She actually obtained for me a copy of the extremely rare Milton Bradley boardgame:
So why is this game so incredible and important? I'm glad you asked! A detailed analysis of the awesomeness of Fireball Island follows...
Those of you who remember Fireball Island need no explanation or justification to understand the quality of this gift. But for those readers who are too young to remember this boardgame or who grew up in some far off land where Milton Bradley's products did not reach, know that this was the game of games for young Indiana Jones fans.
First off, the board is three-dimensional! In the early 1980's, the most complex boardgame design until FB's release was basically the pop-o-matic bubble of the shitty game Trouble. Fireball Island's three-dimensional recreation of a lost tropical island summoned feelings of adventure and peril that no other boardgame could muster in those days. Let's explore a little of the island, shall we?
Dead Man's Plateau
This is where the explorer's start their sprint towards the Jewel at the top of Fireball Island. Located on the outer edge of the island, it started a race of excitement that few boardgames even to this day can match.
These ancient ruins house the precious Magic Talisman artifacts the explorers may pick up on their way to fortune and glory. Though not required to getting the Jewel and escaping the island, their ability to protect your resources and give you cards when you really need them may be the only thing that lets you survive the island.
Bones on the beach! What poor shipwrecked sailors died here, I wonder?
Caves of Mystery
Explorers feeling lucky can brave the mysterious caves to try and shortcut their way to the precious Jewelstone. But overzealous explorers can just as easily end up stuck on a precipice overlooking unforgiving ocean waves!
At the top of this path lay the coveted Fireball Island Jewel. But beware! For once the Jewel is taken from its resting place the dark fire-spewing totem of Vul-Kar can come alive to roast you with fireballs!
Where fireballed explorers spend their lost turn recovering from the many thermal onslaughts of the volcanic island.
To escape the island the explorers musto cross these ever-so-dangerous bridges. Many a times the precious Jewel was lost on these bridges and the the thieving explorers washed to sea.
Here is the last gasp where most explorers fight over the Jewel, but only one lucky soul can escape in the rowboat with the Jewel and retire in glory. Every game we've ever played have resulted in a lot of Jewel-trading dynamic action on this last slope.
Fireball island is one of those games that really inspired young gamers of the 80's. I know it did me. The board design was fantastic, and I can't think of any other game that had such a dynamic and fun mechanic of rolling fireballs at your friends. To my delight, there's even a subreddit dedicated to this rare, out-of-print game. Few games summon such nostalgia as does the pulpy adventure game Fireball Island. I hope that you too experienced this game back in the days of Reagan, and if not, drop me a line next time you're in Madison and I'll be happy to break it out!