Games, games and more games!
This is part of my series of reviews of how games have worked with my children, now aged 8 to 12. For the full list see: My children's game reviews - children aged between 2 and 13.
This game is all about the fun components. Large model dinosaurs, explorer pieces shaped like people, a cardboard temple, and two large plastic mountains, not to mention plastic lava and coins, all very tactile and fun to play with. The artwork on the board all adds to the experience too, making the experience very thematic, which children love.
Simplicity of rules:
Most of the rules are very simple - pick up a card and do what it says, then roll a dice and move your explorer, and most of your options are quite simple. The moving in and out of water causes some confusion, as do a few other minor rules queries, but nothing in the game rule-wise is too hard for an 8 year old.
This game is high on the randomness, but not to the level of completely luck dependent. In fact, in our games my oldest child almost always wins, while I lose horribly, just because all the children pick on me, but she makes slightly better tactical decisions than the younger ones - partly because my older son is too cautious, whereas she goes for things more often, and sometimes it works out.
Did the children enjoy it?
While not the level of some of their real favourites, this is a game that keeps being suggested and enjoyed by the older two. There is quite a lot of negative play in the game, and this does stop the 8 year old enjoying it quite as much as the older two - I think you have to be a bit older to be ok with that. He will still play, but often doesn't complete the game, getting upset by something that goes on - but loves watching and laughing at everyone else losing all their explorers!
And how is it from the adult's point of view?
This is one of those games that I wouldn't generally choose to play with adults, particularly not gamers, although I did used to pull it out from time to time with my husband, but that I have fond memories of playing it as a child with my sister, and am loving playing it with my own children, partly for that reason, partly that because while it's not a great game, it is a fun one. Unfortunately my sister also had fond memories of it as a child, so we were fighting over who got to keep our childhood copy until we managed to locate her another copy (from another family member!).
All very true, this really is an enjoyable game and kids love it (so do some adults I game with!). So glad a friend helped me score one on ebay some years ago.
If your kids' experience is anything like ours with "Fireball Island," they'll still enjoying it when they come home to visit after growing up and getting married!