Tokaido + Crossroads + Collector's set

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Tokaido + Crossroads + Collector's set

Post  RikTheChief on Fri 13 May 2016, 12:05

Fancy going for a stroll? Maybe meeting new people, doing a bit of shopping, seeing the sights? Taking your time and enjoying the journey. That's the point of Tokaido, a game about enjoying life and taking things in your stride, a very Buddhist theme.

Base game.
The first thing you notice is the artwork, the game looks very nice, with an unusual long board and nicely illustrated cards and characters. Light colours and pastels are the predominant colours and everything looks really nice.
The players are represented by simple wooden meeples and have an unusual colour selection, instead of the usual primary colours they are light colours and even a grey.
My only complaint is the players' score markers which are a tiny dot of wood. Quite fiddly.

The object of the game is to gain points by stopping at various points along a road. Each player has a Traveller which has a special unique ability. The players line up at the start and the person in last place moves as many spaces forward as they want. They can never move backwards and they cannot stop on an occupied space. When you stop at a point on the road, you do that action which is printed on the board.
This may involve shopping for items, gaining coins, stopping at a temple or hot spring, encountering another traveller or collecting panorama cards.

This continues until you reach the first Inn. At this point you can take a meal card (if you can afford it) and once all players have reached the Inn you start the next leg of the journey.

At the end of the game bonus points are allocated, for example, the most visits to the hot spring, most coins donated to the temple or most encounters. No bonus points are awarded for left-over money which I thought was a nice touch! A rich Traveller is not necessarily a happy Traveller!

The movement system is what makes this game interesting, when it is your turn, everybody is in front of you and you have to decide how far to jump ahead. If you position yourself well you can potentially have several turns in a row, for example if you move forward 1 space you are still last so get to go again!

Your character's special ability will help with this decision, for example if you always get 1 extra point when visiting the Hot Springs, you would want to stop at as many of those as you can. However it is quite easy to be blocked from a spot by another Traveller so it pays to have a backup plan as well as a long-term goal.

Money is quite tight in this game and must be managed prudently. Meals at the inns cost between 1 and 3 coins and give you a large 6 points so missing out hurts. You need to make sure you have saved some coins if possible before this stop.

The game scales nicely, there are some spots on the board with 2 places to stop, in a 4 and 5 player game these are used so that 2 travellers can stop at the same place. However I feel the 2 player game is not as good, as both players control a 'dummy' player which can block spots from your opponent. We just found this a bit fiddly and much prefer 3+ players.

A 5 player game takes around 45-60 minutes so this is a fairly quick game. Player interaction is limited to blocking spots, there is no stealing cards or direct interaction here.

I really love this game, it's one of my favourites. I like the look of it, I like how quickly it plays and I like the decisions you have to make. The re-playability is good because of each Travellers' unique abilities. It's a great gateway game and it gets a high rating from me.

Crossroads
The crossroads expansion adds quite a bit to the game and changes the feel of it a bit. It adds an extra board with more cards, and extra Travellers with new abilities.
Now when you stop at a space you now have a choice of 2 actions, the original one from the base game and also the new action. For example when you stop at a Hot Springs you can take a Hot Springs card (2 or 3 points) or pay 1 coin to visit the Bath House for a guaranteed 4 points.

There are cards which you can use for a one time ability which is a new mechanic not in the base game. There is also a gambling house which introduces a dice and a new way to gain more coins.

The new travellers are nice and fit into the game well. Some can be added to the base game without a problem but some need the expansion included.

I wouldn't add this in when playing with new players, but once you've played the game a couple of times you can throw it in and it adds much more to the base game. More decisions, more characters, all with the same style of beautiful artwork. Another high recommendation from me.

Collector's set
Now for my first negative review! Tokaido is also available as a deluxe set, with a larger board, plastic miniatures, metal coins and all the expansions and promos in one box. In addition to this is a Collector's set which allows you to upgrade the base game.

When I received this I was really pleased, the minis look nice, metal coins are always an improvement. It also comes with a soundtrack CD but I haven't really listened to this so I can't comment on it's quality.

All was good until we came to play - unfortunately the miniatures don't fit on the original board! When they are grouped together they don't fit on the spaces and this makes it difficult to move your piece without shunting the others out of the way.

I've gone back to using the original meeples, I've kept the coins and other bits but the minis are packed away. Boo from me. Not worth it at all.
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RikTheChief
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