Isla Dorada board game review

You should certainly visit Isla Dorada

Isla Dorada board game 2010 cover
Release date
Family, Strategy, Fantasy
60 min.
Fantasy Flight Games
Our Score
Your rating4 Votes
Beautiful journey

Welcome to the Isla Dorada. Does not matter who you are, an adventure seeker, explorer, a pirate or Indiana Jones. You are going to have a wonderful experience here: traveling through jungles and deserts, discovering ancient places, finding treasure, and understanding what are those magical curses that you do not believe exist, and finally, some mysterious creatures lurking in there…

Hora Pena, Bulo Mapo, Qualtops, Aminadang, Sangaia – the Island seems to be habitable at least sometime in the past it was. There are words and symbols everywhere, of some unknown language. But where did all the civilization go, where are the people? Maybe they are still living here but hiding.


You and other players are organizing an expedition through the Island. Negotiate with each other in order to decide which directions to take, what paths to go. After all, you all are different, you all got your own reasons for traveling the island – excitement, treasures, discoveries, or maybe something like poaching, or being too afraid to stay alone. Who knows. In the end, you do not know anyone well enough, but you know one thing for a fact, that all of the expedition members will do whatever it takes to get what they want. A game of adventure and selfishness! Be the most selfish, and maybe, just maybe, if you are lucky enough, you will win.

Isla Dorada board game – a family, strategy, card-based game for 3 to 6 players with an average playtime of 60-90 minutes. Pretty interesting game. A bit unusual – some nonstandard mechanics, and lots of different cards! You will certainly not gonna die out of boredom playing this one. Quiet the opposite. It can be quite funny as well.

The game has some pluses as well as minuses, but overall – we certainly recommend this game. A semi-cooperative-competitive game with a beautiful theme, art that creates a wonderful atmosphere for your game night.

Review details

The review will be covered in the following structure:

  1. Fun
  2. Replay value
  3. Art & parts
  4. Game price

Feel free to read the review details, or just scroll down to the review summary.


You will find a bunch of things you can do on Isla Dorada. Every player got his own unique destinies (we are not joking, there are destiny cards that indicate the main quest for each player), a bunch of treasures and curses at different island locations, as well as lots and lots of adventure cards with different effects. You never know what other players are up to, you can just only suspect.

On top of that, there is little to no downtime (unless a bit more at the beginning of the game, that we are going to cover later) as players always go trough rounds together, which decreases player turn time dramatically. This keeps players involved pretty well.

The game feels pretty well balanced, giving every player a decent chance to win. But chance itself is an aspect that has been taken a bit too far in this game. There is a chance everywhere – from drawing destiny, treasure or curse cards which you drew at the beginning of the game and at some other points in the game. But hat originally sets your limits – how good was destiny card, how valuable are your treasures, and how they relate to your destiny card.

Some players get lucky, some not and it is not much you can do about it, unless – some more luck. You would be lucky to draw some good adventure cards that would bring you back into the game… But even then, if you do not obtain required path cards, you will not be able to influence the expedition’s traveling direction much. To sum up, the Isla Dorada board game feels to have a little too much focus on the chance that neglects and decreases the importance of the strategic element of the game.

Isla Dorada (2010) – adventure cards

Replay value

We would say the game probably gets more interesting and better trough repeat gameplay, as you are able to utilize more on a strategic element. On top of that, there are a bit different rules on how players move through the island. Normally, once player would to the bidding on a chosen direction, based on the number of path cards in possession, then next player passes or increases the bidding to force his direction, and that continues until all the players except the last bidder pass, and then an expedition moves trough path selected.

But advanced rules introduce a little bit of cooperation, as players are now able to support each other’s bids in particular directions (sum them up). This is a great way to slightly decrease that chance influence on getting those path cards required. So players that need to go to adjacent or the same areas are likely to support each other. This introduces even more negotiation and strategy to the game and there is little experience required to get to that point.

On the other hand, there are some negative aspects as well. The initial downtime (preparation for the game) is felt quite often, especially if there are newbie players, or you took a rather long break from the game. There are a bunch of cards that you need to understand. All of them have that weird tribal language, meaning that you have to check their meanings in player summary sheets, and there are a lot of cards to review, choose, and select. But again, this becomes less important the more you play the game, so if you really enjoying it, you will have no problem with this issue.

Art & parts

There is not much to say about the components of the game. They are really beautiful and qualitative. Cards are strong enough to wear off really slowly, the board is quite large and detail, the colors are bright and saturated. Playing this game does wonder for the atmosphere, you can feel the immersion of others, especially if you are playing with kids (or DADS, they become small kids once again). And much of that comes due to how great is game art!

Isla Dorada colorblindness review

As usual, we are bringing some attention to gaming possibilities for colorblind people. The game is not perfect, but it seems playable. The cards are distinguished by words, so there is no problem with card-related parts of the game. One issue that we notice is the path types illustrated on the game board. Sand paths are yellow, wilderness – green and mountain paths – brown. As a result, it might create some inconvenience at least. Due to that let us take a look at how this affects gameplay.

Please note that the photo above represents the maximum levels of colorblindness. If we compare yellow, green and brown paths – they are less distinct, especially for Deuteranope and Protanope cases.

However, the differences between path colors can certainly be spotted (for all 3 types). On top of that, each path has a different surrounding terrain – sand, jungle, mountains. As a result, our conclusion to colorblind players about Isla Dorada board game playability is rating B – Playable. Please note that you can always contact us to let us know if you encountered difficulties that we did not mention in relation to colorblindness. We will update our information if required.

Colorblind evaluation: B (Playable)


Please note that there seems to be little supply left for the Isla Dorada board game. It might be the case that Fantasy Flight Games has stopped the production of the game, as their product list seems not to include it anymore. So any game boxes that are left will skyrocket in terms of price. Never the less, if we would look at the game’s casual price – the box, components, and the game itself are worth your money! But if you want to get a brand new Isla Dorada game box, it is likely to cost a lot. You can check the pricing and availability at the bottom of this page.

Isla Dorada board game review
Explore the unexplored
Good production from Fantasy Flight Games. The game is easy enough for new players to join in. A little downtime is expected, as players constantly check weird location names & card meanings. Easy & interesting enough.
Replay Value
Art & Parts
Your rating4 Votes
Great family game that is a new player friendly
Great theme and game components
Unique mechanics
Too large dependence on chance, sometimes even good strategy won't save you
Beautiful journey

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