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Subject: Yokohama - is it Tasty? rss

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Mark O'Reilly
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YOKOHAMA



I think it's good practice to start this review by giving little away and leave you hanging until near the end - so you read every bit.
This is truly a fantastic game!. ( sorry about that).
Why is that? You may well ask.

So many choices and little combos to pull off. Very interesting mechanic of placing your main worker ( president) , you first get to place 2-3 little assistants and you must place your president on a tile with one or more of your assistants on. The more assistants you have on a tile, the more "power" value you have to tap into greater resources or actions from that particular district tile.

The tile you activated with your president requires you to "bring home" any small assistants ( mini meeples in deluxe/cubes in regular version) from that activated tile, but your president ( large stickered meeple in deluxe/wood pawn in regular version) stays put there as do any assistants left on tiles other than the one you activated with the president.

Initially when you place the small assistants, I mentioned you can place either 3 or 2 on your turn. If placing to just one tile, you can place 2 and that's it, if you want to use 3, then each must be placed on a seperate tile.

When it is your turn again, you will need your previously placed assistants for a) adding power value to the tile your president is to move to
b) you can only move through tiles with one ( or more) of your assistants on to get to your chosen destination tile that you wish to activate.

If you pass through a tile with another players president on, you pay that player 1 yen. You cannot stay on and activate a tile with another players president, but there is "tech" you can get to allow you to do that!.

Activating the many varied tiles either grants you the opportunity to access management boards where you can get either "order" cards to fill or "tech" cards to allow you to do clever stuff other players cannot do, or go to pray in the church for instant points/benefits, and maybe cheekily ask that you gain the power to crush your opponents!



..and also end game points or ship goods through customs, OR use the many varied resource boards to gain resources based on your level of power value as you activate it.

4 player game:



You can even buff up many actions by paying various items. You can even employ the use of powerful foreign agents by collecting country flags on cards. Foreign agents act like a president, so you effectively get a second go when you choose to use him, he's a bit like a ninja, because he can sneak in and activate a tile with an opposing players president on it!.He's a one shot act though, so use him wisely.




If you manage to hit a power value 4 or 5 on a district tile, you can "build" either a shop or trading house on there!. Each tile allows every player to build a shop, but the earlier builder gets first dibs and thus better rewards that you cover over the randomly placed card on the tile with your building, taking the reward you just covered up.

You start the game with a handful of resources,



few yen , several assistants and couple of shops all " in hand". You can release extra shops, assistants and trading houses from your warehouse board by activating the appropriate employment tile and paying 2 yen for each shop, and progressively more expensive costs for trading houses.



Assistants can be removed at no cost but like shops and trading houses, the number you can take from your warehouse is determined by your power value on the employment tile.

Only one person can build a trading house on a district tile, it usually gives victory points as you place it. Shops and trading houses each add +1 power value permanently to that tile for their owners future use. Trading houses also generate you 1 yen from the bank if an opposing player activates that tile.
Also if it's level 5 power you generated, the first person to do so on any tile, gains a randomly placed chit depicting rewards of various resources.
.

There are also uniquely generated rewards to aim for that are shown via randomly shuffled and placed cards below the score track, these range from an amount of goods in hand to combination of agents and power value 5 chits collected off district tiles etc

Your goal is to generate as many victory points prior to game end by filling orders, shipping goods crates through customs, placing buildings, using tech, praying in church etc etc until an end game state is triggered.

There are "many" end game triggers, far more than I have ever experienced in a game before.

If the port board where you get order cards from cannot be filled back up with order cards - end game state triggers, any player uses up all their trading houses - end game triggers, likewise if someone uses all their shops, or the church board or customs management board has a certain amount of players assistants on them ( differs depending on player count) - end game triggers.

At game end trigger, the current round is played out and the one further full round.
Many points are earned throughout the game filling your orders and doing all the various other interesting stuff the game has to offer, but the game also rewards you for lots of different achievements at the end, even down to the resources you have left in hand. ( a bit Feld like).



Because of the multitude of end game triggers, games run quickly! 4 players ran to about 1 hour 40 mins for us ( two new players in that game) 2 player games have been under 1.5 hours . Both 2 and 4 player games have been equally fun.
I have yet to play at 3 players.

Production quality of the deluxe version is simply fantastic!.



The standard version looks great also from the pictures I have seen here on bgg. I love the look of the card shops and trading houses.
Even the game box is pure quality, strong and sturdy with a lovely shiny gold embellishing over the Matt orange and blue exterior.



The rule set is very easy to grasp and understand, nothing is counter intuitive and the rule book is very well written and laid out.

Game play is fun, "thinky", and fully engaging - all the time. Turns usually come round very quickly, occasionally longer when a player pulls off something special.

There is very little take that , sure you can block another player, but they will usually have an equally as good place to go to. If plan A doesn't work, plan b or c may work out just fine.

There is real joy in building up to a great turn, for example where you pull off a lot of stuff with a big resource haul, bang out 2 or 3 orders, gain a foreign agent, use him as well and zoom up that point track. It's just so much fun!.

Very minor nitpicking: I am personally not a fan of two tie break situations in the game, one for tech, where if there is a tie it goes to the player earlier in turn ( start player or closest to start player) and if their is a tie for the win at game end, the same applies.
If you feel the same as me, these are minor issues that can very easily be house ruled with a rule set to suit. The tech card tie breaker could go to the person with most tech cards, if still tied share the points of first and second rounded down between the tied players.
Game end tie - most yen a player has, if still tied, share the win!.
( my personal slight house rule on these two minor things, others may well prefer the tie break rule "as is" and I have read valid points either way on this matter.

Replayability on this game I feel is massive due to variable board set up, building card set up on district tiles, bonus 5 power tokens on district tiles, large tech deck, random achievement bonuses and different board set ups and quantity of boards depending on player counts.

I feel this game has it all!, it's truly fantastic, it ebbs and flows once players hit the groove.
For a relatively quick game it has a delicious thinky vibe to it.

This is one of those games, one I will be keeping in my game collection indefinitely , it's very easy to teach and will hit the table often.

Tasty Minstrel games are on a roll with stellar titles recently , they have a deluxified civ game currently on kick starter , produced Giant titles such as Orleans and the fabulous Guilds of London and many other acclaimed titles. My appreciation of TMG began several years ago with the brilliant game Belfort.
Thank you team TMG for seeking out and bringing this outstanding game to the masses.

A real winner. 9/10.
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Tim
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Great Review Mark! Gives a good feel for what the game is about.
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Christopher Corrigan
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Thank you for this thorough and thoughtful review. And sincce you agree with my take of this game, you are obviously a brilliant gamer, reviewer and critic.
Your photography is also pretty damn good.
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Lou Moratti
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Your only negative in your review (which is excellent) is a "minor nitpick" about tie breaking (which is indeed a VERY minor issue in the whole picture and easily remedied) and you rate the game a 9. What can you say about shaving a whole point off in your final analysis?

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Mark O'Reilly
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PaleHorse wrote:
What can you say about shaving a whole point off in your final analysis?



I can see it going up with more plays!
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Curt Frantz
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Great review! A couple questions:

Is symbology much of a hurdle to overcome in this one? You mentioned the 'fabulous Guilds of London', but the convoluted symbology was a major gripe of mine in that one. It was a significant hurdle for new players to overcome, and it seldom went over well with new players in my circles.

Also, how prone do you think Yokohama is to analysis paralysis? You seem to have played it fairly briskly, but do you play with people who are more susceptible to AP?
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Byron S
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but I can spout off obscure rules to all sorts of game like nobody's business!
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The symbols on the cards and most of the actions are no problem. There are a couple actions where it's not obvious what all the symbols mean, but they make sense once you know.

Unfortunately, I think that with some players, AP is a problem. In my last game, one of the players kept deciding/undeciding what he was going to do, and it made the endgame drag quite a bit.

I still recommend it!
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Mark O'Reilly
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tribefan07 wrote:
Great review! A couple questions:

Is symbology much of a hurdle to overcome in this one? You mentioned the 'fabulous Guilds of London', but the convoluted symbology was a major gripe of mine in that one. It was a significant hurdle for new players to overcome, and it seldom went over well with new players in my circles.

Also, how prone do you think Yokohama is to analysis paralysis? You seem to have played it fairly briskly, but do you play with people who are more susceptible to AP?


Thank you Curt.
Gulilds of London took us a few plays to get comfortable with the iconography , in Yokohama I think we only had to look up one or two icons the very first game. It's a none issue I think.
As for AP, fortunately not a real problem in the main groups I play with. One player can get it slightly, but I cheekily always say " who's turn is it?" to gently coax them along. ( we all have a laugh about it) .
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John Rudolph
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Can't afford it. I would have to buy a new table to be able to play it! Looks like a table hog. Great review.
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Christopher Corrigan
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if you lay out the full four player game with all tiles and quarter boards as suggested and if do not consolidate each players supply, cards and reserve etc - yes it has a rather large presence. That said, with just a modest amount of consolidation and realignment we've played four players on a 4'x3' with no problem whatsoever.
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