Game Day Lunch! Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island
Forbidden Island
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.

If you haven’t heard of Forbidden Island the scenario goes like this: You and your fellow explorers / tomb raiders have just landed on a cursed island, searching for four temple artifacts. Each of the four elements (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water) are represented. But as soon as you land the island—in order to protect the treasures—starts sinking around you!

I got to use my Forbidden Island tile holders that I printed with my 3D printer today too!

Today we had three players. I had played the game before, and the other two were new. We played our first game on Normal Mode, and used the standard island layout. The game went a little slow as we were discussing and learning as we went, but it was fun. After winning the first game we ratcheted up the difficultly level by one and set up a second run.

For the second session we had the Pilot (can fly anywhere on the island as an action), the Engineer (can shore up two tiles instead of just one for a single action) and the Diver (can move through flooded or missing tiles as one action). I have heard that the Diver is one of the weaker roles, so I took that one. But honestly as we played the game I wondered if we hadn’t been playing it wrong all this time. It says, “Move through 1 or more adjacent flooded and/or missing tiles for 1 action.” I think when we’ve played previously, we have counted each tile as one move. The diver can apparently move through all flooded or missing (sunk) tiles (even making turns) for one action! That means when the island is flooded / sinking the Diver can dart from one end of the island all the way to the other in just one action. That definitely came into play in our game today.

Here’s how the game ended. We had three treasures, and my Diver was sitting on the last available water trophy spot (the other had sunk). The Pilot was already on Fools’ Landing, and the Engineer was on her way over. On my move I swim all the way across the flooded island and end up on Iron Gate, right next to Fools’ Landing. We’re at level 5 on the water meter at this point. During my flood phase we lost several tiles and flooded a bunch more, including Fools’ Landing. But all we have to do is survive one more round, as I could “get to the chopper” (ha, whose voice did you read that line in? 😆 ) on my very next turn, and I already had a helicopter card.

Player 2 shored up Fools’ Landing and Iron Gate. At this point we realize our problem. There are six tiles left. Fools’ Landing and Iron Gate are dry, but everything else is flooded. We have to draw five flood cards. 😯 Four of the flooded tiles sink forever, and Fools’ Landing floods. We only have two cards left in the flood deck.

Player 3 shored up Fools’ Landing (again). I’m still sitting on Iron Gate, one tile away. We have to draw five flood cards, and there are only two in the deck. Both Fools’ Landing and Iron Gate are currently dry. We had no sandbags at this point, and if I use my helicopter card to get to Fools’ Landing we can’t use it again to take off. Here’s what we expected to happen.

Draw two flood cards, Fools’ Landing and Iron Gate both flood, and we have to shuffle and redraw. Draw two more flood cards and Fools’ Landing and Iron Gate both sink, and we lose the game. We have no sandbag or helicopter cards and there are none left in the treasure deck as they’re all in the discard pile.

We’re doomed.

Here’s what actually happened, and it was epic. 😀

As expected, we drew the two flood cards, which of course flooded both Fools’ Landing and Iron Gate. (Remember the Pilot and the Engineer are both on the helicopter tile, and I’m next to it on Iron Gate.) We shuffle the two cards.

We draw the first flood card and it’s Iron Gate! Why is this exciting? Because I’m on Iron Gate, and when it sinks, I get to swim to safety, and safety for me is Fools’ Landing! Once I get there, and before we draw the next flood card, I play my Helicopter card and we fly away to safety, as Fools’ Landing proceeds to sink beneath us. The entire island sank; there was not a single tile left when we were done, but we got to fly off into the sunset with our four trophies.

High fives were exchanged, and we all agreed it was an excellent Game Day Lunch. 😎

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