Chairman of the Board: Great balls of fire!

Illustration by Ed Appleby

‘Fireball Island’ game review

By Ed Appleby, Illustrator

Once in a while you find a real treasure of a game. Literally.

Fireball Island is a roll-and-move game for two to four players, designed by Chuck Kennedy and published by Milton Bradley in 1986. In the game, you play as an intrepid adventurer exploring a mysterious tropical island in search of a fantastic ruby. You compete against other players to claim the gem and find your way off the island. However, you are also competing against Vul-Kar, the ancient tiki god of the island, whose fiery temper is vested upon the players.

Fireball Island is a sight to behold. The whole board is a single piece of 3-D plastic with various winding paths the players can travel along. The tiki idol sits on the top of the board and can rotate around to face various paths. Whenever a player rolls a one on the die, that person gets to roll one of the fireballs down a path, taking out any players with the misfortune of being there.

The gameplay is made interesting with the existence of bridges, secret paths, and special cards that affect other players. The game is similar to Mouse Trap, though with a much more mature design. I found the game to be fun and not overly complicated. Good for a quick game, especially for younger or casual players.

The real treasure of the game is finding a copy of it. High material costs and large size have prevented Fireball Island from being re-released and thus make it quite rare. A complete version in decent condition on eBay will cost you from $200 to $425. So the next time you hit the thrift store, keep an eye out for this gem and grab it before someone else does.