Spiel 2014 Preview: Takamatsu

Posted by James (admin) on August 9th, 2014

Takamatsu game set-up

Takamatsu is a new game by Martin Schlegel – the designer of Aqua Romana (an SdJ nominee released by Queen in 2005 – the first Spiel I attended).  I really like Aqua Romana (even though I think one of the game mechanics could be improved) so I’m very interested in this new game.

In Takamatsu, players move their samurai meeple around the rooms in a building trying to gain cards and prevent others from doing so.  Most cards give players victory points (some are secret until revealed) and the first player to 20 victory points wins.

On your turn, you can move samurai from any room where at least one of your samurai is located; however, there are some restrictions.  You must move at least one of your own samurai, plus at least one opponent’s samurai (if there are any opponents in the room).  Also, if there are more than 2 samurai in a room, you must leave at least 1 behind.  The samurai get moved clockwise around the building’s rooms and they are moved forwards a number of rooms equal to the number of samurai moved.  Whilst the rooms are arranged in a loop, it’s not completely linear as there are some branches.

Takamatsu cover

The purpose of moving is to gain point-scoring cards.  Some of the rooms are coloured – if a samurai of the matching colour ends its movement in that room, the owning player gets 1 card for each samurai, i.e. the red player gets 1 card for each red samurai that ends its move in one of the red rooms no matter which player moved it there.  The cards are in a queue so you always take the card at the front of the queue; however, players have some visibility on which cards are coming.  Some cards are better than others and some are negative – so gaining lots of cards is not always good because it depends what the next cards in the queue are.

Moving pieces around the board a number of spaces based on the pieces moved, or the number currently on the space, isn’t a new mechanic as that type of gameplay was in Theseus last year as well as Finza before that.  However, I like that general base game mechanic and Takamatsu does sound different.  I can see that moving your opponents’ samurai to miss gaining cards is likely as important as moving your own samurai plus adds some nice screwage of other players.  Also, I really like how the backs of the cards state if a card should be face-up or face-down as that adds some uncertainty and the face-down cards may be more of a gamble.

Takamatsu sounds like a fun, quick, light and tactical game for up to 5 players.  After reading the rules, I definitely want to play it.

Details including pre-ordering are on SpielMaterial.de’s game page using this link: bga.me/tkmtsu


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