Play Time (Goof): 10-30mins
Developers: Fun Forge Digital
I’ve talked in the past about games which give you a peaceful calming sensation. Well… I’ve talked about Tsuro. And how they’re perfect for those wind down sessions, or when you’re not looking for something adrenaline filled but it would be nice to sit back, sip some green tea and play a game.
Recently I’ve gotten into playing Tokaido before bed.
I don’t mean to imply Tokaido puts me to sleep, but it’s nice to wind down after a long day of killing zombies or slaughtering Trogs. It’s one of those moments you know you’ve crossed into true geekdom; when instead of reading before bed or scrolling social media, you’re playing a digital board game.
One thing I’ve never understood about digital versions of board games is why they feel the need to represent cardboard in games. When I play games at the table, I’m not using miniatures and card board because I LOVE craft. I’m using them because they’re the best way to represent the cool things happening in the game. A card without a dragon is just a card. A dragon without a card is STILL A FREAKING DRAGON! With digital gaming you’re not limited in the same way.
Tokaido seems to get this. While mechanically you’re playing exactly the same game, you get to see your character come to life. The shops are selling actual items, the food is hot and ready to eat. I love the touch where your characters all sit together at the table at the end of the day. Presumably talking about all the monkeys at the hot springs.
I get WHY they chose the background track they did. I’ve just noticed with all the other sound effects it starts to come across more as noise and less as immersive, non-intrusive music. I have to turn it off because it really starts to grate at me.
An issue I’m noticing with digital board games is the reliance on people having an understanding of the game mechanics prior to playing. Even when there are tutorials it doesn’t seem to be quite enough to get to a point where you really appreciate the game. And look, maybe that’s fine. I can’t imagine people downloading too many board game apps without having played a physical copy. For me it’s about being able to play something when and where other people can’t get together (I don’t feel like having five people in my bed trying not to knock over the pieces). But it still feels like it’s worth a mention for those of you out there who haven’t had the chance to give this one a go.
Tokaido is one of those games I’ve really enjoyed at the gaming table, but it takes a certain mood you don’t normally expect. When you get your friends over you’re usually looking to explore Haunted Houses or defeat Elder Gods. You’re excited and pumped up. Which usually means Tokaido remains on the shelf.
But if you’ve played around with the physical copy even a couple times, then this one fits perfectly into those moments in your life where you’re alone and looking to chill out.
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