Autumn Update 2022

Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Whatever it is in your timezone, world or game setting

As we move into the autumn, I wanted to offer an update on where the IGA is and what is happening.

Plans for Gaelcon ( are obviously well advanced, and being shared on the Gaelcon website and on social media. Schedules are nearly final, games are mostly written, traders are signing up, art for merch is done and charity auction lots are coming in.

Thursday Night Gaming is back up and running in Ryan’s, it’s great to have so many new people and old friends playing games together again. (read on for more..)

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GaelCon33 Update

Gaelcon 33 is falling nicely into place for the October weekend. We’re taking on the feedback from last year with the goal of making the convention run smoother, but a lot of the core team will be the same. (It being fairly difficult to do the traditional recruitment tactic of cornering people in the pub and asking them to sell their soul.)

Headline news is that Brian Nisbet has agreed to lead the auction to new heights of taking your money (for charity), Graham Turner our quiz master again and Colm Lundberg will be running a new version of Radio Gaelcon with a surprise twist which we’re not releasing yet.

The call for RPGs is out, and if you have a game you want to run you can submit it here; 

Isabella Storey-Cosgrave is RPGs Czar again, with two new assistants. New fresh RPGs are coming in through the submission form, and we are also happy to have people who simply would like to run games – games written by others, games from the archives, even published scenarios which you just fancy running for folks. People willing to run entry level games for new players are particularly welcome, as we would like to have some of those in the programme. If you have specific questions about RPG’s or LARPS you can always Email,

Rian Boyle is back leading special events – quiz, auction and panels – which all went excellently last year. Rian is also in charge of CCGs; we will run at least 1 tournament because while face to face CCGs may be back in many local game shops, not everyone will be able to get to those so online events will be important for people. Card games is an area where we also would welcome more hands:- people who can judge and can drive tournament running software well are going to be needed during the con so please do shout if you have those skills.

There are teams working on other areas like staff, trade and logistics – we’ll introduce them as we get closer to the convention. The call for staff for the weekend will come out in early September, but in the meantime folks who want to help out with any part of the con can give us a shout – email

In the lead up, some things are happening during August. Colleagues at Octocon have an online panel on writing RPGs on Wednesday 28th July which is obviously of interest to gamers. Gaelcon have two events coming up: Xander Cosgrave will lead a short session on writing a programme blurb for your convention game on August 5th and then we are working on a longer Gaelcon workshop on developing a full convention game on August 12th. Both will be on the IGA Discord. – links and more promo will appear closer to the event, but if you want to get in the IGA Community Discord right now, click here



Gaelcon 33 will be online this year.

Our hopes for Gaelcon 33 changed as the news changed from week to week, but we have decided that we must have an online event. Various things influenced our decision:

  • The news about the pandemic and the vaccination rollout changes from week to week
  • We don’t know when we might have certainty about the numbers possible in the venue – we can’t predict when we might actually have solid information on which to base a plan for a physical convention.
  • Our intended venue is now part of the hotel quarantine system, and no one can predict when that might end. There is a plan for the civil service to have a team managing the process for 12 months, so that doesn’t bode well for us.
  • Given the rising cost of venues and the uncertainty about the pandemic and its aftermath, there is a significant financial risk if our numbers were to be limited – in fact, this cost is going to be an issue in the future, venue costs are the bulk of the cost of running Gaelcon, and and if they continue to spiral as they have, we may have to bump up the weekend price in future years
  • A hybrid event is technically possible, but in practice complex, and we weren’t willing to gamble the success of the convention and the enjoyment or accessibility of it trying to make major event of the year on making hybrid work successfully. That said, hybrid is the next challenge to overcome, and we might run some smaller, experimental hybrid events when we have enough people with the skills and time, without detracting effort from Gaelcon.
  • Several other events in the Fall have already opted to go online; the broad consensus seems to be that in-person events won’t be possible before December.

We have two main threads of ideas for themes, and we need to pick one soon, but I’m open to suggestions. Two strands were suggested: Resurrection/Rebirth/Renewal/Renaissance and Gaelcon with some sort of digital/online theme like Gaelcon-nected? Gaelcon Matrix, or Gaelcon Infinite. The VIP ticket holders lead on this choice, but your opinions and ideas are welcome.

I have some people already “volunteered” for the committee, and I will be approaching some other folks, but I am open to offers of help with preparing the con, whether on the committee, as writers or simply as staff. I have a form here for folks who’d like to get in the loop early, whether you want to help out form now, or just put a name down for helping on the weekend

In other news, the formal company registration to register the IGA as a Company Limited By Guarantee has been filed and accepted. Obviously, something which would in normal times have taken an hour in an office was stretched out over some time, and we have a few things to do yet like new bank accounts, but we will be able to have a genuinely open body with a wider membership. This wider membership means that we can move forward with more events and a broader range of things happening than we’ve been able to do in the past with our limited committee.

Finally, if you want to stay in touch with the IGA Community, don’t forget to Join our Discord

Mike Cosgrave


Changing Course

The IGA needs a gamer friendly accountant  and solicitor to update our corporate structures.

As it currently stands, the IGA is officially constituted as an “Association unlimited by guarantee” like many other associations and clubs. However, this means that the liability of the members for any debts of the association is unlimited. In practice, while it is unlikely, if the IGA was the subject of a lawsuit which slipped past our insurance cover, the full cost could fall on the members. Understandably there are quite a few people who could and should be members who cannot sign up to that risk. It is a serious obstacle to expanding the membership and increasing our range of activities.

The limits flowing from the current structure have meant the burden of keeping the show on the road have fallen on a shrinking group whose goodwill has been worn out, while a great many people who have been active helpers aren’t members. People who weren’t formal members could be forgiven for feeling that the association was a sort of secret cabal with funny handshakes! Activities which should have been reviewed and kept fresh have become a little stale, or fell by the wayside.

The current committee are very much committed to changing this, most probably by converting to a “Company limited by guarantee”. There are many operations out there that will do this as an off the shelf setup. We have a few wrinkles which are slightly more complicated which we would like to get right. Therefore, we intend to take advice from someone who will do more than just a standard setup. We are also keen to get it done quickly.

This will not be without risk: it will certainly incur some annual fees, and we will need to find ways to meet those. We also face other challenges: convention venues are rising in cost, as is insurance. The association has a warchest, but without reviving our activities, we risk running into real problems in three or four years.

So we’d like suggestions from the community of suitable professionals who can do this. We are not looking for a freebie, but ‘mates rates’ would be nice. In any event, since we have to spend money on this, we’d prefer to spend it in our community. If you know someone, pop me an email to in confidence

Mike Cosgrave

Chair, IGA


A new IGA Website is in bound….

The old IGA with the Eblana Academy will be moved to it’s own separate sub website for archiving.

Demo Squad Assemble – Dublin Comic Con Style

For another year, on the 12th – 13th August, Dublin Comic Con took place in the Dublin convention centre. We sent a couple members of our Demo Squad to show off their skills on Sunday of the con.

We arrived at the con early on Sunday morning, despite transport and traffic woes. Up in the dedicated tabletop gaming area, we set up with a pile of our own pickup and play RPGs and a stash of Sandbox’s board games.

It was a great weekend where we showed off a number of our favourites games including Luchador. Skulls proved a hit and a large number of people had an enjoyable experience with Ah Here Now, a very Irish equivalent of Cards Against Humanity. We even learnt a new game when we were introduced to Boss Monster, a fun cave exploring, adventure game with a twist. Thanks to Sandbox for showing us the game, looks like we might be adding a new game to our collection.

Boards game weren’t the only flavour of the day, groups were also introduced to the joys of Tabletop Roleplaying Games. One such game featured the antics of a scheming group of criminal bears (in hats) out to steal the prized contents of HoneyCon ’17 in “Honey Heist”, a one-page RPG by Grant Hewitt.

At the end of the day, we rounded everything off with many of our previously visitors returning for one final round of fun accusations and finger pointing in a huge game of Werewolves of Millers Hollow.

We would also like to thank Dublin Comic Con for giving us space and for Sandbox for helping provide some board games. Because of this, we were able to introduce people to the wonderful world of gaming.

Geek Out & Speak Out

Geek Out and Speak Out, a nerdy quiz to raise money and awareness for the stand against sexual violence and rape.

Come and get your geek on with us, while supporting a worthy charity. We’ll be upstairs in Robert Reade Bar and Cafe on Saturday the 27th of May. (I’m sorry to say the space we are using is upstairs and the venue does not have a lift, so accessibility may be an issue for some attendees)

17.30: Hosting pre-quiz social games

19.00: Get our quiz going.

A table (of up to 4 players) costs €40.
All profits are being donated to the Rape Crisis Network Ireland (

We are also hosting a bake sale and a raffle! (get in touch if you want to contribute baked goods or crafted items!)

At the moment we have 15 tables available for reservation for the quiz. This reservation will last until 18.45, at which time it will be released back into wild. You can book here!

If you need anything, you can message us on facebook or email us at

Trigger Warning: Rape, Assault
This event was prompted by the recent news about the assault at Arcadecon in 2015, you can read an official statement here.

As a community we have to open dialogues about sexual violence and rape. We have to take action to ensure the safety of our attendees. We know that many members of our community are outraged and upset and need a channel with which to take action. This is an attempt to offer our support and encourage our community to speak out and stand up for each other.


What’s a LARP all about anyway?

Hello all, my name is Dav and I’d like to talk to you about LARP. Live Action RolePlay is a broad term we use to describe any number of different types of games, but they all share a common element – the players become the characters in a literal sense and play out their game together. LARP can be about the combat or it can be about the interpersonal relationships of the characters and very often is about both. The game you’re playing might be a one shot at a convention or a part of an ongoing world telling its own story through player actions and GM’s plot ideas.

The first time you play a LARP you will probably feel more than a little bit self conscious and kinda silly, especially if you’re used to playing tabletop RPGs where you can happily describe what you’d like your character to do. Most games will have a games master of some description and the bigger events will have several so that the various clusters of players will always have someone on hand to supervise any plot critical actions or tell them the results of their investigations etc.

Here in Ireland we have some brilliant teams of people running games of all shapes and sizes that fall under the umbrella of LARP. The IGA’s own Academy of Eblana game probably fits the description of what most people think of in their heads when they hear the word LARP – it’s a high fantasy setting, there are swords and spells and world changing events at stake. Players love going that extra mile to invest in costume and make-up – greenskin Orcs with tusks and Elves with pointed ears are the norm on the battlefield. It’s a weekend long event too, so camping is the most convenient option for a lot of players and the game offers the opportunity to pitch your tent in character

But there are many other styles of LARP that run regularly at the games conventions all around the country. Higher Powers is a comic book/super heroes inspired game that’s been running since 2012. Each game, or issue advances the story of a world that has come to terms with the emergence of “parahumans” and what that means for the global socio-political landscape. Factions of players band together to face each crisis – sometimes it’s a cataclysmic event or sometimes it’s other players!

Several of the Airsoft sites around Ireland have incorporated elements of LARP into some of their special events and what they call MilSim (military simulation) with the players taking on specific roles within their teams (e.g. medics, radio, etc). They don’t always insist on people being “in character” in the way a LARP would, but these events are a lot of fun and serve as a nice break for people who enjoy Airsoft but who’re looking for something just a little bit different.

As for me, I am involved with Team Midway and we currently run a Sci-Fi Space Opera LARP called Gilgamesh at the various games conventions around the country. Our players are the crew of an exploratory and colonisation vessel and they have found themselves in another galaxy surrounded by new friends and foes alike trying to find their way home. Players can be a part of the Bridge crew, Engineering, Science, or Fighter Pilots (or anything else they can think of that fits with the theme) – we have mechanics for space combat and the Gilgamesh will often find itself being shot at by hostile forces where it will need to scramble its fighters to provide effective cover and keep them safe. We also have Nerf guns for our combat and who doesn’t love Nerf guns?

So, if you’re thinking about it and aren’t sure, all I can say is that you will get as much out of a LARP as you put in, so throw yourself into it and be careful where you land when it throws back! The few options I’ve mentioned above only represent a small slice of the sorts of LARP you can get involved in here in Ireland and indeed across the continent. Before you know it you could find yourself seriously contemplating €800 on a full set of plate armour.

Old World to Mantica – from Warhammer Fantasy Battle to Kings of War

“This is how the world ends . . . not with a bang but a whimper”

Image One

With the return of Nagash, the End Times were upon the Warhammer World

When T.S.Eliot wrote about the world ending without a cataclysmic event he was not talking about the doom of the Warhammer World. Ending spectacularly with the destruction of the world, the Warhammer Fantasy universe concluded explosively, with a new universe taking its place. The Age of the Warhammer World was over, and the Age of Sigmar has begun.

Veteran Warhammer players enjoyed the Warhammer universe because it had wonderful depth, and had a rather dark and gritty feel to it. The models to accompany the universe were arguably the best miniatures in the world. Rules-wise, many of us felt that they were reasonable but could be improved upon. Towards the end of Eighth Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle, many of the armies were brought up to date and they were more balanced than we’d seen since the Ravening Hordes version at the outset of Sixth Edition.

Image Two

The tome that was Eighth Edition

Things were not all wonderful in the garden however. Games Workshop were acutely aware of the vulnerability of their Warhammer Fantasy Intellectual Property which itself was based heavily on the worlds created by Tolkien and Dungeons and Dragons. In addition, Warhammer Fantasy Battle simply didn’t sell particularly well, and there were many barriers to entry – particularly for the new wargamer. Barriers included the high model count (meaning high cost) and rules that were occasionally complex and always voluminous.

Games Workshop decided that the best solution would be to close this chapter on the Warhammer World, and start afresh. Over the space of a series of sourcebooks which provided some wonderful new fiction and artwork, not to mention interesting rules and scenarios, the End Times story developed a punishing narrative for the Warhammer World until its final destruction. All eyes were on Games Workshop for the next edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle and all players eagerly awaited the next instalment in the series.

Image Three

The Age of Sigmar rules were released without charge on the Games Workshop website with much fanfare among the gaming communities. A new offering, an entirely new proposition, was launched – one that bore almost no resemblance to what had gone before. Entirely removed were hefty tomes of rules, replaced with four pages of text. Out the window went ranked units, replaced with individual models on round bases. A new world was being developed and built, with new narratives formed.

Reaction from players varied widely. Many lapsed players saw this as an opportunity to return to the game and dusted off old models. New players applauded that the game was far easier and cheaper to get started with.

Image Four

White Dwarf 148 – The Battle of Blood Keep

Every wargamer has had a moment where the game became a hobby. My moment was reading a battle report in White Dwarf in early 1992 which included the army above. I loved the ranked units, the tactics and strategy and the wonderful models and terrain. It captured my imagination of how a wargame should look and feel, and I’ve been biased towards that aesthetic and those mechanics ever since.

Age of Sigmar doesn’t look or feel the same as this, and the game has moved in a different direction. Without the game aesthetics and ranked unit strategies, and with the destruction of the World that was developed over three decades the game lost a lot of its stickiness for veteran players.

Image Five

An Age of Sigmar demonstration game

One of the games that retains much of this is Mantic’s offering – Kings of War – and many veteran players have found refuge here. Written by Alessio Cavatore, who penned many rules sets for Games Workshop,the game has a very familiar vibe to Warhammer Fantasy Battle. The rules are simple, but allow enough room for grand strategies and tactics on the tabletop.

Image Six

A Kings of War battle

Mantic’s models range is developing and is not at the same level as Games Workshop’s at present. Thankfully, Mantic are happy to allow players to use non-Mantic models for their game – even at their own events. Many of us are using Games Workshop models in Kings of War and it’s very straightforward to port entire armies from Warhammer to Kings of War, so the transition is very easy and smooth – certainly an added bonus!

The world of Mantica certainly has room to grow and needs to develop its depth. Right now, the world doesn’t feel as iconic as the Old World or Ulthuan did in the Warhammer setting. Recent releases have improved this, but there’s some distance left to go before the Mantica world has that epic feel.

One important thing for Irish gamers is the availability of games. While the Kings of War community is relatively small and new, it’s developing well with five events scheduled in the first half of 2016. Alongside this, many gaming clubs have growing Kings of War player bases, which is hugely encouraging for those of us who enjoy the game.

For anyone looking for alternatives to the Warhammer World, there are many new options including Dragon Rampant and Frostgrave which are well worth a try. Kings of War ticks many of the boxes for this veteran gamer including being elegantly simple to learn, allowing old collections of miniatures to be fielded en masse – and having a wonderful feel of large unit strategies throughout!

More Great Games for New Players!

Fergal here! Let’s get this train of thought moving!

This is the second in a series of posts about Great Games for New Players. You can find the first one here, written by the charming Eoin Murphy, where he talks about Zombie Dice, One Night Ultimate Werewolf and Love Letter.

So, you want to introduce some people to boardgaming, but you are not sure what the best games to do that are. If you are lucky when you say boardgame they think Cluedo, and not Risk or Monopoly, (while some really enjoy these games, I have found the majority of people stare off into the distance as though reliving some past hardship, myself included)

The question then is how do you show them that there is so much more to gaming. For that you need some gateway games. Most of these are party games, while some have a little more to them. The key things are that they should be simple to explain, be mostly understood after a round of play, and if the game is longer than 10 minutes long, not be too punishing for making mistakes in the early game.

A fun flavour or beautiful design can really help here, as a visually attractive game or really interesting theming will help entice people to play. (I am ABSOLUTELY more likely to try a game simply for the art or idea)

Let’s start with a game that does all these things well.

Skull (Also known as Skull and Roses)

skullsLook at how beautiful Skull is.

The Bones
Skulls is a 3 – 6 player game that takes from 15 to 45 minutes. Each player has a tribe, these are functionally identical, they just have different designs (Red is the best one FYI #notbiased)

Each player gets the four tiles and mat that match their tribe. Three of these tiles have a rose and one a skull. At the beginning of the game, every player plays a tile face down on their mat. On their turn a player may play another tile on top face down or make a challenge (start the bidding). Though once someone has made a challenge (bidding starts), no more tiles may be played.

A challenge is claiming that you can flip X tiles without hitting a skull. Each other player has the option to pass, or make a new challenge. (Which has to be higher). If you pass it’s basically folding and you can’t make a new challenge later in that round.

Once a challenge goes unchallenged, the challenger has to try and cash the cheques his mouth was making. (Try to flip X tiles without hitting a skull) They have to start with their own though, so if they have a skull they are out of luck.

If you succeed you get to flip your mat (Score a point). If you win two challenges you win the game.

If you fail you lose a tile. You get to choose if you hit your own skull, and it’s randomly picked by the other player if you picked theirs. Either way the tile lost is secret to other players, and remains hidden.

skulls hand

Why is it good?
Well firstly, it’s beautiful, and relatively simple. The basic mechanics are pretty clear after a few practice rounds, but it has a lot more going for it. A new player can pass the first few turns watching the game, without giving up too much of an advantage, (as long as some players are challenging easy claims.) For me though what makes this a great gateway game is the sheer pleasure of someone almost scoring a point and choosing your skull, robbing them of that achievement. You can guess that I play the skull tile a lot. This means that even a player who is not in the challenge is still in the game. “Will they pick my skull?” “Oh, no, I only have roses, I hope they don’t pick those.”

The other thing the game has, which I really appreciate, is depth. You are trying to figure out what the other people will play. “This player always has a skull if they make challenge of two roses.” “This player doesn’t seem to play the skull much.” “This player always plays a skull and never challenges.” Often these observations will be wrong, because other players can be thinking things like, “I am going to do this, until people stop trying, then play flowers,” or “I’ll play only flowers for a while, then throw in a skull.” You can play it safe, or take risks. Sometimes you can even challenge, knowing you will lose a tile, but to try and deny a player from winning the game.

In one game I played recently, a player was one tile away from winning and three players had an unflipped tile on the table. We gestured with our hands, as though offering the tile, each seemingly willing the challenger to pick our own one. The challenger chose mine (a mistake) and the table exploded in friendly goading as it was a skull.

A side note on Skull in comparison to other similar games, like Schrödinger’s Cats or Liar’s Dice/Perudo, is that in Skulls people do not call your claim, if they don’t think it can be done, they pass. This is really nice for newer players, as in games where claims can be challenged, sitting next to a new player is a huge advantage as they will usually try to raise, or make mistakes on the best time to call. That said, once they are hooked on Skull, these are some games that are somewhat similar.



Tsuro is the game of the path. There are beautiful philosophical ideas behind the game, about the search for enlightenment as shown in the quote “many roads that lead to divine wisdom”. It’s a 2-8 player game that takes about 15 minutes.

The Bones
The board is a six by six grid. Each side of a square touching a board edge has two markers, where a piece may start their journey. Each player places his piece on one of these markers. Each player also has three tiles in hand. These tiles will have four paths, each connecting two points. On some orientation will matter, while others are same regardless of how many times you turn them. (Many players hope the magical USB-like ability to fit after turning it three times)

On your turn you play a tile from your hand You have to play it in front of your piece. They will then follow the path they are on. (No sharp turns here, you follow the obvious path, even if it crosses other, better paths). You have to move yourself, however if it happens to move another piece that works too.

After playing you draw a new one, unless you got eliminated. Elimination happens if you go off the edge, or collide with another player, which also knocks them out of the game.

The last remaining player wins. In the unlikely (but awesome) event that more than one player survives long enough to fill in the entire board (less one space) then they all win. In our playgroup we call that true enlightenment.tsuro pieces

Why is it good?
It is super easy to learn, and you mainly focus on how to use the tiles you know you have to see if you can survive for the next few turns. There are a few play styles. I like to fill in as much of the board as possible, often in straight lines. Others like to just hide from other players as much as possible. Some even like to get close to other players (not too close though) and mess with whatever they are trying to do. Some players try to cut off a corner of the board and hope that the other players will be knocked out, before they run out of space.

Eliminating someone else is also super satisfying, especially if you also find a way to save yourself. It can also be fun to watch, as the game often ends with two players in different corners trying to see who can survive that one turn longer. So eliminated players can still have a laugh at the misfortunes of their peers.

One danger with Tsuro though is over playing it (which is true for most games under 30 minutes). While strategies do exist, it is not a game with huge depth. It’s better to play it once or twice, and then move on to another game. This is not a bad thing, as it allows Tsuro to perform some great jobs in your games night, with a large player range, simple rules and a quick play time. It’s a great first game (or two) of the night for a gaming group. It gives players chance to settle in, before splitting into groups, or playing something more complicated. It also acts as a fantastic wind-down game, after a very active or stressful game. Tsuro is relaxing for the first few turns, and then the pressure to survive slowly escalates.

Forbidden Island


forbidden island

Forbidden Island is a about a group of explorers who go to an island that has risen from the sea, but is quickly falling back into it. Like traditional not-archaeologists they are going to grab all four of its mystical treasures, before it sinks again, back into the crushing depths of the sea.

The Bones
This is a cooperative game for 2-4 players that takes about 30 minutes

This is the most complicated game in this post, but as a cooperative game with open information it is easy to teach.

So the first thing you do is set up the island in the pattern shown. The pattern is the same, but the placement of individual tiles is random. Set the initial water level (this decides the difficulty), flip 6 cards from the flood deck. This decides which parts of the island are sinking. You then flip those tiles to their blue flooded side.

You give each player 2 treasure cards (if they get a waters rise, just replace it with a different card, then shuffle the treasure deck.) You also give each player a role, these can be chosen or random. Each role has a power, that changes that piece’s/player’s interaction with the base rules of the game. I recommend the explorer, pilot and engineer for new players, as they can achieve a lot in their turns without being complicated, which is always nice for new players. The navigator and the messenger are great for a more experienced player to play support in the first game. I generally leave the diver out of the first game.

Okay, in order to understand the game properly, it’s best to understand how to win. As a team you claim all 4 treasures and and get to Fool’s Landing (the helicopter pad) and use a card called Helicopter Lift. (Simple right?)

So on your turn you can take three actions, You can do the same one multiple times, or take actions in whatever order you wish. The actions are move to an adjacent tile, shore up the tile you are on or an adjacent tile, give a treasure, or claim a treasure. For most situations adjacent is orthogonal (great word, basically not diagonal)

Shoring Up, means you flip a flooded tile back to it’s dry side.
Giving a Treasure means giving a treasure card to a player on the same tile. (Note giving not taking)
Claiming a Treasure means discarding 4 of the same treasure card, in a matching location to claim the corresponding Treasure. (So you can see why giving treasures is useful)

After doing your 3 actions, you draw 2 new treasure cards. If you have more than 5 you have to discard.

One nasty card is called Waters Rise, and it makes everything worse, by increasing the flood level, and shuffling all the cards in the flood discard, and putting them back on top of the deck, so they are more likely to flood again. You also don’t get to draw a replacement, so you are a card down. It’s unpleasant.

There are two other treasure cards that are here to help though. They are special actions, they can be played at any time, even on other player’s turns, they do not cost and action, and can really save the day.
Helicopter Lift can move any number of pawns on the same tile to another tile. (You also need it to win the game)
Sandbag can sure up any tile, (though if it is sinking, it’s too late, it’s already gone)

After drawing cards you flood the island a bit more. You draw cards from the flood deck. If they are dry, they flip to their blue flooded side, if they are already flooded, they sink forever. Both the tile and card are removed. (Any pawns on that space have to swim to an adjacent tile if able. Otherwise they get pulled under and die) Remember Waters Rise means that the discard is back on top of the flood deck, and about to be drawn from. This means that if areas are not shored up, they will probably sink when waters rise.

Then the next player has a turn.

So how do you lose. There are four fantastically fun ways to fail!
Both locations related to a treasure sink before you have a chance to claim that treasure.
The helicopter pad at Fool’s Landing sinks
Someone doesn’t successfully swim to safety when a tile they are on sinks. (You are all in this together)
The water level reaches the skull and crossbones, you took too long and the whole island sinks… with you.

Keep playing until you win, or you don’t.forbidden island close up

Why is it good?

Forbidden Island is one of my favourite games to introduce people to cooperative games. It has a lot going for it, as a gateway to gaming, but also a gateway to cooperative games.

It is comparatively simple once play starts. There is not a lot to track to avoid losing. Keep at least one treasure location of each type on the island, until you have its treasure, and don’t let the landing pad sink. There is more, but this is your main focus early game. There is usually something useful to be done, from shoring places up, positioning better, or giving treasure. Three actions means that you can have a versatile turn, but it won’t be overwhelming to figure out either, which is actually great.

The earlier difficulty settings of Forbidden Island are quite forgiving of early game misplays, and these can even lead to a very tight dramatic ending, where you just need to hold out for one more round, and you’ll win. This is great, as early disaster in other cooperative games will often lead to the “Maybe we should just restart” moment, which is discouraging in any game. This allows players to not lose hope and try to play through.

One problem with many cooperative games is one player telling everyone else what to do, which tends to grate on people’s nerves quickly. This forgiving nature means that experienced gamers should allow players to make their own choices for the most part. Players will enjoy the game more if they have a chance to discover strategies, rather than simply being told them.

Now once people get really good at the game, it can get a bit boring. It’s a simple game, which is a boon, but it means you can basically solve it. However this is where the internet is your friend. There are alternate maps available online, which add a new level of fun and challenge to the game, and really breathe new life into the game.

It is also a great gateway to games like Forbidden Desert (which is both a little different and a little more challenging) and Pandemic. They are all quite similar having been made by the same people. Pandemic and the other games in it’s family are more complicated, and are a lot more punishing of early mistakes. You are much more likely to lose. In fact, most players play at a difficulty where victory feels like a big accomplishment, rather than something easily attainable. Many people, myself included, really enjoy slowly losing and almost winning at Pandemic.

Have you played these games? Do you think they are terrible? Do you love them? What games have you used in the past to successfully introduce friends to boardgaming? Please let us know! You can do so on social media or by attending the IGA Games Night which is held every Thursday in Robert Reades Bar. In fact, on the 28th of April the IGA will be running a special Introductory Boardgames Night where you will have a chance to introduce your friends to these games and many more!

Also did you prefer Fergal’s post or Eoin’s? #rivalry #unnecessarydramaisnecessary #hashtag

All images (shamelessly) stolen from Boardgamegeek’s gallery