In Forbidden Island, must the Engineer be either on or adjacent to a tile to shore it up?

2 Answers 2


From the manual:

enter image description here

Any character can shore up a tile that is either adjacent or underneath them. The engineer is listed as an exception because he can shore up 2 tiles per action. It doesn't indicate any other requirements or exceptions for the Engineer. It does distinctly say they must be for one action so you can't spread it around.

Some think that you can shore up two tiles away:

The group I played with argued that he could shore up two tiles in a straight "line". That is, one adjacent tile plus the one next in line, adjacent to that adjacent tile. So, shoring up a tile that has a tile between it and the tile he/she is standing on.

but the general consensus is this is incorrect. Nothing in the rules indicate that. The ability doesn't say he can shore up two adjacent tiles but 2 tiles which inherit the previous property of adjacent to the player.

  • 1
    I still disagree that the rules indicate that shoring up two tiles indicates t hat these tiles might be any two tiles. It doesn't for instance say "Shore up any 2 tiles" the way the sandbag does say "Shore up any one tile on the island" clearly stating that the tile doesn't need to follow the indicated rules. I believe in the absence of new rules the old rules are clearly and obviously intended thus the lacking of other exceptions means the Engineering tile doesn't imply more exceptions than it explicitly details.
    – Wolfkin
    Jun 21, 2016 at 1:33
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    also you indicate the shore action is defined as follows and then use only half the definition. Part of the definition of shore up action is that it only applies to adjacent tiles. It's actually the more important half of the definition as it pertains to this discussion. Shoring up is defined as something you do to adjacent tiles.
    – Wolfkin
    Jun 21, 2016 at 1:38
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    The indicated rules, as you call them, don't mention the word "adjacent" at all.
    – ikegami
    Jun 21, 2016 at 1:39
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    It's in the first sentence of the image I linked originally - i.imgur.com/w3uETri.png - You may for 1 or more actions, show up any ADJACENT Island tile - it then goes on to define specifically which five tiles are eligible for shoring up.
    – Wolfkin
    Jun 21, 2016 at 1:42
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    @ikegami I know I am late to the party but I disagree - this is not describing separate abilities but providing an exception, a modification, to one ability based on the character, as is made clear by the rule book calling it an exception - so it changes the relevant part of the general rule where it says tile to "(up to) 2 tiles" with the rest entirely unchanged, including the restriction to adjacent tiles. The answer is definitely within the rules.
    – Andrew
    Mar 27, 2020 at 0:19


The question is understandable.

The Engineer's ability reads "shore up two tiles for one action", and the shore action is defined as follows: "To shore a tile, simply flip it so its un-flooded side is facing up". As written, the rules place no limit on which tiles the Engineer can shore up.

But then one considers that other players are restricted to shoring up adjacent tiles. "You may, for one or more actions, shore up any adjacent tile (up, down, left, right) or the Island tile your pawn is on", and one might think this restriction is suppose to apply to the Engineer as well.

They'd be right. The restriction does apply to the Engineer as well.

Compare the Engineer's and the Explorer's ability.

The Explorer considers diagonal tiles to also be adjacent for shoring and movement purposes.

The more restrictive reading of the Engineer's ability gives it a free action almost every turn. This is a huge boon. It would be insane to also give it a power that's much more powerful than the Explorer's (considering all tiles to be adjacent for shoring purposes).

The same answer was previously given on Board Game Geek.

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