D-PADS AND DICE - Player competition forbidden in this tabletop game of survival

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For the second time this month, I'm going to cover a tabletop game about a sinking island.

Much like in "Survive," individual players control little wooden figures trying to navigate a sinking island. But unlike "Survive," in "Forbidden Island" you're all in this together.

You see, it seems that this island contains several treasures that you want badly for some reason not really elaborated upon. And all of you have to work together to find the treasure - and get off the island together - before everything sinks.

This is a cooperative game that can be played by two to four people. Players all win or all lose, there's no competition among them.

You set up the ‘board' by randomizing a series of beautifully illustrated tiles and laying them out in a pattern. This determines the starting positions of the players and where the treasures and helicopter off the island will be located.

On a turn, you can move around the island, give people treasure cards, cash in treasure cards to get the actual treasure, and ‘shore up' part of the island that's started to sink to keep it from sinking further.

Every turn, you get more treasure cards and then the island sinks more. Depending on how high the water level is, two to five cards are drawn to see what parts of the island sink. If you manage to get all four of the treasures and get back to the helicopter pad before anyone drowns or you lose your chance to get all the treasures, you win.

Basically, the game in play is running around trying to keep the important bits of the island from sinking while accumulating the cards you need to trade in for treasure. It does take all the players coordinating to win, and it's quite frantic in play.

I do recommend this game a bit more for younger players, since the game is pretty easy to analyze for a lot of the more hard-core gamers I've played it with. I do like it a lot more than most co-op board games I've played; it's an interesting puzzle to solve but at the same time doesn't overcomplicate itself with extra detail.

Overall, it's a good game, and certainly one to take a look at if you want a non-competitive game for the younger set.

Forbidden Island, designed by Matt Leacock, is made by Gamewright with a suggested retail price of $17.95.

Walla Wallan Noah Hinz is a tabletop and electronic games aficionado. He's currently a graphic arts student the Evergreen State College, working on various art projects and game designs. Send him your questions and comments at noahhinz@gmail.com.

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