Friday, 9 August 2013


Plays: 3Px1.

The Game

Edo is the old name of Tokyo. Edo is a eurogame game with a medieval Japanese theme. It has simultaneous action selection, worker placement, and it is about collecting resources to construct buildings, which score points. Sounds like a very typical and boring eurogame so far? Yeah... I can't think of any exciting way to summarise it. But then trying to summarise it may not be a good idea. Some things get lost in translation. Let's take a look at some details.

A unique aspect of this game is the square action tiles. Everyone starts with three. In a round you can pick three actions. Each action tile has four quadrants, each quadrant representing one action type. That means you can only pick one out of the four actions from each tile. This creates some tricky planning and decision-making. Another memorable aspect of the game is how you need to send your workers onto the board. They need to be there to collect resources and to construction buildings. Sending them forth is not cheap. Travelling costs money, and every round every worker consumes rice. So you better do proper planning and make sure every trip is worthwhile.

These action tiles are the most outstanding aspect of the game. Each tile has four quadrants, but you can only use one of them in a round. Here the three actions I have picked are the ones pointing downwards. The first action is collecting wood. I have assigned two workers to this. They will need to work together with the two other workers I have sent to the board. When I execute this action I will move those two workers on the board to a forest location to chop wood. I have no worker assigned to the middle tile, so there will be no action. The third action allows me to buy a new worker using a sack of rice.

The resource collection and construction on the board are area majority contests. Once you have buildings in the cities, you start making money from them every round. How much you earn is dependent on how many buildings you have there compared to others. The number of castles that can be built in a city is dependent on the number of houses already built there. Players will compete over these limited slots too. There is often a race to reach resource locations. The output of a resource collection action depends on how many workers are at the location. The more workers, the fewer resources per action. So players will want to race to get to vacant locations. If you want to be mean you can send your workers to crowd a location, and cause everyone there to be unable to gather any resource. But then you would be wasting your workers and rice too, and other players not involved will point and laugh.

Ultimately it's a race to score points. Buildings are worth points. Some in-game actions are worth points. There are a few ways to score endgame points. The game ends after a player reaches 12pts.

The brown location is a forest. According to that table, if there is one worker present, a collect wood action will give 3 wood. If two workers are present, the action is worth 2 wood. If four or more workers are present, the action is worth nothing.

City locations are red or pink. The tiles in the cities indicate how much money you earn when you have houses in the cities.

The Play

As is typical for Han, Allen and I, we executed many of our actions simultaneously and often did not follow turn order. We only paused and waited when some actions could impact other players. The game flowed quite smoothly for us. There were quite a few times that I found I was unable to do what I had in mind, because two of the actions I wanted to execute were on the same action tile. This aspect of the game turned out to be trickier than I expected.

Sending workers out to the board was challenging. It was like making a deep treasure-hunting dive. You only have this much oxygen and you want to make sure you accomplish as much as possible before you have to resurface.

My houses and market (the rightmost one which has a different shape). In the background are sacks of rice.

The Thoughts

Overall Edo is still a rather typical eurogame about collecting cubes and converting them to points. The macro level is not very interesting. The execution layer is more interesting. There are tricky tactical decisions to make. You need to think about how to compete with your opponents, and how to make use of your actions and workers as efficiently as possible.

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