Friday, January 3, 2014

Board Game: Forbidden Island

The Game: Forbidden Island
The Publisher: Gamewright
Time: 20 minutes or so
Players: Me, Teagan, +Stentor, and +Cheyenne

Game Play: The idea is that we're adventurers, here on Forbidden Island to obtain four treasures. If we get all four and get back to our helicopter, we can escape. But the island is slowly sinking - if any of the treasures, the helicopter, or any player sinks, we all lose.

Obviously, it's a lot like Pandemic, but much more forgiving. Each character has a special power, be it more freedom of movement or a way to hand out cards more easily (to get a treasure, you need four matching cards). This game, I played the diver, who can swim through tiles that have sunk. Here's a better look at the play area.

Note that we've already lost some tiles; they flip when they're flooded, but players can shore them up, fixing them.

It's a cooperative game, and mostly it's not too challenging - you can make it harder by setting the water level higher (so you draw more cards from the flood deck to see what floods/sinks each turn). In our game, we got the treasures and got out in fairly short order; no major threats.

And we escaped!

Opinions: This isn't anyone's idea of a challenging game, but it's a great game for kids of about 8 and up. I play it with my students at work a lot; it's very pretty, it contains a lot of challenging words, and it asks them to think about strategy in a cooperative way, which is something they've seldom encountered. As such, I've played it a lot more than I probably would have otherwise; it's fun, but the replay value is pretty low unless you have kids (which I do).

You could also whack together a pretty good Fate RPG using Forbidden Island as a setting, too.

Keep? Yep.