The Forbidden Island board game is a race against time

17. November 2016 - Anika Semmer

Forbidden Island Board Game – Will You Escape the Rising Tide? | Review


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The forbidden island is sinking! You are part of a small group of adventurers who must collect artefacts together in a race against time and leave the forbidden island in time. Sounds exciting? That’s our conclusion in the Forbidden Island board game test!

Forbidden Island Board Game – Facts at a Glance

  • Game type: Family game, cooperative strategy game
  • Age: 10 years and up
  • Players: 2-4 players
  • Duration: 30 minutes per round
  • Publisher: Schmidt Spiele / Gamewright
  • Author: Matt Leacock
  • Year of publication: 2010
  • Goal: Work together as a team to capture the sacred artefacts and leave the forbidden island together before it sinks.
Schmidt Spiele 49013 Die verbotene Insel, Koorperatives Strategiespiel, bunt
Schmidt Spiele 49013 Die verbotene Insel, Koorperatives Strategiespiel, bunt
Koorperatives Strategiespiel; Empfohlenes Alter: ab 10 Jahren; Spieleranzahl: 2 - 4 Spieler

This review is primarily intended to provide an objective description of the game and to give a comprehensive impression of the Forbidden Island board game. This is the best way for you to see for yourself whether the game is something for you. The only exception: the conclusion! There you will find our subjective, personal opinion and assessment of the board game. 🙂

How to Play the Forbidden Island Board Game

The Forbidden Island board game - Review from the popular board game by Schmidt Spiele GmbH

A variation for the game setup

You are with other adventurers on the forbidden island – a doomed, mystical ancient empire. There you have to collect 4 valuable artifacts and leave the island together before it sinks with you..

Each player draws an adventurer card and slips into the role of this adventurer: pilot, engineer, explorer, messenger, navigator and diver. All adventurers have a special ability that must be used to ensure that the adventurer team leaves the island alive. So you don’t play against each other in this game but have to pull together to win – or perish….

The Forbidden Island Board Game – Variable Island Shape, Action Cards and Artefacts

The Forbidden Island board game its a game that consists of various accessories and works well as a family game

Figures, artifacts, cards and island spaces

The Sinking Forbidden Island

At the beginning, the adventurers shuffle 24 island tiles with different motifs and lay the island. The island can be laid in different shapes that make it easier or more difficult for the adventurers to win their expedition. The adventurers move around on these island fields. Some fields are already flooded at the beginning – as the water level rises, the island sinks faster and faster.


Each adventurer can take 3 actions per turn, for example, draining fields, giving an artifact card to another adventurer, etc. At the end of each turn, the adventurer draws Flood cards, which make the island sink further and further into the sea, and Artifact cards, which you collect.

Collecting Artefacts

Because the first goal of the adventurers is to collect 4 x 4 identical artifact cards and exchange them for the respective artifact on the correct island field. To do this, they must use their respective skills strategically so that the island does not sink beforehand.

Landing Field of Failures

Once the adventurers collectively possess all 4 artefacts, they must all reach the island field Landing Place of Failures. In order for them to leave the forbidden island and win the game, one of them must play a special Action Card (Helicopter Card). The island field landing place of the deadbeats and the path to this field must therefore under no circumstances sink during the game!

Conclusion on the Forbidden Island Board Game


Total Grade

We played The Forbidden Island Board Game with both two and four players, trying out different island shapes and water levels. In fact, we didn’t always manage to win and leave the island alive – which kept the ambition and fun of the game constantly up!

Seldom did we manage to play through a round faster than in 30-40 minutes. Discussions about the smartest next move and the tactical use of the playing cards made up a large part of the game’s appeal, but also prolonged it.

The figures are made of plastic and the other accessories have a water-repellent coating so that the game can survive even humid evenings. We liked the beautifully designed, imaginative design of the playing cards and figures.

It took us several rounds before we no longer had to look at the instructions to decide what to do. In fact, the rules are more complex than we suspected the first time we read them. A plus for us here was the detailed game instructions, which had answers ready for all questions thanks to many pictures and a well-structured layout.

On our website we have many more board game tips, including card games, dice games and family board games, including classics as well as exciting new discoveries and insider tips! In addition, Abenteuer Freundschaft offers numerous ideas for activities with children, friends and your partner. 

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*There are affiliate links in this article. This means that if you use one of these links to order a product from amazon, Abenteuer Freundschaft will receive a small commission without the product becoming more expensive for you.


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