Forbidden Island was the secluded retreat of an ancient mystical empire known as the Archeans. Legend has it that the Archeans possessed the ability to control the Earth’s core elements - fire, wind, water and earth - through four sacred treasures: The Crystal of Fire, The Statue of the Wind, The Ocean’s Chalice, and the Earth's Stone.
Because of their potential to cause catastrophic damage if they fell into enemy hands, the Archeans kept the treasures secretly hidden on the Forbidden Island and designed it to sink if intruders ever attempted to claim them.
In the centuries since the mysterious collapse of their empire, the Forbidden Island remained undiscovered.. Until now..
Will your team be the first to breach its borders, capture the treasure and make it out alive?
Forbidden Island is a cooperative adventure-themed strategy game that has the players adopting the role of different adventurers each with their own special abilities. As the waters rise, your goal is to work as a team to keep the island from sinking for long enough to gather the treasures and make it back to Fool’s Landing to take the helicopter off the island!
To get the game setup is very straight forward, grab the Island Tiles, give them a shuffle and place them in the instructed pattern. Divide the cards into the three decks and give them a shuffle, reveal the top 6 cards in the Flood Deck to show which areas of the Island start to flood as your team lands, flip the corresponding tiles to their flooded side (blue & white) and discard the drawn cards.
Randomly deal an adventure to each player, or if you are just starting everyone grabs one that they like and hand two treasure cards to each player, that's it the game is set and ready!
The player who last visited an island goes first, as with the setup the turns are straight forwards as well. A turn is broken up into 3 steps, take 3 actions, draw 2 treasure cards and draw flood cards.
Each player can move, shore up a flooded tile, give a treasure card or capture a treasure. You can move to an adjacent tile (not diagonally), you can sure up the tile you are on preventing it from disappearing completely, if you are on the same square as a teammate you can give them a treasure card or if you have 4 matching treasure cards and your token is on the corresponding tile you claim the treasure!
Every Adventurer can perform these actions however some are improved by the Adventures abilities on your assigned card, moving further, sure up extra tiles, moving other players and so on.
Drawing your treasure card will give you either a card matching one of the treasures, a special action card or a Waters Rise card! If a Waters Rise card is drawn your blood pressure will go up a little as the water level counter goes up a notch, the Flood Card discard is shuffled and put back on top of the Flood Card deck.. Eeeek!
Time for step 3 of the turn, draw a number of flood cards equal to the level on the Water, these cards are going underwater! Either the matching tiles get flipped to the flooded side or if already flooded they are gone forever!
Turns continue until the game ends!
There are a couple of different ways you can lose the game and only one way to win. To be victorious, your whole team must get back to the Fools Landing tile having collected all four treasures before the island sinks!
Losing, on the other hand, if both tiles of one treasure sink before you collect the treasure, if Fools Landing sinks, if any player is on a tile that sinks and has no adjacent tile to swim to or if the water level reaches the skull and crossbones the game is lost!.
Forbidden Island is designed for 2-4 players, having played it with two, three and four players the game runs well with all, each number of players provides its own challenges! With two players you don’t have a lot of Adventurer abilities, with four you feel like tiles are flooding left and right!
Games can take around 30-40 minutes depending on how much debate happens, every move counts!! While it is recommended for players 10+ we think that players 8+ with a little guidance would be able to pick up the game with relative ease.
With straight forward rules and gameplay, Forbidden Island is a solid choice for both experienced and beginner players. You will never find yourself bored of this game as Adventurer roles and tile locations change every game meaning a whole new island adventure awaits you each time you play.
I thoroughly enjoy cooperative games and Forbidden Island is no exception. While a solo victory in a game can be very satisfying, the feeling you get when you work together to put a plan into action that sees you either succeed or fail as one is truly satisfying. And for the younger players, it is a great opportunity for them to flex their strategy, debate, and collaboration skills!
Forbidden Island is one of those games that will have you experiencing dizzying highs and devastating lows. We have experienced both, as victory is often by the skin of your teeth and defeat is usually only by a turn or two. These kinds of wins and losses make for the best memories and drive you to play again, to try and beat that DAMN ISLAND!!
Gamez Knight Founder