Forbidden Sky Review

Forbidden Sky Feature
Forbidden Sky Feature
Released 2018
Designer Matt Leacock
Publisher Gamewright (Website)
Players 1 – 5
Playing Time 45-90 minutes
Category Cooperative
Action Points
Hand Management
Player Powers
Circuit Building
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

Some things should remain off limits – but not this!

Just like Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert before it, Forbidden Sky takes a central theme of characters working together to achieve a common goal.

Once again, each character has a set number of actions they can perform on their turn.  Each character has special abilities that will break some limiting game rules and help the team.  There is also the ‘Draw a card and lose’ actions in full swing.

Then the game changes

Normally characters are playing in a predefined shape of tiles in order to search for and obtain a certain number of items to win.

I bet you are already checking out the rocket in the picture though, aren’t you? We will get to it, I promise 😀

This time around, you have flown the Archean’s lost Sky Ship from the Desert to a secret Sky Station.  Here you need to repair the station in order to allow the Rocket to hopefully take you to the Archean’s long-lost civilisation.  Forbidden Moon is coming perhaps?

Forbidden Sky Components
Mostly the same simple components that allow lots of gameplay, except everyone plays with the Rocket...

Gameplay wise you start at on a preset tile (complete with an image of the Sky Ship – glad the theme is starting to flow) but you have to explore the station.  This is done not by tile flipping like in the Desert, but in collecting then placing tiles a la Carcossone.

If you have never played Carcassone, the placement is fairly simple.  On each tile is a number of orange lines which represent wires.  Each time you place a tile, one of these orange lines must line up with a tile next to it, forming a continuous line like a road.

Also on these tiles are various symbols, but I will go into these a little later.  For the moment, you are concentrating on forming a circuit with a certain number of disks, physical wires and lightning towers in order to power the Rocket.  And you will actually power the Rocket!

Forbidden Sky Tile Placement
So this tile can be placed because the orange line matches the previous tile. This is your main placement rule - nice and simple.

Gameplay vs Gimmick – The Rocket

Now the idea behind the game is simple and brilliant – build an actual electrical circuit to power the Rocket.  When complete, the Rocket will flash and make noise as it simulates taking off into the unknown.

But to get there, you need to build a physical circuit with a number of components.  The amount of items you need depends on the difficulty level you want to play at – the higher the difficulty, the more parts involved.

Now this challenge is both familiar and different to the other Forbidden games, which is great.  Needing to find tiles to make the capacitors that act as wire joints, as well as lightning towers and the pad itself, makes this unquestionably a Forbidden game experience.

But.

The play tiles are constantly being bumped.  You are eventually placing different length wires in different places.  Player pieces are moved around into wires or accidentally moving tiles.

Forbidden Sky Connections
The joints are magnetised, but the constant bumping and knocking makes mid turn rebuilding the map a pain.

All this means when you finish the game, you usually then have to nudge the pieces into place to ‘win’ and let the Rocket launch.  The circuit can never remain in place during play, making this the fiddliest game to date – all for a gimmick light and sound show.

Now don’t get me wrong – I enjoy the challenge of the game, and making three similarly feeling yet completely different games is a massive task.  Matt Leacock deserves every credit for making a fun game – it’s just the execution seems to be a bit lacking.

I really would have preferred a less finicky system for playing with.  Placing plastic wires on discs (capacitors) would have worked without the magnets to form the circuit just as well, and maybe a little better.

Physically ‘building’ the Sky Ship in Forbidden Desert was fun, but not essential – especially as they just filled a set space.  I rarely let anyone attach the propeller in my game because I had trouble pulling it apart again – but no one was disappointed the ship didn’t ‘fly’.

When the circuit doesn’t just work, the satisfaction of winning is dashed by the anti-climax of the Rocket not lighting up, and that actually detracts from a very fun game.

Forbidden Sky Circuit Complete
When the board is complete, watching the Rocket light up is great! But when it doesn't work, well that is such an anti-climax

The Leacock Equation has been reversed

So the Leacock Equation is something I call it, but if you talk to a lot of players of Matt Leacock’s cooperative games most will probably guess what I am talking about.

When you play these cooperative games, if you want to make it a bit easier on yourself/yourselves, you play with fewer characters.  The general theory is that fewer ‘bad thing’ draws happen between your turn ending and coming back to you.  This also allows you to optimise strategy on using certain special skills over and over again with less cooldown.

Forbidden Sky does something different – I find the game much easier on higher player counts.

The reasoning is exploring the Station.  Because Forbidden Sky is a cooperative game, everyone can see what everyone is holding (open handed play).  When you have four or five players, you can see up to 15 tiles waiting to be placed.

Now some tiles have capacitors you need, some have gear available, some have protection from lightning and/or protection from wind (the ‘bad things’ of Forbidden Sky).

Forbidden Sky Characters
Six Characters, with up to 5 at a time. But the more that come in, the easier planning gets.

With this much information freely available and unlimited turn and planning time, you can lay out a lot of the Station very quickly and protect your characters nicely.

This is a little offset by the fact you have to survive at least an entire round to get to this position, and something bad will happen all but guaranteed each turn.  But getting here isn’t uncommon and it’s quite an advantage.

I can see where the gameplay would be made a little easier when the ‘bad things’ became harder.  Instead of fighting one peril (Water or Sun), you now face Lightning and Wind at the same time.

Lightning will do a point of health damage if you are on a square that connects to a lightning tower via a wire, and wind will blow you off the Station.  You can survive both for a few ‘hits’, but you need to beware.

Now personally I think this is a welcome changeup in mechanics, but for some players, this could be a large negative.

I know plenty of couple players that enjoy a ‘quiet’ game of Pandemic or Forbidden Island/Desert because it’s a little easier.  Only having a maximum of 6 tiles available to plan makes long terms strategising harder, and this may not be the instant difficulty spike they were hoping for.

It’s not the end of the world by any means – but beware if you think going in that the two player mode is the ‘easy’ mode.  To really hammer this home, if you play 2 player you will start on 2 on the ‘Draw Bad Cards’ meter – no breathers for you!

Forbidden Sky Storm Meter
Only playing with 2 Characters? Well you can start getting hammered straight away. Lightning and Wind ahoy!

So it really sounds like I don’t enjoy Forbidden Sky, doesn’t it?

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Everything that makes me enjoy the previous Forbidden games is here, including the ‘fiddly’ between turn issues of Forbidden Desert.

Think of any trilogy you have ever experienced.  I will pick the ‘original’ Star Wars for the example – Episodes 4, 5 and 6.  I enjoy all of them, both for nostalgia and as a bit of fun on the TV in the background.  Episode 4 introduced the story, Episode 5 set the stage and stakes, and Episode 6 bought it home.

Rewatching the movies now, I skip Episode 5 – Empire Strikes Back – almost every time.  Not because I don’t like it, but because I don’t need it.  I know the story, I know the twists, I don’t have to watch it again.

Star Wars Trilogy
I may be showing my age, but many would have seen these movies. And like all trilogies, one is liked less than the others

Forbidden Sky is a little like my Empire Strikes Back.  It’s good, and if you haven’t seen it you should watch it – especially if you want the entire Star Wars story.  Forbidden Sky is a worthy game for your shelf, especially if you are a fan.  But in a year, will I be suggesting to play it over Forbidden Desert?  I don’t think so.  But I will always be willing to teach and play it with people that haven’t played it, because it should be played.

But why no tin?

My only real ‘Why?’ with Forbidden Sky is the packaging.

Forbidden Island and Forbidden Sky both came in nice tins that made them stand out on shelves.  Now I have heard of people complaining of dents and lids distorting, but I have never had any trouble like this.  I can always spot the Forbidden games on my shelf because I look for the tins.

Now Forbidden Sky is larger than the previous two games, and costs can be a factor, but I am disappointed that the aesthetic didn’t continue.  However, for some people, this will be a plus, so go with what works for you on this one 🙂

Forbidden Island Something is Different
It's a small thing, but series defining - a 'Forbidden' game not in a tin! Still makes a nice pyramid though...

Until next time,

JohnHQLD
Forbidden Sky

Final Thoughts

Forbidden Sky is my least favourite of the Forbidden games, but that needs context.  It’s like saying you like Rocky Road less than Café Grande or Salted Caramel – it’s not that you will say no to the Rocky Road, just that you might say no if others are on offer.

It’s not a bad game by any means, and the attempt to do some different things is very appreciated.  If you have only played Forbidden Sky, you will most likely really enjoy it.  If you played only one other Forbidden game, you may like this more, you may like the other – it’s a personal taste question.

That is both the beauty and curse of Forbidden Sky.  It’s trying to be an accessible entry for new players while giving existing fans something new, and it almost gets there.  But just not quite.

Play it if you get the chance, and there are certainly many worse games you can buy blind.  But if I was standing next to you in the game store, I would say buy one Desert or Island first depending on your tastes.

Overall
7.5/10
7.5/10

Pros

  •  It’s more Forbidden game
  •  Memory flip has been replaced with Carcassone style map making
  •  Still accessible for brand new players to the genre

Cons

  •  Rocket feels gimmicky
  •  Connecting ‘wires’ gets in the way and get knocked off a lot
  •  Inverting difficulty may put off some existing fans
  •  Doesn’t come in a tin – but that’s personal preference

Forbidden Desert Review

Forbidden Desert Feature
Forbidden Desert Feature
Released 2013
Designer Matt Leacock
Publisher Gamewright (Website)
Players 1 – 5
Playing Time 45-60 minutes
Category Cooperative
Action Points
Hand Management
Set Collection
Player Powers
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

Going through the desert with characters with no name… It’s not the same is it?

Ahh, cooperative gaming.  Where would you be now without games like this?

Forbidden Desert is the follow up to Matt Leacock’s immensely successful and fun Forbidden Island (check out the review here!).  Like Pandemic and other cooperative Matt Leacock games, there are some similarities you will find between them – so much so that I suggest reading the Island review first if you haven’t already.  A lot of the comments hold for both games.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking they are both the same though!

The story continues – somehow?

Like Forbidden Island before it, there is a loose story happening here but it’s not really the main point of the game.  This time, you are a group of explorers sent to the desert to explore a buried city in the sand.

The Archeans aren’t really mentioned in Forbidden Desert, but now I am pretty sure that it is an Archean city you are exploring.  Unfortunately, the helicopter that bought you here has crashed, so you are stranded in the area of the city!

Or are you?  You need to find the ancient solar-powered flying machine if you want any chance of winning – and surviving!

Forbidden Desert Components
Just like Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert has a small number of components that lead to a lot of gameplay

So is Forbidden Desert just more of the same?

Straight up, Forbidden Desert is very much its own game.  Once again everyone must work together to solve the ‘puzzle’ the game presents.  The central idea of Forbidden Island is still intact – find the treasures (in this case parts) and get everyone to safety with the booty.

This time though instead of being on a sinking island, you are fighting against a massive sandstorm in the middle of the desert.  So instead of tiles sinking, they are buried beneath piles of sand that you have to dig out to uncover the part of the lost city beneath them.

The flow of Desert is the same as Island – your character can perform 4 actions now, and at the end of your turn, you draw Sand Storm Cards.  Gear is now provided if you find areas of the city with a Gear symbol, so it’s not guaranteed you will get help.

So you think this sounds pretty basic – just flip the tactics.  Instead of stopping something from falling, don’t let it get buried.  Check.  Let’s play you think!

Hold on.  Firstly you are working in the desert, so you have to keep a close on how hydrated you are.  You don’t deal with health as such, just how much water you have.

Secondly, now the tiles move.  As the storm rages on, tiles physically start moving around messing with your strategies even more.

Forbidden Desert Characters
A few more characters this time around, but each has their strengths and weaknesses. The Climber isn't shown, instead showing the summary card on it's back

As I said the feel of the game remains the same, even with these changes – but if the changes were good or bad depends on the sort of player you are.

For some, it bought about the ‘required challenge’ missing from Forbidden Island.  For others, it made for too many moving parts and put them off playing.

So who should play Forbidden Desert?

This is a hard one.  Personally, at the moment Forbidden Desert is my favourite of the Forbidden Trilogy (Island, Desert and Sky).

Having to find areas Raiders of the Lost Ark style and lining up rows and columns is fun for me, and dealing with the changing game board always presents a challenge.

If you were just getting into gaming though, I would probably suggest staying clear of Forbidden Desert.  The rules and mechanics are easy enough to get into, but the Sand and Storm has put off more new players than I have seen be awed by it.

Forbidden Desert The Board
So I know I haven't gone too much into the gameplay, but I am guessing you can tell what's happening just looking at the game here

Now, this doesn’t mean it’s not a great game that new players couldn’t just sit and play.  If you are playing it yourself or with players of the same background, you are more likely to enjoy playing Forbidden Desert.

The other catch to Forbidden Desert can be the downtime when Storm cards are drawn.  Moving tiles and placing sand can be a bit annoying, even though it opens up great gameplay.  If you are playing with people that don’t like the flow interrupted, be prepared!

If you are playing with a group or even one player that knows the game well though, that Quarterbacking problem can rear its head.  Most people learning tend to defer to the ‘experienced’ players, and the tactics and reasoning used don’t always come across.

Ending the Game

Similar to Forbidden Island, you win if you get all of the Skyship parts to the Launch Pad, assemble the ship and fly away.  Except that the Launch Pad can’t have sand on it, that’s it!

Losing though is just as easy as well.

  • Thirst – if a character runs out of water, game over!
  • Buried – if you need to put sand down but don’t have any, the storm has buried you all 🙁
  • Swept Away – if the Storm intensifies to the top of the level, it’s game over.
Forbidden Desert The Skyship
The ancient sky ship - your treasure and your salvation. While it makes sense to be looking for it, the real reason why wasn't revealed until 2018...

It’s all a case of managing a lot of resources at once and preparing for the inevitable.  Unlike Forbidden Island, the difficulty for Forbidden Desert mainly comes down to starting with the Storm at a higher level – no fancy designs here!

Now I don’t think this is a bad thing, but just like Forbidden Island there are people that have ‘beaten’ the Desert and call the game out on it.  Again, most people I have met that say this only play one particular level and set of characters.

Playing with random character assignments definitely works, and as long as you enjoy the game does mean you can keep playing Forbidden Desert for a long time.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD
Forbidden Desert

Final Thoughts

If you have played a few cooperative games before, Forbidden Desert is a great choice for you.  Playing with more characters still makes the game more challenging as you have to cause more ‘bad things’ before a character’s role comes around, but that is where strategy comes into play.

The component quality is great, with the exception of the propeller – almost everyone I know has trouble getting the prop off again at the end of the game!  It’s a small price though, and the only real quibble I have with the game overall.

If you get the chance to play it, grab it – you will be pleasantly surprised 🙂

Overall
8/10
8/10

Pros

  •  Retains the feel of the original but is a completely unique game
  •  Component quality is great
  •  Random placement and tiles moving mid-game make the challenges interesting

Cons

  •  New players can find it hard to keep track of all the mechanics the first couple of games
  •  Between turns, management can put some people off
  •  Quarterbacking can still be a problem as with all coop games

Forbidden Island Review

Forbidden Island Cover
Forbidden Island Cover
Released 2010
Designer Matt Leacock
Publisher Gamewright (Website)
Players 1 – 4
Playing Time 30-45 minutes
Category Cooperative
Action Points
Hand Management
Set Collection
Player Powers
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

But the tin says 2-4 players…

In board gaming circles, Matt Leacock is considered the father of modern cooperative board gaming.  Depending on who you ask, he is also the father of the frustrating ‘draw a card – you lose’ mechanic as well.

All this started with a board game called Pandemic.  I am sure anyone looking at my site would have heard of Pandemic or one of its numerous spin-offs, most likely Pandemic Legacy.

New players looking into any Matt Leacock game will undoubtedly see comparisons to Pandemic and its mechanics.  The cooperative nature and randomised events by card draw ask for this.  But this review is for someone that hasn’t played Pandemic, so if you have – I apologise, there will be some information you already know.

If you haven’t played Pandemic, welcome to a review for you!

But how do you play a multiplayer game solo?  The official player count is 2-4 people.  And this is true.  It’s also a fully cooperative game with no hidden information, so good thing to remember is you can play a lot of these style of games solo with no problems – just control multiple characters!

It does take a bit of practice, but it can be a lot of fun as well.  So I won’t be talking about players so much in this review as characters, because it doesn’t matter so much how many players are involved as much as the number of characters they control.  I have played Forbidden Island and similar games a few times with two players at two characters each.

Forbidden Island Components
Simple but beautiful components will entertain players for many hours

The reasoning for wanting to play at the full character count I will talk about later.  As a general tip, keep that in mind whenever you look at a cooperative game, there is a good chance it will solo play well as well.

So what is Forbidden Island?

At its heart, Forbidden Island is a cooperative exploration game where you play as a team searching an island for four rare artifacts.  When I first played Forbidden Island, my thinking was basically ‘So a team of Indiana Jones/Lara Croft types’.

As usual, this was both correct and incorrect.  Each character has a distinctive role, represented by a different skill.  These skills are all rule breaking abilities, giving the character the chance to do one “That would be nice” thing.  For example, the Diver can swim through sunken tiles and the Navigator can move other characters on its turn.

Story-wise I was initially very meh about.  Legends of an ancient race called the Archeans that could control the elements – Fire, Wind, Water, Earth.  Fairly standard fare but it was as good a reason as any to be coming to an unexplored island.

Of course, this was 10 years ago.  The board game renaissance had not yet begun, and we were a lot more forgiving of a lack of good narrative experiences.  Little did we know that 10 years later, Forbidden Sky would come along completing a trilogy (so far) of games where explorers continue to chase down the Archeans!

Forbidden Island Treasures
The treasure - the ability to control the elements. Wind, Fire, Water and Earth - I still want to paint these years later.

Of course, just finding the island to search for the treasures wouldn’t be that exciting.  But what if the Archeans had booby-trapped the island to collapse if anyone set foot on it?

Playing the Game

And that is where the game of Forbidden is played.  Sure, you need to explore a randomly set out bunch of tiles, but you need to do it while parts of the island sink away beneath you.  The Diver doesn’t sound like such a strange ability now does it?

On your characters turn, you can perform up to three actions.  These include moving, shoring up a tile to stop it from sinking, trading treasure cards, or finding a treasure.

Most of these actions are self-explanatory.  Move your pawn one tile in any direction up/down or left/right (no diagonals!).  Flip an adjacent tile from flooded to safe.  Give another player on your tile a treasure card.

Forbidden Island Setup
A pretty standard setup. Some areas of the island begin flooding immediately, as you can tell from the blue tiles - they are going underwater.

Finding a treasure means being on a tile marked with the treasure you are trying to find and exchanging four matching treasure cards to receive the treasure piece.

You find treasure cards at the end of your turn, where you get to draw two treasure cards every time.  The only issue when doing this is you have a five card hand limit, so you need to work with everyone so that people can focus on concentrating on a particular treasure.

Also in the treasure cards could be special powers that can be used by anyone as a once off reward.  There is also the Water’s Rise! cards, but I will go into those later.  For now, they are worse than you are probably thinking.

It all sounds pretty simple and straightforward, doesn’t it?  It’s one of the aspects of many of Matt Leacock’s designs I really appreciate – the mechanics don’t usually get in the way of enjoying the game.  The players just need to concentrate on solving the ‘puzzle’ presented to them before a ‘You Lose’ condition is met.

Oh yes – Forbidden Island is not the relaxing zen-like puzzle you may be imagining.  After you have drawn your treasure cards, rewarding you with exploring for another turn, you get to draw flood cards.

You draw the number of Flood Cards currently shown on the Water Meter.  Most game modes start at 2, and you can draw up to 5 cards each turn.  In the flood deck, there is a card for each tile in the game.  Draw the card, and flip the tile corresponding tile to the blue ‘flooded’ side.  If the tile is already flooded, remove the tile and the card from the game – that part of the island has been claimed by the sea and can never be visited again.

Forbidden Island End of First Round
And one round in, we already found one Water Rises! card, leading to the Watchtower being lost forever. Luckily the Engineer had somewhere else to swim!

So now you can see where Shoring the tiles comes into play.  At the start of the game, you can let a water be around the island as the island is slowly sinking.  But as you pull Water’s Rise! from the treasure deck, you increase the gauge on the Water Meter.

Pulling more cards means getting through the deck quicker, meaning less time for a card that has already been pulled to appear again.  Letting a tile sink also means fewer cards in the deck, speeding up the island sinking!

Oh and those extra cards your pulling?  It includes the discarded cards straight away.  In Forbidden Island, you take the remaining flood deck and the discards and shuffle them into a Flood deck.  This way you have no way of knowing what is likely to be sinking next!

And this is where the ‘Draw a card and lose’ aspect of a Leacock game comes into it.

To win, you ‘just’ need to have everyone on the ‘Fool’s Landing’ tile with all four treasures, and a Helicopter Lift card to fly away to safety.

To lose, just one of the following needs to happen:

  • Fool’s Landing Sinks (No Escape)
  • It the Water Level reaches the Skull and Crossbones (Island Sinks)
  • If a character has nowhere to swim to if their tile sinks (Character Death)
  • Both Treasure Temples sink and the treasure is not collected (Cannot retrieve all 4 treasures)
Forbidden Island The Item Deck
The items giveth, and the items taketh away. Looking at the water level gauge, you think there is plenty of time to spare - but it's less than you think!

It sounds hard to win, and initially the random nature of drawing good and bad cards can seem unfair, but there are ways to win almost every time.  Rest assured there are definitely winning strategies that will let you win a majority of the time.

So there is a set way to win?

Yes and no.  This is probably the biggest difference of player opinion occurs.

The Treasure and Flood decks are fairly fixed.  Even if you are not a card counter, you get a feel for how likely a ‘bad’ draw is to happen.  Knowing these odds are a big help in planning your strategy.

If you play with the same team every time, even with the island tiles placed randomly you learn how the team works and how to get the most out of them.

There are also obviously ‘better’ characters to play early games with.  Better in this context means ‘easier to use their powers all the time’.  Playing a game without an Engineer and their ability to Shore Up multiple tiles is more challenging, but that doesn’t make the character superior over the others.

Forbidden Island Skull Island
Mastered the original island? Try variants like Skill Island! The different layouts change gameplay nicely.

You may hear reviews or opinions that Forbidden Island is too easy.  Most people I have played with or spoken to about difficulty have a caveat to this though.  They play the same configuration every time.  And not just the same characters – the same characters played by the same players, on the same difficulty,  in the same play order – every time.

Now, to me this is fine – people enjoy this style of play.  I am not one of them.  My only complaint is that I wish people that simply dismiss Forbidden Island with ‘Too Easy’ clarified this is how they play.

Think of Forbidden Island like a video game for a second.  Worked out how to beat easy every time with the same group?  Play with the two characters you don’t normally pick.  Mastered that?  Start playing at higher difficulties, and randomise the character selection.  Unfortunately not in my copy, but there are even official alternate island layouts you can play to increase your challenge.  Just finishing the game once doesn’t mean you ‘beat’ it – there are other ways of increasing the challenge for you.

Yes, there are more challenging games out there these days – that’s not in question.  If you are new to gaming or cooperative games, then Forbidden Island is a great way to start.  The challenge in Forbidden Island can be tailored to your wishes more than many people acknowledge, and I find that unfortunate.

Downsides to Forbidden Island?

Apart from difficulty, the other divisive item is the tin.  Yes – Forbidden Island comes in an embossed tin.  It’s pretty, it holds the components well, and I don’t mind putting it on other games or having other games on top of it.

I like the tin, but there are those that are very opposed to it.  That said, I hope that future reprints come in a cardboard box, because the third game has ditched the tin.  Unless something goes very wrong, I won’t buy another copy just for the box.  But if you are looking at padding your collection and want the Forbidden series, this may be a consideration.

Forbidden Island Something is Different
It's a small thing, but series defining - a 'Forbidden' game not in a tin! Still makes a nice pyramid though...

The other potential problem is common to all cooperative games.  While it’s great that you can play them solo, some players think they are playing it themselves even when others are at the table.  This little gem is known as Quarterbacking.

Quarterbacking – at least problem quarterbacking – is when usually one player dictates the actions of the game.  You think something else is better?  Too bad, they know the game better than you, so just do it their way or else.

Now that might sound childish and overly simplified, but I have seen Quarterbacks treat players like that – and much worse.  When you are playing with your friends, you can point out that they should probably tone it down, and all is well.  But Quarterbacks during gaming meetups and conventions have been known to bring the entire experience down for everyone.

If you are ever in a situation like that, leave the table and just let the host know what’s happening.  Don’t let Quarterbacks ruin your games.  Coming soon, I will be writing an article on Quarterbacking with some advice on defining it and how to deal with it, so keep an eye out for that.

The only positive to the experience is you can use it as a litmus test for a new organised games group – if they are a friend of the organiser and left alone, you probably don’t want to be with that group.  If the host takes it seriously and tries to work with everyone and handles it maturely, take it as a good sign.  Either way, let people know about your experiences – good game groups are hard to find!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD
Forbidden Island

Final Thoughts

Forbidden Island was my second Matt Leacock game, and the first board game I played solo (that wasn’t a solo game).  It’s also a great game to introduce non-gamers too, as everyone is working together, you can talk through many standard game mechanics and help players get used to some now standard game mechanics.

The game to a degree will scale with your skill.  Too easy?  Play as different or random characters.  Check online (or the app) for different island layouts.  There are a lot of possibilities for replayability.

The randomness can get to some players, but to me, it just adds to the tension of playing and the theme.  While not a game for everyone, this is a game that a lot of people have played for many great reasons.

Overall
9/10
9/10

Pros

  •  A great introduction for non-gamers
  •  Simple yet challenging gameplay
  •  Beautiful art and fun components

Cons

  •  Some people get frustrated by randomness
  •  ‘Quarterback’ players can dominate the game experience

Wait, what about those other pieces?

You may have wondered about the meeples in the banner – these are an aftermarket set I bought from Meeple Source. I have a set for Forbidden Desert as well.

I am hoping that they do a Forbidden Sky set soon!  The pawns work fine, but I do like playing with the customised pieces and they take up much less room than minis.

Forbidden Island Meeple Source Meeples
They don't improve the game in any way, but the customised meeples are fun to play with 🙂

If you like the idea of sprucing up your games, give Meeple Source a look!  I don’t order much from them because of shipping, but every year they seem to do an upgrade Kickstarter and I can order in bulk whatever catches my eye.