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Forbidden Island

82 out of 89 gamers thought this was helpful

Forbidden Island is a cooperative game that pits the players against a sinking island in a mad dash to collect 4 treasures. While it seems easy at first, the difficulty increases with each round and the island begins to sink quicker and quicker.

The Game


The game starts out by placing 24 island tiles in a cross formation (4×4 square with 2 extra tiles on each side) with the fully coloured side up. 8 of the tiles have a symbol of one of the 4 treasures on it; 2 tiles per treasure. More about those in a bit. The cards are split in to 3 groups; treasures, floods, and characters. The treasure cards are shuffled and 2 dealt to each player. These are kept face up so that everyone know what everyone else has in their hand. The character cards are shuffled and handed out at random. Extra character cards are set aside. The character cards determine the colour of the player’s meeple (which is placed on the respective starting spot), as well as gives the player a special ability (ie: blue/pilot is able to move their meeple to any island square once per turn as an action). The flood cards are shuffled and six are drawn one at a time. The tiles that are shown on the cards are flipped over to the blue-and-white coloured side to show they are flooded. The cards are placed face up in a flood discard pile. The water level marker is placed at the appropriate notch on the marker card.


The player who last visited an island is the one to start. Play progresses in a clockwise fashion. Each player then progresses through 3 phases in their turn; Action phase, Treasure phase, and Flood phase. During the action phase a player may 1) “shore up” or flip over a flooded island tile that is directly above, below, to the left, to the right, or they are on as an action; 2) give a treasure card to another player who is on the same tile as they are; 3) move their meeple up, down, left or right one tile; or 4) capture a treasure on a tile if they have 4 matching treasure cards in their hand. 3 actions are available to a player per phase and each of the above counts as an action. The player doesn’t have to do all 3 actions, but that is the limit for a turn.

During the treasure phase, the player draws 2 treasure cards. If a “water rises” card is drawn, the flood discard pile is shuffled separately from the other flood cards and placed on the top of the undrawn flood deck. The water level marker also moves up one notch. Otherwise, the player keeps their cards, up to a maximum of 5 cards. When a player has 4 of one type of treasure card, they are able to trade them in for that specific treasure during the action phase if they are on that treasure’s tile.

During the flood phase, the player draws the number of flood cards that are indicated on the water level marker card. If the card shows a tile that is full coloured, the tile is flipped to the blue-and-white side and the card is placed in the flood discard pile. If the card shows a tile that is already blue-and-white, the tile and card are removed from the game permanently, thus creating a potential gap in the game board.

This ends the player’s turn and the next player starts their turn.

Winning or Losing

The game is won when every treasure is collected and the players are evacuated from the island. If at any point a treasure cannot be collected or a player’s meeple is removed from the game board due to a tile disappearing, the players all lose.


The tiles are made of thick durable material and the treasures/meeple are made of durable plastic. The cards are also of good quality. The box is well sectioned so every piece has a place. All of this comes together to provide great quality of components.

Replay Value

Due to the random placement of the tiles and selection of the special abilities for the players, the replay value of the game is quite high. The chances of playing an identical game is extremely rare.

Ease of Learning

The game unfolds quickly and is very intuitive in how it is played. This makes the game very easy to learn.

Final Thoughts

This game is well put together. While the randomness of the tiles can lead to more replay, it can also lead to quick games. For example, in one game all of the treasure tiles ended up around the evacuation point allowing us to ignore the peripheral tiles and only focus on shoring up a select few. All in all, this game will be pulled out more often due to the quick play time and randomness of the board.

Go to the Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island page
81 out of 89 gamers thought this was helpful

I played this game with a group of my friends that enjoy complicated games with lots of strategy. While we didn’t win the first game or even make it to the end of the scenario before losing, there was a very steep learning curve. By the fourth round, everyone had a good idea of how the game mechanics worked and what we should be doing to meet the common goal. One friend said that it reminded them of Camelot, minus the saboteur.

This game does require patience for new players. There are quite a few things going on that can throw a wrench in to a well laid plan. If one player gets too impatient and wants to hunt with a low weapon level or focus only on crafting when their character specializes in exploration, they will more than likely pull down the group as a whole very quickly and make the chances of success very low.

The replay value of the game is very high due to the chance and luck aspect that is given with card draws and dice rolls. What worked one game may not necessarily work out as well the next time. While the components are of good quality and durable, one would expect a box with more organization or bags to handle the numerous pieces so they aren’t all jumbled. If you have a veteran player, the game is easy to learn as they will help guide the group through the different phases of each round. While it is not impossible to learn alone, patience and an open rule book are a definite must to properly learn the mechanics. The game also suggests different house rules if it is deemed too difficult, which can include extra starting items, adjusting what what weather dice and how many are rolled, extra “filler” players such as Friday (a native of the island) or a dog (a possible castaway like yourself).

While this game may not be pulled off the shelf very often, it is still one that can bring a group of people together to attempt to survive an unforgiving island and is a definite buy for people looking to get immersed in a great story telling adventure.

Go to the Anomia page


17 out of 18 gamers thought this was helpful

Anomia is a card-based game based on words and matching symbols. The deck is shuffled and split in to two piles. Similar to the card game snap, a card is flipped over one at a time by players waiting to see if the symbol in the center of the card matches anyone else’s symbol. If a match exists, you must say an example of the word displayed on the opponent’s card before they do the same with your card. Whoever does this first collects the opponent’s card. If taking that card reveals another pair, this is known as a “cascade” and there is another face-off immediately. This continues until no more pairs are visible, at which point the next player in the rotation would pick a card.


Player 1 flips over a card with the words “toothpaste brand” and a circle in the middle. Player 2 also has a card showing with a circle in the middle, but the word “Reptile”. Player 1 must say an example of a reptile before Player 2 says a toothpaste brand. Whoever completes this first collects the other player’s card.

To throw a wrench in to the mix, wild cards showing two different symbols are also in the deck. They now mean that those two symbols are a match and will result in face-offs. These cards when drawn are placed in between the two card piles. Any new wild card that is drawn replaces any previously drawn wild card so there is only one extra match possible at a time.

The winner is determined by who has the most claimed cards at the end of the round.

The rules that are provided are to be read out as play happens allowing the players to learn as they go and not stressing too much on being complicated. This style allows almost anyone the ability to quickly grasp game play quickly. The replay value is high since many different words can be given as answers, no two rounds are the same, and there are two different decks provided with different subjects on the cards. The only difficult part can be if the players are unfamiliar with a subject listed, such as “rock operas”.

All in all, this game is about quick symbol matching and quick word recollection. It is always a good time when the family gets together.

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