"Love one another."
Since it was his last day of school this semester, my oldest son, Judah, stayed up past bedtime to play Forbidden Island with me. We've played a couple of other games with simplified rules, but this was his first real crack at a light strategy game as designed and he was definitely ready.
I let him set up the game according to the diagram in the rules and he did a great job! He gave me the Engineer and himself the Pilot. I suspect he selected them based on our favorite colors - red and blue (his previous favorite color since there was no orange). Our initial card draw included three Ocean's Chalice cards, just one short of capturing that treasure! Strangely though, it was the treasure that we had the most difficulty finding. He drew the initial 6 locations that were flooded - one of which was Fool's Landing (better keep an eye on that). We started the Water Level at the lowest (easiest) setting. After reading the story of the game and a brief overview of the rules, we were off on our treasure hunting adventure.
I shored up a couple of locations, including Fool's Landing. Drew treasure cards...Waters Rise! Reshuffled the original 6 locations and drew two, one of which flooded Fool's Landing again.
Judah's first actions (without any suggestion from me) were to give me an Ocean's Chalice, so I had three, and to shore up Fool's Landing. Brilliant decision, it turned out. When drawing his treasure cards, we hit another Water's Rise card. Since only two cards had been flooded since the last WR, he was going to draw the same two cards. Fool's Landing flooded a third time and we would have lost the game right then, on Judah's first turn, had he not shored up Fool's Landing. I was pretty impressed with his decision-making and instincts. I probably would have risked the unlikely odds of a second Waters Rise card showing up in the first four treasure cards - but lost.
Over the course of the rest of the game he really enjoyed passing cards to one another and shoring up Island locations. He really felt the tension when we drew Flood Cards and got pretty excited whenever a Waters Rise! cards was drawn. I was happy to see him pick up the First Treasure - Statue of the Wind - and then help me gain the Crystal of Fire. Then there was much rejoicing when he gained the Earth Stone.
We now had three treasures, needing only the Ocean's Chalice to win the game, but the treasure deck was reshuffled, sending all the Waters Rise cards back in. We drew and shored up, but weren't finding the right treasure cards. Meanwhile, the island began sinking...fast. Every time a tile flooded under us, he'd comment on our feet getting wet. Eventually, with tiles disappearing all around us and the Water Level one tick from "5", we found the Chalice and were able to lift off from Fool's Landing.
Judah loved the game and leaped and danced his way to bed. It was beautiful to see him light up and get actively involved in the game. He was really into the game and it felt like we were working together as a team. He clearly saw our objective and what we needed to accomplish it. I was proud of his ability to anticipate what he wanted to do and what he thought I should do on my turn. Yeah, it's a very light game, but it was a perfect way to introduce my 7-year old son to his father's favorite hobby. Afterward, he said it was "Fun" and his favorite part was "finding all the treasures before the island sank." This was truly a great father-son moment that will be both a treasured memory and a magical beginning.
It's really neat that you guys got to share that with one another. I bet that he'll remember gaming with his dad when he gets older, and looks back on his childhood.
I've been buying other Gamewright games for my two girls, aged 5 and 6. Slamwich, Say Cheese, and Curse of the Ruby Rhino are probably their favorites. I know as they can read and reason a little more, they'll be ready for other games like FI.
I own FI as well...what a fantastic little game.
It's good to hear parents sharing their hobbies with their kids!