Board Games: Forbidden Island

Did you know you can check out board games and puzzles from the library? If you hadn’t heard, we have a great variety of games at all three branches of the library, from classics like Pictionary to kids’ games like Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes! Today I’m here to review a cooperative (as opposed to competitive) board game called Forbidden Island that was recommended to me by a fellow book lover.

In this game, your team of 2-4 players must work together to retrieve four sacred treasures from an island which is steadily sinking into the sea! The game is played on a set of tiles laid out in a grid, with each tile representing a location on the island. There are only a few tiles where treasures can be found, and only one tile which gets you off the island. But on every turn, you have to draw a Flood Card, which tells you which tiles to flip over. If a tile gets flipped over, it has flooded, and is one step away from being lost forever. On each turn, you can also move your pawn, rescue a tile that has flooded (turn it back over), and draw Treasure Cards. If you collect four cards featuring a given treasure, and you’re on the right tile, you can claim that treasure – but watch out, because you might draw a “Waters Rise” card instead, flooding even more tiles!

The excitement comes from racing against the cards, and trying to strategize your movements and which cards you have. Teamwork is key, because you can only keep 5 cards in your hand at a time, which means that in order to accumulate four cards each of all four treasures, each player will have to focus on one treasure at a time. The aesthetic is a fun bonus — the art on the tiles and the way the treasures are crafted adds fantasy atmosphere to the gameplay. In my opinion the whole thing is complicated enough to be interesting, but not so complicated as to be daunting. The cooperative, story-like elements are refreshing, and it works pretty well with two players, though four is better, especially because each player is assigned a role with special abilities.

I personally recommend this game for those who don’t like conflict but enjoy adventures; it reminded me a bit of the new Jumanji movies, so liking those might help too.

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