Game Review: Forbidden Island by Gamewright

img_3748My son can be pretty competitive and sometimes when he is in a losing streak nobody wants to play games with  him – he gets really grumpy. I felt like it was time to bring home a game that was more cooperative and a little more challenging than the other cooperative games we have in the game cupboard. While preparing for a big storm we popped into our favorite local toy shop, Thinker Toys, in search of a little something that can keep us busy when the power goes out. We picked up 2 games – Carcasonne by Zman Games (we will review this one another day) and Forbidden Island by Gamewright.

Forbidden Island is a collaborative game requiring 2-4 players and the suggested age is 10 and up. Kids younger than 10 will do well with playing as well. As you are playing together using teamwork, means you can talk out the strategy and work through situations allowing them to learn how to best move. I always give out different options and let my son make his own decision on what he wants to do and we stick to it. It can be a teachable moment later if something goes wrong or a pat on the back when it all goes right!

Here is the gist of the game: You are trapped on a island where you and your group are required to collect 4 treasures (The Crystal of Fire, The Statue of the Wind, The Ocean’s Chalice, and The Earth Stone) before escaping by helicopter off the island. The problem is the island is sinking below you and you have to work together to collect the items and get everyone to the launch pad before the pieces sink forever off the board, a treasure is lost, or a player dies. Each player is given an Adventurer and each Adventurer has a special ability – for instance the “Diver” can dive across tiles that have sunk or are sinking. The “Pilot” can fly to any space he wants each turn! There are 6 Adventurer cards and as you play with a max of 4 people there will be a few abilities that will not be available to to you and you will want to make use of any abilities you have because the water is rising fast!

As you play you will collect treasure cards. You need 4 of the same treasure cards depicting the specific “treasure” and to be on a special spot to collect the treasure figurine displayed on your cards (wonder if I could have said treasure more in one sentence?! Ack!). As your draw treasure cards there are “water rising” cards throughout the deck. If you get one, everything changes and you have to work to get things changed back to your advantage so you can get off the island safely.

I feel like I have made this sound horribly confusing, and this video will give you a run through of the rules and the rest of the pieces:

We have really loved this game so far and are learning more and more strategy as we play. In the few times we have played this we have had pretty good luck with coming away winners (once we got everything figured out!). If we lose, we lose together. If we win, we win together and it helps with someone not going away grumpy! I love working collaboratively too as this is an awesome way of teaching the ablity to work with others for a greater good – such a wonderful life skill.

Playing time is right around 30 minutes (sometimes quicker with fewer people we noticed). Pick this up! We highly recommend it!

PS – I will leave this Table Top video for you to watch if you want to see a whole game played. Plus, I love Wil Wheaton and it is fun watching him play Forbidden Island against his friends.


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