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Welcome (Back) To Fireball Island


Credit: Restoration Games (2018)

In 2018, it’s common practice for the world of pop culture to resort to reboots of old properties. Hollywood is less likely to take a chance on an unknown idea, so they look back to popular IPs that are known to have some sort of following. In the world of board gaming, one company is not only bringing back old ideas, but also ushers those former titles into the new era.

Restoration Games was created in 2016 with the mission that “Every Game Deserves Another Turn”.  Justin Jacobson and famed designer Rob Daviau have come together to breathe new life into games that make you say, “oh yeah, I remember that game.”  The company has seen success with three games that released in 2017: Downforce, Indulgence, and Stop Thief!  BUT in mid-to-late 2017, Daviau announced the development of one of the most requested games of the company, Milton Bradley’s 1986 legendary Fireball Island!

When I say legendary, the game is more epic when you think back to the IDEA of Fireball Island. You move your explorers around the island, trying to steal Vul-Kar’s jewel and make your way back to the escape boat. However, in traversing the island, the Vul-Kar idol would “release fireballs” down the various ramps and chutes, knocking over explorers and taking out bridges, until the fireball came to rest. You also had cards that allowed you to manipulate the game, roll fireballs and move spaces. In recent years, a quality copy of Fireball Island has been a hard find, and currently there is a copy on eBay for $400.

So, when it was announced that Restoration Games would be taking on Fireball Island as their next release, gamers became giddy that they could get their hands on this game, with the love that Restoration Games shows to its games. Restoration Games has, in their previous releases, added some depth to the titles of the 70s-80s. And with the first design diary that released last week, it looks like they’ve done the same with Fireball Island.

Credit: Restoration Games (2018)

The new game is MASSIVE. Vul-Kar looks twice as big as before, and the island is much taller (and a little wider) than its 1986 predecessor. As you can see in the 3D render, there’s a lot going on:

Credit: Restoration Games (2018)

It is noted that the approach to 2018 Fireball Island was to “Give people more control over their pawns and less control over the fireballs”. With the new board, completely new pathways had to be designed, which apparently give players more places to move, but more spots for the marbles to do damage. The island was made taller to let the marbles pick up more speed as well. There are split paths, which creates more variety of direction, but also creates chaos because you never know where the marbles will go. There are also trees that have flippers, which can be switched which help you have some control over the fireballs. Vul-Kar itself no longer just spits out a fireball where you direct it, as his mouth now splits into three different ramps, where you never know exactly which way the fireball will go. This will be pure MADNESS.

Credit: Restoration Games (2018)

In the design diary released yesterday, the new theming behind the game has been revealed. While the game used to be about explorers trying to claim Vul-Kar’s jewel, you are now tourists who have won the chance to experience Fireball Island, which has now been turned into a resort by an adventure-tourism company. You can play as a character “Saul” from Boca Raton. You can still get jewels, but you can also get souvenirs along the island. There appears to be another design diary releasing tomorrow, which will explain more about how the game plays. Things are shaping up for an exciting stay on Fireball Island.

Credit: Restoration Games (2018)

Restoration Games is opening its Kickstarter for Fireball Island on April 3rd, where the game will be set at $60 ($70 MSRP). It appears that there will only be one version of the game, but it has been noted that there might be some additions available during the Kickstarter. It seems as though more information will be released as we get closer. However, this is looking like a must get for Funkhouser, and we’ll try to catch up with Restoration Games as we get closer to convention season.

For more information on Restoration Games, Click Here.

Article written by Richmond Bramblet