Author Topic: Tokyo Highway  (Read 1878 times)

Offline Decar

  • Global Moderator
  • Chatelain Commandeur
  • *
  • Posts: 5412
  • Merit: 238
  • Shut up and take my money!
    • View Profile
    • tehill.net
Tokyo Highway
« on: October 08, 2017, 09:50:21 AM »
I've had a couple of games of Tokyo Highway and thought I would share some of my thoughts.

The game is very simple and takes about 20-minutes to explain and about 2-minutes to explain the rules.

It's a 2-player abstract dexterity game.  Your job is to build the Tokyo Highway and you do that by placing blocks and laying roads between them.  If you lay our round above or below your opponent's road (which you've not scored before) you're able to balance a car, somewhat precariously onto the road.  The first player to get rid of their 10 cards is the winner.  When building a road you much increment or decrement the height of the previous column; unless you use a junction which breaks this rule.  You have 3 junctions available to you and each junction allows you to split your road too.

That's pretty much it, there's some simple corner-cases you need to cover, but I'll leave those for you to find out.  The rule book is bilingual the English is excellent, the rules are very clear.

Initially, I thought this game would essentially be broken.  You see the game is about building triangles, and placing them in such a way that you go under or over another triangle's hypotenuse.  Shouldn't it be the case that the first, or second player has some advantage from the outset?  Well quite possibly.  The pure-mathematician in me keeps telling me this, but then reality sets in.

Here's a list of those things that seem to quite happily mess up your perfect play:

  • Start Positions can very easily make your opponent...just out of reach, undoing the player advantage
  • You only have so many blocks and roads, if you run out...you lose
  • You're able to position your cars defensively making it harder to go over the top
  • If you use a junction the roads can be too steep and the cars fall off
  • If you drop a component and knock your opponent's pieces off, there's a massive penalty!

To put it simply, Tokyo Highway is a hot-mess.  The placement of towers is chaotic, the nudging of components and trixy play can make the difference of those 2-3mm of clearance you need.  Most of the game is heuristic, letting you find ways to bend the strict rules in place.  The game feels a bit like two snakes intertwining, both trying to get on top of one another.  Each turn the spiral-dance continues.  Do you spend a turn looping around in an attempt to flank them; or do you attempt to play symmetrically, blocking each of your opponent's moves; but risk being left behind.

I do think some things are missing though.  For example, I think the game would benefit from a formal start.  I think each player could place their first tower within 1-road length of a central-jack or pillar for example.  This would allow players to prepare to entangle, and I think certain games or players may benefit from tweaking these rules.

There's plenty of opportunity to add expansions to this game too.  For example, leaving a few items out on the table to weave between could add some variance.  Some wooden blocks for this would have been nice.  I'll use some from Catacombs when the Kickstarter finally arrives.  But a remote-control seems to suffice.

I'm not sure how long the game will remain fresh.  Like most abstracts eventually certain strategies prevail, especially when playing with the same small audience.  Given the dextrous nature of the game, this makes it highly unusual to me.  It's a bit like a physical chess, but no-where near as complex.

There is little to no theme in this game, the excuse for building our structures is pretty weak.  For a start there doesn't seem to be any planning permission!  It doesn't bother me though, the mechanics are solid enough to not really require such a necessity.

Components are pretty simple.  High quality painted wooden cylinders, sticks and neat little cars.  I particularly like the tiny twisers each player is given to carefully place their cars on the road without disrupting the highway.

I took some photos to share:





Japan is doing a great job inventing some pretty novel and fresh games.  The industry is just sprouting there and games like Tokyo Highway are accessible to the English-speaking market because the rules are simple (and translated well).  It's a great opportunity to see what Japanese boardgame developers are thinking about.

The downside is cost.  The delivery of Tokyo Highway will prevent this game from spreading to the west due to it's high price tag.  I was fortunate enough to pick up a copy for around £30, but BGG is currently selling at $50 + shipping.  The game is expensive for what it is, I think this will block a lot of people from even bothering with it.  Thankfully, I have no self control  :(y)

I'd recommend the game to anyone who likes head-to-head abstracts and needs a short game they can challenge each other quickly with.

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=3574.0

Offline MrNumbers

  • Global Moderator
  • Duke Chevalier
  • *
  • Posts: 1828
  • Merit: 91
    • View Profile
    • Carcassonne Latvia
Re: Tokyo Highway
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2017, 01:33:06 PM »
Merit for your write-up, Decar! :(y) I am considering to buy this game in Essen :D
"I never lose. Either I win or I learn." (Nelson Mandela)

Offline Decar

  • Global Moderator
  • Chatelain Commandeur
  • *
  • Posts: 5412
  • Merit: 238
  • Shut up and take my money!
    • View Profile
    • tehill.net
Re: Tokyo Highway
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2017, 01:29:50 AM »
Thanks Mr Numbers!  You shouldn't have any trouble finding it at Essen.  I hope you enjoy giving it a go!


Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via furl Share via linkedin Share via myspace Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via technorati Share via twitter

  Subject / Started by Replies / Views Last post
xx
Trip in Tokyo

Started by Decar

5 Replies
1485 Views
Last post October 02, 2017, 02:44:40 PM
by Mr Meeple