Edo – It’s Certainly Not King of Tokyo!
Edo is the ancient name of Tokyo. It’s also the name of this interesting, action-selection, worker-placement board game. While Edo may have the same setting as King of Tokyo (recently reviewed here on The Glass Meeple), Edo is absolutely nothing like King of Tokyo as you’ll soon see. I originally wrote this review in June 2013.
In Edo, you assume the role of a Daimyo in feudal Japan to contribute to the development of Edo (known today as Tokyo). Using your samurai, you’ll trade, build houses and maybe even a trading house or fortresses, to increase your reputation (victory points) with the Shogun.
You’ll begin the game with 5 samurai, 7 houses, 1 trading house and 3 square action cards, each of which has four possible actions on it. It is these action cards which make Edo unique in my book. One card, for example, allows a player to: collect rice, collect 5 ryo (money), collect wood, or build.
Each turn, players simultaneously choose which actions they want to take with their three action cards and in which order. The interesting, and sometimes frustrating, part is that sometimes two or more of the actions you want to take that round are on the same action card! – and you can only choose one.
You then take actions in turn order, one card at a time, moving your samurai on the board as needed (to the forest for wood, to the rice fields for rice, paying 1 ryo per space moved) in order to complete actions . Before you can move samurai, however, you must use an action to place them on the board; you’ll also have to feed your samurai 1 rice each round to keep them on the board. One action lets you recruit additional samurai, beyond your initial five, another allows you to acquire additional action cards from an array on the table, thereby giving you 4 or more cards from which to choose your actions for the rest of the game.
Building in cities costs resources (wood, stone, money) and earns you victory points, as well as money at the beginning of each round. As more players build in a city, the funds are split amongst all present, with those first in the city receiving a larger share. You can also buy points or resources by dealing with the traveling merchant. However, you must build a house in Edo to be eligible to win.
When one player reaches 12 points, the game concludes at the end of the round, with players scoring endgame bonuses for samurai on the board, money in hand, etc. The player with the most points wins.
Cunningly choosing your actions and skillfully planning the right time to deploy them will help you win the game of Edo. I told you it’s not like King of Tokyo!
Edo is an extraordinary strategy game for 2 to 4 players ages 12 and up. Play time is about 60 minutes.
Copyright © 2013-2015 by Tina G. McDuffie. All rights reserved.
Photos courtesy of Queen Games.