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4.7 out of 5 stars263
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 28 December 2011
I got this game recently and I have to say, I love it! It's so much fun. Half a board game and half a card game, two to four players have to work together to quickly grab treasure from an island that's fast sinking. It'll take a lot of planning but fortunately there are a number of tricks at your disposal, including the fact that every player is a unique type of adventurer with their own abilities. The game is slightly different each time you play.

The game is so well constructed, with durable cards, cool little plastic "treasures" and great artwork. It comes in a tin which looks great and makes it easy to take out and about with you. The instructions are clear and illustrated although there are just a few things that could be better explained... I'll put those at the end of my review!

I've played it with 2, 3 and 4 adults and can confirm it's just as fun whichever number of players you choose. Some of the other reviews on here imply that the game is just for children, but I disagree, I think it's suitable for anyone 10+ including adults! Well recommended.

[There are a couple of rules that could have been better explained, so I'm going to list them here. These won't make sense until you've actually played the game, but you might want to make a note of them before you order your copy (which you must!). I got these from the game's creator on a forum.

- The Navigator can move a Diver two adjacent tiles, this might mean moving through a single missing tile with his two moves, but they must land back on a non-missing tile to finish. He can also move the Explorer diagonally. However, he cannot make use of the Pilot's ability when moving the Pilot.

- The Diver can change direction when passing through multiple flooded or missing tiles, as long he moves in standard up, left, right or down directions. No matter how many flooded or missing tiles he passes through to get to his destination, it only counts as one action.

- The Helicopter Lift Card can be used to transport one or more people from ANY one tile on the board to any other one tile. The cardholder himself doesn't have to be on that tile at the time.

Hope this helps!]
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on 9 July 2015
My family plays quite a lot of Pandemic, and we bought this because we wanted another cooperative strategy game. It certainly is that, and on its own merits it's a very decent game. But we hadn't anticipated how much of a "Pandemic-lite" it is! Multiple players move around a map on which bad things are happening; as the game progresses the bad things happen faster; each player has a randomly chosen special ability; players are trying to undo the bad things before getting overwhelmed, and also trying to achieve (collectively) all of a set of four goals, which one does by collecting a certain number of cards; these cards can be passed from player to player in restricted circumstances. I've just described the core mechanics of *both* games, and there are other similarities beyond the ones I've listed.

Forbidden Island is a simpler and quicker game than Pandemic. It has a couple of (quite nice) extra game mechanics (the map is generated randomly for each game; bits of the map can disappear as the game progresses) and omits or simplifies a bunch of others (fewer "special" actions; fewer restrictions on passing cards to other players; simpler and smaller map; nothing analogous to outbreaks; nothing analogous to eradication). A game takes maybe 60% as long as a game of Pandemic.

Forbidden Island feels "shallower" than Pandemic. It's usually more obvious what the best thing is to do; there's less need to plan ahead; I think it takes less playing experience before you understand everything about the game there is to understand.

Recommendations: If you already have Pandemic, like the idea, but find it too slow or too complicated, get Forbidden Island. If you already have Pandemic and *don't* find it too slow or complicated, don't bother with Forbidden Island. If you don't already have either game, try Pandemic first if you're experienced strategy game players and Forbidden Island if not.

Three and a half stars. Round down to 3 or up to 4 depending on how difficult you like your games.
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on 12 September 2012
I love this game!

Get the treasure before the island sinks! Nice and simple?? Yes & No!
Yes - simple rules - great to start!
No - plenty of ways to drown!

Ideal for families - plays with 4 players best. You can set the starting difficulty according to ability. Nice entry level co-op game, more forgiving and simple than say, Pandemic. But don't be fooled - your team can still die! Excellent production quality for the price - lovely, tactile treasure objects! Get it - you won't be disappointed!

-Easy to explain
-Quick to get started
-Quick to play 20-35 mins
-Nice story arc - tension cranks up quickly - people get "into" the adventure and pulses do start to rise!!
-Great production quality for price
-Lots of variety to starting set up
-Can be expanded - with Forbidden Island Variant Cards ([..]- takes time to get, but interesting) See forums too for traiter variant, if you want a bit more "edge!"
-Can also be played as a "solo" game - which is nice

-May be too simple for dedicated gamers or experienced adults.
-Occasionally, luck can wipe you out FAST!

Get it!
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on 15 January 2011
Forbidden Island is an excellent introduction to co-operative board gamng.

The 'board' is created by laying shuffled tiles (never the same order twice) to create the island. During the gameplay, the tiles get turned over once to show they're being flooded and it's the players' role to ensure they are shored up to stop them being removed forever.

There are four treasures to collect before the island sinks, and it's up to the players to work together to collect the treasure cards, the treasures and then get to a specific tile (Fool's Landing) before playing a Helicopter Lift card to complete the game.

The game mechanic is similar to Pandemic (same author, Matt Leacock). The one starting tile layout is shown in the instructions. I recommend visiting BoardGameGeek and checking out the forum threads for a translation of the German instructions that have a few more challenging layouts, and a printable A4 page with plenty of even more callenging layouts from it's wide fan base, should the original layout ever become stale.
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on 28 November 2010
I tend towards the competitive end of the spectrum so wasn't sure whether or not a game that requires all players to cooperate would be much fun. Surprise: it's great. I wasn't even a teeny bit tempted to leave one player to drown as the island sank - and not just because that would mean we all lost.

The game mechanic is easy to understand but fiendishly clever in the way it ratchets up the pressure as play progresses. The need to agree tactics between players more than makes up for the lack of competition.

Side note: When we played with four people, one person did got a little obsessed with the idea of saving one particular tile from flooding, even when that meant losing more important areas to the sea. If that happens when you're playing I recommend waiting until the person in question has to leave the room for a moment then allowing the tile to flood before he returns. It's better in the long run.
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on 10 April 2012
My brother bought this for me for Christmas because Pandemic is probably now mine and my husband's favourite game, and this is by the same guy. The gameplay is very similar but far simpler and the choices are pretty obvious, as a previous reviewer has noted. To be honest, it is too simple with only 2 players, too easy to win and therefore not very much fun. We easily won even on expert mode and it would be pretty hard to lose. With four players, it is more interesting, so when my husband and I have played alone, we have taken two players each to make it more challenging. It is still pretty formulaic though. I am a massive fan of Pandemic, but this is not in the same league in terms of complexity, variety and difficulty. I agree with a previous reviewer that this is more of a child's game. It would be a good introduction to co-operative gameplay for a child aged 8 or upwards, and a good bridge to Pandemic, but if you love Pandemic and are looking for something equally fun along similar lines, this sadly falls short.
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on 4 March 2015
We were new to the whole collaborative game idea, and this was a great game for the family - 4 adults - as something to do over Christmas that wasn't eating, watching TV, or arguing. It took my mum a little while to accept team work was necessary rather than her trying to win, but it was worthwhile in the end, and all of us enjoyed it (normally have to bully everyone into board games, they're not great fans of the idea), but had a good time with this.
It's a good balance of requiring a few brain cells, but not so many that you spend hours trying to figure out what's going on. And it's adjustable on skill, by making all the flooding happen quicker for when you're more experienced with it. Also it doesn't take take the 2-3 hours that Monopoly can - the first game will be a bit longer, but probably 30-40 minutes or so, (on the beginner level anyway). I was always keen to play another (just one more!) game, and with the 5 difficulty levels, this should keep you entertained for a good while.
Good value for money.
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on 16 January 2016
Great game. We played as 2 players and thoroughly enjoyed it. Once you get going the rules are quite straightforward.

In order to win there are 4 treasures to be retrieved from the slowly sinking island and then all players must escape together by helicopter before the island sinks completely.

It's a co-operative game. Although players take turns to make individual moves, players must work together to come up with the right moves to win the treasures and escape as a team. Either everyone wins or everyone looses.

This game is recommended for 2+ players but as it's a cooperative game I imagine it's not too difficult for one player to play solo and take the role of two players perhaps.. .something I intend to try. I like the fact it is simple to adjust the game to various difficulty levels to keep it challenging. The artwork of the game cards is beautiful and adds to the enjoyment of the game and it's all stored in a nice tin.

Much enjoyed and well worth the money
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on 3 August 2013
Having recently gotten sucked back in to boardgames, I have been ordering, borrowing and making them left right and center but this was actually purchased without knowing too much about it as it was going for a good price. My friends and I opened it up today after receiving it (quickly I might add) and had a great shock as none of us had ever played a co-operative board game before. If you are in the same position, or even if you have, I would go ahead and get this as it makes for a surprisingly interesting time.

Game Play
Essentially, you are on an island and must escape before it sinks but after getting hold of four treasures that can be found on the island. Because you are all in it together the mechanics are easy to work out and the strategy employed is entirely new. Game play is quick enough not to drag on but short enough to add tension and suspense - our games cam in between 25 and 35 minutes or so with the first play maybe slightly longer.

Game Construction
The pieces and art are very well made and really add to the theme and overall play. The treasures themselves are little works of art and the tiles are very sturdy so I expect them to stand up to repeated play which is great for the price. Additionally, the game comes in a tin instead of a box and all the pieces have their own little home which, as a person who is forever sorting out playing pieces, I am eternally grateful for.

If you are looking for a game that will surprise you and draw you in, I would definitely give this a go on it's own or as a warm up before a longer game on game night.
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on 7 April 2012
Co-operative games are becoming a favourite in our household. We have Pandemic - Game in English (in my opinion one of the greatest of all board games) which I play with adults, not with our children who are aged 5 and 7. The first co-op game the children played was Castle Panic Board Game, which is a great game, and it was almost played every day: TV was forgotten, troll slaying was in! Then we got Castle Panic: The Wizards Tower, a brilliant expansion for Castle Panic, but one that in a strange way left Castle Panic in the cupboard unplayed. The main reason for this was that the new Wizard cards required reading, and the 5 year old, as a result, lost interest. It was difficult to revert to the original version as it was so basic by contrast. Plus, Castle Panic can easily go on for over an hour, and during the game the children will say "I want to do something else" and off they go.

Enter Forbidden Island. Reading all the other reviews I'm sure you'll get an idea of what the game is about. A game takes about 30 mins, so it's easy to sneak a game in before bed time. The game doesn't rely on reading, with cards having pictures that says it all, so even the 5 year old can shout out "Sandbags!" or "Airlift!" or feel dismay when drawing a Water Rise card. The adventurer roles also capture the imagination of the younger players (with perhaps the exception of the Navigator, whose ability to move other players is a bit more subtle), whether it be a diver, a pilot, or Explorer. The treasure figurines also look good, and help to the atmosphere that you're risking your lives to get something truly valuable. For me, the genius of the game comes from setting up the tiles to form the island, so that the layout is never the same. What's more, you can alter the shape of the island (check out the variant rules on the Forum website) which alters the difficulty of play.

In Pandemic (by the same author) which has notable similarities, you win when you cure all 4 diseases. What is different with Forbidden Island is once you gain all 4 treaures, all players still have to get to the helipad, known as Fool's Landing, and use the Airlift card to claim victory. This adds a sense of complete closure to the game, and also added tension as there are still oppurtunities to loose before everyone is lifted to safety.

And full marks for presentation. The game comes in a tin box with well presented instructions, and is easy to take around. I wouldn't take Pandemic on a camping trip, for instance, as there are quite a few little pieces to loose. Forbidden Island, on the other hand, is easier to fit in a suitcase and is more durable.

In a few years time, I'm sure the children will get back to Castle Panic and be able to play the whole game in a single setting, and when they reach 10, I will introduce Pandemic to them. As for now, Forbidden Island is all the rage. The suggested age of 10+ is a bit high. My 7 year old daughter has easily grasped the concept and tactics, and is able to make her own suggestions, and I think could play this game with children of a simlar age. The 5 year does need adult supervision.

Overall, excellent! A very good introduction to co-op games for any age. For adults though, I thouroughly recommend Pandemic.
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