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Board Game Review: ‘Bora Bora’

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Sometimes players need more than a quick hand of cards, or rolling the dice and seeing what square a token lands on. For those players, there are big box games that come with multiple boards, plenty of wooden figures, and several sets of dice. These are chances to build up a whole world and compete with friends and enemies. When sitting down to create a world, why not try a tropical paradise? Bora Bora from Ravensburger is an excellent sit-down world-building strategy game for those looking to dedicate a couple of hours to play.


The production quality is exquisite. Alexander Jung’s rich art makes fitting use of the bright hues of Pacific life. The main board features a picture of the volcanic islands surrounded by rich fishing and luxurious natural landscape. All the players receive their own boards to keep track of their achievements as they grow their populations, create jewelry, honor the gods, and further their civilizations. The game’s tiles and wooden figures may seem overwhelming at first, but they are all easily tied to representative spots on the main board and players’ individual boards.

Play in Bora Bora comes in six rounds of three phases each: corporate actions, individual actions, and righting the board’s progress track. Each round begins with a roll of the dice, introducing some luck to level the playing field for those who have mastered the game already, as well as simply to shake things up. This is a change from other games where a leader may dominate the order of play. Instead, players choose their actions in turn from the available cards through their dice rolls.

Like other big games, and even beyond many of them, Bora Bora has a whole series of achievements that grant victory points. Players are competing to have the most points and win, but there are multiple routes to gain them. Players may build buildings, expand their settlements, grow their populations, and complete “Task Tiles” that give a wealth of additional factors like having specific materials, jewelry, or population types. In-game bonuses are available from cashing in God Cards, but players may keep them to gain even more victory points. A handy chart on the main board helps players keep track of their progress and as well as their opponents’.


Bora Bora is a game for two to four players aged twelve and up. The box labels it a “6 out of 10” on mental difficulty scale, which is appropriate given the learning curve as players figure out the symbols and strategize for their most effective actions. Games will last an hour or two depending on the number of players, making it a good sit-down game for lovers of planning and maneuvering, without being too exhausting.

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About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.
  • Dr Joseph S Maresca

    This game can help children appreciate nature!