Flicking things at family is fun
Yes, yes it is. The perfect game for getting your own back. Just try not to look too smug as you hit a family member with an ember and watch them fall into the rapids and say, ‘Well I might not have aimed for you if you had done your room’. Same for when one of them get’s you back later, just politely smile and and don’t show any anger, bonus if you can pull off a Joker smile and casually ask the child, ‘what was that thing you wanted to order on Amazon again?’. You know the one..
After hearing so much about Fireball Island I knew I had to play it with my kids. They were really excited about it when it arrived, but not as much as myself. My first thought of the game when setting it up was this could be a great pinball machine theme, also you do get quite a lot of thangs ‘n’ stuff in the box. Why did I think it would be a good idea to get it out for the first time infront of the kids? Every single piece was being picked up and examined by each of the kids, asking me every possible question about them and the rules. It had been out of the box for less than a minute and I had never played before. So I just distracted them with some other shiny thing and set it up, but I had to do it fast. Once it was all set-up the inevitable, kids unable to resist and roll all the balls down every path started, needing a reset once the kids had ‘had a go’.
Game set-up and rules memorised, let’s launch some fireballs at the kids. My oldest autistic son wasn’t feeling a game night this time so he sat this one out. It happens sometimes and my youngest (also autistic) wasn’t prepared to play by the rules at all, however this was really popular with the whole family and we have now played it several times. Straight away I could tell this was going to be difficult to play with the youngest, who just couldn’t resist touching everything.
After they landed on the Island, I picked up the helicopter, or ‘Hello-Copter’ and flew it off the table whilst making helicopter sounds. This was apparently very amusing to the kids, which helped put them in great mood and that will help make the game a success, I hope. Turns were quick and the kids were racing each other to get the red shiny thing. I was wondering how they were going to take it, when they started stealing from each other and knocking over their siblings on the board with fireballs and embers.
Stranded on the Island until they have completed their tasks, they set off. Well except for our youngest who just wanted to tour the island with his little green man, making his own adventures up and taking treasure he liked. The rest of us carried on playing normally, if everyone was having fun then who cares how he plays.
After several rounds the kids had started collecting treasure and taking snapshots, it was at this point that I explained how they can steal from each other. My teenage daughter seemed to always be the one that got mugged by the others, much to the delight of her younger brothers. They didn’t come for me, no idea why.
Soon the kids were flicking the embers (orange balls) at each other, dropping fireballs (red balls) through Vul-Kar and knocking each other over and off bridges and the ladder. This is a lot of fun, I can flick things at my own children and knock them over, more fun when they are crossing a bridge. After having many arguments at the table when kids complain about being targeted by the others, this game was surprisingly OK with them. My youngest was not at all happy if we interfered with his own separate game, especially if his ‘green guy’ got knocked over. This is where it started to get difficult to play, I could tell the others were getting a little frustrated, they were understanding but it was obvious they really wanted to play it properly without having to play around the youngest. This is partly why we had to play more games after, and over several days.
Maybe over time he will want to play it properly, but for now it’s a giant 3D island he can play with and that’s fine, but I may have to play separate games with Fireball Island. It was still possible to play together, just not always easy for the other kids. Although it did actually add something to the game, like an expansion or optional rule. A thief on the island we had to beat to the treasure before they took it all, sabotaging paths we were taking. Give it a try.
The rest of us were collecting whatever remained on the island trying to call the Hello-Copter back to the island to pick us up. You have to get three snapshots, one of each colour or have four fireballs out on the island in the scar to call the Hello-Copter back. One of the kids got the heart but didn’t hold on to it for long. The youngest with his thief had taken it back.
Some cards allow a player after they have moved to turn a tree or Vul-Kar. This is really important as it means you can direct any of the balls away from you or towards another player. When flicking a fire ember you can flick it anyway you want without using your thumb, just be prepared to keep reminding kids especially of that rule.
Cataclysm cards allow you to put a fireball in the top of Vul-Kar and it will roll out of the bottom in a random direction. Hilarious when my son was sure he was going to get me or his sister and instead knocked himself down a path all the way to the bottom. This may be why they actually enjoyed targeting each other and weren’t getting frustrated, never really know which way the ball will go, or which path. It’s something you just get used to and can laugh about when your amazing plan backfires. Eventually you start adding more fireballs to the scar, too many and the game ends.
Eventually some of us had collected enough souvenir cards to call the Hello-Copter back. Yes of course I flew it in making helicopter sounds again, and so should you. The thief was apparently not ready to leave the island while the rest of us were finishing the game. My daughter made it back first and got to choose a treasure from the Maw, of course she chose the lucky penny. We all made it back safely just in time except for the thief who just couldn’t resist taking the last treasures.
The game is really fun to play and we all love it. I would say it is a fair price, especially considering it’s a 3D board and you will play it a lot, and the quality is pretty good, I have no fear of anything breaking from playing it. Four kids playing with it for three days is a good enough test. We spent a couple of days talking about the games we had played and had many amusing stories.
If you were looking for a game to play as a warm up, or to play multiple games of on game night, this is a good pick. If want to learn more about the game and how it works check out @WatchItPlayed YouTube video.