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Forbidden Island
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Store:  Strategy Games
Series:  Essen 2010 Releases
Theme:  Adventure
Genre:  Cooperative
Format:  Board Games

Forbidden Island

List Price: $17.99
Your Price: $14.40
(20% savings!)
(Worth 1,440 Funagain Points!)

This item is In Stock []

Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 30 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Matt Leacock

Manufacturer(s): Gamewright

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    Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.

Product Description

Dare to discover Forbidden Island! Join a team of fearless adventurers on a do-or-die mission to capture four sacred treasures from the ruins of this perilous paradise. Your team will have to work together and make some pulse-pounding maneuvers, as the island will sink beneath every step! Race to collect the treasures and make a triumphant escape before you are swallowed into the watery abyss!

It’s a great honor to introduce the latest creation by cooperative game master, Matt Leacock. There are so many things we love about this unique game: from the rich illustrations, to the collaborative nature of play, to the innovative set of rules, to the infinite possibilities generated by the tiles and cards. Don’t be surprised if your pulse starts pounding faster soon after you start playing – it’s a game that instantly generates an electrifying atmosphere of tension and excitement!

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Best Family Game Nominee, 2011
Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 2011
Mensa Best Mind Game Award

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Matt Leacock

  • Manufacturer(s): Gamewright

  • Year: 2010

  • Players: 2 - 4

  • Time: 30 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 615 grams

  • All-Time Sales Rank: #100

  • Language Requirements: This is a domestic item. Manufacturer's rules are printed in multiple languages (including English). Game components are language-independent.


  • 58 playing cards
  • 24 island tiles
  • 6 pawns
  • 4 treasure figurines
  • 1 water meter
  • 1 water level marker
  • rules of play
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Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.2 in 8 reviews

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They Should make an online version of this.
February 15, 2012

or at least a downloadable kind of game like solitare. it would be really cool, and if the graphics are good enough, it would actually look like a sinking island.

by Joeblow
Exciting Fun Family Adventure Game
December 04, 2011

We bought this game a few weeks ago after reading many positive reviews and I can say that this game definitely is a winner. I think it's really an exciting and fun adventure game for families. We have all girls (including one older teenager) and I wasn't quite sure they would enjoy this type of game, but to my surprise, they all love it. After the first time we played, they were all debating how we would go about beating the game next time. It has quickly become of of our favorites to play.

This game is truly a cooperative game that gets everyone working together. The goal is to make it off the island with all four treasures before it sinks. In order to do so, you must work as a group and use every characters special abilities. This game really has everyone on the edge of their seats by the end of the game trying to figure out how to escape the sinking island. It really has a way of keeping everyone interested in the gameplay.

I would say this is a must have for any family that loves to play board games. It is a unique adventure that you can all enter together. I do not see any downside to the game other than the treasure cards seem a tad flimsy and may degrade over time, but no less than any other game that has cards. All the other pieces are sound and the rules book is short and concise. In fact, if you watch some of the reviews online on youtube and such, you can really grasp how to play without even reading the rules. I think anyone about 8 years old and up would be able to play and understand the rules quite well.

If you are looking to go on an adventure with your family or friends, then this is the perfect game for you.

by Michael Anino
One of my favorites
October 01, 2010

I got this this year when I saw that it was from the same designer as Pandemic and was a steal at its price. I've never been happier with a purchase as I have with this. It's easy to teach, fun to play and hard to win. Every win feels like a true victory and struggle. The game moves very quickly and the threat of the sinking island makes the game tense and exciting. The only drawback I've found is the same that I encounter in most Co-op games: One player telling everyone what they should do and not allowing them to play as equals. This is only a problem with one player I know and I've found that sometimes I see a better strategy than he does and we'll actually discuss which strategy would be better and get a group consensus before moving on, which is WAY more fun than I just made it sound.

The nice thing about this is that it's so quick and easy to learn that new players have the same experience as more experienced players. There's almost no learning curve and it's easy to introduce. The little cards that make up the randomly placed board are of quality cardboard and are extra sturdy. The cards are a little flimsy, but since players don't hold them in their hands and instead place them in front of themselves there's not really any excessive wear done to them. The figures that represent the Treasures being rescued are some of my favorite figures from any game and always grab players attention while I set up the game.

Like I said this is one of my favorite games and I look forward to playing it more for years to come. I don't worry about the game ever becoming "too easy" as the "Legendary" setting looks far too intimidating for me to consider even trying right now. Great detail on cards, good quality on cards and board and some of my favorite figures for the treasures. 5/5

by Kiki
Quick, simple game play and yet...
July 20, 2014

We bought this game thanks to great reviews. We were not disappointed. We play usually with four players and find that the challenge is what makes it so much fun for all of us. Really simple set up and equally simple game play makes it a great game to play when you have a half an hour. It was incredibly easy to learn and really hard to master. Playing with a wide age range of people did not negatively affect game play. We all loved that we had to work together to win (or lose). In our house, the tension was what made the game so much fun. Turning over cards would have us holding each others hands in apprehension. This is really a good, quick, simple game for a family that has loads of replay value.

Loved it
April 24, 2014

This is the first coop game that I have played but its so easy to teach its cheap and its totally fun for both kids and adults. The only thing is that there is ONE BASIC RULE that is not clear and this is how many moves you are allowed to do per turn. Once you clear this up its just great...

Fast paced adventure fun!
January 24, 2012

I bought this game a year ago and play it with my family when we want to play a fun, quick game. Since its a co-op, players vs. the game, players 5+ can play. The game encourages team work so the older players can help the younger ones. The artwork is gorgeous and it comes in a small tin so it packs easily into a suitcase to take when traveling. The treasure pieces are nicely sculpted to add to the mystique. I gave it 3 1/2 stars only because the games replayablility is low but its still a great game to have in your collection.

Game play tip: Set the flood level low with fewer/novice players, higher with many/seasoned players.

For a more challenging experience, create your own island layout like an "L", "S" or "U" shape.

Great gateway coop game for your kids and non-gaming friends
May 23, 2010

I picked up this little treasure (heh heh) on Saturday and was inspired to write the review today. Opening the painted metal tin, I found nicely- organized spaces holding the necessary components. I own Gamewright's Rat-A-Tat Cat, a version of a game I played with Great Aunt Helen in my youth. It came in a nondescript box whose insert quickly went belly up. The tin and insert of this game are much more like a Euro game, with designated, obvious, useful spaces for all the components. Very impressive.

4 Artifacts (the elemental treasures) in friendly, brightly-colored soft plastic
6 pawns, bright colors on wood pieces, not quite meeples
24 location tiles of evocative island sites (crimson forest, howling garden, tidal palace) These are double sided and sturdy cardboard, similar to the Amazing Labyrinth pieces.
3 kinds of cards, clearly marked for type and easy to use.
1 water meter - a cardboard slide track with a plastic indicator, my only worry for longevity

The game starts with randomly laying out the 24 tiles in an inner 4 by 4 four with two tiles along the middle of the four sides – imagine a 6 by 6 square, but the three outermost pieces of each corner have been removed. Pick six of the flood cards and flip the corresponding tiles to start with six tiles flooded. Each player randomly picks one of the six occupations and places the correct pawn on the starting tile for the pawn (listed clearly on the tile). Randomly deal out two treasure cards to each player, replacing any water rises cards (bad juju- see later) with good stuff. The person who last actually set foot on an island goes first.

All you need to do is hang out until you collect four of one kind of treasure card and journey to a tile for that treasure. (There are two for each treasure.) Spend an action capturing the treasure, and you're ahead. When your team has captured all four treasures, run back to the helicopter and play a helicopter card to escape!

Of course, it's not that easy. The island is constantly sinking, forcing you to spend actions to shore up a tile. The tiles have three states – normal, flooded, and out of the game. If the flood card comes up for a flooded tile before you shore it up, it sinks. Once a tile sinks into the abyss, it is gone forever. It is of utmost importance to save flooded tiles before they sink. Not only do they have locations you need, every missing tile means the cards to sink the tiles you want to keep handy come up more and more often. With only three actions a turn, there's usually more you wish you could do.

Players take turns moving around, shoring up the sinking tiles, and often using special powers. The powers are simple but useful, although in a two-player game, there's a certain disparity in strength. I'd much rather have the explorer's move and shore up diagonally power than the situational bonus of the diver's power to move as far as you want through flooded tiles.

When on the same tile as teammates, you can pass them a treasure card. Once one of you has a set of four, you can capture the treasure for those cards by moving to one of the two tiles and playing the set.

After the turn is over, you draw two treasure cards and then turn over some flood cards to sink a few more tiles. Usually the treasure cards make a set or are one of the two bonus cards (helicopter or sandbags to shore up any space), but there are three of the dreaded WATER RISES cards that do dire things to the game. The water meter goes up one level, the used flood cards are reshuffled and placed ON TOP of the deck of flood cards, and then the water rises card goes back in the discard to return again and again.

The water meter shows you how many tiles to flood. It starts out easy (two per turn), but each water rises card increases the level until you flip five a turn or even die and lose the game (on the last setting). The reason the water rises card is so dire is that those flooded tiles you just turned over will flood again because the flood cards for them are back ON TOP of the deck.

The game ends in a loss when a player dies (no elimination), when the water meter rises too high (the island sinks), or when the landing pad or the last tile for a uncaptured treasure sinks into the abyss. It ends in a win when all the teammates make it back to the landing pad with the treasures and someone plays a helicopter card so the team escapes in triumph.

If this reminds you of Pandemic, well, that's exactly why I picked it up. I run a games club on Fridays at my school. This game is exactly what I want for next fall to help introduce the new sixth graders and transferred students to the style of cooperative games ala Pandemic. It narrows the “choose what to do” down to five simple choices, only one or two of which will be applicable during most turns. Once kids become proficient at this game, we'll pull out Pandemic and give them a rich and rewarding experience. (YMMV – I play with people who treat it as a logic exercise instead of a game. Blech.)

Personally, I enjoy playing Pandemic more. It has a richness of choice to it, especially with the expansion. I am looking forward to playing this game with kids and LepreMum, who always asks, “what do you want me to do?” during the first two or three turns each game of Pandemic.

My only concerns with the game revolve around the water meter and limited choices. It is nice enough, good quality lamination, but my experience with a similar track in Betrayal at the House on the Hill has shown that with high use, the plastic clip will slowly wear down the cardboard until it gets all goobery. There were also turns that, for better or worse, we had too few interesting things to do and just wasted actions to get to the cards we needed. I also had a bit of cognitive dissonance the first game when I had trouble discarding cards I wanted later because in Pandemic, you hold onto those resources so tightly. I can see that when moving kids from Forbidden Island to Pandemic, I'll want to stress that the city cards NEVER COME BACK.

Leprewife's review

I love Pandemic. This is a simpler version with a little bit of Red Oktober thrown in for fun. The tiles flood quickly, so the intensity level is kept high. This is great, because there's a sense that you can save the island. In Red Oktober, you're constantly trying to fix what just went bad, but sometimes you just feel doomed.

This has the overall feel of a Pandemic game. You're not competing with each other, but with the tide waters. I prefer the complexity of Pandemic, but I would rather try this on LepreMum or my girlfriends who are not gamers because it's easier to play.

by SoCal Doug
Very good lighter coop for everyone but with an adult feel
September 05, 2010

With a Teenage Daughter and Cousin and a group of friends from work and wife that game only occasionally, this game is one that fits in great.

Has the feeling of the more complicated games but is quicker, very easy to pick up but keeps you going as the game gets momentum turn by turn until you aren't sure you will be able to survive!

Reminds me of Castle Panic in how the game keeps coming after you relentlessly and every game outcome seems to get down to the last turns.

And also has the Pandemic discard pile reshuffling mechanic that makes the game tick.

The role cards all work well and I'm not sure there is any better one or worse one or one you can't win without. The key to me is to have some way to not get stuck on an orphaned tile or to be able to access an orphaned tile if you need to get there for the treasure.

Overall, a great one to break out that anyone can play. It takes the place of Castle Panic on my list as an intro game into the more complicated games because Castle Panic has more of a kids game feel to it whereas Forbidden Island has more of an adult feel to it.

SoCal Doug

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