'dies' then everyone looses, so you really do have to help each other out), or your water meter hits the highest level. The fewer players, the longer gameplay takes but you are more likely to survive (though once my daughter and I failed after just a couple of turns each!), the more players and you have a faster game but you're far more at risk of failing (that's when you really have to focus on your abilities and help each other out).
The one thing that I find a little lacking in this game is that it only comes with one way in which to lay your tiles out, there are no other layouts given, which could really make the game more interesting/difficult (but I have found a list online, so may try them out soon enough). What I really like, is because this is a tile game, you shuffle them every time and so you have a different board each play, something that really helps its replay-ability. There is also no arguing over who is what colour as they are assigned at random, this is done by draw of the card, each colour having a different ability that if use correctly can help you to win the game or help out a team mate.
I really enjoy this game, it has also become a favourite with my kids who enjoy the slight tension, teamwork and being able to 'save' their Granny or I. A great family game.
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