Game Review: Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island
Forbidden Island
Title: Forbidden Island
Players: 1-4
Play Time: 30 Minutes
Designer: Matt Leacock
Publisher: Gamewright (et al)
Year: 2010

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 don’t like the metal tin. But I can get over that. 😉

The components are great! The four relic tokens are nicely done, and begging to be painted. (They will be some day.)

Forbidden Island Relics
Forbidden Island Relics

The island tiles are heavy duty cardboard, and the art is wonderful. One side has a full color illustration which represents a dry tile. The flip side has the same image in blue / gray scale which represents a tile that is flooded.

  • Forbidden Island Watchtower
    Forbidden Island Watchtower

There are two decks of cards. One deck contains cards that match the island tiles (with a blue back) and the other deck contains treasure cards (and have a red back). There is also a set of “helper” cards that detail each role and their special abilities. The cards are a standard card size and feel really good. I still sleeved them. 🙂

The only negative component comments I have are the water level card feels sort of cheap and could use a stand. I am also not a fan of the metal box. I would rather prefer a cardboard box. That clearly is a matter of preference.

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