Walking on the Road, Swimming in the Sea

Jobby and Sarah move their challenge on by playing two more games, Tokaido and Oceanos…

Author’s note: We actually played these games in early February but my life has been a tad busy so it’s only now that I’m catching up on writing these game reports.

Tokaido

Ah! Tokaido. Such a peacful game. Its beautiful pale board and pastel colours lure the player in so they can enjoy a peacful stroll from Kyoto to Edo. It’s a gentle set collection game. Just choose where on the road to stop and pick up the appropriate card, or donate to the temple. Nothing competitive here, so what’s it doing in our 2020 challenge?

Well, it turns out that if you play it really competitively then there is plenty of meaness available in this game. Loads of opportunities to be a complete git to your opponent. Spite can flow from your every turn. At least that’s what I found out…

With two players a dummy player is added. Positioning this dummy right can make a huge difference to the game!

At the start of the game, each player gets two random characters and chooses one to play. I chose Umegae, the street entertainer. This meant that every time I had an Encounter I would get a bonus point and a coin. It’s a little bonus but could add up. Sarah chose Chuubei, the traveller. This guy gets an Encounter card before each meal in the inns. Great! That means Sarah would leave those Encounter spots alone and let me use my ability. Didn’t it?

Turns out the answer to that question was a very emphatic “No”. Suddenly, my gentle stroll through Japan became an endless journey of frustration! Everywhere I wanted to go, Sarah had got there first. This meant I got to have pretty much zero Encounters and she stopped me getting money so I missed meals as well.

Final score: Sarah 95, me 54! I’ll consider my butt completely whipped!

Game to Sarah!

Oceanos

From the calm serenity of Tokaido’s white board to the loudly brash and colourful blue of Oceanos.

Like Tokaido, messing with each other is pretty indirect in this boardgame-cum-jigaw puzzle. The messing comes during the drafting of cards, witholding the ones that you can see your opponent needs while trying to make sure you also hold onto the ones that you need. Because of this, I always think it’s good to upgrade your periscope so you get more cards.

The SS Naughty. Jobby’s favourite sub, complete with extra periscopes (very important!

We had to do a quick double-check on the 2 player rules as they are a littlle different to the 3+ rules but we were soon away. Sarah concentrated on upgrading the aquarium part of her sub and then scouted out for more species of fish to score. I bolted on another periscope and also fitted an amazing propellor for extra points each round.

My portion of the ocean at the end of the game.

I made sure to avoid as many kraken eyes as possible. It doesn’t pay to have that giant cephalopod watching you too much! I didn’t see many treasure chests so I never bothered employing more divers. Sarah did get lots of divers but didn’t release them during the game as she suffered a similar drought of sunken treasure. In the end that may have cost her the game, I think, as that was wasted effort that could have been used elsewhere.

Sarah’s sub, the Grabber. Sarah does love to get lots of divers out there!

After our little sojourn into the salty deep we surfaced and compared scores. It had been close. Sarah’s early upgrade of the aquarium garnered her a goodly number of points but I think my mega propellor won me this game.

Final score: Sarah 42, me 46.

Game to Jobby

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