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Showing 1-10 of 1,341 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,586 reviews
on July 20, 2011
Plenty of people have done an admirable job of explaining the games in their reviews, so this is instead an attempt at a comparison between a number of games, the pros and cons of each and which may suit different people best. The games in question are: Carcassonne, Settlers of Catan, Castle Panic, Smallworld, and Forbidden Island.

We have had Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne (with a number of expansion packs) for quite a few years now, and only recently added the other games above. We usually either play just as two adults, or with our two older children (age 9 and 8), and so our conclusions are based on how these games work in those settings. So here's what we've found:

Settlers of Catan
We got this around the same time as Carcassonne and initially just didn't latch onto it. Partly it's that it's supposed to be 3 players or more, and we often play as just two of us. Once we found online some instructions for playing as 2 players it came out more often, and as time's gone by it's become fairly 50-50 whether we play Settlers or Carcassonne on a quiet night in. The choice will usually depend on how much we want to think. With Settlers, you're always planning and calculating; with Carcassonne, you're taking it a card at a time.

Who should get it: Settlers is well-known as one of the great modern games. I'm not as sold on it as some people, and it takes quite a while to learn and feel comfortable with, but once you get the hang of it, it is an entertaining and enjoyable addition to a games collection. There are several 2-player rule variations out there if you need them and they work well (we found one that worked for us and we've stuck to it). But this isn't a game for kids; I would suspect not until they're 16 or so. Amongst other things, I think they'll find it too dull.

Carcassonne
This has been a favorite for years now, and everyone we've played it with has gone off to get it themselves. We usually play without farms because it then becomes less directly competitive and more sociable. Kids can play it, adults can play it, it's relaxed, it's fun and it's simple to learn. Here's one nice thing about it: you don't have to be constantly thinking and planning ahead. You don't know what card you're going to draw next time, so you just play one card at a time. You're encouraged to discuss where to put a card, and since you don't know what piece you're getting next, your comments to another player are usually pretty unbiased.

Who should get it: In my experience, pretty much anyone, except those who want ultra-competitive games. The first few expansion packs are also well worth getting, but don't bother with anything from Mayor onward.

Castle Panic
The kids love this one, again it's simple to learn and it has the added bonus of allowing them to get out their aggressive instincts and go postal on monsters! They don't like the `master slayer' option, but prefer just straight cooperative play. After the first few plays, I've found the basic game is too easy, and so we're experimenting with making it more challenging, such as starting with no walls, or drawing 3 monster cards at a time instead of 2. I think Castle Panic will become a game that we get out pretty regularly to play.

Who should get it: People with kids, who want to play cooperative games. Could be fun as a party game too!

Smallworld
While the kids have enjoyed playing this, I think their interest is starting to wane already. I suspect it will work better as a game with a group of adults, or when the kids are older. It has a lot going for it, especially the creative cards and board, but as others have noted - what's with the box for the tokens? Very poorly designed and adds unnecessary annoyance. Most of the time when playing we've found it's not too directly competitive, it's easier to attack lost tribes or declining races, so generally it doesn't get too personal!

Who should get it: I think this would make a fun addition to a games collection, but I don't think it would be a go-to game, especially with kids. The rules are more complicated to learn and explain than the other games, and this makes it hard to just sit down with new players and get on with a game. Having said that, we've enjoyed playing it , and I think it'll get pulled out every now and then over the years.

Forbidden Island
Although the kids would prefer Castle Panic, when we've played Forbidden Island (at my insistence!) they've thoroughly enjoyed it. As the island starts to collapse in a heap toward the end of the game, the tension levels rise and people are on the edge of their seats! The game always ends with voices rising in pitch and tension as cards get turned over - it's fun! It's a pure cooperative game, and that works well for us as a family - no one feels bad, we're all in it together. We're still using the `Normal' level of play, maybe we'll notch up a level soon!

Who should get it: If you like cooperative games, I think this is excellent to have. I love how easy it is to set different difficulty levels, and it's definitely the game that's had the most excited tension - Castle Panic has this at times, but not sustained (at least as the basic game). It doesn't have the whole monster thing going for it that Castle Panic does, and I think that's why the kids haven't latched onto it so quickly (kill trolls or wander round an island getting treasure - which is your average kid going to choose?) but I suspect that long-term it'll have more staying power.
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on March 1, 2017
I got this as a gift for my stepson but we love games just as much so this is getting a lot of use. This is a really simple concept to learn but more difficult to master.

It's a co-op game where the players play against the game to either win or lose together. The game is not too difficult where kids would be frustrated but it does require some strategy and you have to stay focused or you'll lose. It's pretty quick, about 30 minutes, start to finish - which is nice because we can play 2 or 3 games at night.

The concept is that you are on an island that is sinking. You have to collect the 4 idols to make the island stop sinking and save the day. Tiles get "flooded" then they "sink" and you remove them from the board. Once all the idols are collected, all the players have to make it to the helicopter tile and someone has to have the helicopter rescue card for everyone to win. If the helicopter sinks, you lose. If there is no path left to the helicopter, you lose. There are two tiles for each idol on which you have to be to get that idol, if they both sink you lose. It's a pretty addicting game and we love it!
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on November 30, 2016
We do a lot of gaming and actually started by playing Forbidden Desert. We liked it enough we wanted to buy the original, which is this one: Forbidden Island. I have heard people say Desert is better, but I don't agree. Desert has a fun location mechanic (similar to what is used in Targi) but overall I think Forbidden Island is a better game. The tension associated with the game pieces disappearing as the island sinks makes this more fun than Forbidden Desert in my opinion. It's also cheap and slightly simpler.

I actually like both cooperative "Forbidden" games, but in my opinion, this one is a bit better.
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on February 11, 2016
This is a really fun, easy to under stand game. If you've played Pandemic, you will have no problem catching on. The mechanics are Very similar in the way that you work as a team. In the long run I like Pandemic better. the one thing this game has over Pandemic is set up time. You can set this up and be ready to rock and roll in a minute. Pandemic takes a bit more (separate the cards, deal them out, shuffle other cards back it, infection the cites, etc)

Pros:
High quality and great art.
Set up time is very fast.
Game time is about 30 mins.
The "board" changes every game
High replay ability.

Cons:
On the "roll" cards, they put the roll name on the front AND the back of the card. So unless you close your eyes while choosing your roll, it's not a surprise.
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on March 3, 2017
This is an amazing game. My son (10 years old) saw this on a youtube video and asked for it. I love that it is a cooperative game and that all players play against the game not each other. He is super competitive and this has avoided many disputes and hard feelings. Another great feature is that you can raise the complexity but starting on a harder level.

Wonderful idea.... we need more games like this.... he still loves to play it all the time.

Note - the game is substantially harder and more fun the more people play... two players is sometimes a little boring... three to four is awesome and so much fun
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on March 5, 2017
A friend brought this to a small get-together, and it made an impression on me as a fun cooperative game. As a result, I bought this for the family as an xmas gift. Since it is fully cooperative, my 6-year old was able to play with me and my wife without getting frustrated (although her attention span may have given out a bit).
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on March 8, 2017
We've been diving into the Gamewright universe recently, starting with Dragonwood and Sleeping Queens. This is our third game by the company - our 9 year old stepdaughter LOVES this game, especially the cooperative element. That's really hard to find in a kid's game that is also challenging and not "too young". It's also our favorite so far as adults - just a blast for everyone! Recommend this game and this brand to anyone
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on April 24, 2016
My girlfriend and I recently purchased Forbidden Island and were excited to play. However, we found the game among ourselves (2p) quite boring as you generally know if you are going to win or loose fairly quickly, leaving the rest of the game (about 1/3 - 1/2) a waste. The game, primarily based on luck, even bored her mother and other friends who we played in 3-4p games, despite having easy to learn rules and excellent look and feel. Overall the game lacks excitement, though its predictability and lack of strategic challenges. It would only serve as a decent at best introduction to cooperative games.

Pros:
*Easy to learn rules and could be fun for those in the 6-14 age range.
*Interesting base game concept.
*Excellent card artwork and decent rule book.

Cons:
*Game is largely driven by luck - how frequently you get water-rise cards.
*Cooperation strategies are too easily learned and provide little challenge after two or three gameplays.
*Poor game design, with only one card per tile in the deck.
*Plastic treasure pieces that do not have any impact on game play.
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on March 14, 2017
One of the better games I have played recently. Because you work as a team against the game itself instead of against the other players, it makes for a good bonding activity. It takes a good 30-45 minutes to play and can be played over and over again. This game is awesome.
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on October 4, 2014
This game is a lot of fun! Very easy to get up and playing, and fun with only two people. Really like the co-operative nature of the game! Have never played one like this before and I was unsure how I would like it. But I have to say that it was really refreshing to play on the same side and not have any sore feelings afterward! Highly Recommend!
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