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Tokaido - Board Game Box Shot


| 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 (22)

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I play black
Guardian Angel
Platinum Supporter
Marquis / Marchioness
110 of 111 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 3
“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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The Gold Heart
The Silver Heart
The Bronze Heart
83 of 91 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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Reporter Intern
I play yellow
82 of 90 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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90 of 99 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.

• 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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Professional Reviewer
I play black
Silver Supporter
55 of 62 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Tokaido review: the joy of the journey”

What was the last time you went on vacation? How do you judge how successful it was? The souvenirs you’ve collected? The sights you’ve seen the people you’ve met? In Tokaido – a tranquil, drop-dead gorgeous board game from Antoine Bauza – all of these things matter. But the most important thing – both in this amazing game and in any vacation you take – is the experience itself. Just how much joy did you get out of your time? Let’s hope your vacations approach the amount of sheer positivity this game imparts on players! Put on your geta and your best kimono, we’re going on vacation in Japan!

How it works:
Two to five players take the roles of travelers in feudal Japan, undertaking the journey from Edo to Kyoto. The journey is represented by a horizontal map of the trail with all the points of interest marked on it. Stopping on these points offers the opportunity to enrich the traveler’s journey – by relaxing in a hit spring, buying souvenirs, meeting the locals or stopping to paint the gorgeous views. Each of the several available activities offers its own mechanism of scoring points, representing the overall “worth” of the journey you’ve made. Some (like painting) are free and some (like donating to a temple) require money – the game’s only resource. Points add up on a score track running along the path on the game board.

The movement between points is extremely simple – the player who is the farthest behind always gets to go. That means you are always figuring out a balance between getting more actions and making sure you get to use the stops that offer the things you really need.

Once the trek is complete and all the players arrive at the destination, points are tallied up with a few achievement cards going to leaders in certain categories. As tradition dictates – the player with the most victory points is declared victorious.

How it plays:
A few words should be said about the visual presentation of Tokaido. It narrowly beats out Concept for the “board game most likely to have been designed by Apple” award. By that I meant that the design is airy and spacious with lots of white space and beautiful iconography. There is no in-game text and it is quite easy to pick up and understand. The beautiful visuals set the tranquil tone of the game from the get go and that only gets further emphasized once the game starts.

The decisions that the game offers are very simple but meaningful and the game never feels sluggish even with five. While it works very well with three to five, the two-player option (that adds a third neutral pawn that is used as a blocker of desired locations by both contestants) feels ever so slightly awkward. The games are quick mostly wrapping up close to the advertised 45 min play time. Experienced players playing lower-player count games will easily be able to fit a game in a half-hour slot.

The gameplay itself always feel easy and streamlined – a feat that combined with the gorgeous aesthetics makes Tokaido likely to be a frequent visitor at your table.

How it feels:
Tokaido aims for a very specific kind of gameplay – a purely positive one. There is not a single effect in the game that can result in a negative consequence for a player. It’s all about maximizing your score by visiting locations most advantageous to the strategy you have selected. This is a kind of a staple for Bauza games and a very enjoyable one. In my experience I have never seen anyone be frustrated by a game of Tokaido no matter how poorly they did (full disclosure – the person who does poorly is usually me).

While the decisions ultimately hinge on math and probability – the game never feels like a math puzzle thanks to strong theme integration. Instead it is quite fun to judge whether it makes more sense for you to go ahead and visit a spot you really need even if it means that others will get to take more turns because of it.

The game can feel quite light on decision-making. It’s a great thing for newer players and those looking for an experience that falls decidedly on the light end of game complexity. For veterans looking for chunkier gameplay filled with multi-turn strategies, lots of player interaction or complex engine building – Tokaido will likely feel overly simple. It would still work as a great in-between option for game nights thanks to its brief duration and breezy setup and teardown.

Ultimately – Tokaido ends up being a really enjoyable game. What it lacks in complexity it more than makes up for in the completeness of its presentation. The lack of player interaction is not noticeable when you are enjoying yourself this much. Even the static nature of the game is not an obstacle to replayability – using different characters, each with their unique ability and playing against different people, adjusting to their strategies, makes the game surprisingly robust on repeat plays.

With his ability to reliably produce games that are likable and approachable yet smart and engaging – Antoine Bauza is basically The Beatles of board game design. Tokaido is an excellent addition to his repertoire, showcasing his love for the culture and history of Japan and putting his sublime design skills on display. It is a great achievement – a game so light, inviting and universally appealing that it is highly unlikely to gather any dust on your gaming shelf. This journey comes highly recommended.

If you enjoyed this review please visit Altema Games website for more reviews and board game materials.

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Explorer - Level 3
I Love Playin' Games
39 of 44 gamers found this helpful
“A more mature version of Candy Land”

Before you even open the box, Tokaido is a beautiful game. From the artwork on the front of the box to the board and components. The art style is simple and elegant and everything flows together very well. One gripe would be that the character cards do not fit well when placing them in the box, but this is minor.

The premise of the game is that we are on vacation and taking in all we can on our walk. Along the way there are hot springs to dip in, souvenirs to collect, paint a picture, and many other activities. To achieve these tasks you move your character from space to space collecting the necessary cards The gameplay is fairly basic and linear and may be a turn off those into heavy strategy, but is still great fun. The most strategy will involve deciding where you want to go based on others on the board. Whoever is in last moves, so essentially they keep going until they are able to leapfrog another player. Sometimes you may move to a space out of necessity and other times you may want to block someone from being able to get a vital piece they need to score the winning points. Each character also has their own special ability that also changes how you will play the game and dictate what you do. It’s a great, light game that is very easy to learn.

The main con would be that it doesn’t have much variety. Once you’ve played a handful of times, you’ve pretty much seen everything. That doesn’t mean you won’t still want to play it but for some that could be a problem. The different abilities each character has does a little to help mix things up but ultimately you’ll play the same no matter what character you are.

Tokaido is a beautiful game that doesn’t involve too much strategy or complex rules but it still manages to pack a lot of fun into what essentially is a more mature version of Candy Land.

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44 of 50 gamers found this helpful
“First Impressions”

My Ever-Lovin’ Wife and I played our first game of Tokaido, and so far, we’re intrigued.

In Tokaido, you and your fellow players are taking a journey between Tokyo and Kyoto. The goal of the game is to have the most interesting and satisfying journey. How do you do that? By meeting interesting people, enjoying the scenery, soaking in hot springs, eating gourmet food, and shopping for souvenirs in local villages. Doing the most of any of these awards you victory points. Basically, it’s competitive vacationing.

Tokaido is a light, Americanized eurogame for 2-5 players, designed by Antoine Bauza (7 Wonders, Ghost Stories). Players move their marker along a linear track, stopping at various action spaces, receiving their benefits, and blocking opponents from stopping on those same spaces. The gameplay is easy to pick-up, as is the strategy of maximizing your own benefits while preventing opponents from getting what they need.

Hardcore gamers may find the mechanics and strategy here a bit simplistic. But the allure of this game has little to do with the game play. Rather, it’s the combination of theme and art work that draws the player in. My Ever-Lovin’ Wife (ELW) played Mitsukuni, the old man, who enjoys a long soak in a hot spring a bit more than the average traveler, and I was Chuubei, the messenger, who can always seem to find someone interesting to chat up at the inn. Each card in the game is beautifully illustrated, and while I wish the cards were a bit bigger, there is no denying their evocative appeal.

My strategy relied on savoring panoramic views and conversations, while ELW opted for eating lavish meals and making lavish donations at the temple. In the end, I came away with the narrowest of victories: 79-78.

The 2-player variation requires you to run a dummy third player, controlled by whomever happens to be the furthest down the road at the time. I’m not typically a fan of this mechanic in other games, and I’m not sold on it here. It adds a certain level of strategy — namely, deciding where I can put the dummy player’s marker to cause the most consternation for my opponent. But it feels a bit capricious in that sometimes I get to hose ELW and sometimes she gets to hose me, without any strategic effort on our part to make that happen. We both agreed that the game is probably better suited for 3 or more.

That being said, Tokaido is a fun escape. The uniqueness of the theme and the beauty of the artwork transport you to a place where you are rewarded for savoring the best things in life. If I could live inside the world that any board game creates, I’m pretty sure this would be it.

Tokaido, on first blush, gets a 7/10.

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My First Heart
44 of 50 gamers found this helpful
“Buy it now and play it for life”

We decided to start reviewing table top games a few months ago, and posted our first review for a fast-paced, low-skill card game called Sushi Go! We really enjoyed the process of playing a game and analyzing the different aspects and pros and cons of it, so we decided it was time for another game review! Nat got a game called Takenoko (we refer to as “The Panda Game”) for Christmas last year. We love it so much, that when we discovered that the creator of Takenoko made another game called Tokaido, we just had to have it! Tokaido is newer, and not as well known as Takenoko so we decided to review it.20150625_204550_resizedTokaido is a cute, fun game for 2 – 5 players that takes around 45 minutes to complete. During the game, players are traveling the Tokaido “East Sea Road” which connects Kyoto to Edo in Japan. The object of the game is to “fully savor the experience that Tokaido has to offer.” As the game plays out, travelers take turns making stops at points along the road. Along their journey to Edo, travelers paint pictures, relax in hot springs, collect souvenirs, embark on surprise encounters, and eat delicious Japanese dishes, which all award the travelers various amounts of points. The game ends when all of the travelers arrive for their final meal at the Inn in Edo (modern day Tokyo). Travelers earn end-of-game bonus points for eating the most expensive food, collecting the most souvenirs, visiting the most hot springs, and being the most “social” or embarking on the most surprise encounters. The winner is the traveler with the most total points at the end of the game. From our experience, every time we play it is a really close game, and it’s hard to tell who is going to win until the end of the game. Strategizing wisely can lead to some major points in just one or two turns!

We enjoy this games for several reasons – it is unique, strategic, and has a super cute objective. In a two-player game, players take turns controlling a “dummy traveler” that is primarily used to block their opponent from completing objectives (such as completing a painting). One of the interesting twists in a two-player game is that no two travelers can stop at the same points of interest, so it is fairly easy to work against one’s opponent by thoughtfully moving one’s own traveler and the dummy along the road. Another interesting twist of Tokaido is that the traveler who is farthest back on the road always goes first, which can allow a traveler to take several turns in a row. But intentionally being behind the other travelers to score additional turns might not be the best strategy, because along the road are four stops at Inns where travelers have the opportunity to purchase meals that translate into points, and the Inns are first come first serve. Some of the meals are more expensive, but all of the meals have the same point value, and no traveler can enjoy the same meal twice on this journey! Additionally, the traveler farthest along on the road controls the “dummy traveler”. The only major differences in a 3 – 5 player game is that some of the points along the road allow for more than one traveler to visit at a time, and the “dummy traveler” is no longer used.

Time to Rate

Fun Factor: 5/5

-so many game play options and so much cuteness
-lighthearted but competitive

Learning Challenge: 2.5/5

-there are a lot of options on what moves to make each turn
-there is a learning challenge involved in making decisions about the best stops to make along the road and understanding how the different stops award points
-each player is given two characters at the beginning of each game that have special abilities, but can only keep one; we always have to look up the characters in the rule book to figure out what their special ability is

Artwork: 5/5

-the artwork compliments the tone of the game
-the artwork/components of the game help us feel like we can really get into the objective of the game

Originality: 5/5

-we have never seen a game quite like Tokaido
-the concept of traveling along a road and stopping to relax in hot springs and to paint pictures makes Tokaido one of a kind

Replay Value: 5/5

-the different characters assigned at the beginning of the game are highly influential on each travelers strategy, and since the characters as picked randomly, you may end up with a different character each time
-a traveler’s strategy can change greatly based on the moves of other travelers and the events that play out during the game

Luck vs Skill: 3/5

-there is luck involved in the stops that involve drawing cards that are face down (such as when you are trying to collect sets of souvenir cards) and you don’t know what cards you are going to draw
-skill involves strategizing over what stops are most beneficial to each traveler, including yourself and others
-having one focus in the game is not enough and will get a traveler easily blocked by other players (such as focusing solely on painting pictures or buying souvenirs)

Two-Player Friendly: 4/5

-a more experienced player can easily manipulate and work against the other traveler, especially using the “dummy player”
-Tokaido is more fun and competitive with more than two travelers, especially since travelers can use table talk to try to influence other travelers’ moves

Overall Feeling: 5/5

-overall, Tokaido is a blast to play
-it is a fun game even for new players who don’t really know what their doing
-while it does have a competitive spirit, it is still loads of fun even if you don’t win
-the games are so close, that is a rare for a player to get significantly ahead or behind, enhancing the fun of the game all the way to the end

Overall Rating: 4.3/5

Want to check out Tokaido?

Creator: Antoine Bauza
Illustrator: Naiade
Manufacturer’s Facebook:
Manufacturer’s Website:
MRP: $39.99


-Nat & Amy

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I play blue
Book Lover
Intermediate Reviewer
Smash Up: Ninja Faction Fan
43 of 49 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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Critic - Level 2
44 of 51 gamers found this helpful
“fun little game”

Fun factor – 6/10
Replay value – 5/10
Components – 8/10
Learning Curve – 8/10

Fun Factor: This game is extremely light, basically you just move up the board and visit places. There is some thought that goes into what location to go to next but its best if you want something you can play with new people or people who like art. The game really just wants to show you how pretty it is and give you the experience of a traveler, which is fine and works well mostly because the game is very nice looking.

Replay Value: The game does change depending on what traveler you end up with by a fair degree but really this game is not the one that you are going to want to play over and over again. I like having it in my collection for the occasional time when I want something light but there isn’t too much to come back to over and over again here.

Components: This is most likely one of the best games for all around visual design. The inside of the box is very minimalist but holds everything nicely, The components are really fantastic looking and the theme of the game comes through amazingly thanks to the art.

Learning Curve: This game will take you no time at all to learn to play, sadly there isn’t really much to master here either. I think this game is good for kids as well because it will hold their attention just long enough while teaching them to play and then the game itself doesn’t go on too long.

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The Gold Heart
42 of 49 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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I Walk the Talk!
Gamer - Level 5
42 of 49 gamers found this helpful
“small strategy big fun”

There isn’t much that can be said about this game that hasn’t already been said. The biggest thing I like about this game is the accessability. It’s really easy for people to want to play due to the art alone then once you start they realize there is a little bit of strategy. Yet it’s an easy going game.

Essentially you leap frog down the board yet you don’t want to give to much space for players to take multiple moves in a single turn nor do you Want them on certain spaces blocking you to achieve your goals. Each space gives you cards with the exception of temple spaces. Each card gives VP wroth potential of getting end game bonuses for most of X (coins spent at inns, items etc).

My only gripe is the VP track. So many games use the linear track but Tokaido uses a zigzag track that is slightly confusing at first.

Overall it’s just a light and fun game when you want to sit down and not think much about rules or high strategy. I would recommend this for families or an end of the night game when you want to play something but as mentioned not fuss over rules.

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Rated 25 Games
93 of 109 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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I'm a Real Person
42 of 51 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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Gamer - Level 9
Explorer - Level 6
Guardian Angel
72 of 88 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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AEG fan
Miniature Painter
US Army Service
42 of 54 gamers found this helpful
“Beautiful but shallow”

Tokaido is a timeline game. This basically means that you cannot occupy the same spot as other players and you cannot go backwards. When you turn arrives, you must move and you can move to any spot down the road between yourself and the nearest inn.

My problem with the game is that there are rarely meaningful decisions to make. You will almost always want to minimize your distance from the pack which maximizes the number of turns (and potential for rewards) along the road. You might shift one or two spaces to get something you really want, but you can only do this a time or two and anything more is probably folly.

I realize that the game is supposed to be a relaxing walk down a beautiful trail, but I don’t care for the trail or the final destination. The core mechanic is just too restrictive and I finish the game feeling like the it was the game that played me.

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42 of 55 gamers found this helpful
“Tokaido: A Lovely Game of Loveliness.”

I’ve written a first-person review of Tokaido, which you cant find through this link –

In the post I comment on what’s happening throughout the game, and draw some conclusions at the end. Any views are much appreciated!

“Tonight is time to try a new board game which is described as more or less the exact opposite of Agricola (misery farm). This is solely down to my friend Kim, who realised we should probably play something lovely, pretty and relaxing in between saga’s of blood-boiling games. Enter the exceptionally attractive Tokaido.

Tokaido is a Japanese themed board game in which each player embarks on the legendary ‘East Sea Road’ journey where one walks from Edo to Kyoto. Don’t worry, nowadays we can just sit down and let our meeples rein-act the inspiring journey on our behalf.

– We’re off! The race has started!… But we’re all jostling for last place, much in the same vain as Monty Python’s Upper Class Twit of the year. It’s feeling a little odd to me as I’m used to manically clawing at resources and victory points, but Pat the tardy is right at home. Pete and Kim are pretty chilled out too. I’ve decided.. to chill.. breathe..”

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44 of 58 gamers found this helpful
“Relaxing yet cut-throat”

Tokaido is an excellent, relaxing paced board game whilst also being extremely cut-throat as other players can effect the outcome of your movement and play. Very easy rules but flexible enough to have replayability. Great with family, kids and friends.

I haven’t played the expansion, though I’ve heard it’s best to have at least 10 play throughs of the original game before including the expansion and for new players, it’s best to exclude the expansion – Crossroads.

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50 of 66 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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Book Lover
43 of 57 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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