MDA- Forbidden Island

A game I loved playing with my family was Forbidden Island- a cooperative board game with elements of fantasy, heist, and thrill to it. In Forbidden Island, players all team up to collect certain treasures across an island and escape before it sinks into the abyss.

This game uses mechanics such as restricting the ways you can move across the island- only side-to-side moves are allowed, and only a specific number of actions are allowed per turn. The game also distributes roles that makes it easier for players to come up with their own unique solution and find new innovative ways to work together. These roles help, for instance, increase the number or ways of moves one can take.  However, for each turn players make, the water level increases by means of rolling die and drawing cards- meaning that players have to optimize based on the number of turns and move optimally in order to split up and grab each treasure before the island tile the treasure is on sinks, or they become trapped amongst sunken tiles.

These turn mechanics thus add to the overall dynamic of the game. In this game, the dynamic focuses on social collaboration- by distributing roles, each player has something special to contribute, and one player collecting a treasure and earning a point means the whole team has collected a treasure. Similarly, leaving behind a player or not helping players out with cards that allow you to ‘shore up’, or unsink a tile, means that if the pawn is lost, all players lose the game. A dynamic that also exists in this game is time, or turn pressure- players are racing against a clock to strategize their way around the board when they complete each turn, due to the mechanic of the players’ movement per turn being matched by the water level rising and potentially destroying the collectibles within the game as well as the players’ chances of surviving the game.

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