Forbidden Island (Board Game)

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(13 user ratings)
4 reviews received. View
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Forbidden Island is a visually stunning cooperative board game. Instead of winning by competing with other players like most games, everyone must work together to win the game. Players take turns moving their pawns around the 'island', which is built by arranging the many beautifully screen-printed tiles before play begins. As the game progresses, more and more island tiles sink, becoming unavailable, and the pace increases. Players use strategies to keep the island from sinking, while trying to collect treasures and items. As the water level rises, it gets more difficult- sacrifices must be made.

What causes this game to truly stand out among co-op and competitive games alike is the extreme detail that has been paid to the physical components of the game. It comes in a sturdy and organized tin of good shelf storage size. The plastic treasure pieces and wooden pawns are well crafted and they fit just right into the box. The cards are durable, well printed, and easy to understand. The island tiles are the real gem: they are screen-printed with vibrant colors, each with a unique and pleasing image.

With multiple levels of difficulty, different characters to choose from (each with a special ability of their own), many optional island formats and game variations available, Forbidden Island has huge replay value. The game can be played by as few as two players and up to four (though it can accommodate five). More players translates into a faster and more difficult game, though the extra help can make all the difference. This is a fun game, tricky for players of almost any age. Selling for under twenty dollars, oddly, Forbidden Island is a rare game of both quality and affordable price.

For those who enjoy Forbidden Island, a follow-up project by Gamewright titled Forbidden Desert was released in 2013.

From the publisher's website:

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!

Product Details

Boards & Dice
2 Feb 2016
Family Games
Game Mechanic
Year Published
# of Players
2 - 4
User Suggested # of Players
Best with 4 players, Recommended with 1 - 4 players
Suggested Ages
10 and up
Playing Time
30 minutes
Game Designer
Matt Leacock
Game Artist
C. B. Canga
User Suggested Ages
Language Dependence
Some necessary text - easily memorized or small crib sheet
  • 2010 Golden Geek Best Board Game Artwork/Presentation Nominee
  • 2010 Golden Geek Best Children's Board Game Nominee
  • 2010 Golden Geek Best Children's Board Game Winner
  • 2010 Golden Geek Best Family Board Game Nominee
  • 2010 Mensa Select Winner
  • 2010 UK Games Expo Best Family/Children's Game Winner
Expansion Sets
La Isla Prohibida: La Expansión Prohibida
Supply Source
South Africa

Customer Reviews

Good fin

Reviewed by on (Verified Buyer)

Quick to learn, easy to play, but still lots of fun

Challenging co-op

Reviewed by on

Quick to teach, once you have taken the time to figure out the rules. Not the game to bring to the table if you have someone in the team with a dominant personality, works great if everyone can work to a common goal. Not every game is going to be won, but you do have a sense of urgency as the water rises. Best played with more players to fulfill more roles, but still great with 2-3 players. It is easy to see why this game has received a Mensa award.

Forbidden Island review - quick set-up, quick to learn, fun as solo and team play

Reviewed by on (Verified Buyer)

Forbidden Island features all the primary mechanics that earned Matt Leacock's reputation for creating exhilarating co-operative games. Although its fundamental dynamics are similar to Pandemic and Forbidden Desert, key differences nevertheless distinguish it from the other two and definitely make this game worth buying. Its finest features include its quick setup, easy learning curve, and its extensive replay value.

Although the set up process is quick and easy, the game nevertheless offers great randomisation. In other words, no two islands are ever quite the same. This escalates the game's replay value. You can play it alone, or with four players in a co-operative team. If you are looking for a game that demands collaboration and planning, that is cognitively challenging, as well as tense and fast-paced, Forbidden Island checks all the boxes. As an aside, I love the fact that it is packaged in a beautiful tin box, rather than cardboard.

Great thematic game.

Reviewed by on

This game is a lot of fun with 2 to 4 people. The feeling of the island sinking and the sense of urgency is really portrayed well. This is a great co-op game that has a lot of re-playability. There is some great card layout variants out there on This is quick and easy to learn.