Look to leeward

Now there’s an oblique game reference for you. Got it?


This week’s regular session, courtesy of Erez, saw us playing Bora Bora, a Stefan Feld, supercharged, dice and worker placement game.

First, a great big round of applause for Erez. He had prepared well, and taught us – Laurie, Rochelle, and me – the rules of this tricky game, without faltering.

The theme is native development on Bora Bora. Each round you roll three dice. Each player takes it in turn to place his die on an action card. Generally, the higher the die is not always an advantage. It has some nice balancing mechanisms so do not worry if you think you are unlucky at rolling dice. There are lots of ways to win.

There's a lot going on there. But what is going on there?

There’s a lot going on there. But what is going on there?

But what are you trying to do to get victory points? Complete tasks, buy jewelry, build buildings, explore the islands, catch fish, recruit talented men and women, visit the temple, get tattoos, and stuff like that.

On top of that, there are cards from the gods – red, green, blue, and yellow from memory – that let you break the rules or restrictions, as you seek your goal. It is a jam packed game. It’s long, but quite involving.

It is also difficult to work out what is going on, certainly just out of the box. Put it this way: there are six rounds to the game. At the end of the first round, I did not have a clue what was happening. At the end of the second, I had a clue, but just did not understand what it meant. At the end of the third, I could read the clue and understand it. But I still couldn’t see what to do. By the fourth round, it was sort of becoming clear…

Green's player mat. Full of tips on how NOT to play the game. (Ellis' mat!)

Green’s player mat. Full of tips on how NOT to play the game. (Ellis’ mat!)

Erez sacrificed his playing by keeping us on track with the rules. What a gentleman. What a nice guy. What happens to nice guys? Yes, they finish last. Erez was last.

I was nearly as nice. Or, to put it another way, I was truly bad at the game and did not have the excuse that I was explaining the rules. So my score was as low as Erez’s.

The two ladies were much snappier. Despite Rochelle announcing she did not know what was going on, her score was way better than Erez and mine. And, as for Laurie, her score was out of sight. A crushing win for her.

I’m hoping we will get to try this again. I’d like to see if I learned anything from the first playing. And it was fun, though at times it was also hard work. Intriguing.

Thanks, especially to Erez for introducing the game. Another good night of gaming.