Nov 2, 2015

Posted by in Board Game Reviews | 0 Comments

Forbidden Island: Co-op Tile Game

Forbidden IslandForbidden Island was one of the first co-op games I was introduced to, and it remains to this day as one of my favorites. It’s a very simple game play mechanic, but the tactics have to be spot-on or you’re going to end up in trouble very fast, and so despite being simple it’s also a very intense game (or at least I think so).

Before I go any further, let me elaborate on what a co-op game is. Co-op games are where you and your friends play on the same team against the game. So either you all win, or you all lose. It’s good for those friendships that are already rocky from a friendship-ruining game like… Monopoly. Co-op literally stands for “cooperative”.

In Forbidden Island, you and your teammates have gone to an island that is sinking to try and recover buried treasures. Since the island is sinking though, you have to go about it quickly and carefully, or you’ll find you never make it back off the island… but I mean, treasure. Worth the risk. Gotta get that booty!

There are four treasures to get, and you can only find them in certain places on the board. As the island sinks, the tiles get flipped over (flooded) and if you’re not careful, they will disappear never to be seen again. You can lose the game if you lose all the tiles available to get any one of the treasures you have not recovered yet. You can also loose if “Fools Landing”, your escape tile, sinks; thus leaving you stranded on an island that’s going down like Atlantis.

The only way to win, in fact, is to collect all the treasures among the players, get everyone to Fools Landing, and escape by helicopter.

Water RisesAnd the island is actively trying to kill you. Each time a player takes a turn, the island then gets to go and flooded cards are drawn, dictating what tiles get flooded or sink. And as the players draw cards for trying to help them get treasures, they can and will draw cards that will make the island sink faster as the water rises. It’s intense.

Usually, the game ends up where there aren’t many tiles left on the board to move to, and everyone is sweating bullets wondering if you’re making it out alive. It gets really nerve-wracking, but in a good way. And there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction that comes with winning by a narrow, narrow margin. The fact that you can celebrate together over the victory is just a bonus.

Forbidden Island also makes a great family game, because it’s simple enough that younger kids (maybe as young as 13) can play too. So long as they have a pretty good capacity for thinking about their moves, they can play. There’s nothing PG rated in this game at all I don’t think, either. Imagery is all very clean, and the language is safe. So if you’re looking for something nice to chill with after a holiday meal, this would not be a bad grab.

It comes in a really nice tin box with compartments that securely fit all the pieces, ensuring that when you open the box back up you don’t have to sort out a mess before you can play. It’s always a really nice bonus when a company cares enough to go the extra step and finesse their packaging like that.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this game to anyone who is into games. It’s casual, but fun. And, it plays in an hour or less, so you won’t be stuck playing it for hours like… Monopoly.

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