My Wonderful Trip to Bora Bora

My Wonderful Trip to Bora Bora

Disclosure

I wish.

We’ve all seen the beautiful photos of Bora Bora from the air as well as the amazing luxury resorts on this island oasis. Part of French Polynesia, Bora Bora has a permanent population of well under 10,000 people. Maybe someday it’ll have at least one more!

Almost as good as visiting the real thing! We take a look at Bora Bora by Ravensburger and finds out why Stephan Feld is still our favorite designer. - SahmReviews.com

I guess the next best thing is to imagine I’m sunning myself on the white sands while playing a copy of Ravensburger’s best-selling strategy game by the same name. My first introduction to a game by designer Stefan Feld was when we tried out AquaSphere this past Spring. It is still a favorite of mine, even if it looks confusing to an outsider. Bora Bora follows a similar mechanic in that you have a wide range of choices you can make with your pieces, but cannot even come close to doing them all.

Almost as good as visiting the real thing! We take a look at Bora Bora by Ravensburger and finds out why Stephan Feld is still our favorite designer. - SahmReviews.com

Each player receives their own player board that helps them keep track of various objectives and provides a ‘cheat sheet’ (on the left) of what the various icons represent. Obviously the object of the game is to score the most points, but ‘how’ you accomplish this is completely up to you.

Almost as good as visiting the real thing! We take a look at Bora Bora by Ravensburger and finds out why Stephan Feld is still our favorite designer. - SahmReviews.com

But as I mentioned previously, you cannot do everything. Your path will be somewhat dictated by what you roll with your dice AND what path the other players choose. Each person rolls three dice at the beginning of the round. With each of those dice, you take turns placing them on one of the six action cards. Here’s the catch – you can only put your dice on an action if the value is LOWER than all of the other dice on it already. In the above example, the “red” player decided to be aggressive and play a 1 die on the action that allows people to gather resources/get points/etc., preventing anyone else from playing there at all during that round. BUT, they also limited themselves to only doing one action on that particular card (it allowed you to spend the pips as currency to do multiple actions). So while they prevented others from doing any at all, they themselves only were able to minimally take advantage of it also.

The other 5 cards represent the following actions in clockwise order from the upper left – hire a male worker, hire a female worker, place a priest in the temple, build in your resource area or expand your huts on the island (below).

Almost as good as visiting the real thing! We take a look at Bora Bora by Ravensburger and finds out why Stephan Feld is still our favorite designer. - SahmReviews.com

Expanding your presence in Bora Bora is a staple of playing the game. Each player begins with one pre-built and when you choose the appropriate action, you can expand to an adjacent section. In order to do so, you also must have rolled a die with at least as high of a number required to expand. If you look at the green hut at the bottom of the photo, they need at least a three to expand to the west. Each section of the island also has fish swimming offshore that are worth points at the end of the game. The last person to expand to a region controls the area (and gets the points), so being first to build won’t necessarily win you the points.

Along the way there are various objectives that also award you points upon successful completion. These will be different for everyone and may be as simple as buying four pieces of jewelry, or as difficult as having a structure on every island of Bora Bora.

Almost as good as visiting the real thing! We take a look at Bora Bora by Ravensburger and finds out why Stephan Feld is still our favorite designer. - SahmReviews.com

Instead of building, you might take the path of hiring workers to help you with additional actions. First you must clear the way on your board for them to ‘live’ by either building or moving your buildings to a remote part of your estate. Or maybe you’ll just earn money (clams) and buy sets of jewelry. Maybe your team wants to just enter the priesthood and earn points at the end of each round.

And to complicate your plan, each round you can earn tattoos – with the number earned determining player order for the next round! So many variables, so many options to block each other! You will not be able to plan ahead more than a round or so!

Almost as good as visiting the real thing! We take a look at Bora Bora by Ravensburger and finds out why Stephan Feld is still our favorite designer. - SahmReviews.com

Six rounds is all you get to accomplish everything you think you can. But with your decision-making process consistently being interrupted by your opponent’s actions, expect each round to last a good 15 minutes – bring the total game time to just over 90 minutes.

After the sixth round is scored, final game scoring occurs where you get bonuses for completely filling parts of your board. You also get one last chance to complete any bonuses you didn’t turn in previously. It was this final scoring that I found myself going from a commanding lead back to second place once everyone’s points were tallied. I guess additional vists to Bora Bora will be in my future!

Almost as good as visiting the real thing! We take a look at Bora Bora by Ravensburger and finds out why Stephan Feld is still our favorite designer. - SahmReviews.comBora Bora is accurately rated for ages 12+ and an expected game time of 60-120 minutes. It isn’t difficult to learn, but with the need to plan ahead a couple moves (and figure the math involved to find the best move), younger players probably wouldn’t enjoy it. However, for your teenager or big kid in the house, Bora Bora is another great title to own that sharpens both your planning strategy and complicated math skills.

You can find Bora Bora at your local hobby store or on Amazon for usually under $30. Considering the amount of time per game and the instant desire to play it more to try and master it, it is a much better value than the titles you’ll find at your local big-box retailer. Check out Ravensburger’s website for a number of other family-friendly titles (and puzzles – of which they’ve been famous for years!). Their Facebook and Twitter timelines are always full of great photos and announcements so make sure you follow them before the holiday season so you don’t miss out on new product debuts!

Scott

About Scott

A former manufacturing executive, Scott now balances his family life with ownership and backend administration of websites such as SahmReviews.com, GiftCardCollector.com and a number of other online properties. He also is an occasional writer and full-time board game fanatic.

18 comments on «My Wonderful Trip to Bora Bora»

  1. Tammy Rome says:

    My husband would love it. I would get frustrated and lost. I don’t even do well at Monopoly. A real vacation to Bora Bora — now that’s something we’d both enjoy!

  2. This game looks fun, but maybe a little more complicated than I normally play. I love games like Settlers of Catan, Risk, and Pandemic, which this looks similar to. I do hope you one day get to visit Bora Bora… I hope I do too 😉

    1. Scott says:

      If you’ve played Catan and Pandemic, then you would be able to play this easily (we LOVE Pandemic also, especially with a couple of the expansions). It isn’t hard to learn, but it is hard to win when your opponents block/foil your plans.

      I’ve got a couple others coming up very shortly that are VERY comparable to Catan/etc. that you’ll love!

  3. I haven’t played a board game in so many years, but this one looks fun. It looks like it would take a bit to learn how to play but that’s okay. Hey, I hope you get to visit Bora Bora someday!

  4. Carlee C says:

    Well I have to say that is a pretty neat game. If you can’t vacation there why not at least imagine being there and make it a family event.

  5. Deborah A. says:

    Oh, I just love reading your game reviews. It makes me want to buy them. All of them. We’re a big game family, but my brother and sister-in-law are the biggest “gamers” of us all. We have them for Christmas this year, and this game is going on the list for sure! Thanks!

  6. How incredible to enjoy a holiday at Bora Bora in your imagination. It seems very complicated, but I’m sure once you start playing, you’ll adjust to the way of doing things.

  7. At first I thought you are a lucky guy! The description makes me think of Risk meets something else, it sounds interesting.

  8. diane says:

    Sounds like a really unique game. It would definitely keep the teens busy for a while this summer!

  9. That sounds like loads of fun. I’d definitely enjoy playing this one.

  10. Raijean says:

    I’m looking for a new game for the boychild, we are going to have to check this out. He would love it.

  11. Kerri says:

    You always have such interesting games to share. It is great to have a variety of options especially when playing with the family.

  12. This looks like a fun game. You always bring us the most unique games.

  13. Maria says:

    Definitely looks like a fun game. I guess if you can’t be in Bora Bora, you might as well play Bora Bora! I’m definitely going to give it a check and see if my husband is interested.

  14. Beeb says:

    What a cool game, I love the way they designed the board an pieces. This would be fun for family game night!

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