Fireball Island

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Box cover.

Fireball Island is a board game designed by Bruce Lund and Chuck Kennedy and published by Milton Bradley in 1986. The game uses a raised plastic game board with Vul-Kar, a tribal idol, sitting at the top protecting a huge ruby. Several paths lead up to the ruby, and players work their way up to it, however, the idol also spews forth fireballs which roll down on the players impeding their progress.

I first played this game at my brother's friend's house around 1988. We were really impressed with game, and convinced our parents to buy it for us as well. If memory serves, we only played it a handful of times before becoming bored with it. Despite the game being a bit repetitive, I was especially fond of it because it had such an imaginative aspect to it. All the art and detail of the board and cards made the game more exciting, and I remember adding the game pieces into my toy collection and playing with them outside of the game.

Review

Good

  • An amazing amount of detail was put into the game's presentation. The box is fantastic looking, the game board has all sorts of little details, the card art is well-painted, the plastic miniatures that come with the game are well-sculpted, etc.
  • The rolling fireballs, though they're only red glass marbles, gives the game a very interesting action element not present in most board games.
  • The random cave system is a nice addition because players might find a short cut, or waste several turns trying to get a decent position. I especially like cave #4 on the cliff face over the rapids.
  • The game's manual adds flavor by naming the various paths.

Bad

  • The game is targeted for kids, and it shows. The mechanics are fairly basic, so there isn't much room for strategy.
  • The glass marbles aren't heavy enough, and they often just gently push the player pawns a few inches. Steel marbles painted red would have been a better choice.
  • The game play never really lives up to the amazing artwork. The artwork makes the game feel like Indiana Jones, but the game is more like playing with plastic army men.

Ugly

  • Nothing.

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