We had been working our tails off planning, collaborating, and communicating the entire game. We were leveraging our special abilities well, had a good stock of equipment cards, and were moving along nicely. Luck seemed to be on our side as several near misses turned out okay. Suddenly, as we could practically taste sweet victory, a bad combination of the wind shifting the wrong direction and blowing several times knocked one of our players off with no rope left. We lost. Did we think about taking back those last couple of plays? Yes…yes we did. Did we do it? No. =-) Why is this the best moment? Because it was exciting and memorable.
Play as a team of adventurers working together to complete a dangerous secret mission. Complete an entire electrical circuit to launch the rocket for the victory. The rub? You’re all stuck on a huge flying machine being blown about and dodging lightning strikes.
The wind element is my favorite aspect of this entire game. Each player will draw storm cards on her turn, some of which will cause the wind to blow players around or will change the direction of the wind. Each player’s rope is what keeps her tethered to the ship, but use that rope as a lifeline too much, and you’ll fly right off of the ship (death = you lose the game)! In my mind’s eye, I can picture being on this flying ship, rocking to and fro, blowing people around while they hang on for dear life. Add lightning strikes to the mix, and you’re in for a wild ride!
Forbidden Sky is one of those fantastic hidden teaching opportunities for parents or teachers to teach their kids/students about the basic elements of electricity. While I did have to do some brushing up on my knowledge of electrical circuits, the purpose of capacitors, grounding, etc. we were able to teach our young children how an incredibly fundamental element of our world works. Games with sneaky learning opportunities will always get bonus points in my book.
The physical alignment of the nodes is extremely satisfying. You’ll work together placing short and long wires across a carefully-aligned network of small and large capacitors, lightning rods, and the crucial launch pad. The bottom of each end of the wires is metal, and the surface of the capacitors and launch pad is metal, so you need to cautiously place the wires in such a way as to complete an entire circuit back to the launch pad. Accomplish this, and your kids will cheer as the rocket lights up and makes noises! Yes, we’ve taken the game out several times just to play with the components without actually playing the game. =-)
Forbidden Sky is actually quite difficult, even in “easy” mode. We lost our first three games at this level (yes, I felt really dumb!) and barely squeaked out a win in our fourth. Since then, we maybe win 40% of the time. If you are playing with younger kids, I would consider tweaking things just a bit to give you a small advantage so as to not discourage kids too much. We might fudge the rules here and there when playing with our younger two children. =-)
Tips & Tricks
- Think ahead! You cannot rely on luck and random placement to win. As a team, you need to think several steps ahead at all times to successfully launch that rocket.
- Do not underestimate or under-utilize the adventurers’ special abilities. They will often be the difference between victory and certain death.
- Don’t forget about the teleporters! They can be very valuable as movement is at a premium in this game.
Scoring & Wrap-up
Overall, as a light-weight, co-op strategy game, I give Forbidden Sky a 7 out of 10 (“Good – usually willing to play” on BGG’s scale) for the following reasons:
- The theme is simply fantastic, especially as a part of the entire Forbidden series.
- The real-world elements of electricity, wind, lightning, protective gear, etc. are spot-on.
- Children carefully placing wires to connect nodes is so fun to watch.
- The wind elements are exciting and unpredictable.
- The rocket lighting up and making noises is a very satisfying end to successfully completing the circuit.
- The difficulty level may be a bit much. We have yet to win the game on any level but novice. While I embrace a good challenge for myself and my kids, I also like to win. =-)
I really, really enjoy this entire Forbidden series. Forbidden Island was a fantastic start and is still one of my very favorite co-op games, Forbidden Desert was an exciting sequel, and Forbidden Sky rounds out a captivating and thrilling cooperative trilogy. If you’re looking for some team-building, family-uniting games, I would very much recommend all three.
Disclaimer: I received this game for free in exchange for my review, but believe me, I post authentic reviews every time and will be brazenly blunt if needs be.