Bora Bora is a game by Stefan Feld, published by Ravensburger. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will be trying to stake their fortunes on the mysterious island of Bora Bora. They will be building huts, discovering fishing grounds and collecting shells to buy jewelry. They will send priest to the temple to gather offerings to earn favor with the gods. The player that can plan the best actions and collect the most victory points will be declared the winner.
To begin, place all the building materials, shells and offerings in separate piles next to the game board. Depending on the number of players, place the appropriate action tiles face up next to the game board as dictated by the rules. The fish tiles are placed face up onto the fish spaces on the board. The man and woman tiles are separated and shuffled. 6 tiles are drawn from each pile and place face up in the appropriate spaces on the board. The light green and dark green task tiles are separated and shuffled. Each player is randomly given 1 light green and 2 dark green tiles which are placed on their player boards. The rest of the light green tiles are placed back in the box, while 2 plus the amount of players are drawn from the dark green tiles and placed face up on the appropriate space on the board. The jewelry tiles are shuffled and randomly placed face up on their spaces on the board. 6 god tiles are place in a stack on the temple space. God cards are shuffled and placed in a face down stack beside the board. The top 5 cards are placed in a row face up beside the stack. Each player receives a player board, 12 huts, 6 building tiles, 3 dice and 4 priests in their chosen color. They also receive a god tile, 2 god cards, 2 offerings and a turn order tile. The player that drew the #1 player tile places one of their markers on the victory point starting space and their other one on the status track. Each player in turn order now places theirs. Now in reverse turn order, players place one of their huts on one of the empty building spaces next to a 1-fish tile. They receive the resource that the area gives. Play now begins.
The game is played over 6 rounds that consist of 3 phases each. In the first phase, players will simultaneously roll all 3 of their dice. Beginning with the first player, players will then place one of their dice on an action tile and take the action that it provides. Players continue doing this until all dice have been placed. One thing to note, when a player places a die it must be lower than any other dice already on the tile. Depending on the number of players some actions may not be available. I will briefly explain the actions and what each one does. The expand action allows a player to place a hut from their player board, freeing up a space, to a new location adjacent to the hut they have on the board. The die used must be equal to or higher than the number on the board to expand to the new area. They will then take the resource it provides. The woman and man actions allow a player to take one of the appropriate helper tiles from the board. The tile taken must be in a position that is equal or less than the number of the die that is used. The helper action allows a player to trade for different items like tattoos, shells, victory points, offerings, god cards and building materials. It also allows the player to move a hut on their player board. Each trade costs a number of points from the die. God cards can be used by discarding an offering. The temple action allows a player to move one of their priests to the temple and take a fire bonus. The build action allows a player to build one of their building tiles, removing two adjacent building materials from the ceremony spaces on their player board. The player scores victory points and takes a fire bonus. Fire bonuses allow a player to take a god card or an offering and either move ahead one space on the status track or take a shell. The fishing action space on the board allows a player to score 2 points. They are allowed to use any die, regardless of the previous rule of placing dice.
The second phase is when players will use their man and woman actions from their player boards. Players are allowed to use 1 man and 1 woman. If they have multiples of the same tile, they can all be used at the same time. There are many different actions that can be taken, from taking tiles, scoring points and using land or water paths. They can also take god cards, offerings and shells, as well as several other actions.
The last phase is to assess the right half of the game board. In other words, beginning with the #1 track and moving down, each track is looked at and dealt with. The 4 tracks are the status track, temple, jewelry and task tiles. The status track awards victory points for the space that the player’s marker is on. Once points are awarded, the status markers all return to 0. The player that was furthest back is on bottom and the one that is furthest ahead is on top. Players then reassign the turn order tiles based on this new stack starting with the top marker. The temple track scores victory points for the priest that a player has on these spaces. Players can score more points the longer the priest remains on the track. The player with the most priests in the temple receives a god tile. The jewelry tiles track allows players to buy 1 jewelry tile from the current round’s column by using shells that they have collected. The victory points for these are scored at the end of the game. The task tiles track allows players in turn order to complete one of their three task tiles. If a player does it without help, they score 6 points. If they require the help of a god card, they score only 4 points. Players then choose one of the new task tiles from the board and add it to the newly freed space on their player board. This completes the final phase ending the round.
A new round is then prepared for by returning the two task tiles that were not chosen and any remaining men or women tiles on the board to the box. 6 new man and 6 new woman tiles are placed on the board as are new task tiles. Players take back all of their dice from action spaces and a new round now begins. That is unless this is the end of the 6th round. Final scoring takes place at this point. Players receive victory points for unused god tiles, any huts that they have adjacent to a fish tile, jewelry tiles, completed task tiles, claimed jewelry tiles, having a full ceremony space, having all 6 building tiles built, having huts added to all 12 regions, having all 12 man/woman spaces filled. Players add up their points and the person with the highest number wins.
This games is really beautiful. There are lots of great pieces. The artwork is truly breath taking. There are lots of cardboard tokens, tiles and pieces. The board has some really great art as well. The god cards are bright and colorful, as are all of the wooden player pieces. The dice are also brightly colored. When it comes to components this game has got some of the best looking pieces of any euro game that I’ve seen. The player boards have all the pertinent info on one side and the back has an amazing looking portrait of your color’s character. I was truly overcome by how nice everything looks. The theme is well integrated in the pieces as well. The offering tiles look like little baskets of food. The shells look like little shells. This attention to detail really helps to draw you into a completely amazing artistic game that will flood yours senses with color. A truly great looking game.
10 out of 10
The rulebook is put together really well. Everything is easy to read and understand. Yes there is quite a bit to take in but it’s not that bad. You will feel a bit overwhelmed when you look at the number of pieces and parts for the game, but everything begins to make sense once you slow down and take the rules 1 page at a time. There are lots of pictures and examples throughout the book. I especially like the shortened summaries of how everything works on the edge of every page. It helps a lot once you understand how to play the game without having to read a ton of extra information again. Everything is explained really well. There are even special rules for playing with only 2 or 3 players. The last page has a ton of examples of each of the task tiles and how they work. All in all, a really good rulebook.
8 out of 10
I will begin by saying that I have never played a Stefan Feld game, before this one. I’d heard a ton of stuff about them but never played one. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. As a fan of worker placement style games, this really was nice. There are tons and tons of different things that you can do with lots of strategy withe every move. You have to constantly be thinking about what you need and want to do versus what the other player is likely to do. Do you wait to use that 6 on an action tile that you want hoping to get more out of it or do you go ahead and use it now so that your opponent doesn’t block you out with that 3 he rolled. It’s those kinds of things that you will agonize over. Trust me. This game can easily give someone analysis paralysis. In those cases, the best thing is to try to encourage the other player with some helpful advice. Of course, you might not want to encourage them to mess over your next move. I really love the beauty and feel of this game. It’s a really great game and I enjoy it quite a bit. It can be played in about an hour and a half. Of course the set up time takes a bit of work but it’s worth it.
9 out of 10
Bora Bora is a medium weight game of worker placement with an island theme. It can be played in about an hour and a half plus the set up time which is a bit long. The artwork and theme for this game are a bright and beautiful array of colors. I really love how amazing this game looks. The theme is pretty well integrated as well. It’s an easy game to learn but new players might need a little help with all the actions and things that can be done. There are a lot of choices available. Fans of any of Feld’s previous games as well as worker placement fans will love this game. The game mildly has a Settlers of Catan feel with the island and resource gathering which might interest them in this game. The game plays great with any number of players but for the use of all the actions, 4 players are needed. I really enjoy this game and think it’s a great introductory game into the Feld universe. I highly recommend it. It’s an island full of fun.
9 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Ravensburger at their site.