Game Review: Forbidden Jungle
Friday, October 6, 2023

I've been waiting a long time for this game!
This is the fourth game in the story line of the "Forbidden" game series. I love that these games, while totally playable as standalones, create a continuous narrative. Forbidden Island came first, where our intrepid adventurers sought four mythic treasures on a sinking island. Upon escaping with their loot, they then crash landed in the burning wasteland of Forbidden Desert. With their own plane broken beyond repair, the adventurers reconstruct an ancient dirigible that carries them to the floating launch platform of Forbidden Sky, where they battle wind and lightning to connect the circuits necessary to launch a rocket. That rocket then carries our adventurers to a distant alien planet, which you explore in Forbidden Jungle.
This game has a good balance of luck and strategy. You definitely have to plan as a group to survive, but be prepared for your plans to get tossed out the window by the whims of fate. While we seemed to be doing quite well at the beginning of our first play through, we died very abruptly when we were overrun by aliens due to a unfortunate series of cards drawn from the threat deck. We did manage to win our second play through, this time due to a fortunate equipment card that showed up on the first turn. I'm convinced that early population control is key to winning this game, but I'm sure there are other viable strategies.
Despite it's delay, it feels like this game was a bit rushed for release. Along with a typo in the manual (easy to overlook) there was a significant issue with one of the layout cards. It required 25 tiles to create the layout, but there are only 24 tiles in the game. This was an easy fix, we just adjusted the design, but there was a moment of confusion and worry that we'd somehow managed to lose a tile despite this being only our second play through. The game components are well made, though some of the adult alien figurines have trouble standing. For those familiar with this game series, they've returned to the tin box of the first two installments.
Unlike many games I've played lately, the developers of Forbidden Jungle actually managed to put an accurate time estimate on the box. With most play throughs coming in at just under an hour, this game is long enough to feel satisfying without eating up a whole day, making it great for shorter gaming sessions.