Forbidden Island

Players: 2-4 (although it would work as a one player)
Playing time: half an hour
Cost: £15 (ish)

Forbidden Island is a co-operative game, so you’re all working together to beat the game. You’re explorers who have crash-landed on the mysterious island, and, in an Indiana Jones sort of way, decided to steal its four mythical treasures. The only difficulty is that the island is sinking beneath you, and so you have to collect/pillage the four objects and get back to the helicopter landing site pretty sharpish.

Essentially you’re collecting cards and moving round a slowly shrinking board. Which bits of the board first flood and then vanish is determined by cards drawn at the end of each player’s turn. As the game progresses, so the number of cards drawn increases and the board shrinks faster.

The fact that it’s co-operative means that it’s an excellent game for new parents. If one of you needs to deal with the baby, someone else can easily take your turn for you. You don’t all need to concentrate at the same time. You can lay your cards out in front of you, so don’t need to use up a hand to hold them. It’s easy to ask others to move your pawn around the board or to draw your cards. There are a few small pieces (one the size of large paperclip, four slightly bigger than a cork, and six player pawns) but these should be manageable.

The difficulty level can be changed. Starting on the easiest setting means that you are likely to beat the game. I spent one New Year’s Eve playing with two friends on the hardest setting, and it took us three attempts to win.

Summary: excellent game, and I don’t blame the island for fighting back.

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