Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama Review | Board Games | Zatu Games UK

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Awards

85%

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • The game concept is really simple and easy to teach.
  • There are a few advanced rules for experienced players that add replay-ability.
  • With enough copies you could play this game simultaneously with any player count.

Might Not Like

  • Its multi-player solitaire with no player interaction.
  • There are some push your luck mechanisms that might cause frustration for perfectionists.
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Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama Review

Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama Review

Kokoro is one of the first Kickstarter games we backed. What attracted us to this project in particular was the meeting of two well-loved games. At the time we had recently enjoyed Kodama - a great little card placement and set collection game set in a very whimsical world. Kokoro is a re-theme of an Essen 2016 hit, Avenue, into the universe of Kodama. We didn't get the opportunity to play Avenue, but it received considerable buzz for a small game and Kokoro promised to be a good re-theme with some additional modifications.

Kokoro Gameplay

Kokoro (designed by Eilif Svensson and Kristian Amundsen Østby) and a competitive game for 1-8 players. It is very much like a roll-and-write game, but mechanically it works with a deck of cards. The game has five rounds and in each round you will draw cards from the top of a deck. The cards have six different types of routes on them - four different turns, a horizontal and a vertical line. Each player has a grid on a dry erase board and must choose a square where they will draw each line segment. Each round you are trying to connect a line back to one of the correct sanctuary - there are six sanctuaries and one is active in each of the five rounds.

Your lines should be drawn to connect the flowers and worms printed on the board back to a sanctuary in order to score points. The main twist with scoring is that you must score more points in every round than you did in the round before. With no fixed round length (the end of round trigger is based on the order of the cards drawn) you might have a huge first round with lots of potential for points, but when working on a different sanctuary in round two, if you don’t get more points you’ll score minus five points instead.

No lines are ever erased so as the game continues you’re ideally trying to connect everything into one big line in order to maximise and ever increase your points.

At the end of five rounds you’ll add up the points scored in every round, plus any bonuses and the player with the most points wins.

Kokoro Avenue of the Kodama - Erase Boards and Die (Credit: Indie Boards & Dice)

Fiona’s Final Thoughts

One of the strengths of Kokoro for me is the high player count. Kokoro plays 1-8 and it's great for me to find a game that plays so many players, but that isn't a typical party game. In reality, Kokoro could play an infinite number of players simultaneously and you're only limited by the number of components in your copy of the game. The designers appear to have thought about the high player count by allocating each line segment its own number which can be called out to a large group who have a small image of each tile type on their board as a reminder.

The fact that it seems possible to identify a perfect game could easily be seen as a negative, but fortunately a lot of variation has been packed into the box, with a second side to the board which randomises the location of each player's sanctuaries and a pile of gamer changer cards which change the rules or offer different point scoring opportunities. We're only just starting to change things up with these cards, and none of them seem to be earth shattering changes, but it's nice to have the variability in the base game, when it could so easily have been saved for an expansion.

Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama is definitely a light game which plays in a short length of time and is also very portable (we've played it two-player on a train journey). For gamers, it will only be a filler, but it's also a great game to bring people into the hobby because it's so unique from many typical board gaming experiences. I’ve had huge success introducing this to my work board gaming group and it continues to go up in my estimations as more and more people enjoy the puzzle of the game. The charming artwork and nice production, mean that it will definitely work well for children and families as well as gamers who enjoy puzzly games that aren't too mentally taxing.

Kokoro Avenue of the Kodama - Path Cards (Credit: Indie Boards & Cards)

Amy’s Final Thoughts

Kokoro’s gameplay is elegantly simple. The result is a game that is tough, but rigorously fair. Each player has had the exact same opportunity, it’s all about how you use it. Do you plan for the future and build a route that scores you no points now in the hope of a big payout later, or do you steam ahead from the early game in the hope of being able to constantly improve just that little bit to keep your points rolling in? Having no crossroads makes Kokoro incredibly unforgiving to mistakes and lack of forethought, although if you really don’t know what to do with a line then you can opt not to draw it in return for a glimpse at the next sanctuary, allowing you to plan for the future.

Once you grow tired of the basic gameplay there is an advanced variant which changes the rules, either giving you new ways to score or some more flexibility in how you can place a certain line type, e.g 5s and 6s are interchangeable. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a step up to advanced gameplay, or an ‘expansion’ like experience, none of them make a huge difference to the game. Conversely, they don’t add much complexity, so they are probably worth including from your second game onward to add a little more variety.

It’s hard not to see the charm in Kokoro - the art is minimalist, but incredibly endearing. The gameplay may not be deep but it has been polished to a mirrors sheen, it’s hard to find any faults in it. Even the dry erase pens coming with little erasers built in the top are a great thoughtful design. Kokoro is a small game that makes for a fantastic warm-up game that can be relied upon to take 15 minutes regardless of your player count.

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

Might Not Like

Zatu Score

85%

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Zatu Games is rated 4.90 based on 9485
Reviews

Never heard of the company before. As a emerging board game fan I am pleased to find they have a large range of games and even have a reward scheme, which is great. Will be back to buy for myself in the New Year (bought a Christmas present).

Never heard of the company before. As a emerging board game fan I am pleased to find they have a large range of games and even have a reward scheme, which is great. Will be back to buy for myself in the New Year (bought a Christmas present).

Great selection of games, reasonably priced and easy to order. Waiting for delivery now.

Great selection of games, reasonably priced and easy to order. Waiting for delivery now.

Very easy to use, a great choice and great value.

Very easy to use, a great choice and great value.

Very pleased with the way it was wrapped and the delivery arrived when it said it would. This is a Christmas present for my grandson, so will let you know how the game went . Thank you once again xxx would buy from your company again.

Very pleased with the way it was wrapped and the delivery arrived when it said it would. This is a Christmas present for my grandson, so will let you know how the game went . Thank you once again xxx would buy from your company again.

Parcel was processed and despatched quickly.

Parcel was processed and despatched quickly.

I received my order in good time and condition. Thanks

I received my order in good time and condition. Thanks

First time using Zatu and rather impressed. Easy to navigate store, good prices and speedy delivery.

First time using Zatu and rather impressed. Easy to navigate store, good prices and speedy delivery.

Good selection of boardgames at good prices. Orders delivered promptly and packaged well.

Good selection of boardgames at good prices. Orders delivered promptly and packaged well.

Excellent service in resolving my error. Great price for the game too!

Excellent service in resolving my error. Great price for the game too!

Only order 2 products but both arrived on time and in perfect condition. Prices are competitive. The only issue I have is that postage to me in Republic of Ireland is high

Only order 2 products but both arrived on time and in perfect condition. Prices are competitive. The only issue I have is that postage to me in Republic of Ireland is high

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