La Boîte de Jeu's Pearladora game cover art.
Image Source: La Boîte de Jeu

German board game designer Christwart Conrad brings us “Pearladöra” – a pearl collection board game. His name should sound familiar, as he is the designer of the popular “Carcassonne” board game and its numerous expansions. “Pearladöra” is actually a new theme and an updated version of one of Christwart’s older games – “Armadöra”. The game will be published by La Boîte de Jeu, a French publisher, later this year. The publisher is known for games like “Detective: City of Angels”, “Outlive” and the “Clash of Rage” board game franchise.

Discover Pearladöra’s Setting and Mechanics

“Pearladöra” sets you to compete in The Pearl Festival – an opportunity for your tribe to prove who are the best pearl gatherers. You will have to compete with up to two additional players. This means that if the game is played by three players, they will be directly competing against one another. But, if the game is played by four players, it becomes a team game – two against two.

Players can choose between four different tribes – Women, Men, Adults, and Ancestors – and each one has a different power that will help them get those precious pearls. The pearls themselves are distributed in heaps all across the game board. Your goal is to take as many pearls as possible by controlling the areas they are located in. This is done by placing divers, each one yielding a power level, marking their strength. Most of them are set to 1, but each player also has a smaller number of divers of higher value, up to 4. The stronger ones will be decisive in the late game – the board is small, which means there isn’t much space to put many divers in one area.

In the beginning, the board is, essentially, a large open area with pearl-rich locations on it. To be able to secure one of these valuable locations more easily, players place pontoons on the edges of the squares in order to make more manageable areas for their divers to claim. These areas must be at least for blocks in height or width. At the end of the game, each group of pearls is awarded to the player who has the strongest divers in an area.

Easy Learning Curve, Steep Climb to Master

Sounds simple enough, but here comes the challenge. Placing pontoons does not yield an immediate reward. It also won’t stop your opponent from placing their own divers in your newly established pearl gathering area.

You might think to yourself that placing multiple divers is the obvious solution to this problem, and you would be wrong. Placing them too early can easily be taken advantage of by your opponents, who can easily separate your divers from the pearls using pontoons. You will have to use some clever tactics to fool your opponents, such as bluffing your weak divers and holding your stronger ones for more valuable areas.

“Pearladöra” comes with a fun Polynesian aesthetic, which in turn provides a colorful and fun theme to the game. It offers overall simple mechanics but has great strategic depth. If “Pearladöra” gets a little too easy and familiar – there is an advanced mode with extra tribal powers to spice things up! The game, being suitable for up to four people, makes it suitable for family fun nights and a game with friends. It is set to release at an undisclosed date later this year.

A self-proclaimed warrior-poet, Krasen is a man of many hobbies – ranging from combat sports training, LARPing, to writing poetry. One of those many hobbies happens to be board games. Be it with a fist, pen, sword or keyboard – he aims to be just, merciless and effective.