Forbidden Desert/island are co-operative games that focus on finding instruments of escape and treasure. It is an action point game with a limited number of turns before the game beats you.
What do you get?
Both games come with random board tiles, separate decks of cards, playing pieces and some nice plastic gubbins.
How does it work?
Players take turns moving their pawns around the ‘island/desert’, which is built by arranging the many tiles before play begins. As the game progresses, island tiles sink or desert areas stack up becoming difficult to progress and the pace increases. Players use strategies to keep the island/desert from sinking/growing, while trying to collect treasures and items. As the game progresses, it gets more difficult and sacrifices must be made.
Is it any good?
On my first play through, I was pretty impressed. We lost. I played with one friend and we both tried it again immediately. This time, we scraped a win. I mean it was so marginal and down to the last card but we still took the win. Quickly jumping over to the Island game, we realised that is was just slightly revered rules with areas stacking up with sand for difficulty. Trying it we lost our first game, and our second. But the third one we smashed it. So after 5 games and completing both I felt at a bit of a quandary, I enjoyed them both for the limited run we had but I have no desire to pull them out again. The surprises are gone and any further victories will feel hollow now I guess.
It’s a strange experience because when you are in the moment playing, there is a tension going on with big difficult decisions to make regarding how the enemy deck will react.
The replayability just isn’t there. There is no greater story to tell or surprises to be had. I guess you could say the same for a lot of games, TIME Stories for example, but TIME Stories knows that so each story it tells is compelling and there are so many now with very different mechanics it knows every adventure is very different but the Forbidden series sort of prints the same adventure every time and replaces some very basic mechanics. This game is very easy to play as a solo experience which may be the issue at play too because co-op doesn’t add anything to the flavour of it.
It’s a good game to have under your belt and if you see it in a board game café or whatever certainly worth a play through.