Viðar Freyr Guðmundsson
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I just recently got my hands on the traitor cards "expansion" as a coincidence. I was excited about the whole idea, but disappointed with the rules. So I made my own rules using these cards. I have only play-tested it solo, so I can only imagine how players would interact with the whole traitor remaining hidden mechanic. But I believe I have made it so that it is very difficult to figure out who the traitor is. With my rules it is also very beneficial for the traitor to remain hidden for the first part of the game and reveal his identity at the right moment, just like in a good adventure movie, to stab the heroes in the back and steal their treasure when they have done some of the work for him. The other players have a benefit of trying to call out the traitor, as this allows them to use their secondary character roles and makes it more difficult for the traitor to gather treasure secretly. Yes, secretly. I designed a mechanic so that the traitor can gather up the treasures while his identity remains hidden. Clever players will however eventually guess who the traitor is and they have a benefit from calling him out before the traitor can attempt at stabbing them in the back. A clever traitor may however accuse other players, that also has consequences. Both the traitor and the other adventurers have a way of stealing treasure from the other team. Victory conditions probably need to be play-tested for balancing, but I believe that the traitor is at a slight advantage, thus I have made it so that he needs 3 treasures + the escape plan card from Fool's landing to win. While the adventurers need only 2 treasures + helicopter card from Fool's landing to win.

The cards needed to play, are as before, available here:

More in the rules that follow. Any input and advice will be well received. And as English is not my first language, grammar corrections will be needed. And do let me know if you play it and tell me how it went down.


Forbidden Island - Traitor variant. version "V"

"As you can now see, Dr. Jones, we are on the verge of completing a quest that began almost two thousand years ago. We're just one step away." - Walter Donovan
"That's usually when the ground falls out from underneath your feet." - Dr. Jones

These rules are meant for use with the Forbidden Island Traitor cards created by Corey A. These cards are available from Arts Cow. All credits for the cards go out to him. These rules are just another way of using these cards to make the game of Forbidden Island more like an Indiana Jones type treasure hunt, where one of the adventurers is a traitor who will sabotage the mission and steal treasure. The other adventurers can call out the traitor, try and beat him to the treasures or even try and fight back to reclaim what was stolen. Some of the cards in the original game are used differently in this variant. And some of the cards in the 1.0 traitor variant are used in a differently in version "V". This variant assumes four players, including the traitor. The game takes about 60 minutes to play. This variant has not been playtested much and might need some tweeking as to the number of treasures needed for each respective team to win. Have Fun!
- Vidar Freyr Gudmundsson

Setting up the game:

The players may agree upon using a random Island setup drawn from the island setup deck. Or use the standard setup for the island. This must be done prior to selecting roles.

Players agree upon 4 starting roles that will be dealt out randomly. Any role but the traitor may be chosen, but the players might agree to not choose any roles initially that would be of little use to a traitor (like the messenger). They then shuffle up the 4 starting roles and deal them out randomly, one to every player. These initial roles are then turned face up so that all the other players can see.

Then the players choose and agree upon 3 additional roles that may very well be counter productive for a traitor to have. The traitor role is then mixed in with these three roles, shuffled and dealt out in a randomly fashion. The players may then secretly look at their secondary role to see if they are the traitor or not.

The treasure and action cards are then shuffled to ensure an even distribution of all the cards. A good way of doing this is to:

1. Remove the Water Rises cards.

2. Make five or more stacks of cards by placing one card at a time to the stacks, ensuring that there are never two cards of the same type in a row.

3. Put the five stacks together into one and deal out the starting hand of treasure cards to each player.

4. Divide the treasure card deck into three even stacks.

5. Place the three Water Rises cards on top of each.

6. Finally shuffle all the treasure cards into one stack.

This method ensures that there are not many cards of the same type in a row and also there are good odds that there is an even space between Water Rises cards.

The player that was the last to tell a lie goes first. The game begins as a normal game. The traitor will want to remain hidden until the other team has at least one treasure that he can snatch from them at gunpoint. He may work with the others shoring up tiles and even help them get the treasure. If he is really clever he may get the others to help him get the treasure for himself by getting treasure cards from other players as opposed to handing them out to other players. Even after the traitor is revealed his success still depends upon the island not sinking, so some effort on his part to shore up tiles would be wise. The traitor has no reason to remain hidden any longer than it takes until all the treasures are either in his or the other players possession. At that point it is time for him to plan his great revelation, when he stabs a friend in the back and starts plotting to steal the treasure already collected by the other team. The other players will try to prevent treasure being stolen, and can even attempt to steal treasure back from the traitor. But the key to this game variant is how the traitor works when he remains anonymous. That happens when the Water rises cards are drawn from the treasure card deck:

Water Rises cards - Sabotage round:

A key difference to this variant is how the Water Rises cards are treated. What happens when a Water rises card is drawn is that the traitor sabotages the mission and attempts to steal away treasure. Ignore what says on the Water rises cards and use these rules instead. The water level marker still rises one level. But treachery also unfolds. If the traitor has not been revealed this is what happens when a Water Rises card is drawn:

1. If the player who draws the Water Rises cards has drawn it as his first treasure card, he must first of all draw his second card as well. If it should also be a Water Rises card, keep reading. Should it be a special action card, he may choose to use it immediately.

2. The flood discard pile is shuffled in with the flood card draw pile. This should be all the flood cards, except those that have been removed from the game (due to that part of the island having sunk into the ocean already).

3. The flood card deck is divided in half after being shuffled thoroughly. No need to count out exactly half if there are still many flood cards in the game. The player who drew the Water Rises card will be the judge of whether the two piles are even enough.

4. The player who drew the Water Rises card ("first player" from here on) will choose one of the two decks. The other goes to the player on his left, the "second player" (clockwise turn order).

5. The first and second player each choose one card secretly from the deck they were given and place them face down at the center of the table. (If there were two water rises cards drawn each player at the table chooses two cards instead of one)

6. The two decks of flood cards are then shuffled together. Taking care not to reveal any of the remaining cards. A good way of shuffling at this stage is keeping both hands under the table.

7. The remaining flood cards in the deck are again divided up into two even stacks and handed over to the third and fourth player.

8. The third and fourth player then secretly choose a card from the deck they were given and place their card face down in the center of the table with the other chosen cards.

9. The four cards chosen are then shuffled up so there is no way of knowing which player chose which card. It's a good rule that two players shuffle them, both while keeping hands under the table.

10. The four chosen cards are then revealed. And the tiles corresponding to all the cards are turned over. They either flood or sink, as in a regular game.

11. If one of the cards chosen should be a card representing a treasure, and the treasure of that type has not been claimed by any player or the traitor. Go to either step 12 or 13:

12. If the treasure that the flood card corresponds to is still in the box, take it from the box and place it on top of the tile with the matching card. This should be one of the tiles that flooded this turn. If that tile was just sunk and removed from game, place the treasure instead on the other tile with the same treasure symbol on it. If the other tile with the same treasure symbol is also no longer available, the treasure is captured by the traitor and is instead put beside the island until the traitor is revealed. If the treasure is put on the island however this serves as a warning to the other players that the traitor is targeting this treasure. The next sabotage round he might take the treasure unless the adventurers can stop him. The players can still move onto or through the tile with the treasure on it as usual. But the treasure can only be claimed in the usual way, by discarding the right amount of treasure cards on either of the two tiles corresponding to that type of treasure.

13. If the treasure that corresponds to the card chosen (by the traitor) is already on the island and the team of adventurers has not managed to take it, the treasure is then captured by the traitor. The treasure captured is set aside until the traitor is called out or reveals his identity.

14. The cards that were chosen by the players are then moved to the new flood discard pile. Take care to remove from game any cards corresponding to sunken tiles.

15. The rest of the flood cards are shuffled to a new draw pile.

16. The water level marker rises one level (two levels if two cards are drawn).

This way of doing the traitor sabotage ensures there is no way of knowing which card the traitor chose while also giving the traitor half the flood card deck to choose from no matter what his position is in the play order.

A note on how this mechanic affects the island sinking: The island sinks slower in this variant, because the flooding spreads out more giving players more time to shore up critical areas. But the threat of the Water Rises marker however remains the same and thus serves as a time limit to the game. The game will be much longer sometimes.

To shore or not to shore: Shoring up or not shoring up can become part of the tactics as the traitor or adventurers can get stuck on a part of the island. This can also become a hinderance to the opposing team, if they should need to get to a player that is in an inaccessible area of the island to steal his treasure.

Water rises cards - After the traitor is revealed:
"What a fitting end to your life's pursuits. You're about to become a permanent addition to this archaeological find. Who knows? In a thousand years, even you may be worth something." - Beloq
After the traitor is revealed the sabotage round goes as follows:

1. The flood discard pile is shuffled in with the flood draw pile.

2. The "first player", the one who drew the Water Rises card(s) selects one card from the deck and either floods or sinks the tile that corresponds to the flood card selected.

3. The other players then each choose one card and do the same in clockwise order.

4. The cards chosen now form the new flood discard deck.

5. The cards not chosen are shuffled up into the new flood card draw deck.

During a sabotage round after the traitor has been revealed the adventurers might try and make things more difficult for the traitor or even try and kill him off by sinking his part of the island.

The traitor may do the same. He may also try and get unclaimed treasure by sinking both tiles corresponding to unclaimed treasure.

If a tile that has treasure taken out of the box and laid on it should sink, the traitor gets the treasure.

If both tiles corresponding to an unclaimed treasure should sink, the treasure goes to the traitor.

Special circumstances and special rules regarding flooding:
If a tile that a player is standing on should sink into the ocean, leaving that player with no other tiles he could legally move to (this might depend on his roles) that players team loses. The other team wins.

If both teams should loose a player this way on the same tile, both teams loose.

If two Water Rises cards are drawn at the same time. Use the same rules as above. But instead of each player choosing one card secretly, each player chooses two cards. This may be very beneficial for the traitor, as he can now capture a treasure with a single secret blow. The water level marker rises two times, once for each card drawn.

If both tiles where a treasure can be claimed should sink into the ocean, the game is not lost. The treasure instead passes to the traitor. If he has not yet been revealed it goes to the side of the island waiting for the moment when it turns out the villain had them all along. This also applies if a tile with a treasure already laid on it should sink.

Calling out the traitor:
It may be difficult to spot the traitor if he plays his cards right. In a sabotage round, the third player might be able to see if either the first or second have chosen a treasure tile flood card from the deck, then it is most likely either of them is the traitor. But the fourth player has no way of knowing. The third player me discuss his suspicions with the other players. The traitor will naturally point to the other player or even raise the question that the third player is in fact the traitor trying to raise suspicion among friends. After a few sabotage rounds it may however become clear who is most likely the perpetrator.

A player may on his turn, for one action, attempt to call out the traitor by pointing the finger at him, calling him a traitor and ask him to flip over his hidden character card for all to see. The accused player must do so. To make an accusation, the accusing player must have a full hand of five treasure cards. What happens next depends on whether the accusation is valid or not:

Valid: The traitor is now revealed. There is no longer any need to do sabotage rounds in secret. For the rest of the game the first player in a sabotage round simply chooses his card face up from all the cards still in play and passes the deck on to the next player. The traitor will still try and snatch treasure this way, but there is no secret any longer as to who done it. It now becomes harder for the traitor to claim treasure during the sabotage rounds. As he will now need to sink both tiles corresponding to an unclaimed treasure to do so, as opposed to only having to hit the same treasure twice. Now that the traitor is revealed, the secret identities of all the other players is revealed as well. The players can now use their secondary role as well as the primary (if they still have their secondary role). The traitor looses the ability to reveal him self, and the one-time power that comes with choosing to do so. The traitor however now claims the treasures set aside for him (if any) and the corresponding special treasure cards.

Invalid: If the accusations turn out to be wrong, both players suffer. The accuser must first discard his entire hand of five cards (note that special Action cards may not be used before the hand is discarded). The player wrongfully accused, after revealing his secondary role, discards his secondary role. He is now without it for the rest of the game. This may be a benefit for the traitor. In fact, the traitor may accuse someone, if he is willing to sacrifice his entire hand of cards for it, knowing that he will be accusing someone innocent. He may want to be careful with this though, as an abrupt accusation with little evidence to back it up may raise suspicion. If there is only the traitor left with his secondary role card, he is revealed automatically due to the power of elimination. In that case the traitor looses the ability to reveal himself.

The traitor reveals himself:
"I trust your trip down was comfortable, Dr Jones. My men didn't alarm you, I hope." - Walter Donovan
On his turn, for one action, the traitor may flip over his secondary role card and thus reveal himself. Doing so at the right moment can be greatly beneficial for the traitor. Ignore what says on the traitor card and use these rules instead:

When the traitor reveals himself, he should do so when standing on the same tile as one or more other players. The traitor flips over his card and in doing so he can steal all the treasure from all of the players on the same tile as the traitor at the moment of his revelation. The players stabbed in the back this way can not play any special action cards when this occurs, they can for instance not play a helicopter card to escape the traitor. The traitor also immedietly receives all the treasure that has been set aside for him and the corresponding special treasure cards. He may use the special treasure cards immediately if he has actions left for it. The traitor may take additional actions this turn if he has any actions left. At the end of his turn and from this point onwards in the game he may draw from either the traitor deck or the treasure deck (or both) a total of two cards. The traitor must then observe his hand limit as usual, counting both treasure and traitor cards towards his handlimit.

The special treasure cards:
To clarify, these cards can be used multiple times by the player holding the corresponding treasure. The cost for using the card is outlined on each card respectively. If the treasure should pass on to another player (see: stealing treasure) the special treasure card follows the treasure to the new owner. Treasure can be traded among players for one action per treasure traded. Both players must be standing on the same tile to trade treasure between them. The special treasure card always follows the treasure.

The Traitor cards:
Only the traitor can use these cards. After used or discarded they go to a seperate discard pile, the traitor card discard pile. As soon as the traitor card draw pile is empty and the traitor must draw from it, the discard pile is shuffled into a new draw pile.

The Dynomite card:
The Dynomite card behaves differently in this variant than in version 1.0. It does not sink a tile that has not already been flooded. If a tile is not flooded then the Dynomite card can be used to flood instead of sinking. This is an important card still to the traitors arsenal. The traitor can use the Dynomite to sink flooded tiles containing other players, trapping them in or in worst case even drown them (see: winning the game). The Dynomite card can also be used to sink a treasure tile and thus bring the traitor one step closer to capturing an unclaimed treasure.

The Dynomite card can not be used to sink Fool's landing.

Stealing the treasure:
"So once again, Jones, what was briefly yours is now mine." - Beloq

The traitor: can steal a single treasure from another player on the same tile, for one action, by discarding four gun cards or four treasure cards of the same kind as the treasure being stolen. The traitor then also receives the special treasure card that comes with it.

Other players: can steal treasure in the same way from the traitor as described above. The other players however do not have access to guns, unfortunetly.

Gang up on the traitor: The other players can steal treasure from the traitor by collectively discarding four treasures of the corresponding type if all the players holding the necessery treasure cards occupy the same tile as the traitor. This also costs only one action but can only be done if one of the players spending the action has some of the treasure cards needed.

Winning the game:

The traitor wins if he can fly off the island using his Escape plan card from Fool's Landing with three or more tresures to his name.

The adventurers win if they can fly off the island using a helicopter card from Fool's Landing with two or more treasures. All the adventurers must be at Fool's landing for the team to win.

If a tile that a player is standing on should sink into the ocean, leaving that player with no other tiles he could legally move to (this might depend on his roles) that players team loses. The other team wins.

If both teams should loose a player this way on the same tile, both teams loose.

If fools landing should sink by natural causes, or as a resault of a sabotage round, before either team gets off the island. Both teams lose. (Note that the Dynomite card can not be used to sink Fool's Landing.)

If water levels should reach skull level, both teams lose.

If both treasure tiles of same treasure type should sink into the ocean, the game is not lost, as is the rule in a standard game. Instead the treasure passes to the traitor or if the traitors identity has not been revealed it is set aside for him to claim once he reveals himself.
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Viðar Freyr Guðmundsson
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I had the opportunity to try playing with these rules. It was fun and interesting.

The game was much longer, as expected. It ended in a tie when Fool's Landing sunk into the ocean (the last tile on the island) and at he same time water rises marker was about to go up to skull level.

We were playing for 3 artifacts, both teams, to escape and win. Both teams had 2 artifacts in the end. So it was a tight game.

I would still say the traitor is at a bit of an advantage. If he had only a bit more time he would have won for sure.

The game began with the traitor managing to steal one artifact while hidden.

The traitor was lucky too because he had three treasure cards of one sort early on and was able to convince other players to give him the fourth to claim another treasure.

Early on the players had an idea who the traitor was, but discarding five cards was too expensive when they were not too sure. It just turned out that way that they needed the cards to get treasure and before they had the cards to spare to make accusations, it was already very late in the game and eventually too late. They wanted to claim treasure more than they wanted to confirm who the traitor was. This may have been their failing.

The adventurers managed to grab two treasures before the traitor revealed himself.

When the traitor revealed himself he stole one treasure (his one time ability) from the adventurers.

The adventurers managed to steal back one treasure by "ganging up on the traitor".

Soon after the the whole island sunk into the ocean.

There was one issue that arose that the rules were not specific about. When the traitor revealed himself and was planing to steal treasure the adventurers were planing to use a helicopter card (usable at any time) to fly the player being approached away from the person they were sure to be the traitor. The rules specify that the helicopter card can not be used to escape robbery, but they do not specify that it can't be used to escape while the robber is moving. Thematically it would make sense that the helicopter card could not be used on the same round as the traitor reveals himself (not even when he moves before the reveal). But after he is revealed it would make sense thematically that they could be able to see him coming.

Conclusions: perhaps some balancing is needed as to victory conditions. Only further play testing would reveal whether the traitor or adventurers are at an advantage.

It seems that it is too expensive for the adventurers to discard an entire hand to make an accusation. Maybe the rule should be that they only discard if the accusations are wrong.

This version is perhaps not a better game than the standard rules. But it's definitely worth trying a few times if you are getting bored with the standard rules.
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