Looking back at the games we have played over the past year, one game stands out in terms of both popularity and playability.
Forbidden Island is a game for two to six players, played on a board randomly generated from 24 tiles. This board represents a slowly sinking island which the players must traverse in order to retrieve four hidden treasures. This is a co-operative game, however, so the players are not against each other. Instead, they must work together in order to retrieve the treasures and escape the island before it is lost beneath the waves.
It’s not only the co-operative nature of the game but also it’s openness that makes Forbidden Island stand out. All of the cards are kept face up so that everyone knows exactly who has what and who is best placed to deal with whatever event arises. This makes it very much a game about teamwork and negotiation.
The only thing that we have to watch out for, somewhat, is when the older of our three boys starts directing his brothers.
The rules themselves are very straightforward. There is very little to remember and most of this is written on the cards, all of which makes it a very easy game in which to involve newer and younger players. This focus on the playability combined with the rising water / sinking island mechanic makes for a game that is quick to play and, often, genuinely exciting.
Forbidden Island is a quick, easy to follow game that encourages discussion and which keeps all the players engaged all of the time. It is certainly the most played of our games this year, and the most enjoyable.