Use code FREE-PS5 with any order and get entered into our PS5 Giveaway!

Menu

A mystery box filled with miniatures to enhance your RPG campaigns. All official miniatures and for a bargain price!

Buy Miniatures Box »

Not sure what game to buy next? Buy a premium mystery box for two to four great games to add to your collection!

Buy Premium Box »
Subscribe Now »

If you’re only interested in receiving the newest games this is the box for you; guaranteeing only the latest games!

Buy New Releases Box »
Subscribe Now »

Looking for the best bang for your buck? Purchase a mega box to receive at least 4 great games. You won’t find value like this anywhere else!

Buy Mega Box »
Subscribe Now »

Buy 3, get 3% off - use code ZATU3·Buy 5, get 5% off - use code ZATU5

Buy The Game

Awards

Rating

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

You Might Like

  • Easy to learn / teach
  • Brilliant simultaneous card play
  • All your plans can be dashed so easily and that is funny
  • Game is super quick and you will always want another go
  • More players equals more fun

Might Not Like

  • Cards have a strange finish and were initially stuck to each other
  • Board doesn’t sit perfectly flat on the table
Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

Sakura Review

sakura

The story premise of Reiner Knizia’s Sakura from Osprey Games...

You must paint the best picture of the Emperor as he walks around the cherry blossoms in bloom. To do so it is best to be as close to the Emperor as possible as he approaches the trees but oh no watch out you have walked right into him. He is furious and he scolds you so you step away and lose some of his favour. To gain more favour you will have to be brave and get closer than your fellow artists and paint the best picture, just make sure you don’t bump into him again.

That is the story premise of Reiner Knizia’s Sakura from Osprey Games for this simultaneous card and movement game for two to six players. So does the game earn the favour of the Emperor or should it be banished from the forbidden city? Read on to find out.

Bump

Let’s get the negative stuff out of the way first. The cards are made / finished with a strange material and arrived stuck together. I had to pry each card apart from its neighbour. After a few plays this seems to have rectified itself and the cards no longer refuse to be shuffled. The main board on the other hand is a little bit of a pain as due to the way it is folded it doesn’t sit completely flat against the table. It is getting better over time but very slowly.

That is all of the negative feelings about the game out of the way now let me tell you why you should buy this game.

Line Up

Fun. Sakura is fun. It is so simple in its gameplay and so easy to teach that I can have new players fully engaged and playing within a few minutes. You have a player pawn that moves forward and backwards as you try to get it closest to the Emperor who is also moving forwards and backwards. Controlling everyone’s movements are a deck of 60 cards each numbered 1 through to 60 which represents their order number (lowest numbers go first). Also on each card are two instructions which either provide movement to the Emperor, the player closest to or furthest from the Emperor as well as your own pawn.

At the beginning of the game each player is dealt five cards and then everyone simultaneously chooses and reveals a card. Then in turn order (lowest card to highest) each card is resolved. This is where the hilarity begins. Players will be moving backwards and forwards all jostling to get closest to the Emperor but desperately trying not to bump into him. But the Emperor is fickle and will sometimes move backwards and walk into the painter closest to him. Whenever you bump into the Emperor (either through your movement or his) you will lose one of your five starting favours and will be sent backwards three open spaces.

After each turn players will be dealt another card and the game will continue like this until the Emperor reaches the first blossoming cherry tree. At this point he will immediately stop and all cards not played that turn will be dismissed. New favour tokens are dealt out according to how close your pawn is to the Emperor with the closest receiving three favours, second closest two, and third receiving one (in a five or six player game fourth closest also receives one favour). The game carries on for two more cherry trees (the final tree provides more points) and then the winner at the end of the game is the player with the most favours including their original starting ones.

Player Count

There is no doubt this game gets funnier the more players there are. As you increase player numbers you will lose more and more control over how the Emperor will move and you can be in a completely different position to what you were expecting by the time it comes for your card to be resolved that you can’t help but walk straight into him. But it doesn’t matter as the game is so fast and everyone is in the same position.

But don’t let that put you off buying this game if there are only a few of you who will play it as the game includes a very simple dummy player mode for two players. You place another pawn at the beginning of the game and you reveal the top card of the deck as their choice of card. You resolve this in turn order and whenever they have a choice of moving a player / Emperor forwards or backwards they move them forwards. This makes for a more tactical game as you have more control but there is still enough randomness to keep you on your toes.

Final Thoughts

This is a fun, lightweight game with pretty artwork, some nice components (player pawns and favour tokens), some not so nice components (already mentioned cards and board) and a great theme. I would happily recommend it to almost all gaming groups or types of players as it is so easy to play and will get everyone smiling within a few minutes.

So go and get as close to the Emperor as you dare just don’t bump into him.

That concludes our thoughts on Sakura. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames. To buy Sakura today click here!

Zatu Score

Rating

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

You might like

  • Easy to learn / teach
  • Brilliant simultaneous card play
  • All your plans can be dashed so easily and that is funny
  • Game is super quick and you will always want another go
  • More players equals more fun

Might not like

  • Cards have a strange finish and were initially stuck to each other
  • Board doesnt sit perfectly flat on the table

Zatu Blog

Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

Join us today to receive exclusive discounts, get your hands on all the new releases and much more!