Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island on Savvy Game Night

In Forbidden Island, players must work together to collect four treasures from around an island before the island sinks away into the ocean. It is another cooperative game where each turn ends with the situation getting just a little more difficult (see also: Pandemic). In Pandemic, this meant that a few more cities would become infected with one of the viruses; in Forbidden Island, it means that one more region of the island sinks further underwater. Every so often, a disaster card (in this case, a “Waters Rising” card) comes up, amplifying the game further. Forbidden Island in Play // Savvy Game Night

There are a lot of similarities between the gameplay of Forbidden Island and Pandemic. However, Forbidden Island is definitely quicker and easier for new players to pick up. For this reason, it works well as an end-of-the-night game, or as a game to get people in the game-playing mood at the start of a big board game session.

Forbidden Island: A Cooperative Game on Savvy Game Night

 

Mechanism:

Each player takes on a role that gives them a special ability. The Explorer, for instance, is the only player who can move diagonally, while the Navigator can move other players around the island. On each turn, a player takes these steps:

1. Take three actions, such as moving to a new part of the island, shoring up a sinking island tile, passing treasure cards or capturing a treasure.

2. Draw 2 treasure cards. When one player is holding four matching treasure cards, they can rescue that treasure from the sinking island. There are also a few special action cards sprinkled throughout this deck. If a “Waters Rise!” card comes up, the used flood cards get shuffled and put back on top of the deck. Better shore up those pieces fast, or they will flood and sink entirely in the next few turns!

3. Draw flood cards to flood new parts of the island.

To win the game, all four treasures need to be rescued, and then every player needs to get to Fools’ Landing and use a Helicopter Lift to fly to safety.

 

Number of Players:

2-4

Set Up Time:

10-15 minutes.

Play Time for New Players:

30-45 minutes.

Play Time for Experienced Players:

30 minutes.

Age Range:

10+

Overall Rating for Forbidden Island: 6 out of 10 stars.

Psst: This post contains affiliate links. I only ever recommend products I use myself. 

Jaipur: A Two-Player Game

Jaipur: A Two-Player Game // Savvy Game Night

Clearly, Dan and I go through phases with our two-player games. Last fall, we couldn’t get enough of Lost Cities. This spring, our go-to two-player game was Morels. And this summer, we’re all about the newest addition to our collection: Jaipur.

Jaipur Set-Up // Savvy Game Nigth

The game is simple enough: on your turn, you can either collect more goods or sell some of the goods from your collection. The person with the most money at the end is the winner. Typically, the game is played in three rounds. If we’re really short on time or energy, we might just play one round. If we have a half hour or so, we’ll do all three. There’s enough going on in the game that it doesn’t feel repetitive, even if we play it multiple times per week, but it is also simple enough for nights when we don’t want to exert a bunch of brainpower to strategize our gameplay.

If you’re looking for a great two-player game that doesn’t require much strategy, I recommend Jaipur.

Jaipur Tokens // Savvy Game Night

Mechanism:

Each player is a merchant looking to earn two Seals of Excellence before their competitor. There are five cards available in the playing area at all times. On your turn, you may:

1. Take one good from the play area, which is replaced from the Draw pile.

2. Take multiple goods from the play area, and replace them with your own goods or camels.

3. Take all the camels in the play area (so you have free cards available to replace goods when you later opt for #2).

4. Sell one type of good for monetary tokens. Some goods (like rubies) are worth more than others, and there are bonuses for selling 3, 4 or 5 of any type of good at a time.

The round is over when 3 types of goods have no more tokens or the Draw pile is out. Whoever has the most points on their tokens wins the round, and earns a Seal of Excellence. Typically, the game ends up being 2-3 rounds.

Number of Players:

Two only.

Set Up Time:

5-10 minutes.

Play Time for New Players:

10-15 minutes per round. 40-45 minutes total if you play all three.

Play Time for Experienced Players:

10-15 minutes per round. 40-45 minutes total if you play all three.

Age Range:

8+

Overall Rating for Jaipur: 9 out of 10 stars.

Psst: This post contains affiliate links. I only ever recommend products I use myself.