Greetings, I straight up love this game. I first received my copy for Christmas in 1986. That year in MO there was a terrible ice storm and we spent about a week without power. Luckily we had the warmth of revenge found in Fireball Island to keep us warm. As a family we must have played 20 games of FI that holiday.
After college I returned home and went through my room to get my board but found the box missing, seems my evil older sister had gone through the house looking for things to sell. Well, I forgot about FI for a few more years and once I had kids I decided that I needed to introduce them to the greatest board game ever.
I bought a beat up copy on ebay for $75 and some replacement marbles. I'm short one token and that's it. Well that box lived in the garage for a few years waiting to get played and my boys are finally old enough to enjoy it. This past weekend I cracked it open and off the three of us went into the wilds of Fireball Island. Three intrepid explorers, 34, 6, and 4 lol. It's a complete hit, and I'm so happy to be passing it on I just wanted to share.
Also, I made a rulebook based on the way we played when I was a kid (family rules and whatnot) and added several variations for your enjoyment. It's based loosely on the 25th Anniversary rule book, I changed what needed changing but wanted to credit that great document.
Variations I included:
Team Expedition - team play
Hurry Up - two dice speed play
Fireball Island Shots - party game for the grown ups
Most Dangerous Game - clue variation which heavily involves dueling and negates the digging.
Umm, can't seem to figure out how to upload the .pdf rulebook. Hrm, I'll post this and then reply to it once and reason it out.
“Le Chuck’s Folly”
Capture the jewel, and be first to reach the boat with it.
One Game Board Four Magic Tokens
Four Explorer pieces Five Fireballs
One Idol One Jewel
Two Bridges One Die
One Rule book Forty-eight Playing Cards
GAME SETUP & THE FIREBALL ISLAND MAP
Set the gameboard on a flat level surface. Place Vul-Kar (the Idol), bridges, 4 tokens, jewel, fireballs, and 1 playing piece for each player on the board. Playing pieces are placed on the Start Space (Dead Man's Plateau).
Shuffle the cards, deal 1 card facedown to each player. Place the remaining cards facedown next to the gameboard to form a draw pile.
GAME PLAY & HOW TO WIN
Players roll the die. Highest roll goes first. Play continues to the left after each player's turn.
Players take turns rolling the die and moving along the trail. You can move along the trail in any direction, as long as you don't move onto the same space twice during one move.
As soon as a player captures the jewel, the player with the jewel must always move towards the Dock with it and cannot make use of the cave system. The player who reaches the boat with the jewel (not by exact count) wins the game!
WHAT YOU DO ON YOUR TURN
On your turn, you may play any number of cards from your hand before or after you move. All players MUST be given a chance to play cards on your turn before and after you move, and before you play any cards on your turn.
On your turn you must move exactly once by rolling the die. Move your playing piece along the trail the number of spaces indicated on the die. If you land on a space occupied by another playing piece, move to the next unoccupied space in the direction that you are moving. Once the die is rolled for movement, no player can play any cards except MAGIC TALISMAN STOPS A FIREBALL or REROLL THE DIE until after you move your playing piece and the space you land on resolves.
If you roll a “1” when moving, you do not move. You must roll a Fireball!
During your turn there are ways to draw cards. 4-CARD LIMIT: You can only have up to 4 cards in your hand. If you would draw a card and you already have 4 cards in your hand, you cannot draw any cards (nor can you play cards in response in order to draw cards).
Signal the end of your turn by passing the die to the player on your left.
The Boat: The Boat is the Finish Space but if only accessible if you have the jewel. If you reach the boat with the jewel you have successfully escaped Fireball Island and you win the game!
Bridges: Bridges count as two spaces and any number of players can be on one bridge at any time.
Caves: There are six numbered caves on the gameboard. When moving, you may move your playing piece into the cave from the trail space next to it (this counts as moving 1 space) and end your movement. You do not have to roll exactly to enter a cave, eg if the cave is four spaces away and you roll a six you can still enter the cave. Once in the cave, you then immediately roll the die again and move your playing piece into the cave that matches the number on the die. If the cave you roll is occupied you do not move or roll again this turn. If you roll a “1”, move to cave 1 (if you can) and then roll a Fireball!
While in a cave on your turn, before you move you must declare whether you are entering a new cave or moving out of the cave onto the trail. Cave 4 is a dead-end cave. From Cave 4 you must roll to enter a new cave when you can. If you are moving to a new cave and your roll totals 8+ (because DOUBLE THE NEXT DIE ROLL was played), you may move into any cave! (If you roll and failed to declare what you were doing, you automatically move to a new cave).
Dark Trail Spaces: Whenever you land on a dark trail space, draw 1 card from the top of the drawpile. (If you have 4 cards in your hand, you cannot play cards in response to landing on this space in order to draw 1 card).
Dead Man's Plateau: Dead Man's Plateau is the Start Space. When you land on Dead Man's Plateau (not by exact count), you end your movement.
The Dock: The Dock is the Finish Space if you do not have the jewel. When you land on The Dock (not by exact count), you end your movement.
Vul-Kar Point: To initially capture the jewel, as soon as you land on or would move past Vul-Kar Point, you capture the jewel and end your movement on Vul-Kar Point. This space is now used like a normal connecting trail space.
As soon as you capture the jewel in this manner, you fill your hand to 4 cards, roll any Fireball, then take 3 full turns in a row.
Witchlord Step and the Magic Charm Tokens: If you land on or pass Witchlord Step (the space between the fireball and the tokens), take one Magic Charm token. You can only take 1 token from Witchlord Step once a game.
You can place this token back on Witchlord Step anytime on your turn (no matter where you are) to fill your hand to 4 cards. (This cannot be done in response to someone else playing a card on your turn).
If you own the jewel and a token, no player can play TAKE 1 CARD FROM ANY OPPONENT on you!
ROLLING A FIREBALL
Whenever you roll a “1” or play the FIREBALL! card, you must target a player that is not on a safe space (even if the only player you can target is yourself). After the target is declared a MAGIC TALISMAN STOPS A FIREBALL card can be played, if one is played no Fireball is rolled. If MAGIC TALISMAN STOPS A FIREBALL is not played, push (don’t flick) the Fireball down a trailway or rollway that leads to the declared target. If Vul-Kar is being used, and the Fireball fails to roll out of Vul-Kar or rolls the wrong direction (and it was legitimately pushed), the Fireball is considered to be rolled and to have touched nothing! When the Fireball stops rolling, return it to its original location. (If a Fireball is ever not legitimately pushed, no players are considered to be Fireballed and the Fireball is returned to its original location and is pushed again by the player to the left of the player that just pushed it).
If your playing piece is touched by a Fireball or by any other game part as a result of a rolling Fireball, it is Fireballed (you cannot play any cards in response to being Fireballed.) A Fireballed piece is placed on its side in the specified smolder pit. If you own the jewel, place it on the Rock Chip trail space next to the smolder pit. The first player to move onto or past the jewel captures it! While in a smolder pit, you cannot roll, move, play cards, or place your token back on Witchlord Step!
On your next turn, place your playing piece upright then end your turn (you still cannot do anything). On your following turn, you may now take your turn as you would normally. The Rock Chip trail space next to the smolder pit is the first space you move onto when moving out of the smolder pit.
If your playing piece is knocked off a bridge, it is Fireballed! It is placed upright at the water penalty area at the bottom of Great Sway Bluff (you may still do anything you could normally do). If you own the jewel, place it on the bridge. The first player to move onto the bridge captures it! On your following turn(s), you must climb the five trail spaces to the top of the bluff from the water’s edge.
FIREBALL SMOLDER PITS
If you are hit by a fireball here… …you must move here
Witchlord Trail A
Thunder Valley B
Skeleton Head Beach & Blister Run C
Fireflash Chute, High Road, & Low Road D
Viper Pass E
Dock Run F
STEALING THE JEWEL FROM AN OPPONENT
When you pass the player that owns the jewel, take the jewel from that player! If you land on the same space as a player with the jewel you must duel by fisticuffs. Both players roll the die. The player with the highest roll takes the jewel and moves ahead the number of spaces rolled. This does not count as that player’s turn. Both players will reroll in the event of a tie. Rolling a one does not trigger a fireball during a duel. Cards cannot be played during a duel. If a player with the jewel passes another player the player with the jewel is considered to have snuck past the other player and retains the jewel. This also applies on the docks; a player with the jewel can sneak onto the boat to win but if he lands on the dock by exact count with another player present then he must duel.
PLAYING YOUR CARDS
You may play (almost) any of your cards on any turn. Cards played are placed faceup in a discard pile next to the drawpile. The discard pile can NEVER be looked through. If the drawpile runs out of cards, immediately shuffle the discard pile and turn it facedown to create a new drawpile.
When a card is played during a turn, no other cards can be played until the card just played does its effect. CANCEL ANY CARD and MAGIC TALISMAN can be played before a just played card does its effect.
Below are further in depth descriptions of each card.
CANCEL ANY CARD EXCEPT FIREBALL CARD! - You may play this card on a just played card (even another CANCEL card), that card has no effect!
DOUBLE THE NEXT DIE ROLL - You may play this card before a die roll, that roll is doubled (a “1” becomes “2” and no Fireball is rolled).
FAKE JEWEL! - You may play this card when an opponent tries to steal the jewel from you. You keep the jewel instead!
FIREBALL! - You may play this card on any turn. Roll a Fireball!
MAGIC TALISMAN STOPS A FIREBALL - You may play this card immediately after a player has declared a target for a Fireball. No Fireball is rolled.
MOVE AHEAD (4-6 SPACES) INSTEAD OF ROLLING THE DIE - You may play this card before any player rolls to move. That player does not roll and instead moves the indicated number of spaces. This card cannot be used when in a cave to enter Cave 4-6, however it can be used to move out of a cave.
MOVE ANY OPPONENT BACK (1-3 SPACES) - You may play this card on an opponent’s turn ONLY. If you play this card before the opponent moves, the opponent moves back the number of spaces indicated in any direction of your choice. If you play this card after the opponent moves, the opponent moves back the number of spaces indicated in the direction they just moved from (the space they just landed on still resolves as does the space they will land on when they move back, so if they land on The Boat and they own the jewel they still win). If a player that owns the jewel is moved back past another playing piece, the player with the jewel retains ownership of it! These cards cannot be played on players in caves, smolder pits, or the water penalty area, nor can they move players into any of these areas. If one of these cards moves an opponent back onto a bridge, the opponent must end their movement on the bridge.
REROLL THE DIE - You may play this card after a die roll, that roll is ignored (no Fireball is rolled) and the die is rolled again. You can play this card against an opponent’s die roll as well as your own.
TAKE ANOTHER TURN AFTER YOUR TURN - You may play exactly 1 of these cards just before you end your turn. Immediately take another full turn.
TAKE 1 CARD FROM ANY OPPONENT - You may play this card on any turn. Select an opponent that does not own the jewel and a token. Take 1 random card from that player’s hand.
There are several variations for Fireball Island. All players must agree on what variation or combinations they are playing before beginning play and cannot switch variation(s) mid game. If a rule is not expressly changed by the variation then the basic rule applies.
If there are exactly 4 players, a team expedition game can be played! A team expedition game is played just like a normal game, but with the following exceptions:
- All players first choose a partner, if all players cannot agree on partners then each player rolls a dice and the two highest are paired together.
- Players on a team must sit adjacent to each other.
- Partners are not considered to be opponents.
- Each expedition team shares a single deck of up to ten cards. Each expedition starts the game with three cards.
- When a player is moving towards The Dock and they pass their partner that owns the jewel, the passing player may chose to take the jewel from their partner (FAKE JEWEL! cannot be played to prevent this)
- A team only wins when both partners of the team are on The Boat and one of those players owns the jewel!
- A player on The Dock that owns the jewel must wait on their partner to enter the boat. That player draws 1 card at the start of their turn, that player no longer moves but can be moved using cards.
If you’re short on time a modified game of Fireball Island can be played using two dice:
- Players are dealt four cards at the beginning of the game and will restock their hand to four cards after passing The Ruins, Vol-Kar Point, and Chasm Peak. Dark spaces serve no special function in “Hurry Up”
- Double the next die roll only work on one die and you must say which die you are doubling before rolling.
- The roll of a one on either die still triggers a fireball but the rolling player moves the number of spaces rolled before triggering the fireball. Double ones counts as only a single Fireball.
- The value of “Move Ahead” cards is doubled.
- First player to get the jewel rolls only twice instead of three times.
FIREBALL SHOTS ISLAND
For adults only; preferably played with Fireball Whiskey:
- Hit by a fireball? It has medicinal value; drink!
- Rolling a fireball? You must pay homage to Vul-Kar; Drink!
- You got the jewel? Celebrate with a drink!
- You lost the jewel? Drown your sorrows with a drink!
MOST DANGEROUS GAME
Exploring Fireball Island proving too mundane? Let’s play a game…
-This variation requires the weapons from the game Clue
- There are three tools: the Lead Pipe, the Wrench, and the Candlestick
- There are three weapons: the Revolver, the Whip, and the Knife
- At the beginning of the game place the weapons on the ruins, the Lead Pipe in Cave 4, the Wrench on Chasm Peak, and the Candlestick in Cave 3
-If two players land on the same space or pass each other and both have weapons they must duel, even if they don’t have the jewel. The loser in the duel reacts as if shot but keeps his cards and item. If only one player has a weapon then the quarry is considered unarmed and allowed to pass; however if a player as a the jewel they will duel with fisticuffs. At the end of a weapon duel the winner rolls the dice and moves ahead.
-A player can have one tool and one weapon at a time, if they encounter a second they must leave one behind.
Below are further descriptions of each item.
REVOLVER – You’ve only got six shots so make’em count. On your turn, shoot at anyone standing up who is outside the caves and in line-of-sight from the head of your piece. Hit by rolling a one (two if playing “Hurry Up”). One shot a turn. When shot, a player falls over stunned for one turn, as if in a lava pit but stays on the trail. He drops all his equipment. Cards vanish into the discard pile, items and the jewel lie in his space. A fireball can hit him and sweep him into the lava pit, but the items and jewel stay where they were. He does not lose another turn if this happens, though. Anyone passing the space may grab one item. Shot player may grab them all at once at the start of his turn if he has not been swept away by a fireball. If used in a duel the revolver beats the knife, shots fired in a duel do not count against the six. If up against the whip roll a one and you beat the odds!
WHIP - Use two full turns to climb to a space directly above or below you. First turn roll the die, as usual, but don’t move, set up the whip on the map. Second turn, move to the target space, leave the whip on the map (still rolling the die, don‘t want to miss out on any fireballs). Fireballs cannot hit you as you are assumed to be between trails. But a player with the revolver can. In that case, you drop stunned to the lower space (possibly a break, if that’s where you were going anyway) and follow rules for a shot player. Third turn, pick up whip and move as normal. Roll die, a ’one’ means the whip frayed and broke, and cannot be used again. No fireball though, so quit complaining. The player with the whip cannot fall off a bridge. If used in a duel the whip beats the gun. If up against the knife roll a one and you beat the odds!
KNIFE - Cut the whip with this when a player is climbing. Player on it falls as if shot. Roll die, on a ‘one’ you cut it right in the middle, ruining it, throw whip away, other wise it can be used again (it’s a long whip). Whip may be cut at either end, if from the bottom, you are assumed to have climbed up the rocks a little to get whip-user as he comes down. You can throw the knife at a player in line of sight. Roll a one and you hit him. Knifed player reacts as if shot. If used in a duel the knife beats the whip, if up against a revolver roll a one and you beat the odds!
WRENCH - Get to the boat with this and disable it. This is represented by making any jewel holder have to land on it by exact count. Other players are not bound by this, as they won’t want to leave without the jewel. However, any jewel holder who can get the wrench in his possession can fix the boat instantly. This is represented by going back to the original rule: you need not land on the dock by exact count. Whenever the wrench is used, roll the die, a one breaks it before the job is finished (fixing or sabotaging), remove item from game. If it breaks on a jewel holder who tries to use it to fix the boat, his ‘exact count’ requirement still holds, and he must go back where he started the turn.
CANDLESTICK - Light source for the caves. Roll two dice and pick one result. Roll doubles and the candle gutters out, throw it away
LEAD PIPE – Swung like a bat to redirect fireballs. When hit with a fireball roll a die. Evens you beat the fireball back; odds you’re toast and the pipe is destroyed.