It looked hopeless. Our craft blew through the clouds, and the harrowing sound of the fuel gauge made it clear, that we should return. I was already at the helm, that I would really start a turn, when a vista opened in front of me and an iron platform in it. Immediately, all the rain sensors started to yell. I guided the ship carefully for landing. It was clear to me, that the start of our machine would take us so much fuel, that returning would not be possible, but we still went on with our plan to explore. And we had no idea, that this is just the beginning of our adventure!
In a storm and with no hope of return. This should be players feeling in the new design of Matt Leacock. After Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert, now comes Forbidden Sky. Published by Gamewright. The graphics for this game were completed by C. B. Canga.
Although the box graphics are not breathtaking, nor is the size of the box, once you lift the lid, game immediately starts becoming more and more interesting. The basis of everything is platform tiles, that float in the clouds (and among thunderstorm). But they will only create a shuffled pile. Much more interesting is the starter board, which corresponds with dimensions to four classic tiles. There’s a spot for the wind pointer and a lightning rod. It is his second space from above (called landing platform), that will also serve players as their starting position.
In addition to the basic game area, players must also prepare a storm indicator into the plastic stand and mark its starting strength and therefore lowest levels with the plastic arrow. Nearby, players should also prepare storm and equipment decks. To do this, they also lay out a blueprint card according to the difficulty chosen, which prescribes circuit needed to launch the rocket. It is precisely these components, that are placed close to the map – pieces of circuitry (and you will easily notice, that they have truly conductive metal parts on them!). Each player gets one random character, marks his life and rope status with plastic markers on his card and places his pawn on the aforementioned landing platform. To start exploring, each participant receives a random platform tile.
Players take turns in the joint effort to fire up the rocket and escape in its cabin. When a player comes to his turn, he can use up to four action points. With their help, he can move his pawn in four directions to adjacent positions. Instead of moving, the hero can explore his surroundings, allowing the player to draw the top tile of the platform stack and place it in front of him. At the same time, each participant can hold a maximum of three tiles.
It is with these tiles, that players can explore their surroundings on the floating isle. So he can place one of these tiles to expand the known platform. That can be done always only on spaces neighbouring with his figure. At the same time, however, at least one copper wire must be connected between the squares. For this purpose, the player can rotate the tile arbitrarily. By placing them, players can also successfully place parts of the circuit, either a lightning conductor or a condenser. With their help, players can also finally begin assembling an electric circuit. But they have to take further action to be able to place the circuit part. In addition, players on platform plates can also find help – gear icons discovered will allow them to draw top card from the equipment deck.
When a player completes all four of his actions, nature gets its chance to retaliate. So he draws the top card from the storm deck, and as the game progresses, this moment makes elemental spree stronger and players will reveal more than one card in effect. As a result, also the direction of wind can change. Later, the gust may strike with unprecedented force and move all the heroes in the direction of the arrow by one tile. Hero, which has no tile in his new location space and falls over the edge of the platform, has to use one point of his rope track. If a player has nothing to tie himself with, he falls and the whole team loses.
But despair is not over, because card can also increase the intensity of the storm (players move the arrow on the pointer and thus affect the number of revealed cards for the next rounds). But players are most concerned about lightning strikes. Each player loses a single point of life at that moment, if he is directly connected with wires to some lightning rod. In the case of losing the last heart point, the team loses immediately.
And if the storm does not increase to the maximum and does not blow the player away, they have at least some chance to win. Simply by connecting all the necessary components into a closed circuit with the rocket and then launching it. Only then can they celebrate victory.
Forbidden Sky suggests with its name, that it will be a successor of Forbidden line of games and wants to build on the mechanisms of the Pandemic (hence the Forbidden Island). But if you are expecting something like this, then a big surprise awaits you (just like us). Besides the storm deck and intensity indicators, everything is actually a little different.
First and foremost, the game puts a whole different problem in front of everyone – scatter the platform, explore it as quickly as possible and build a closed circuit on it. In doing so, however, the players themselves influence the layout of the board by using the tiles from the stock. The clever positional game play and the good interconnection of these components is the first and important step to success.
It is actually the accumulation of three tiles, that is a substitute for the fact, that players do not collect cards at all. It’s not happening here. The classical well-known action plan was replaced by the exploration phase, where the player draw tiles, but above all, get chance to place electrical circuit pieces on the map.
Processing and emphasis on the effect is very fundamentally rooted. It even beats the fun and plays a bit of a prime in this game. And maybe even thanks to this, in terms of gameplay, this is a slight retreat from fame. The game is somehow lacking more interesting moments. Maybe because the platform plates are determined by chance, so players have to adjust their construction significantly and negotiate with each other.
We see as the biggest issue, that these mechanisms together do not let the theme shine. The element that the previous games of this author were able to get so many fans is simply missing. What’s even more problematic, that new turn possibilities complicate the game. But the game still lasts just over an hour, and with regard to collaboration, it is interesting in different numbers, although the difficulty is high.
On the contrary, exploration is a positive element. So there is no ready map in front of the players, but they just draw the platform in front of them as they go. It always looks different. And they have to connect the wires, which can then give them a proper electric shock. There is constant danger present to the player. They can avoid or hide from them in Faraday cages. But the wind is waiting to strike players as well. One card is revealed each turn, that can cost the whole team victory. Generally, the game is not easy at all and you will need not only skill, but also a lot of luck to win.
Processing in terms of plastic components is absolutely excellent. Unfortunately, the graphics are so bland and shallow and do not keep up with the overall positive impression. There’s nothing to catch your eyes. There’s nothing to be happy about. This time, the pictures are lagging behind everything else, and it is a great pity, because in general the quality of the performance was given great care.
Forbidden Sky is an interesting attempt to change the concept, but was successful only in half of it. The game is interesting and quite fun, but it gets dragged down by the weaker atmosphere and graphics. Although the game remains a fun puzzle for a team, that has to try to solve some other problems in every game, but Forbidden Sky still remains (especially considering our expectations) quite disappointing. But if you do not mind the change (or play with the little boys, who will love the rocket!) and do not care about the theme, then you will certainly have fun.
Forbidden Sky is an interesting effort to evolve a popular cooperative mechanic. Unfortunately, a beautiful circuit idea becomes the centerpiece of everything, and that may be a little bad. So the impression of the game is spoiled by unnecessarily complicated rules and, above all, by the weak transfer of the theme to your feelings. This is also based on poor graphics. Despite all these ailments, this game will be enjoyed by many players. Older children (due to high difficulty) will love launching the rocket and always want to return to the game. But victory is like saffron, the more rewarding the final conclusion is. Forbidden Sky is a game full of contradictions, but it still knows, what fun is.
Reader Rating0 Votes
gameplay and rocket inspires small children
interesting processing with real circuit connection
successfully won game offers a real cherry (rocket launch) at the end
clever change (opposed to other games in the series)