Game Break Down
In Tokaido, players will be traveling down the legendary east sea road connecting Kyoto to Edo. During your travels you will be stopping at various locations in the attempt to create the most richest experience of all players. Players will be witnessing the countryside, tasting the culinary specialties, purchasing souvenirs, bathing in the hot springs, and meeting the locals to accomplish this goal.
Everything here can be described with a single word. This game looks very clean. The game board has a simple layout but carries with it an air of elegance that is difficult to describe beyond that. The artwork on the cards and board is beautiful. It’s a perfect blend of ancient Japanese artwork with modern minimalist flare. Every piece of the game was well produced and very purposeful in execution. If I were to be critical i would say the perforations on the panorama cards looks a little cheap but its not back breaking.
The rules are very simple and simple to follow. The provided examples are very helpful to put context to what your reading. The theme is even brought into the instructions with text to match the Japanese setting. One element that I found to be unnecessary but a wonderful addition to bring the player into the experience is the history section at the end of the manual. A great read for any player looking for a bit of context for game play.
In Tokaido, the players are traveling down a road with the player farthest from the final destination taking the next turn. They then have the choice of which location they would like to stop at. The player takes their pawn and move it to the chosen location and carry out the associated benefit with that location. This leap frog style game play continues until all players have reached the end of the Tokaido road. End game bonuses are added to each players journey score and victory is crowned to the player with the highest journey score.
Gameplay is more tactical than strategic. This I imagine would upset some gamers who a game with more heavy gameplay but the light gameplay has a purpose. The game is intended to be immersive with it’s zen like quality. The light nature of the game is helps to cultivate this feeling without causing unnecessary stress on its players. That isn’t to say that this game isn’t void of any decisions. The game finds a happy median to accommodate some of the gamers who enjoy a deeper game and the light gamer. Essentially this game is a bit lighter than I usually play but it’s still a great comprehensive gameplay.
This has a very consistent and well founded theme. Every stop has the players looking at and engaging with every card and location. All the locations have been injected with feudal Japan and it shows. All the artwork inspires the feeling of exploration and calmness.
This game produces a calm that I think makes the excitement suffer. The light game play and beautiful yet tranquil artwork all distance players from the excitement of competition. I would use the analogy of a pretty sunset as being gorgeous but not as exciting. That being said this is still a good game experience to be had.
The gameplay as it is does lack the depth that is required for any outstanding replay value. I think the real replay value this provides is bested paired with the need for a specific experience. If you need the game experience of some thing on the lighter side with a nice glass of wine (if you are of age of course) then this is your play. This probably will not be hitting your table often if you like a deeper experience.
A beautiful game that has it’s purpose and does it very well. This is definitely not a game that you will be playing often but one that you will appreciate when you do.
Final Grade 7 / 10