Forbidden Island and Cooperative Gaming

Last time I wrote a game review, I told you about Carcassonne, a competitive game that keeps everyone in the game until the very end (unlike Monopoly).

This week, I’m going to describe a very different game. “Forbidden Island” is a cooperative game for 2-4 players and takes about 30 minutes to play. If you enjoy board games and Indiana Jones movies (though we must not speak of any Crystal Skulls…), you will like this game. In a nutshell, Forbidden Island is a game where a group of adventurers have come to the island to recover four elemental artifacts (they BELONG in a MUSEUM!), but the long-gone inhabitants booby-trapped the island: the whole island begins sinking!

The only way to win the game is if everyone works together to recover all four artifacts and escape before the sea claims them. But there are PLENTY of ways to lose. In Forbidden Island, you don’t play against each other, you play against the game, which makes for a great experience and makes both victory and defeat so sweet! I think I’ve won the game as many times as I’ve lost. If you get better at it than my group, you can increase the difficulty of the game by increasing the rate of the island’s flood.

You’ll enjoy the quality artwork on all the cards and island tokens, as well as the production value of the whole package (it comes in a tin box, and all the pieces are high quality). I plan to introduce my kids to Forbidden Island around age 7 or 8. It encourages group problem solving, cooperation, and critical thinking.

Forbidden Island
Forbidden Island

Interested in a game designed by the same person, but harder and with higher stakes? Take a look at Pandemic. This game takes about 45 minutes, rather than 30, but it is another cooperative game. This time, you are a team from the Centers for Disease Control trying to save the world from a global pandemic consisting of four diseases (or more, if you get the expansion!). This game is MUCH more difficult, and I think I’ve won about 2 times out of every time I’ve tried it. But the game is just that much fun. I’m not mad that I’ve lost. I’m resolved to try again! I highly recommend it.


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