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Hopefully these reviews will offer very short, though hopefully helpful pro/con reviews for those trying to make their mind up about this game.
GAME: FIREBALL ISLAND (1986)
PUBLISHER: MILTON BRADLEY
- Fantastic 3D board. Fireball Island is remembered for having one of the largest, most impressive 3D boards of its time. With numerous inclines, fireball slides, and details, the board for Fireball Island is the pièce de résistance of 1980s children games.
- Engaging theme. There really is nothing like pushing a "fireball" (red marble) down one of those slides, and watching it clobber into your opponents. Perhaps the feeling is a bid stolid if you are an adult, but any adult who was a kid then, remembers the sheer thrill of this event.
- Gameplay isn't as terrible as you think it might be. For MB games, most of their "throw-and-go" games were insipid. Fireball Island, however, adds the use of event cards, which breaks up the monotony of throwing dice. Yes, it is for children, but for those who want to get nostalgic, Fireball Island plays okay.
- Unclear rules. Although the game is simple, there are parts of the rules where more information would be helpful. For instance, can I play an event card that I just drew? This, and other minute details, could use further explanation.
- 2 player game is often unbalanced. Once a player gets the jewel, that usually seals the deal for their championship. The rules have to be slightly tweaked to ensure they don't get a supreme advantage. More than two players makes it harder for the jewel-taker to win, however.
- If you don't roll a 1, it means no fireballs. Unless you get the Fireball event card, it can so happen that fireball rolling becomes a rare action to make. And if there ain't any fireballs rolling, then what the hell is the point?
Fireball Island is one of those games that you would only buy if you remember it from 20 years ago. Like myself, most people didn't own it, but had a friend or cousin who did. And like myself, many never bothered reading the instructions, but rather played their own version that involved lots of fireballing. This game is HUGE (understandably, the largest box in my collection) and so one must be prepared to have room for it. Considering the prices of these babies on eBay, you must have the pocket for it too. However, Fireball Island is a must have for any gamer who collects 1980s children games. Because of its impressive size, and extreme nostalgia factor, it will certainly be one of the prize possessions in your collection if you manage to pick up a copy. I write this review to say that if you decide to invest in a copy, the gameplay is okay enough that your friends will appreciate your investment. Plus, it makes a great (large) coffee table ice breaker!
Steve R Bullock
I bought this game when it first came it and had a blast with it!
As for the coffee table ice breaker- believe me, if anyone comes to my house and sees THAT game on the table, I'm in trouble! They will think I am an imposter because I cleaned up enough to fit that thing on my coffee table!