Luke Seubert
United States
Lusby
Maryland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I would like to add either Forbidden Island or Forbidden Desert to my game collection, to serve as a gateway cooperative game alongside Hanabi and Escape: The Curse of the Temple for friends unfamiliar with modern boardgames.

In studying the reviews, rules, and playthrough videos of both games, I came to the conventional conclusion that Forbidden Desert is the more advanced of the two, offering somewhat more complex gameplay, depth, and replayability.

But then, I discovered the impressive array of fan created, print-on-demand variants and expansions for Forbidden Island:
- Forbidden Island - Variant Listing

To the people who have played both games, Forbidden Island + Variants as well as Forbidden Desert, how would you compare and contrast them? Which makes for a better gateway game with enough replayability and strategic challenge to satisfy more advanced gamers?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonathan Meltzer
United States
Dover
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
badge
Eight ball, corner pocket
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If you are really going to use it as a gateway game, I would say use Forbidden Island. The map variants make for decent replayability, but the actual play is pretty much the same each time. It will get the players used to working together.

If you would be playing the game a lot in your group, and not just to introduce new gamers to co-op, then I would get Forbidden Desert. It has a bit more going on, and the variability is a plus.

Just my $0.02.

EDIT: I had not realized that there were variants that went beyond the maps. I have not played them at all, but after viewing them, my opinion remains the same.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aaron Edwards
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
^ What Miserak said. If complexity and replayability are what you're after, then you can get it with Desert without having to worry about variants. Plus, though it is more complex than Island, it's still relatively straightforward and newb-friendly.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luke Seubert
United States
Lusby
Maryland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you Aaron and Jonathan for sharing your views.

One other concern I have about Forbidden Desert is that the game play is a bit more fiddly. Placing and removing sand tiles while shifting tiles around is more of a gamekeeping chore than the mere flipping of island tiles. Or at least, so it seems from the videos I have watched.

For folks who have played both games, is the greater FD fiddliness by comparison to FI much of an issue?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonathan Meltzer
United States
Dover
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
badge
Eight ball, corner pocket
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Not too much. Once the player who is teaching the game has played it a couple of times, it becomes second nature to place the sand tiles and move the tiles around (due to the storm). Once you have that part down, the increase in variability seems worth it (again, see my earlier comment).

One issue that my wife had with FD (it is a small one, but it exists) is that one person is essentially on full-time "water duty" to make sure that the others survive. That player may feel that their function is one-dimensional. In FI, by contrast, each player may use their ability in different ways at different times (if that makes sense). Again, a small issue, but one to be aware of. If one of the newbies ends up having to uncover wells and deliver water all game, and would rather be able to spend actions uncovering tiles and such, they might not enjoy it as much.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Lake Forest Park
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Mizerak wrote:
One issue that my wife had with FD (it is a small one, but it exists) is that one person is essentially on full-time "water duty" to make sure that the others survive.

Simple solution: Don't include the Water Carrier role in the game. While powerful and soothing, that role is not necessary to win.

I agree that FI is a bit easier to teach, but FD is much more fun overall. And the shifting sands aren't all that fiddly. Plus with FD, you only flip each tile once, whereas with FI you are flipping the tiles over and back repeatedly. So they are not worlds apart in fiddly-ness.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Deb Wentworth
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have both games and enjoy both. I do find FD a lot more fiddly, though - I'm not fond of the mechanic of constantly adding sand tiles.

I'd choose FI to teach to new gamers. There is one big advantage to it - it is quite obvious how you're doing. Yikes, the island is sinking below your feet!

With FD you don't get that same sense of exactly how in peril you are. I've played a couple of games where things seem to be great, then POW, you're dead.

I think beginners would prefer the sense of dread that comes with the sinking island.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Benjamin Benson
United States
Dublin
CA
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My first experience into the Forbidden world was with desert and I ended up just being on water duty because of my special power. However, still enjoyed it, I felt I was being productive. Still lost though.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adam L
United Kingdom
Gravesend
Kent
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi - few months late!
Although Forbidden Desert is harder, and probably offers a bit more variation in strategy, I much prefer the theme and simplicity of forbidden Island.

Visually, F.I. just looks more menacing and tense.

F.D. is definitely more fiddly - and although the storm mechanic is very clever, plus the finding of artifacts good, it's not been as popular with my family as F.I.

If only Matt Leacock had known all he knew about F.D. when he was making F.I.

If you want a more advanced and "better" co-op - then Pandemic is Matt Leacock's Magnum Opus! (Great work!)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.