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Forbidden Island» Forums » General

Subject: Forbidden Island or Forbidden Desert? rss

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Pádraic Kudu
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Objective

My parents will be visiting for Christmas and I'm looking for a good game for the three of us to enjoy.

They're not proficient gamers but my mother is a fast thinker and my father a natural strategist. To avoid (major) family arguments over a board game, I thought a cooperative game could be a good choice.

Background

My mother and I, years ago, enjoyed Reiner Knizia's Lord of the Rings and Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation - so she does have a little experience of gaming slightly more complex than Monopoly or Cluedo, but has probably suffered somewhat from my Alpha Gamer Syndrome. Recently, she played our first Mombasa session with me and my girlfriend - but reading through the rules, setting up the game, and playing through all seven rounds took us over six hours. My father hasn't played Lord of the Rings for over a decade.

So, within that context, I'm looking for a game that won't take forever to learn or explain, and that allows us to get into the finer points of collaborative strategising as easily as possible. A game, indeed, that won't be so heavy that we would groan at the thought of attempting a post-Christmas Lunch session. But also a game that could, ideally, hold some decent replay value for my girlfriend and me, increasingly avid if not advanced gamers.

Recommendation

My first question, then, is: do you think Forbidden Island would be a good choice? A game that will challenge us (and I'll watch out for my Alpha Player tendencies), but that won't be so complex that I essentially end up playing it solitaire with my folks' roles limited to bewildered onlookers.

Alternative

My second query regards the differences between Forbidden Island and its successor Forbidden Desert.

• Which game provides more exciting gameplay?

• Which game would better suit first-time or casual gamers, but also (if it's ever possible!) entertain enthusiasts?

• Is there a reason to play Forbidden Island before Forbidden Desert?

Thanks for your thoughts and advice.
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Marco
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kudupadraic wrote:


Recommendation

My first question, then, is: do you think Forbidden Island would be a good choice? A game that will challenge us (and I'll watch out for my Alpha Player tendencies), but that won't be so complex that I essentially end up playing it solitaire with my folks' roles limited to bewildered onlookers.


To play with your parents, most certainly yes. Although it's said it's a bit of a co-op for children, it's also a good game to play with non-gamers. It will probably challenge you and your GF for a couple of games, but might eventually bore you. (Although someone created a bunch of variants about monkeys, storms, dinosaurs etc. which makes the game more fun again)

kudupadraic wrote:

Alternative

My second query regards the differences between Forbidden Island and its successor Forbidden Desert.

• Which game provides more exciting gameplay?

• Which game would better suit first-time or casual gamers, but also (if it's ever possible!) entertain enthusiasts?

• Is there a reason to play Forbidden Island before Forbidden Desert?

Thanks for your thoughts and advice.


Forbidden dessert is a bit more complex with more rules and game elements. For gamers, this is more fun, for non-gamers forbidden island will probably be more fun. Forbidden island is certainly lighter.

Forbidden island will probably suit first-time gamers better, as it's really easy to learn with a fun theme.

There is no thematic reason to play one before the other, but understanding the rules of forbidden dessert will ofc. be easier after having played forbidden island. But there is actually no real reason to play one first.

Also keep in mind the theme. Both have quite a different theme and I must say that I prefer being an adventurer on a "forbidden island" arrrh than looking for some missing ship in the dessert yuk.
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Chris Watts
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I would start with Forbidden Island - good way to introduce them the concepts of the 2 games etc. My family enjoys Forbidden Desert also but it has more elements and has more difficulty associated that can trip you up, takes alot more thought. Forbidden Island i've found has alot more randomness attached to it and your game can depend on the first 6 tiles that are flooded.

Who knows it may only take a game or 2 of Forbidden Island before you move onto Forbidden Desert - which I think is the better overall game...
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B-Rad
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+1 for starting with Forbidden Island. If someone you know is not a typical gamer, it's the least-crunchy of the two (some will call me a blasphemer for using the term "crunch" with regards to either of these games). Either way, I love both, and they both have different-enough mechanics that they scratch two different itches, in my opinion.

I still find the game fun just by randomly handing out roles and playing at the higher difficulty, which just so happens to ramp up the more players you have.
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Seth Pinter
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-100 for Forbidden Island. The game is boring and you'll hate it shortly after playing it with your parents.

I have it, and I like it less every time I play it. I only have it because I can guide my 4-year old through the game and he feels like he did something and it only lasts a few minutes.

A much better simple game is Ticket to Ride (just one example of many). You can't really argue over that as the rules are so simple, but the gameplay is far more engaging than Forbidden Island. If your mom is a quick thinker and your dad is a natural strategist I don't know why you'd ask them to play games that you are going to Alpha game through and force them to sit through it.

I can't speak to Forbidden Dessert, but the point that you'll play Forbidden Island 2 times before moving on just shows how bad the game is.
 
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Pádraic Kudu
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Thanks for the tips, everyone. The (not-quite-unanimous) consensus I'm getting here (and here), as elsewhere, is that Forbidden Island is probably the right place to start, although Forbidden Desert is also a good game if a little more complex and a little less thematically appealing (for some).

nordlead wrote:
If your mom is a quick thinker and your dad is a natural strategist I don't know why you'd ask them to play games that you are going to Alpha game through and force them to sit through it.


You're absolutely right. And right to suggest alternatives (I'll certainly check out Ticket to Ride - thank you). I also have Carcassonne which is a nice little game - light and simple, but enough chance and competition to make it a good holiday season game. (Yet not so fiercely aggressive as to provoke family feuds...)

I mentioned the Alpha Gamer Syndrome in case there were reasons to recommend one game over the another, as certain co-ops, I understand, have more robust inbuilt mechanisms for equalising participation.

Simpler games, I would contend, are less problematic in this regard for a group with mixed skill and experience - hence my coming to this game instead of, say, Pandemic or Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island. If I introduced my parents to The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, for example, it would be a struggle to resist Alpha tendencies given the intricacy of the rules and the strategic complexity. It's also a reason to seek out a game that will be new to all of us.

It may also be worth adding that I do have friends (whom many may unfairly describe as 'non-gamers') who actually enjoy playing alongside one or two Alpha Gamers. While I wholeheartedly understand the pitfalls, someone taking charge in a cooperative game isn't always disastrous; it depends on the group. Many people enjoy the narrative aspects, while others don't always appreciate being pushed to make decisions they are less than confident about in front of a group. I know this describes a minority of gaming groups, but there can be value, in specific circumstances, to having a player at the table who is able to push play forward at the right moments (knowing when to do so and when to hold back is the key, and I believe recognising Alpha tendencies is the first step to mastering this).

I've played with more experienced gamers, and although experience is by no means synonymous with social or strategic dominance, I have appreciated the chance to hear the fullness of their thoughts rather than being too restrictive about who has control over what. Naturally, respecting other players' participation and understanding everyone brings something unique to the game is essential.

Thanks again for the advice. I'm shocked by the great price point for Forbidden Island (any ideas why Forbidden Desert costs a fair bit more, albeit still very reasonable?), so that's another plus, although maybe explains how some feel about it...

nordlead wrote:
The game is boring and you'll hate it shortly after playing it with your parents.
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Brian Hall
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You've already been given good answers, and I'd agree with the recommendation to get Forbidden Island for the situation you're describing. However, I just wanted to jump in and say kudos for recognizing your tendency to be an alpha gamer and trying to hold it back. I wish more alpha gamers would do that.
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Rex Moore
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+100 for Forbidden Island, just to get things back to fair.
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Seth Pinter
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This game is cheap because it is a very basic game and was sold mass market (Target, Walmart, Grocery stores, etc...). That combo allowed me to pick up a copy for $8 on clearance.

And, I just want to add that I don't have anything against simple games, I just like them to have non-automatic decisions.
 
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tom tom
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Look in the file section for alternate island layouts. They make the game VERY replayable, and some are VERY tough to beat.
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Chris H
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We prefer Forbidden Island as it's essentially the same as Forbidden Desert with sleeker design and fewer moving parts. Though I suspect Desert is the better game for 3+ players.

We might be on the outside here but we actually find Desert easier than Island. I think most find the opposite is true.
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