iOS Universal, Android •
One of the more prolific board game designers out there is Antoine Bauza. He’s won the SdJ twice (the Kennerspiel des Jahres in 2011 for 7 Wonders and Spiel des Jahres in 2013 for Hanabi), and can always be counted on to craft solid titles with unusual themes. He’s made it to the App Store already with his often overlooked Ghost Stories, a cooperative romp in which Taoist monks protect a village from some of the best boardgame artwork ever created. Today another game of his has launched for iOS and Android, Tokaido.
Tokaido is a board game about walking, walking, and then walking. You get to make stops here and there, but the goal is to walk and score points and, yes, it does sound kind of dull. That’s kind of the point, I guess. While the game is competitive, and there are many options to block your opponents, Tokaido always feels more like a journey to me. Almost like a holiday. Take your time and see the sights and, if you feel like it, score some points. I didn’t win? Oh, well. You know that whole cliche about the journey being more important than the destination? That’s Tokaido in a nutshell.
I’m not saying it’s a bad game. Not at all, it’s just not a deeply strategic one. Play it for the experience, not to put together the perfect engine or run your opponents out of business. The presentation should help you lose yourself for a bit. The app is incredibly beautiful and it’s one of only a few games in which I haven’t gone to the Settings and muted the music. Everything about the app screams polish, and it’s a delight to explore.
The app offers solo play vs. an AI and both pass-and-play and online multiplayer. The game is cross-platform, but online games are synchronous so you’ll have to play in real-time if you want to play with friends over the internet.