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Why I’ll never get rid of Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island is a nice cooperative game, created by Matt Leacock of Pandemic fame. It’s a somewhat simplified Pandemic, with great looking components, and at a super cheap price. It’s been a game I’ve been recommending to families who want a simple (not dull) board game. As a matter of fact, I’ve bought that game multiple times as birthday presents for some of my kids’ friends.

But the fact that it’s a good little game is not the reason I’ll never get rid of Forbidden Island. The reason I’ll keep it, is my emotional attachment to it: Forbidden Island was my very first “modern” board game.

We all have “the” game that brought us to the hobby, and for me, that game is Forbidden Island.

I don’t exactly remember where and how I heard about the game for the first time (possibly boardgamegeek, or maybe some recommendation algorithm on Amazon?), but I remember being amazed at the idea that cooperative board games were a thing.

I was actively looking for something to change our family mind from video games as an indoor activity, but I was worried that our kids were too young to play board games against the parents. “This”, I thought, “is the solution”!

And boy was I right. We’ve played countless hours of Forbidden Island by now, having owned the game for almost 10 years. It still gets reasonable table time, and it’s still a blast to play it. We have an easy time remembering the rules even when we haven’t played it for months, and did I mention how gorgeous it looks, especially considering its price? I don’t think I’ve ever found such value for the price in the world of board gaming.

Interestingly, after buying Forbidden Island and enjoying it so much, cooperative games became the only thing I wanted to play with my kids for quite some time. I’ve found some we enjoyed (including Pandemic Legacy), and others much less (get ready for my One Deck Dungeon review one of these days). But no matter how hard I tried to always find better games, Forbidden Island remains in my (and my family’s) heart as “our game”.

And in case you’re wondering, we do have Forbidden Desert as well (I don’t like it as much, but my son does). We never bought Forbidden Sky, as by this point I’ve grown a bit tired of the pandemic mechanic.

Forbidden Island has brought so many cool memories to our house, just looking at the box makes me happy. It’s never leaving our shelves.

What was your first modern board game?

Games mentioned in this article

Forbidden Desert
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Forbidden Island
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Forbidden Sky
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One Deck Dungeon
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Pandemic Legacy
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