THE FORBIDDEN ISLAND
By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on May 5, 2014
The Forbidden Island is a cooperative board game by White Goblin Games. It's suited for up to 4 players, ages 10 and up. The white goblin edition is available for sale in the Netherlands, but the game rulebook is also downloadable in other languages. There's also an english edition for sale by GameWright
The aptly named Forbidden Island was the hiding place of the Archeans, an ancient and mystical civilization. The myth goes that they had control over the four elements through the use of four sacred treasures. Since the Archeans vanished, these treasures lie hidden on the Forbidden Island. The myth then goes on explaining how the entire Island will sink, if someone ever tries to search for these treasures. Ofcourse, seeing as how your mind shuts down after registering the word treasure, you and a group of fellow fortune hunters travel to the island to do just that.
At the start of the game, the island is laid out on the table. It consists of 24 island tiles, who each have two sides; a dry side and a flooded side. These tiles each represent a location on the island. When the island is first placed on the table, all tiles are placed dry side up. Next to the island, the water level meter is placed and set to the appropriate level. The higher the water level, the harder the game becomes.
Then, the adventurers arrive, each with their unique special skill! In each turn you may take three actions. These actions can be any of the following:
a) move your adventurer to an adjacent tile, horizontally or vertically, never diagonally (unless your special skill allows you to do so)
b) shore up an adjacent tile (flip the tile over to its dry side)
c) Give a treasure card to another adventurer (you will need four corresponding cards to claim one of the treasures)
d) Claim a treasure (discard four corresponding cards when on a treasure tile)
At the end of every turn the player needs to draw two treasure cards, as well as an amount of flood cards, equal to the water level. After this, the next player takes his or her turn.
The island can sink in two ways. One, by drawing flood cards, and completely sinking the island tile by tile. If a flood card is drawn, the player has to flip over the corresponding tile to its flooded side. If a tile is already lying flooded side up, this tile will sink completely, and has to be taken out of the game. The sunk tile can never be shored up. The second way to sink the island is by raising the water level to maximum, in which case, the entire island will sink at once and you and your greedy chums will be sleeping with the fishes, see?
Your goal is to collect all four treasures before the island sinks. After collecting all four treasures, you and your fellow treasure hunters will have to make their way back to the extraction point, the aptly named Fool's Landing.
For me, the best thing about this game is its cooperative game play. Contrary to other board games, where you compete against each other for the ultimate victory, this game is all about working as a team. Effectively, you are all playing against the game. Because of the special abilities of each character, it is crucial to form a plan, and help each other make your way across the island. The replay value of this game is very high, especially when you increase the water level setting at the start of the game. By increasing this level right from the start, each player has to draw more flood cards at the end of every turn, thus increasing the sinking rate of the island.
This game is exciting, because of the time pressure and the ever faster sinking of the island. I also like that this game does not take hours per round. It takes about 30 minutes per round to play, which makes me think: “Hmm, one more round perhaps?” The game is officially suited for players from ages 10 and up. But because of the cooperative character of this game, younger players can also play this game, albeit together with their parents.
THE FORBIDDEN ISLAND
White Goblin Games / White Goblin Games (in English) / GameWright
A Game by Matt Leacock
Illustrations: C.B. Canga
Players: 2 - 4 players, ages 10 & up
Playtime: approx. 30 minutes