Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 2-5
Amount of time to play: 45-60 min
Age requirements: 8+
Set-up time: 5 min
Tokaido is a game in which you gain VP for the experiences you take in on a journey. But you can only do so much and compete with your opponents for the same experiences.
Tokaido takes place over four days and then ends. At the end of each day you must stop at the inn to eat. But throughout the day you stop and take in different sights and experiences.
First you select which traveler you will play. Each traveler will give you a unique bonus and starting gold. You get two random travelers and pick one to use.
There are eight types of places you can visit on your travels; the temple, spa, mountains, sea, fields, farm and souvenir shop or you can have an encounter. At the temple you donate gold. You get one VP for each gold you donate. The spa gets you one to three VPs. The mountains, sea and fields get you 1 VP for the first visit and an additional VP every time you visit and paint them. At each of these sights you paint a panorama until it is done. At the farm you get three gold. And at the souvenir shop you buy items to create sets for VPs. You can also stop and encounter someone on the path. Depending on who you encounter, you gain a bonus as if you visited one of the buildings on the path.
There are only one or two places to stop at each destination. And the traveler closest to the beginning of the trail takes their turn.
Once you reach the end of the journey you get bonus VPs for different achievements. The first player to finish the sea, mountains, or fields panorama scores bonus VPs. Players that donate to the temple get bonus VPs depending on who gave the most, second most, etc. And if you encountered the most people on the trail or visited the most spas you get 3 bonus VPs. Lastly the player that spent the most on their meals at the inns gets 3 VPs. The player with the most VPs wins the game.
Tokaido is a beautiful board game full of tough decisions. It is easy to teach and good for new board gamers. New players can also be pretty competitive after just one game.
The components for this game are excellent and the art is fantastic. It is one of the best-looking board games I have seen. Everything is styled to its Japanese theme and is well designed. The rules are easy to read and follow too.
Since the last player goes first and there are a limited number of stops, you might have to jump ahead if you need to go to a specific destination. But then you miss the opportunity to gain more VPs, gold and cards.
This is a board game in which you want to do everything but cannot. Since there are not enough spaces for everyone at each destination, you need to pick the best location given your situation. You have to judge where others want to go and take into account your traveller. In fact learning the strengths of the different travellers can be the key to winning. If you can make the most of your bonus and keep other players from getting the most from theirs, you can increase your chances of winning.
When my group first played Tokaido we called it the conga line of hate. It wasn’t that we hated the game, but people are sure to take spots you want. And that can lead to frustration. So be aware there is a little take that in the game.
If you are looking for a beautiful board game that is great for new and experienced gamers, try out Tokaido. It is easy to teach and great for families too.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 4 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction 5 out of 6
Replay Value 5 out of 6
Complexity 3 out of 6
Fun 4 out of 6
Overall 4 out of 6