Don’t Play iPad Lah! Play "Forbidden Island"

Date:  April 30, 2015

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I have started to play board games, card games and dice games with the kids.

The kids love these games.

However, kids are still kids.

When they lose, sometimes they will “Beh Song” and start to cry, and tears drop.

Well, let’s look it from another angle, the cries and tears will make them stronger in future, and help them to grasp the ideal of “It’s just a game!

Forbidden Island

Today, let’s look at another new game that we played.

It is called “Forbidden Island”.

The aim of this game is to work together to find 4 secret treasures.  And run to the helipad (a.k.a Fool’s Landing) without being eaten by the island.  Take note, the island will be flooded from time to time.  Thank goodness, you have the magic to make it un-flood (a.k.a Shore Up).

Wait a second!  What do you mean by “Work Together”?????????

A-ha!  This is a “Co-operation Games”.  That means, all the players need to work together, hand in hand to accomplish the task, finding the 4 secret treasures.  There is only the Human Players win or the Forbidden Island Wins!”.  Each of the players are NOT competing against each other.  

I think co-operation games are very cool game indeed.  It cause lesser conflicts and it actually provides lots of fun.  And all the players have a common target and enemy.

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To learn more about how to play the game, please watch the following video links.  Hosted by Will Wheaton.  He will teach you everything about this game.

Here I will provide some basic of the game play.  My kids love this game!

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The setup of the game

There are 24 island cards.  You shuffle the cards and first form a 4×4 squares and then place each sides additional two cards.  

This is your island.

Because you shuffle your cards, so, the island will always change for new game play.  So, it will provides different fun and elements to the game.

There are 4x treasures.  Each treasures can be found on 2 island cards.  So, all together there are 8 cards that has the treasure marker on it.

Since you can play either 2 or up to 5 players.  So, there are 5 cards for each coloured pawn.  (i.e. red, blue, green, black and yellow).

You cannot let the Fools’ Landing (Helipad) island card sink.  If Fools’ Landing sink, the game is over, and the Forbidden Island wins.

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The 4 Treasures

These are the treasures you need to get.  You can place these 4 treasures on four sides of the island.

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Every turn, after you have done 3 actions, you can draw 2x treasure cards.

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And you start to collect the treasure cards each turn.  If your hand has 5 cards, you will need to discard additional cards.  Choose carefully what card you need to keep.

You will have to work together with each players and examine the timing and capture the treasure.  Your teammates can give you their treasure cards during their turn and both your pawn and his/her pawn happens to be on the same island tiles.

Except for Messenger (Your Job & Role), a messenger can pass the treasure card to any one from any where and it does not need to be on the same tile as the person who is going to receive the card.

Once you have collected four same treasure cards, you can try to move your pawn to the island tiles that has the same treasure symbol (only 2 for each treasure).

Take note, you must not let the island tiles that has the treasure on it sink.  You can sink 1 but do not let both sink before you retrieve the treasure.

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I have 4 “The Crystal of Fire” cards and I happened to have my pawn at the Cave of Embers or the cave of Shadows which carry the treasure symbol.  So, during my turn, one of the action can be to retrieve the treasure.  And place the treasures cards at the discard pile in front of the treasure cards.

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Adventurer Cards

At the beginning of the game, each player will have to pick one adventurer cards.  This is to decide what “super power” you can have.

If you are an explorer, you have special power to move and/or shore up diagonally.  Beside Explorer, NO ONE can move diagonally.

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You will love the engineer.  Because he can shoe up 2 tiles for 1 single action.  This comes very handy when you have way too many cards to shore up.

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This is the most wanted adventurer card.  To be a pilot, you can fly to any tile on the island for 1 action.  ONCE per turn.  (I think me and the kids played wrongly for the first few days as we can play it 2-3 times per turn.  HaHaHa… no wonder we won the first two games)

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A messenger can give treasure cards to a player anywhere on the island for 1 action per card.

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From time to time, the island tile will sink.  If you need to swim across a part of the island that has NO TILE, that means you will need the Diver to do the job for you by swimming across it.  There rest of the player CANNOT swim.

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The navigator can move another player up to 2 adjacent tiles for 1 action.

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Treasure Cards

To start the game, you give 2 treasure cards to each player.  If you draw a “Water Rise” card, then, you need to put it back and shuffle the cards.

The coloured pawns

Place your pawn in the corresponded island tiles.  My blue pawn happens to start from Fools’ Landing.

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To Sink The Tiles

Every turn, you will need to draw the flood card that is equal to the Water level.

Every flood card, you will need to turn over the island tile, and the blue colour card will sink the island half way.  You have to sink the island tile again to REMOVE the tile.

A missing tile is no good as it might block the way or path from one side to another side.

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To start the game, you draw 6 flood cards to make the island sink first.  As you can see, it just happened that all the 6 cards I have are all stick together.

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Water Level

This is the water level card.  We started from the Novice level, and each time we draw a Water Rise card.  You will increase the water level here.  And then you look at the water level to decide how many flood cards you draw.

Now, every time a Water Rise card was drawn, then, you take the flood cards from the discard pile (those cards that you have sank the island in earlier rounds), shuffle them and put it on top of the flood card.

I think this is so brilliant the game play is.

That means that you have high chance to open a flood card on any tile that has already been sank for 1 time.  If it sank the 2nd time, then, the island tile is removed.  That means the part or tile is completely gone.

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Water Rise! Card

There are only 3 waters rise card.  If you draw this card, the water will rise.  And all the previously flooded location risk to be flooded again and become missing tile.

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Helicopter Lift Card

This card is important.  Because after you and your team mates collected all 4 treasures.  All the players’ pawns must go back to the Fools Landing.  And then make use of this card to fly away from this forbidden island.

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Sand Bags Card

This card is cool.  At any time (not even your turn), you can shore up a tile with this card.

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The rest of the game play

It is easy.

Every turn, a player will need to

1) Take up to 3 actions.

     a) Move (not diagonally except for explorer)

     b) Shore Up (adjacent tile or on the island tile you are on)

     c) Give a treasure card (when you are on the same island tile with your other player)

     d) Capture a Treasure (use 4 treasure cards of the same treasure to capture)

2) Draw 2 treasure deck cards

3) Draw Flood cards equal to the water level.


This is a very simple game to play.

It is all about co-operative.

All players must work together.

So it is fun game and there are a lot of interactions between players.

It is amazing that the game play is so good.

Don’t play iPad lah!  Play Forbidden Island!  Play together with your kids.

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