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Forbidden Island: Keeping Your Friends Close

Forbidden IslandAlthough the illustrations on the game board are gorgeous, the true beauty of Forbidden Island by Gamewright is its focus on cooperation. Too many times, I’ve sat down with a group of friends to play a board game expecting a fun evening full of laughs just to have it devolve into childish taunting and name-calling. Players can finally come together around the table rather than fighting for a lone spot on the winner’s pedestal.

So if the challenge isn’t the guy across the table throwing the Yahtzee cup, then what? Forbidden Island is designed in a way that the game itself becomes the enemy. Players move around the island collecting artifacts while sections of the board sink into the ocean, creating obstacles and pitfalls that could potentially seal off the path to glory. In order to obtain the four relics, the participants must trade items acquired through exploration and systematically clear paths for one another in order to return safely to the helipad.

The difficulty is brilliantly paced so that veteran players can still be challenged by simply raising the initial water level. As the water rises, sections of the island begin sinking faster, making it a furious race to complete your objectives.

Forbidden Island is suitable for ages 10 and up. The 20 minute games allow for ample distraction between matches and allows for a broad range of attention spans. The layout of the island also changes every game which creates a nice variety of challenges that don’t get stale after a few rounds.

It’s intriguing, it’s nerve-racking, but best of all, it creates a sense of teamwork rather than the usual angry, vicious competition that breaks out around my kitchen table. How is that not something to celebrate? I’m not saying that Forbidden Island will solve the problem of World Peace, but it’s definitely a good time. You can find Forbidden Island in any of our stores or at mbeans.com.

Brad is a Toy and Gear Whiz in our Brookline store, and is a new contributor to Spilling the Beans.

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