Tokaido takes us on a pleasant journey filled with kindness, the arts, cuisine, and charity. Does it have staying power though?
Android & iOS
10 - 20 Minutes
# of Players
1 - 5
Tokaido: A Fun Strategy Game may be the most visually pleasing board game adaptation I've ever played. The landscape is that of snow covered lands populated with adorable and ancient structures to visit along your journey. Your game play involves navigating the countryside and visiting various locations along the road. . You have four days to traverse through Japan while collecting souvenirs, donating to temples, and painting landscapes along the way. We here at Pixelated Cardboard play a ton of games, and Tokaido separates itself from the crowd by allowing the player to embrace the soul of a traveler whilst enjoying a stress free stroll through digital Japan. My most recent review was Pandemic, an intense heart pounding race against time to beat the game. Tokaido is just the opposite.
A turn in Tokaido begins by choosing which destination you'd like to walk to; whether that be a scenic overlook, temple, hot spring, farm, souvenier stand, or a chance encounter with a local philanthropist. Each traveler takes a turn walking along the path in a leap frog like pattern until all players arrive at the inn for the evening. The strategy in this game is deciding which spot to visit and when. Victory is had when you accumulate more Victory points than your fellow travellers. The points are awarded as you perform actions at each stop along the way. For those gamers that appreciate the finer things in life; cuisine, charity, art & travel; Tokaido is the game for you.
Barrier to Entry
My first few games were simply a pleasant stroll through snowy Japan with no clear purpose or plan to win the adventure. There is a tutorial mode within the app, but it is truly not needed. After three games I've found the strategy I'm comfortable with and I am winning a mjority of the games I play. Tokaido does not offer any levels of AI opponent strength, which is okay because there is very little skill involved. This game is neither fun to win nor heartbreaking to lose. The reward is the game play, and it is zen fantastic.
The Adventurers are Ready!
Leaving the Inn on Day 1
Completing the Rice Field Painting.
Look and Feel
Tokaido looks and feels wonderful. The music is downright delightful, it reminds me of the sounds of Terra Mystica. An ancient sound full of flutes, easy string play, and nature inspired tones perfectly capture the theme of Tokaido. You choose between two randomally selected characters to begin the game, each with special attributes. When played on a larger device, the characters are even more attractive and one can appreciate the artistry that the developers clearly intended for this board game app.
I would like to see the seasons change in the game as they do in nature. The snow covered landscape can get a bit stale time after time. The same concept could be applied to the characters clothing/costumes. Another great thing about Tokaido: A Fun Strategy Game is that each character is intricately detailed from they way the walk to the splendid outfits they wear. We love Meeples around here, but these adorable and unique characters add a lot to this game.
Multiplayer games in Tokaido are a mystery to me. I've been unsuccessful in connecting to online tables or creating a public game. I get the spinning wheel of loading death forever. I look forward to the day the spinning wheel stops and I can enjoy the online universe.
Single player options include a solo journey with AI opponents or a local pass and play. You have the option to speed up the AI players from a trot to a sprint between roadside attractions, but I suggest the former to appreciate the slow essence of the game. When playing the pass and play mode, you and your buddy will enjoy a simplistic 20 minute game traversing the world of Tokaido.
Buying a meal at the end of a day's travels.
I visited the Hot Springs the most
I win again! Too easy...
What Tokaido: A Fun Strategy Game lacks in serious gaming skill and the thrill of victory, it makes up for with the simple pleasure of playing the game. There are two expansion sets available for the cardboard version; Matsuri and Crossroads. We hope they translate over to the pixelated side real soon. We will be sure to issue an update to our review when/if this happens.
The Wrap Up
In conclusion, Tokaido: A Fun Strategy Game is visually stunning, but lacks the competitive game play that some may desire. Played frequenly, the game will become dull, but played as a quick time killer, it surpasses other games thanks to the smooth animations, calming sounds and no sense of urgency or pressure to win. Pixealted cardboard recommends Tokaido for all ages and skill levels. Should you care to spend a few minutes playing with us, our screen name is Pixelmack; we would love to enjoy the voyage with you......if we can connect online.