Tokaido: A Road to Happiness

One of the things you should know is that I am a bad loser and an even worse winner. I am slightly toxic when it comes to boardgames. It’s go or no, 0 or 100, win or lose. So imagine my frustration when I lose a game where your goal is to have the best vacation!

Tokaido is named after the road that connects Edo (better known as Tokyo after 1868) with Kyoto. This road has been a fruitful subject for different kinds of literature, poetry and visual art. Many artist’s let their imagination run wild at the tales of travelers, their imagiantion tickled by the many sights this road had to offer. Tokaido had 53 stops along the way for travelers to rest or hand over travel papers. These 53 stops are represented in the Tokaido board game by different tokens, with different actions. Every stop gives you an unique experience (food, onsen, shops) and the one who had the most exciting trip, wins.

I won’t go into great detail how the game is played. I mean we could then just scan (yes that lazy) the rule book and post that. Instead I would like to focus on everything around the game, the stuff you experience as a player.

Since I am a true Japan-fan of course I was immediatly intregued to play. The art used for this board game is beautiful. The style is heavily inspired by old Japanese paintings. The bright colours on a pristine white background, create a very satisfying whole.

So dreamy~

In a nutshell: you travel along the Tokaido road as a character. Every character has a different ability, and with these abilities and along the different stops, points can be earned. The one with the most points had ‘the best trip’.

Needless to say, I FREAKIN’ lost (be cool, be cool), but it was still super fun! It isn’t a coöperative game, but it also isn’t designed to screw the other players over. It’s a relaxing game where there is one winner (we’re all winners sounds so cheesy, let’s be real) without incentive to become crazy competitive. We all have that one friend (contrary to popular believe I am not ‘that friend’ despite my bad game etiquettes) that has the magical ability to just ruin a game, but I am willing to bet that even they cannot ruin this experience.

look at those tiny coloured men

Even if you’re not a real board game beast, I think you will be able to enjoy this. It is fairly easy to understand, looks beautiful and Japan (yes, just Japan). If you ARE a boardgame beast, Tokaido also has a multitude of expansions, so no need to get bored quickly!

Anyways, take it easy and talk to you soon!

J.

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