Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Forbidden Island

GameForbidden Island


Designer: Matt Leacock


Forbidden Island was part of my first ever game night. Having never encountered modern board games before I found myself being introduced to Amy’s friends over a back-stabbing game of Munchkin, followed up with a 5-player game of Forbidden Island (Amy played “the flood”, since the game is only 4-player). As my first ever co-operative game, Forbidden Island was a bit of a shock, but I’m still playing games, so it can’t have been too bad.

In Forbidden Island you are 4 adventurers trying to escape a sinking island after rescuing its four treasures represent Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. You must co-operate to ensure that you can rescue all 4 items as well as ensure that you still have a safe passage to the helipad and therefore a route to leave the island. If the helipad floods you fail, if any adventurer is trapped you fail and if the flood gauge just gets too high you’ll also fail.

The game setup is 24 double sided tiles which are laid out to represent the island. On your turn you can take 4 actions, involving moving one space, shoring up a tile (flipping your tile or an adjacent tile from the partially flooded side to its dry side), trading cards with a player on the same tile as you or swapping four matching cards for the treasure at one of the appropriate board tiles. You then draw two cards from the treasure deck, most of which represent the treasures, although some are special cards such as sandbags which let you cancel one flood or waters rise which makes the flood situation worse. Finally you draw an appropriate number of cards from the flood deck and flip all of the locations that are drawn.

The different potential adventurers that give each player one of 6 unique abilities.
Forbidden Island is definitely an introductory weight game, the rules are easy to grasp and the strategy very quickly becomes obvious. Your goals are always to protect at least one location for each remaining treasure, protect the helipad so you can escape and make sure you have a route back to the helipad. It’s definitely a good gateway into co-operative games, but I haven’t always had success introducing it to non-gamers, since the idea of playing against the game can be pretty alien.

A two-player game.

In spite of personally moving on from Forbidden Island towards Matt Leacock’s more advanced games – Forbidden Desert and Pandemic, Forbidden Island still remains in our collection as it’s a short co-operative game, in a pretty small tin that looks really good on the table. Frankly I find the quality of this game pretty awesome for the price point with thick tiles, chunky plastic treasures and good card quality. For us as a couple of gamers, there’s always the option to up the difficulty and on the highest level Forbidden Island really is a hard and punishing game, even if it’s not a mental workout. For the Yellow Meeple it deserves a 6/10.

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