#ForbiddenIsland board game

I thought for my first board game review I'd look at something a bit different. Forbidden Island is a beautifully presented game by company Gamewright Games for 2-4 players, but is most fun with a team of four.

At it's core, the gameplay is cooperative. Your group take on different roles from a group of explorers, who have come to the island in search of ancient treasure! Unfortunately, your being there has set of an ancient booby trap! The island is sinking! It is your teams job to make off with the four ancient treasures and make it back to the helicopter pad before taking an extended nap with the fishes.

Each character has a profile, affording them slightly different abilities to the others, for example there is a diver, who is able to circumvent flooded parts of the island; a pilot, who has additional helicopter benefits and so on. The locations of the island are represented by double sided cards, each with a beautiful rendered illustration one side, and a pale blue version of the same location the otherside to indicate when the area has become flooded. Fail to reverse the effects of flooding in time and the card goes out of play permanently, making maneuvering around the island more difficult, and collecting the treasure harder or even impossible.

The locations have excellent names. Coral Palace; Fool's Landing; Cave Of Embers etc, and only certain locations have an ancient treasure hidden within. These are represented by four brightly coloured plastic figurines, and your characters are represented by colourful plastic pawns.

Each turn is made up of four actions, which can be used to move tiles, shore up a tile (unflood a partially flooded location) or swap items with your group if you're near enough to do so. At the end of every turn, treasure cards are taken, with the aim of collecting four identical treasure cards before making your way to the trinket on the island and taking it back to Fool's Landing for your imminent escape. There are also item cards to aid you in your quest, and Water's Rising cards, which increase the water level, represented by a sliding point card. At the end of every turn a number of location cards are drawn equal to that on the water level card. These location cards then become flooded location tiles! Once and the tile is flipped over to the blue side; twice and the tile goes out of play for good! Unless a rule specifies, you are unable to navigate through these now empty spaces, and as the proverbial walls close in the harder it becomes to move freely and help out your team. This has a good effect of increasing the pace, gradually making gameplay increasingly frantic as you scramble to collect, trade and escape the island with your team mates.

For those proficient in escaping the island, the water level can be set at a higher level at the beginning of play, to make the game more difficult from the outset.

Forbidden Island is an extremely fun game to play, with friends or family. The cooperative nature requires good communication and quickly results in collaboration over tactics, and much mirth when it all goes pear shaped.

Presented in a sturdy tin, the artwork and overall feel of the cards is of supreme quality, and the game requires no assembly at all. Furthermore, the replay value is high given that you can make it as difficult from the get go as you see fit. Currently retailing on Amazon for under £14 (at time of writing) it also represents incredible value for money. And gameplay can be improved further by investing in the official soundtrack of the Indiana Jones movies. Essential for any board game collection. Recommended by Gamewright for ages 10 and up.

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