Forbidden Island is the only Co-Operative game on my Gateway games list. There are many other Co-Op games that I could have included (the biggest name probably being Pandemic). However, I opted for this game as I feed it is easier to get in to, and players have a better chance of winning.
What's it all about?
This is a Co-Op game, so you will be working together to complete the game. You either all win, or you all lose. Like most co-op games, there are many ways to lose the game, and generally only 1 way to win. To win forbidden island, you need to work as a team to get all the treasure from it, and escape via the helicopter. Sounds easy doesn't it? The only problem being the island is alive and is trying to kill you - by slowly sinking.
The board is made up of all the tiles in the box being randomly shuffled, and place on the gaming board. Some of these tiles will indicate if it contains a treasure. These tiles will slowly sink, and this is done by a deck of cards that is drawn after a player has completed his turn. The first time the card is played, the tile gets submerged - but can still be used. The second time, it sinks completely and the tile is removed from the game. If the heli-pad sinks - the game ends.
To help get the treasures, 4 people with special abilities are used. Each person generally has a single skill, such as delegating their turn to someone else, move diagonally etc. On the surface they don't sound great, but when the group talks about their move - they can work well together. Once a player completes their turn, they pick up treasure cards. These cards can be exchanged to get the treasure from the treasure tile. Generally you will need 4 cards of the same treasure type - but only have a limited hand size - which can also include some special cards. Each player has a number of actions they can perform during the turn - such as move to an adjacent tile, shore up a sinking tile, claim a treasure, trade cards with another player on the same tile.
Once all 4 treasures have been recovered, all the players need to head to Fool Landing (the heli-pad) to escape from the island. This is how the players will win. They will lose if any of the following occurs:
1. The treasure tiles sink before the treasure is secured
2. They are unable to get to the heli-pad due to all surrounding tiles have gone
3. A team person drowns
4. The flood level meter rises to the top
This is my favourite Co-Op game because while it is challenging, it is not crazy hard. This opens the game up to new players to have a go. It is also very cheap, and has some great re playability to it. I still prefer a good worker placement game, but some people prefer to work together as a team - and this is a great game for them.