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Forbidden Jungle In-Depth

LTN’S TABLETOP REVELATIONS

Title: Forbidden Jungle
Publisher: Gamewright
Mechanics: Cooperative
Players: 2 – 5
Play Time: 45 minutes

You and your team have escaped a sinking island, survived a scorching desert, and made it off a floating platform in the middle of an intense storm. Now you find yourself looking for a way off a jungle moon infested with spider-like aliens.

Forbidden Jungle by Gamewright is the latest game in the Forbidden… series. When I first got into board games, Forbidden Island was one of the first games I picked up and it quickly became a game that my wife enjoys playing. While I am the more cut-throat, competitive player, she likes working together to achieve a goal. Over the years, I have kept up with the series.

Rules

The rules for Forbidden Jungle are similar to the other games in the Forbidden… series. Play alternates between the players and the jungle.

Each turn, each player can take a number of actions. The important thing to remember here is that the rules on the player’s character card supersede the rules in the book. For example, a move action involves moving your character 1 space orthogonally (up, down, left, or right). However, when the Explorer chooses the move action, they may move twice. 

After the player takes their turn, it’s the Jungle’s turn. The actions the Jungle can take are controlled by the Threat cards. This is where things get interesting. Portals may spawn one of three kinds of monsters (egg, larva, or adult), monsters may age up (eggs become larva and larva become adults), monsters may move, webs may be spun which block your path, or parts of the jungle may disappear. What starts as simply 2 Threat cards per turn, can increase to 5 pretty quickly. If the Threat level gets too high, it’s game over.

Winning the game is pretty hard. To do that, you have to have a portal surrounded by illuminated crystals (top, bottom, left, and right), have no monsters on the portal, and all players have to be on the portal.

Losing the game is pretty easy. Did you run out of monsters or webs and are instructed to place more, it’s game over. Did you lose any of the illuminated crystals or all four portals? Guess what, game over. Did an adventurer lose all health? Yep, that’s game over. Did an adventurer fall down a sinkhole and have no adjacent tile to move to and you don’t have a jetpack? You guessed it, it’s game over. And if the threat level reaches the burst symbol, I think you get the idea by now.

Game Play

Game play alternates between the players and the jungle. Players can take up to 4 actions to move, explore, remove monsters or webs, and operate machines. After the first player takes their actions, it’s the jungle’s turn. The jungle is controlled by the threat deck. The player draws cards from the deck equal to the threat counter. The cards are revealed one at a time and then discarded. This is where the bad things happen. Monsters appear, move, attack, the threat counter can rise, and even parts of the jungle disappear. Play then passes to the player to the left where they take their actions and draw threat cards. This continues until one of the end-game conditions is met.

Components

If you have played any other game in the Forbidden… series, you should be familiar with the tiles. Forbidden Island is one of the oldest games I own and the tiles have stood up to the test of time. My expectation is the tiles for Forbidden Jungle are of the same quality.

Issues

My biggest complaint is the miniatures. The adult monsters may or may not stand up as designed. And, if you can get them to stand up, they fall over pretty easily. In the whole scheme of things, this is not that big of an issue. It’s more that I want the components to work as designed and not be a distraction to the game.

Series

  • Forbidden Island
  • Forbidden Desert
  • Forbidden Sky

Conclusion

The Forbidden… series is a staple in my house. It’s fun for the whole family. This game is simple enough to explain to a 9-year-old and hard enough to give me fits. When a new game in this series releases, it’s always easy for me to sell picking it up. It is 100% cooperative, which my wife loves, not too rule-crunchy, and requires a lot of strategizing.






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