Ever since Carcasonne came out on Xbox live (or maybe it was Catan that showed up first, I don’t remember exactly), I have been on a mission to 1) find new board games and 2) to find people to play them with me. The first is easy, even though the money that most of them cost means that I spend weeks reading reviews before finally pulling the trigger on a game. The second, finding the people to play, is hard. When you have kids it is almost impossible to find a time when you and other adults can get together without kids long enough to play a hobby style board game.
But as my oldest moves into the first grade he has been able to learn a few games and satisfy my gaming jones at least in small scale ways. We now have several games that we can play together: Catan Jr., Ticket to Ride, Carcasonne, Pokemon, Blokus, and various other more traditional games. But the problem with each of them is that they are either all about luck or I am just better at them than he is. So I often end up playing my turn and helping him with his. It is fun to play with him, but it doesn’t quite satisfy my competitive side.
That is why I have recently been looking for a game that we can play together verses the board. There are several cooperative board games out there. (I really like this list that someone on Amazon put together) but I never have purchased one to play. Anyway, when I was at the bookstore today I saw “Forbidden Island” and since it was my wife’s night to go to Bible study I figured I would pick it up for us boys to play tonight.
It was a big success. My 6 year old really got into the whole theme and was generally excited when we finally made our way off the island. My 3 year old sat with us and was nominally “playing” the game, but me and his big brother made most of the decisions for him. The cool thing about a co-op game is that playing for him actually works. You are all working towards a common theme so you don’t have to “let” him win. He gets to join in the adventure with us. At 3 it was a little longer than his attention span, but he enjoyed getting to sit at the table with his brother and me.
The theme of the game is that you are on an island trying to get treasure and get back off the island before it sinks into the ocean. There is a constant tension about whether the places that you need to travel are going to stay above water long enough for you to get what you need and get out.
The board placement is random which adds some replay value, but the basic idea of the game is always going to be the same. Each player is a different member of the team each with a different special ability. Normally you will need to use these abilities in order to complete the game so it helps everyone to be involved.
The pieces and box are top notch. I am a sucker for a good box and everything in this one has a place and doesn’t roll around. The “tin” may be a bit overkill, but at least it is durable. My boys really liked the look and feel of the treasures too.
In the end this was a great way to kick off playing cooperative games.