Title: Forbidden Island
Play Time: 30 Minutes
Designer: Matt Leacock
Publisher: Gamewright (et al)
Overview Forbidden Island was one of many games that I learned about by watching the TableTop channel on YouTube. It is a cooperative game where 1-4 players try to move around an island attempting to retrieve four special relics, each representing one of the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Technically it’s sold as a 2-4 player game, but you could easily play this by yourself. There are six roles that are randomly assigned to start the game. Each role has one special ability that I’ll cover a bit later.
If you don’t read any further, here’s the important part: I definitely enjoy this game, and find that it’s a fantastic way to introduce the idea of cooperative gaming to those who haven’t played that style before. (It’s much easier to explain and faster to play than Pandemic, for example, another cooperative game from the same designer.) Adding in the alternate island layouts (details later) has kept this game in my rotation for quite some time.
I like abstract games! What does that mean! What is an abstract game! Why am I using the exclamation point for questions! 😛
Board Game Geek defines Abstract Games as follows:
An abstract strategy game is a strategy game that minimizes luck and does not rely on a theme. Almost all abstract strategy games will conform to the strictest definition of: a gameboard, card, or tile game in which there is no hidden information, no non-deterministic elements (such as shuffled cards or dice rolls), and (usually) two players or teams taking a finite number of alternating turns.
Wikipedia uses the following definition:
An abstract strategy game is a strategy game in which the theme is not important to the experience of playing. Many of the world’s classic board games, including chess, Go, checkers and draughts, xiangqi (Chinese chess), shogi (Japanese chess), Reversi (marketed as “Othello”), nine men’s morris, and most mancala variants, fit into this category.
When I was growing up I played a lot of standard games like Sorry and Risk and Monopoly. As a teenager I grew to hate Trivial Pursuit. 😛 I also played checkers, chess, and tic-tac-toe. And I liked puzzles. Not jigsaw puzzles, but math or physical puzzles. As my interest in board games was rekindled I learned about an entirely new (to me) category of abstract games. Continue reading “In My Collection: Abstract Games”
A while back I wrote about how I encountered the game called Beyond Chess. I don’t get the game out every month, but it is a regular fixture when I teach the Chess merit badge, and it has also been on a couple of trips. What fascinates me the most, I guess, is how little information there is about the game on the Internet. There is almost no discussion on Board Game Geek and the original web site is defunct. Even the “wayback machine” (aka the Internet Archive) doesn’t have anything useful! There is nothing on Amazon, and as I write this there is one active listing on eBay (asking price: $39.95) and nothing in the 90 day sales history.
Quarto is one of a series of abstract games from the French company Gigamic. As much as I love a game with a good theme, sometimes I crave the intellectual challenge of a puzzle instead. Quarto is one of the games in my collection that scratches this itch.
BoardGameGeek categorizes Quarto as an Abstract Strategy game. Some attributes of this type of game include simple design / mechanics, no obvious theme, little or no luck element, and a lack of theme. If you have played tic-tac-toe then you have played an abstract strategy game. 🙂 In tic-tac-toe games between equally skilled players will almost certainly end in a draw. Perfect play ends up with no winner every single time. There is no hidden information, no element of luck, and no theme or story-line. It’s a classic that every child learns growing up. Continue reading “Quarto Statistics”
Today was another Game Day Lunch session at work. We’ve been gradually picking shorter games (and by we I mean me) in order to be sure to finish during our longer lunch period. Or in some cases maybe play the same game twice. Last time we played Carcassonne and Azul, two games that were both influenced by actual history. Today we played Forbidden Island, which might have been inspired by the Indiana Jones movies. Continue reading “Game Day Lunch! Forbidden Island”
Lots of games have bits. Lots of bits. Teeny-tiny bits. Some games even need bits to be passed around the table. A well-designed foam core box insert can help with this, but this is the 21st century. While I can’t order, “Tea, Earl Gray, Hot” from a box in the wall I can create things with my MakerBot Replicator 2 printer. Continue reading “Gaming Accessory: Bit Trays”
This past weekend saw a number of games hit the table. After getting a few chores done we met up with friends and played Shadows Over Camelot, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong (twice), and Carcassonne. I lost basically every game. Even though I won. Sort of. Continue reading “Weekend Gaming Session Report”
One of the frequent complaints related to Terraforming Mars is that the components are seen as being lower quality. The board is one of the main challenges. Even new out of the box, my board does not unfold to be completely flat. The other day I noticed that someone on Board Game Geek had posted a preliminary copy of some artwork that he was creating for TM. I thought to myself, “That’s awesome, because you know you need another custom game mat.” 😉 Continue reading “Terraforming Mars Custom Play Mat”
Terraforming Mars is a great game! Unfortunately some of the components are somewhat lacking. As part of your goal of terraforming Mars you keep track of production of six different resources (money, steel, and so on). In the regular game this is tracked by placing a colored plastic cube on the appropriate number on your production track. Unfortunately this important information is easily lost by bumping the table, nudging your card, or an invading cat on top of the table. 😯
I am a dragon nerd. If there is something with a dragon on it, I’m definitely interested. If a board game has a dragon on the cover plus dragon meeples inside? It’s a no-brainer purchase. Add to the fact that I found my copy at a local resale shop (all components present and accounted for) and it’s a triple win. But how does the game actually play? Is it fun and not just fun to look at?