Strategic Depth: Beginner
Setup Time: 5 min.
Play Time: 40-60 min.
Players: 2-5 (Best with 3-4)
Mechanics: Point to Point Movement, Set Collection, Time Track, Variable Player Powers
Production Info: 2012 | Funforge, Passport Games |Antoine Bauza
In Tokaido, each player is a traveler crossing the "East sea road", one of the most magnificent roads of Japan. While traveling, you will meet people, taste fine meals, collect beautiful items, discover great panoramas, and visit temples and wild places but at the end of the day, when everyone has arrived at the end of the road you'll have to be the most initiated traveler – which means that you'll have to be the one who discovered the most interesting and varied things.
- The Good -
Tokaido was a very unique game when I first bought it years ago because of it's gameplay. The tranquil gameplay is a major feature to this hit by Antoine Bauza (Takenoko, 7 Wonders, Hanabi). This game is super easy to start playing along with teaching. The gameplay is unique as the player who is last always goes first. The set collection is nothing new but the linear start to finish play with the player going first who is in the last place makes this game very unique. There is very little conflict throughout the game which really intrigues new gamers and people just wanting to play a relaxed game.
Tokaido is one of my favorite gateway games of all time. The mechanics are set up for a very relaxing, light, and fun gameplay. This is an integral part of getting new gamers to play and I have had several groups of friends absolutely love this game after only playing once. They enjoyed the simple rules and the limited choices each turn. The set collection is another reason why this game works so well as a gateway game because players can be going for several objectives throughout the entire game. Players always feel like they are doing something positive and that is such an important part of a successful gateway game.
Despite the simplicity of the game, this game has high replayability. This game will play differently each time you play especially with playing with different groups of people. You will have to go for different set collections based on opponents moves along with the character they start with. The character makes a big difference and they are giving out randomly. The expansion (Crossroads) adds even more replayability along with more choices and strategy. I have played this game dozens of times and each time the game plays a little differently. In my opinion, replayability is crucial to a good game and Tokaido thrives on it.
- The Bad -
The limited amount of decisions is good for beginners but overall it's frustrating for those who are used to games. It's sometimes nice to have limited choices to be able to focus more on specific strategy but I know the lack of choices on each turn can be a negative. If someone takes your spot you might only have 1 or 2 choices to land. The expansion adds upon these choices and that's why I highly recommend requiring it to improve the game overall.
The negatives of this game are primarily for people who are not new to games as it's such a lightweight gateway game. If you are a regular gamer then you will be disappointed in the limited amount of strategy that takes place throughout the game. The original game could be so great but the limited amount of strategy is definitely one of the downfalls. As I have mentioned, the expansion (Crossroads) really improves the strategy and will appease gamers and not make it too difficult for beginners.
- Overall -
This game has great dynamics. It's something new and different than many strategy games. The concept of being a traveler is engaging and usually, I don't get into game backstories. You can be as competitive as you want and it has high replayability. Despite the various batches of characters and cards it is easy to pick up and teach. Tokaido is an excellent game to add to the family game collection. Families love the concept, the ease of playing, and most definitely the theme. There is no heavy strategy involved, so it's great for a relaxing night. Surprisingly simple and equally fun, Tokaido is a lower-key strategy game. While competition is a big part of the game, Tokaido won't ruin relationships or end in flipped tables. A truly "zen" experience, Tokaido is unique and just plain fun. Antoine Bauza is easily one of my favorite designers of all time and he continues to impress with each game that he produces. I highly recommend getting Tokaido for one of the best gateway games out there and then acquire the Crossroads expansion for more strategy and fun.
The following summaries are meant to be a high-level reminder of how to play this game. If this is your first time playing, we highly recommend that you read your board game's included rule book which will go into much more depth. You can download a digital PDF copy of the official rules by clicking the button below. There are also a few video tutorials near the bottom of this section to help all you visual learners out as well.
- Setup Overview -
1. Place the board in the center of the table.
2. Take the achievement cards and place them faceup on the board.
3. Shuffle and place the following cards on the matching area on the board:
– Souvenir cards
– Hot Springs cards
– Encounter cards
– Meal cards
4. Sort the Panorama cards by type (Paddy, Mountain, Sea) and by value (placing the smallest number at the top) and place them on the bottom right of the board:
5. Place the coins to the side in reserve
6. Give each player 2 random traveler tiles face down and then each player can choose 1 of those 2 character cards for the game.
- Game Play/Player Turns -
In Tokaido, each player takes turns moving their traveler forward any desired number of spaces to an empty space and takes the action there. However, what makes this game unique is that the player whose traveler is farthest behind on the road gets to take the next turn. Once they have landed on a space then the player receives the benefit from that space. Sometimes a player will get to take another turn if their traveler is still last after moving. Also, only one player is allowed to stop at a particular action spot, but some spots have two spaces. In a 4 or 5-player game, up to two players can stop there at the same time. For 2-3 players, you can only use the single space for every spot so the double space is ignored.
No matter the stops along the way, every player is forced to stop and rest at inns along the path, where they choose a meal to purchase (if they have the money left over) and wait for the other travelers. The player who arrived last at the inn gets to go first when leaving the inn but gets the last pick of the meal cards.
- End Of Game -
When all of the Travelers have arrived at the last inn (Edo), and after the final meal cards are purchased then the game ends.
- Winning -
Award the achievement cards (Gourmet, Collector, Bather, Chatterbox) to the appropriate travelers. Count up all the points from Panoramas, Temple, Hot Springs, Encounters, Inn meal cards, and the achievement cards to determine the player with the most points overall.
- Tie Breakers -
In the event of a tie, the player with the most achievement cards wins.
- Great Instructional Videos -
Here are a few helpful instructional videos you or your group can watch to learn how to play this game visually.
When I add a card to my collection, is the card placed face up or face down?
In the base game, all cards collected during the journey are placed face up (Souvenir, Panorama, Hot Spring, Encounter, Meal, and Achievement cards).
When and how are double spaces used?
Only in a game with 4 or 5 players. The first traveler to arrive must occupy the space located on the road; a traveler who arrives afterward occupies the second space that branches off from the road.
When two travelers are on a double space, who leaves first?
The second space that branches off from the road is considered to be farther behind and will leave first.
Are Meal cards drawn at the first and last Inn?
Meal cards are not drawn at the first Inn, which is the one you start at. Meal cards are drawn at the last Inn and each traveler has a chance to buy a Meal.
What happens if you do not have enough money for a Meal card?
You will lose out on the 6 victory points and the card goes back into the draw pile.
In a 2 player game, how many Meal cards are drawn at an Inn?
In a normal game with 2 players, 4 cards are drawn. In a 2 player game using the Gastronomy variant, only 3 cards are drawn.
Can I stop at a Panorama space if I have already completed the corresponding panorama?
No, each traveler can create only a single Panorama of each type and can no longer land on that type (Sea, Mountain, or Paddy).
Can I stop at a Temple space if I do not have any coins?
No, you need to have at least 1 coin to land on the Temple.
If I stop at a Temple space, do I have to donate at least 1 coin?
Village/Souvenir cards explanation:
- The first Souvenir in a set, no matter which type it is, is worth 1 point.
- The second Souvenir in a set, which must be of a different type than the first, is worth 3 points.
- The third Souvenir in a set, which must be of a different type than the first two, is worth 5 points.
- The fourth Souvenir in a set, which must be of a different type than the first three, is worth 7 points
Can I stop at a Village space if I do not have any coins?
No, you need to have at least 1 coin to land on the Village space.
If I stop at a Village space, do I have to buy a Souvenir card?
No. You must draw 3 Souvenir cards, but you are not obligated to buy any. The cards would then go to the bottom of the deck.
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*According to CamelCamelCamel.com (06/19/2018)
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