It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Tokaido takes a slow, meandering walk onto Steam

iOS, Android, PC/Mac •

Back when Tokaido landed on mobile, it might have been the prettiest board game port we’d ever seen which matched the sleepy, zen-like nature of the game itself. It’s a bit slow, but that seems to be how people (and the designer) like it. To each their own, I say, and now people can enjoy Tokaido without their mobile device as it has just been released on Steam for PC/Mac.

Each game of Tokaido tells the story of a journey across ancient Japan where you’ll visit shops, spas, temples and whatnot. The gimmick is that the player who’s farthest behind is the player who gets to move, and can move forward to any space they want, as long as another player isn’t already there. Thus, if you move way down the road, you’ll be sitting and doing nothing for a bit while all your opponents slowly creep up the road to catch up to you. You might really want that thing you jumped to, but is it worth giving your opponents all those extra turns to grab stuff along the road that you bypassed? Every space you land on will translate into Victory Points in the end, with everyone competing for the same resources on the route. Thus, blocking is the only form of interaction, but you can really screw people over by occupying spots that they need.

I’m making it sound far more exciting than it is. Tokaido is not a cutthroat game of strategic plotting, instead is revels in its visuals and soothing music and begs you to curl up on a couch with a cup of tea and relax on your journey. The old saying “it’s about the journey, not the destination”, fits Tokaido to a tee.

Now the game is available on Steam, so you can play it on your laptop whenever you need a break from the tediousness of whatever spreadsheet or document [or blog post -ed.] you were working on. The Steam version has both AI and online play, but the mobile version has synchronous play and I’m guessing the PC/Mac version follows suit. That said, Funforge is promising an “advanced” online experience soon. Asynchronous, perhaps? The online multiplayer is also cross-platform, so you can play with a mix of PC/Mac, iOS, and Android opponents. They’ve also upped the graphics from the mobile version to take advantage of the quicker hardware.

While Tokaido might not be the strategic, in-your-face board game we usually like around Stately Play, it’s also not trying to be. It is what it is, and if you’re looking for a gateway game, something to play with grandma, or just a way to wind down before bed, it fits the bill.

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