Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Survive!" + "Pandemic" - BVS (Bossy Veteran Syndrome) = "Forbidden Island"

I'm a really big fan of PandemicMatt Leacock's co-operative disease-thwarting board game, but lately I've noticed that more experienced players have a tendency to direct the actions of newbies in an effort to beat the game.  Once you identify a case of B.V.S. (Bossy Veteran Syndrome) you can take steps to minimize the problem, but the strategic complexities of the game make it very difficult to eliminate.

Two years after the release of Pandemic, Leacock stripped down and re-themed the core mechanics as Forbidden Island.  He removed some of the chrome that occasionally resulted in analysis paralysis and, in doing so, reduced the tendency for more experienced players to play traffic cop.

In Forbidden Island, players become dauntless explorers attempting to recover four ancient artifacts from a sinking island.  In order to win, players have to work in close conjunction with one another, exploiting their special abilities and maximizing turn efficiency.  The goal is to recover all four treasures and then escape the island before it vanishes into the sea!

We had a chance to sit down with the game a few weeks ago after playing Road Kill Rally.  Here's how the game played out...



With its "Andromeda Strain" theme and additional depth and complexity, I still prefer Pandemic but there's plenty of reasons to break out its younger, hipper offspring as an alternative.  Because it is a much simpler game, Forbidden Island seems less prone to the aforementioned B.V.S. and feels more genuinely co-operative as a result.

Boasting excellent components, quick play time and a reasonable sticker price, Forbidden Island is definitely worth exploring.

Four pips outta six!


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