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There's no simple explanation for anything important any of us do, and yeah the human tragedy consists of the necessity of living with the consequences, under pressure, under pressure. -Courage (For Hugh Maclennan): The Tragically Hip
We're forced to bed, but we're free to dream. -Gift Shop: The Tragically Hip
Forbidden Island is a light co-op game in which players are explorers trying to find four treasures and leave the island before it sinks into the sea. The entire island is a grid of tiles that will start on their face up coloured side, eventually flip to their monochromatic blue side as that part of the island floods, and eventually be removed from the game altogether as it is lost to the sea.
Players start with a character card which lets them know what their special ability is. Then when it's your turn you can do three actions which are any combination of: move, shore up (which means turning a blue flooded tile back to its coloured side), give a card to someone else, or turn in a set of cards to find/take the matching treasure. The next thing they'll do is take two treasure cards from the treasure deck. These will either be helpful cards that will go toward them finding the treasures, because when you have four of the same type of treasure card you can go to the appropriate tile, trade them in, and get the treasure. Or, they may be detrimental "waters rise" cards which will go a long way toward making the players lose. The last thing players do on their turn is flip over the number of flood cards equal to the current waters rise level. These cards match the tiles on the island and you flip, or remove tiles matching the flood cards you draw.
Players win together if they all survive, get all four treasures, and escape the island. If they miss any of these criteria they lose.
I like Forbidden Island. It's an easy game to understand and play, but not necessarily an easy game to win. The components are top notch, especially the four treasures which are nicely rendered out of plastic. This would be a good one to play with new gamers, kids, or when you don't want to play for very long. I definitely recommend it.