Tokaido: A Review and Giveaway

Tokaido

How would you like to journey along the Tokaido (East Sea Road) in the old days of Japan? As a traveler, your goal is to make the most of this unforgettable experience by enjoying the magnificent countryside, dining on the local cuisine, accumulating the best souvenirs, interacting with unforgettable people, and relaxing in the rejuvenating hot springs.

If this sounds like your ideal vacation, you're in luck: you can take this trip with up to 4 more friends right at your table. Fun Forge has set out to capture the elegance of this journey in the form of a board game. Not only that, but we have a brand new copy to give away to one lucky winner!

Tokaido components

Gameplay

The game comes with a game board that depicts the Tokaido and many destinations along the way, player tiles and markers, coins, achievement cards, and cards representing hot springs, panoramas, meals, souvenirs, and encounters.

The object of the game is to score the most points, representing how rich and fulfilling of an experience each traveler has on the journey. At the beginning of the game, each player chooses a traveler tile that gives him a special ability to use throughout the game and a certain number of coins to start out with. On each turn, the player whose marker is furthest behind on the path moves his marker forward onto any unoccupied space and carries out the action associated with that space. Any cards that are drawn are placed in front of the player and any points earned are scored immediately.

There are 7 different types of spaces spread along the path:

  • Villages – The player draws 3 souvenir cards and may purchase one or more of them (assuming he has enough money). The object is to collect sets of different types of souvenirs (small objects, clothing, art, and food) to score as many points as possible.
  • Farms – The player gains 3 additional coins.
  • Panoramas – The player draws a panorama card of the indicated scene. Each card in a scene is worth an increasing amount of points, and the first player to complete each scene earns additional points.
  • Hot Springs – The player draws a hot spring card. Each card is worth either 2 or 3 points.
  • Temples – The player donates 1 to 3 coins to the temple in exchange for the same number of points.
  • Encounters – The player draws an encounter card and gains the extra cards, coins, or points that are shown on the card.
  • Inns – Inns serve as a checkpoint; all players must be stopped at an inn before any player can move past it. At the inn, players choose a meal card to purchase, if possible, to earn 6 points. The first player to arrive at the inn has more choices of meals than each subsequent player.

The game ends when all players have reached the final inn. Additional points are then scored for special achievements, such as having the most souvenirs or encounters. The player with the highest score wins.

Review

Tokaido offers many interesting choices and challenges. The gameplay itself is very simple – just pick a space and move there. The complexity of the game really comes from the fact that there are so many different types of spaces to choose from and goals to achieve, all of which offer different advantages. A player who tries to do everything will likely lose to a player who specializes in just a few of the activities. However, it's not always easy to land on the spaces you would like to visit, since only one player can occupy a space at any given time. Opponents can use this to thwart your progress by analyizing what spaces will bring you the most advantage and landing there before you – forcing you to move ahead to a different space.

When deciding on which space to move to, it is important to consider the distance between yourself and your opponents. If you move too far ahead from the rest of the travelers, they will have many spaces to visit and gather points along the way before you get another turn. However, if you stay too close, others may get to the most advantageous spaces before you or get the most meal choices at the next inn.

We found the game to be elegant, with nice components and artwork that capture the theme and emotion of the journey very well. However, while it can be considered a casual game, it should be noted that there is a lot of information to explain and process when compared to other games with such simple core gameplay. We found that the setup and explanation time ran quite long, as there are many different abilities, card types, goals, and small details that must be internalized before players can make fully-informed decisions on their turn. Overall, we enjoyed it but would recommend it primarily to those who have some gaming experience – not necessarily someone who is sitting down to play a game for the first time.

Pros: Elegant, fast-paced, and challenging

Cons: Lots of details to learn and process

Special thanks to Passport Game Studios for providing sample copies for review.

Giveaway

Enter below to win a brand new copy to try out for yourself!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Brian W
Brian W's picture
Nice to see CGI still going strong.
Griffin Patterson
Brian W's picture

Love these monthly (?) giveaways. Gives me something to look forward to. Great game selection. Would love a copy.

Mark M
Brian W's picture

Great idea for a magazine.

matt
Brian W's picture

Thanks for the contest!

Lance
Brian W's picture

Just played Kingdom Builder - one example of the definition of Casual Game.

Chris McGowan
Brian W's picture

Thanks for running this - nice review too.

A-Game
Brian W's picture

Love your blog. It's a great source of info on games I can play between heavier games. Thanks!

Tony
Brian W's picture

Thanks for the contest!

Kostas K.'s picture
Member Since: 03/19/2013

I saw a playthrough of the game and although the rules are very simple, the players had a great time. Thanks for the contest.

Sarah
Brian W's picture

I hope more people play King of Tokyo.  It would be soo cool to see it sold in Target.  It's a very fun game!

ProfBeard
Brian W's picture

Love to see reviews of these casual type games.  They are the easiest to pull out with non-gamer friends and family, and havign somewhere to find reviews of them is certainly helpful.

Adam H
Brian W's picture

For me casual games are all about timing - even with a hard core gaming crowd a nice casual game to end the night after a brain burning several hour session is always appreciated.  Although if it's too good (The Resistance) it could end up keeping you up way too late.

Phillip
Brian W's picture

Great review for this game.  Lots of solid information for those that don't have ready access to the actual product.  

Scott P
Brian W's picture

Love these contests, now if I could actually win one :)