Forbidden Island (game)

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Cover of the Forbidden Island box
Cover of the Forbidden Island box

Forbidden Island is a cooperative board game developed by Matt Leacock and published by Gamewright Games in 2010.[1] Two to four players take the roles of different adventurers, moving around a mysterious island, looking for hidden treasures as the island sinks around them. All players win if they find all the hidden treasures and they all make it back to the helicopter and fly away, and they all lose if they cannot.


Players take on the role of adventurers, with randomly selected abilities, trying to retrieve treasures from a rapidly sinking island. They must retrieve four treasures: (The Earth Stone, the Crystal of Fire, the Statue of the Wind, and the Ocean Chalice) and return to the helicopter landing pad ("Fools Landing") before the waters rise covering the entire island. The board consists of a random distribution of 4x4 tiles, with an additional two tiles beyond each side of the square.

A deck of cards (the "flood deck") corresponding to the locations of the board drives the game: at the beginning of the game, the locations of the top six cards of that deck are flipped and considered "flooded". After every player's turn, new cards from that deck are drawn and the corresponding tiles are flooded or, if they are already flooded, "sink" by disappearing from the board, thus shrinking the island. Additional cards of this deck ("Waters Rise") increase the "flood meter" on the board

On their turn, a player may take up to three actions among moving to an adjacent tile, shoring up an adjacent flooded tile, giving a treasure to another player, collecting a treasure, or the role-specific action of that player. The player then draws two cards from the "treasure deck"; these cards allow the eventual collecting of the corresponding treasure.

The players win if they manage to find all the treasures and escape from the island. They lose if the flood meter reaches its maximum value, if the helicopter pad disappears, if a treasure becomes unattainable, if a player is on a sinking tile and cannot get to a non-sunken tile, or if the entire island disappears.

Board game sequel[edit]

A sequel to Forbidden Island was released in 2013, titled Forbidden Desert. The game is situated in a desert and still employs many of the same mechanics as Forbidden Island. However, there is added difficulty as well as new player roles and mechanics.[2] An additional sequel was made in 2018, titled Forbidden Sky. This game, while again largely similar in mechanics as the two previous games, focused on manipulating circuitry to activate a rocket and escape a floating platform during a thunderstorm.[3]



  1. ^ "Gamewright: Forbidden Island™". Retrieved 2016-04-24.
  2. ^ "Forbidden Desert™". Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Forbidden Sky | Height of Danger | Gamewright". Gamewright. Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  4. ^ "2010 Golden Geek Awards | Award Set | BoardGameGeek". Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  5. ^ "Mensa Select® Games". Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  6. ^ "UKGE Awards". UK Games Expo. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  7. ^ "Die verbotene Insel". Spiel des Jahres (in German). Retrieved 2021-03-16.

External links[edit]