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Karuba Board Game Review

Karuba Box Art
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Have you ever wondered what would happen if you mashed Indiana Jones, Bingo, and Carcassone together? Meet Karuba, a board game published by HABA and designed by RĂ¼diger Dorn (Istanbul), where players will lay tiles through an island jungle, collect gems, and hopefully guide their meeple adventurers to each of the 4 temples to claim the treasure that awaits!

Setup for Karuba

Each player is given a player board that represents an island jungle, 4 meeple adventurers, 4 temples, and 36 pathway tiles. Everyone decides together where to start each of the meeples and temples on their player boards so all boards are identical. The goal is to get the meeples to the temples of the same color.

Next, players will select a leader for the expedition. This player will stack all of their path tiles into shuffled piles upside down. All other players will take their pile of path tiles and lay them out face up in front of them. The directions tell you to organize your pieces 1-36 for convenience, but we rarely do this to save time!

Starting setup for Karuba board game
Karuba Starting Setup for Players

How is Karuba played?

During each round, the expedition leader will pick a path tile from their pile and call out its number. Everyone then finds their corresponding tile (like bingo).

There are 2 things you can do with a Karuba tile:

  1. Lay the path tile on your player board so you can work on creating paths from your meeples to their corresponding temples.
  2. Discard the tile and use it for movement points. Every end of a pathway on your discarded tile is worth 1 movement point. Movement points allow your meeples to travel along the pathways!
Tile 5 is worth 3 movement points. Tile 28 is worth 2 movement points.

*There are rules for how you place your tile. Each one needs to be positioned so its number is in the upper left corner.

Gems along the path

As you begin to create your pathways, you’ll notice some of your tiles have gems on them. Gems are worth victory points. In order to collect gems, you’ll need to land your meeple on that tile and not beyond it. Meaning if you have 3 movement points and the gem is only 2 tiles away, you’ll need to throw away a movement.

Meeples moving along the paths towards their temples!

Temple Treasures

Getting your meeples to their matching temples before other players will be rewarding. There are temple treasures that you can claim once you reach each temple. Each temple has 2-4 treasures (depending on player count) and they decrease in value as they are claimed.

Temple Treasure you can earn in Kaurba.
Temple Treasure

Winning the Game

The game end is triggered when all four of a player’s meeples reach their corresponding temples, or all the tiles have been used! Simply count up your temple treasures, gold, and diamonds. Highest score wins!


Karuba is a fantastic light-weight family board game. If you want to introduce younger kids to the tile laying mechanism, this would be a fun place to start. This is a very easy game to teach, and it’s quick to play. The theme is also entertaining and well integrated!

Fun Fact: Karuba was a 2016 Spiel des Jahres Award nominee!

Karuba was played (and enjoyed) as part of our Shelf of Shame Challenge for 2022!

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