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