Tokaido - Board Game Box Shot

Tokaido

| Published: 2013

Welcome to the Tokaido, the legendary East Sea Road connecting Kyoto to Edo. Here you will begin an extraordinary journey during which you will discover a thousand marvels for the first time.

Tokaido game in play

Be sure to take the time to contemplate the sumptuous vistas before you: the majestic mountains, peaceful coastland, and vast rice paddies… Let the brushstrokes of nature be an anchor for your memories. Appreciate the beneficial stopovers that punctuate your path, the restorative tranquility of the hot springs, and the countless culinary delicacies that will astonish your palate.

Bundle together with your belongings delightfully unexpected souvenirs, from the most modest to the most sophisticated, that you gather from surprising encounters that may change the course of your travels.

Tokaido close up
images © Fun Forge

Time will be your best means to remain clear-sighted, methodical, and patient so that you don’t miss anything on this unique route but instead can fully savor the experience the Tokaido has to offer!

User Reviews (11)

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8
I play black
Guardian Angel
Platinum Supporter
Marquis / Marchioness
7
48 of 49 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 2
“The Perfect Antidote to a Stressful Day”

I work in corporate finance and constantly wrestle with high blood pressure and anxiety. One big drawback of making board gaming my principal hobby is that leisure time can frequently bring additional tension and stress. It can be rough trying to unwind from a long day by playing one of your favorite games with family or friends, only to have that pain in your chest kick back up because somebody just blocked your only route to completing a 20-point card in Ticket to Ride. Enter Tokaido, the most laid-back and peaceful board game I’ve played.

Observed Set-Up and Play Time
I’ve mentioned in my reviews of a few of Bauza’s other gems that I find his rulebooks to be the easiest (and quickest) to comprehend. You’ll only need 20 or so minutes with it to play your first game error-free. There is some cardboard to punch – 4 or so sheets of it – but you can have the parts preparation and rulebook done collectively in 40 minutes, with a beautiful, unique game prepped and ready for the first turn on your table. Even from the first, you’ll find games falling in the advertised 45 minute to 1 hour range – regardless of number of players.

My Learning Curve and Teach Time
Teaching game play to a first-timer will take about as long as leaving it to the rulebook. Learning curve is a little different… this game defines unique. There are no dice, but the game is more luck than strategy. Anyone who doesn’t win the game can look back over their path and say “if I had done THIS instead…”, but your alternate move would have changed the actions of all other players from then on, making it impossible to piece together how you would have attained the extra 3 points needed for victory. The only sound strategy of substance – playing to your character’s inherent strength – is evident from game 1, so I would say there isn’t much of a learning curve.

Group Sizes and Dynamics
I don’t know how you can dislike Tokaido. It will be out of the wheel house of strategy or social gamers, but it’s just so laid-back and engaging that I’d expect them to like it anyway. My friends who fall in those categories still enjoy playing. Many deeper games only play up to 4; Tokaido’s 5-player design makes it a great fill-in when you’ve got one-too-many.

Objectionable Material
Along with Bauza’s Takenoko, this is the least objectionable game I’ve ever touched. From a birds-eye view, some could try to nit-pick it as a capitalist theme… but there are many paths to victory that either ignore money (such as taking panorama pictures and visiting hot springs) or use money earned for non-capitalist pursuits (donating to the temple). While you can spend your turns accumulating money, only the souvenir-and-expensive-meals route emphasizes it. Tokaido is really well balanced between all options… you can win one game by hitting each of the hot springs and the next by meeting the most travelers. And the game is symbols-based, so you might be able to chop a few years off the suggested age for child introduction.

Comparable Titles
By far the closest kin to Tokaido is Takenoko. They have absolutely no game play elements in common and different artists, but they manage to look and feel similar thematically. I find Tokaido to be the more relaxing, who-cares-if-you-win option for the nights when it’s imperative that I unwind, and Takenoko the more strategy-dependent, lightly tense race to the finish line for nights when I’m down for a little competition.

I like Tokaido for all the ways it’s different than other games. But I don’t love it. Among Bauza’s oeuvre, it trails Takenoko and Ghost Stories in my eyes. It is beautiful, light… almost impossible to get worked up over. But often you’ll be looking for a game that makes you plan and execute superior to your opponents to achieve victory, and Tokaido is not that game . What is it? A peaceful unwinding. The perfect antidote to a stressful day.

 
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6
I play blue
Book Lover
Comic Book Fan
9
18 of 18 gamers found this helpful
“The Perfect Sunday Afternoon Stroll with Friends”

Read all the other reviews, and you’ll see the absolute consensus is that this game is beautiful. It cannot be denied: from the six or so decks of beautifully illustrated miniature cards, to the player tiles and color-coded tile tokens, meeples, and point markers; from the theme-saturated symbols integrated throughout the game, to the clear and various play objectives, this game is an aesthetic wonder.

How Tokaido is Played
Players line up at the first inn, in Kyoto, and players proceed to the next desired tourist location on the road to Edo, the player furthest behind always taking their turn next. Along the road there are inns, and once a player reaches the inn, they wait until all the other players join them. Besides the inn, where players can buy meals, the other tourist locations include hot springs (for bathing), temples (for paying tribute), shops (for purchasing souvenirs), farms (for earning money), and 3 different scenic lookouts (for viewing screens of panoramas of either the sea, the mountain, or the paddies). The objective of the players is to have the most successful tour of the scenic road from Kyoto to Edo.

Why You Should Play Tokaido
This game is very easy to play — no dice, no really gainful strategy-based competition, no rivalries — and equally easy to teach (I had never played, but read many reviews and watched playthroughs, and I taught my wife and another couple in about 10 minutes, referencing the well organized and easy-to-navigate rulebook). Set up is also easy, because the insert in the box conveniently and expertly holds the beautiful, high-quality components.

Best of all, while this game is a competition to find out who can have the “best” tour of the Edo road, it really does feel like you all are touring together. If you have ever toured in a large group, you know that it can make the vacation much more fun, but you do sort of find yourself competing for the better pictures, the better meals, the better experiences. The same is true here. This is all the strategy there is: to have the better vacation experience among your group. My wife loved this game, and she is typically the better strategic gamer between us. While this game obviously appeals to the casual and social gamers among us, the strategic gamers and power gamers should absolutely give this a try, if only to enjoy the mini vacation that they would experience.

One Last Note
This is a truly unique game. Just like Pandemic opened my eyes to a new kind of board game experience in cooperative gaming, Tokaido has done the same thing: that a game could simulate a beautiful tour along Japan’s fabled Edo road was something I had not expected. Just like a truly great vacation, after playing Tokaido it demands to be played again, if only to see and taste and enjoy and buy all the things you missed the first time.

5 stars on all counts. I prematurely rated this game a 9, and would now give it a full 10+.

 
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5
Reporter Intern
I play yellow
9
76 of 84 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Beautiful and engaging, Tokaido is a fantastic casual game.”

Tokaido is not a sweat on your brow, brain scrambling, meat-and-potatoes kind of game. To the contrary, playing Tokaido feels like taking a walk through a park on a cool autumn day – refreshing.

The premise of the game is simple. Players travel along a path to Edo, stopping at various locations along the way to collect different sets of items in order to score victory points. In addition, each player takes on the role of one of the game’s various characters, which grants them a special ability. The main game feature to keep in mind is that the last player on the path gets to take their turn first, even if that means they take several turns in a row.

Tokaido is one of my most easily and enthusiastically recommended casual games, especially for anyone who loves ancient Japan or East Asian themes. I have played Tokaido several times with many different people and no one comes away from the game without feeling rejuvenated and peaceful.

Does that mean that Tokaido is right for everyone? No. There is a small amount of strategy involved with Tokaido, but even a brilliant strategist will not overwhelmingly win the game. If you are seeking an in-depth game with a clearly defined “right way” to win, Tokaido is not the game for you.

My Star Values:
Replay: 3/5 This is not a game that most will play multiple times during a single gaming session. I do think, however, that it is one that could be played and enjoyed on a regular basis simply for it’s theme and fun but stress-free play style.
Components: 5/5 Tokaido is beautiful. The components are high quality and the artwork is gorgeous. I am always excited to lay this game out on the table and show if off. In fact, it is one of the most visually engaging games I own.
Easy to Learn: 5/5 Gameplay is very straight forward and can be learned and taught in 5-10 minutes with no problems. You simply explain the last goes first mechanic and what each of the stops along the path allow you to do.

 
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6
Vanguard
The Gold Heart
8
76 of 84 gamers found this helpful
“A Traveller's Dream Game”

First off, Tokaido is one of the most beautifully illustrated and designed games I have ever played.

4/5 Replay Value: Each game unfolds differently as your character’s special ability will force you to adjust your strategy. There is also some randomness to which cards you acquire throughout the game. No so much randomness, however, since you can always choose where you travel, and subsequently what you do on that space. Since the movement in this game is choice based, you can strategize as to which position you take on the board (traveling farther might get you to a space you desire, but the farthest back player goes next). Even if the game wasn’t well designed, it would still receive a high replay value rating since it’s just so beautiful to look at.

5/5 Components: As a result of its sheer beauty, the components aspect naturally scores highly. Every bit of this game is well put together and looks great. The only issue I’ve had is the score tracking tokens. They are tiny medicine tablet sized tokens that are notoriously hard to find if you happen to drop one on the floor. Another very small issue is that since the colour scheme was chosen for artistic reasons, some of the components lack colour contrast which can make things slightly harder to identify.

4/5 Easy to Learn: This game is well explained and fairly intuitive. It was easy to explain to new players, and they appeared to pick it up quite quickly. The strategy on the other hand is always evolving and never clearly obvious (which is both good and bad, especially if you get anxious about your decisions).

Overall this game is fun, nice to look at, challenging, and simply unique. I would highly recommend it to anyone who appreciates art or standout games! It deserves an 8 or 9/10. So get out there and add it to your collection!

 
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4
Canada
9
81 of 90 gamers found this helpful
“Time to visit japan ... a lot of fun”

I started playing this game recently and behind a sleek look and a theme rather funny. Tokaido hides a great game mechanic with simplicity in the rules.

The theme is a journey from Kyoto to Edo as a tourist, you relax in hot spring, meeting with travelers and eat local specialty. Don’t forget to buy souvenir.

The appearance of the game is beautiful, cards and board are colored with great art. I think the points pawns are really small but overall the art is beautiful even the box is well executed.

The mechanics of the game is simple but so well executed. There is no dice, the last player is always the one who play and can play several rounds . The move choice are very strategic because they directly impact other players. Understand their needs and intentions are important to understand the game. Because sometime it’s a good thing to let them play more turn if you need something or maybe they are the one who need it.
There a lot of way to win the game , Each game are different. The game can be played with two players but I really prefers 4 or more players.

Pros:
• The artwork is really nice
• Easy to learn not so hard to master
• Fast game can be play in less than 1 hour

Cons :
• It’s sometime hard to keep the score for each player
• Maybe not enough strategy for Hardcode gamer

Overall, I really like this game , the fact that the last players is always the one to play give a lot of depth in the strategy. The game is easy to learn and the setup don’t take too much time. It’s hard to not have fun with this game , a great game and a good start for the year 2013..

 
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5
Zealot
Rated 25 Games
8
89 of 104 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“A relaxing stroll to Edo”

I was completely on the fence about buying this game. I am a sucker for great art so that immediately peaked my curiosity. After watching a few instructional videos and a review I decided to go ahead and buy it knowing that the possibility was there that I would hate it.

Components – As I said before the game is beautiful. The only issue I had was the point markers are so incredibly tiny and very easy to lose. I am perplexed as to why they made them so small! The cards are also small – same as Ticket To Ride.

Gameplay – The game objective is simple – have the best experience on your trip from Kyoto to Edo. Sounds boring right? And yet so intriguing at the same time?!

Your journey consists of meeting villagers, taking relaxing baths with monkeys (yep – monkeys!) and collecting hoards of souvenirs and eating some great Japanese cuisine. Completing different tasks like this gives you a different number of points. At the end additional points are added for people who completed different objectives throughout the game such as the person who spent the most on food or the person who collected the most souvenirs.

So what did I think after I played? Well I only played a two player game which has slightly different game rules but I must say I did enjoy it. I felt like it was a relaxing game and yet there was still enough strategy to keep you engaged. Do I block another player so they can’t go to the farm and make some extra cash? Or do I move faster to get to the inn first and get my choice of the best cuisine?

I am saving my score until after I play this weekend with four players. Until then, happy traveling!

Update – The gameplay is more strategic with more players and therefor more enjoyable. After playing this weekend with four we all had a really great time with it and it will be in our regular rotation on gaming weekends! So happy I picked this up!

 
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8
Gamer - Level 7
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Petroglyph
Explorer - Level 3
9
64 of 80 gamers found this helpful
“Beautiful to look at and fun”

Before I review the game I want to take a moment to say what a beautiful game this is. Halfway through the game take a moment to stop and look at it.
Now for the review. The game is simple and easy to teach.
Your token is traveling from one end of the Road to the other. There are locations along the way that trigger various game effects. Each location has 1 or 2 spaces on it. Each space can only be occupied by one player’s token. The spaces are as follows: Souvenir stand: To stop at this space you must have at least 1 coin. You draw 3 cards. The price ranges from 1-3 coins. Each card has a symbol on it. You immediately score points for the cards you purchase. The goal is to collect sets with different symbols on them. A full set has 1 of each symbol on it. Throughout the game you will have chances at these sites to add more cards to your sets. This is one of 2 weakspots in the game as you can rack up the largest amount of victory points(VPs) on this space. HotSprings: Stopping here gets you a card worth 2-3 points. Temple: This is the other space you need money to stop at. You donate 1-3 coins for a corresponding amount of VPs. At the end of the game you earn up to 10 VPs based on how much you gave relative to other players. Panoramas: There are 3 different panorama spaces. When you stop on one you get the next card in that sequence for VPs worth the number on the card sequence. There are panoramas with 3,4 and 5 cards in them. The drawback is once you complete a panorama you can no longer stop at that space on the road. However, if you are the 1st to complete a particular panorama you get a 3 pt. bonus. Visitors: Stopping here lets you draw a card. The visitor grants you a bonus. It can be anything from money to bonus cards. Inns: You must stop at the inns and cannot leave until all players have arrived. At this space you may purchase a meal for 6 VP. Farms: You gain 3 coins.
The unique part of this game is that you may move along the road as much as you want. However, The person in last place,by position, moves next. With some careful timing you can end up moving more than once before another player gets a turn.
At the start of teh game everyone blind draws 2 characters and chooses one to play in the game. The character you choose determines your starting money(2-9 coins) and gets a special power that works in relation to one of the game spaces. This is where the other problem in the game appears, because if 2 people pick characters with powers based on the same space it can be a big handicap.
The game is fun and there is enough tension in the decision making process to keep you focused. Money is tight throughout the game..
As I said earlier this game is easy to teach and has good replay value. Check it out.

 
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4
The Gold Heart
 
8 of 11 gamers found this helpful
“A Leisurely Stroll from Kyoto to Edo”

A beautifully designed game, with a simple goal: see, do, and buy the most cool stuff. This is a game for 2-5 people, but best played with three or more.

I had played a 2 player game, where you need to move a third meeple for strategic purposes. We found that we just tried to move as slow as possible to try to hit as much as possible to gain victory points, occasionally leaping 1-2 spaces to limit a particular action (completion of a panorama, for instance).

For a game that is simply appreciated and light, I like it, but for my game group, it is not focused with a clear enough goal in mind. While I enjoy having a dope journey going to bathe at the onsen and eating the best ramen (and most) I can find, my friends never seem interested in this kind of casual interaction.

I would steer people with families or people new to board gaming towards Tokaido. This was the first board game I bought since I was little, and I was pleased, whetting my appetite for new experiences.

 
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2
I'm a Real Person
9
11 of 17 gamers found this helpful
“A light romp with beautiful components and something for most gamers.”

I really wasn’t expecting much from this game, but I’m glad to say I was surprised by it. The learning curve is fthatairly low; but the multiple means to get victory points, a large cast of characters to choose from, and an interesting mechanic to determine turn order really add a much needed level of strategy. I’ve only played through the game half a dozen times, but from what I’ve seen so far it will be brought to the table for quite a while yet.
The components of this game are on the higher end of the scale, which is always much appreciated. What really drew me in though was the art style. Everything has a really cool whimsical Asian influence to it, which ties in with the theme of traveling the coast of Japan.
There is a whole lot to love here as long as you take the game for what it is. A fairly quick light hearted romp that can be a good change of pace from heavier stock.

 
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1
 
18 of 33 gamers found this helpful
“Beautiful and Simple”

This game is a must have. I finally have a simple game I can break out for gamers, or more importantly for family members who are not gamers and provide a game with simplicity and beauty that they will enjoy. This does not require as much thought as Small World (my normal gateway game) but each decision is important for each individual. Definitely pick up this game.
Each of the decisions is unique, and all decisions add up together in order to total a players Victory Points (which are totaled for the most part while the game takes place.)
I appreciated the cute art, while I was very glad it was not stereotypical Anime style but the French Artist Naiade’s take on Japan.

 
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2
9
3 of 12 gamers found this helpful
“Relaxing Evening”

I put on some Nawang Khechog for quiet and peacefulness meditation music for a great relaxing evening of gaming. What I like about Tokaido is that it is a low stress low competition game. It moves quickly compared to other games I am used to playing. The experience is unique compared to other games I play in that I can kind of breathe, sip my tea sit back and just take in the game almost like meditation. I like that I have discovered how different gaming can be.

 

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