Quick Review: Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island is another game I recently got to try out for the first time.  It’s by the same author as Pandemic – Matt Leacock – which is very obvious when playing.

The aim of the game is to recover four treasures from the “Forbidden Island” – but while you search the Island it’s being reclaimed by the sea – so you’re up against the rising water.

Island treasure
Island treasure

As with Pandemic it’s a co-operative game, so great to play when you’re not feeling like facing your friends as competition.

You need to collect a number of cards in order to recover the treasures and then get off the island.  Once you have the right number of cards you head to one of two specific locations to collect the treasures one-at-a-time.  This is very similar to collecting the different coloured cards in Pandemic and using a disease centre to cure the diseases.

The rising water is represented by the squares on the board being partially submerged and then entirely; and once they’re gone they’re gone.  A partially submerged square can be recovered… like treating a disease in Pandemic.

Squares - blue ones are partially submerged
Squares – blue ones are partially submerged

There are other similarities too – with special one-off action cards you can play (airlift to move people around the island, sandbags to sure-up multiple squares etc.) and unique abilities for each of the characters.

The presentation of the game is slick – with a neat little water-level to represent the increased likelihood of squares on the island being submerged.  It come in a great tin too and it’s clearly made from quality materials.

The rising water level...
The rising water level…

I enjoyed playing it, but having played Pandemic I felt it was a more simplistic version of the same game.  It didn’t feel significantly different to me.  It was really quick to pick-up though, so for perhaps younger gamers, or if you’re introducing people to the hobby, it’s a great starting point.  I just think if you’ve got Pandemic then you don’t need this as well.  The good thing is it is cheaper than Pandemic – at around £15 delivered – so that’s another good reason to use it as an introduction to tabletop gaming.

Have you played the game?  Let me know what you think in the comments below!



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