A Review by Jake
2 – 5 Players
30 minutes of play time per two players
You may be familiar with the expression that, it’s not about winning or losing, it’s playing the game that matters. Or how about, the destination is less important than the journey. Tokaido is game that truly captures this spirit; winning is accomplished through the experience of playing.
Thematically each player is a traveler on the Tokaido road, a traditional Japanese pilgrimage from Kyoto to Edo (modern day Tokyo) along the way the travelers with stop at villages and acquire souvenirs, visit temples, take in magnificent vista, enjoy Onsen (hot springs) and taste the local cuisine.
It is in each of these stops or experiences that players have an opportunity to score points based upon the diversity of one’s own journey. Travelers move across the board with the last player going first rewarding the players who take their time gaining the richest and most varied experience. There are times when a player will need to plan carefully where they stop in order to assure access to an experience, but rarely is blazing a trail as important as exploring the immediate surroundings.
Mechanically the players progress in a linear fashion occupying spaces and receiving the benefits of each location. Money can be spent to purchase various items that when combined with others create sets of items worth points. Players will jockey for position on the Edo road attempting to stop at the locations that will benefit their personal strategies.
Visually the game is light and fresh. The artwork is stylized for traditional Japanese culture with modern elements of anime, using vibrant colors with simple lines reminiscent of the Japanese artist Hokusai.
Fundamentally Tokaido is an excellent example of a game of indirect competition. It plays very well with two players. There are several character options that will keep the game fresh.
Rating 7.5 / 10