TableTopTakes: Tokyo Highway
There are some games that are just beautiful to look at, and Tokyo Highway is one of them. This dexterity game ends up looking like a maze and an art piece all at the same time when it’s done. But does that make it a good game?
In Tokyo Highway, you are building roads up by stacking disks and connecting them with what basically is a grey Popsicle stick. If you go over an opponents road or under it, and you are the first person to do so, you can place a car on the section of the road you just placed. Just be careful that you don’t accidentally knock everything over. The first person to get all of their cars placed is the winner of the game. However, you can’t touch your opponents cars or roads when placing things, but you have yellow disks that allow you to increase or decrease the height by more than one or split the road. If you end up knocking something over, you have to give some of your pillars to the opponent whose things you knocked over.
Tokyo Highway is not a difficult game to learn, but it is a bit tricky to play. Not only you are balancing what is basically Popsicle sticks on what ends up being disks about the size of penny around, but there are buildings to work around as well. And eventually, the whole game area is a mess of roads and it’s hard to place things, and you don’t want to use your yellow disks, but sometimes you need to to clear that road you before an opponent would. So, for a pretty simple stacking game, there is definitely a bit of strategy.
There are a couple of things that I really do enjoy about the game. The first is the look of the game. When you’re done, you end up with a very pretty looking game set-up. It’s one of those games that you want to take pictures of, because it looks almost like an art piece on the table when you end. The pictures in the article are ones that I just snapped on my phone quickly while we were playing, and you can see how everything cross over each other. And a lot of that comes from the quality of the components. Everything in the game is made from wood, so it feels well made because it is. I did notice that one of the Popsicle sticks had a slight warp to it, but that didn’t affect the game, and I think just setting it under something heavy would flatten it.
The other thing is that when you are placing something, if you knock stuff over, you aren’t out of the game, or that doesn’t end the game. In other stacking games, like Jenga, if the tower goes over the game is done, and you end up with a loser, not necessarily a winner. In Tokyo Highway, sure, things might get too knocked over to place correctly again, but more often than not, you’ll end up with a winner, versus just having one person be the loser. That’s fun for a stacking game, because so many of them work on the Jenga mindset, where knocking things over is the end of the game.
Now, is this a game for everyone? I don’t think so, first, stacking games and games where you stack in a small area aren’t great for everyone. Some people just naturally have shaky hands. Other people just have larger hands and it’s trickier to place things in small areas. However, this game will also be a hit for a lot of people because it is beautiful on the table, and it isn’t difficult to teach. The first time I played it, I got a rule or two slightly wrong, and it still worked really well and was a hit at the table. And we’d stop between things being placed to take pictures as the city was built up.
Overall, this is a game that I really like. It’s a good light game that is fun to start off a game night with or to end a game night when people don’t want to play anything too heavy. And it’s accessible to gamers and non-gamers alike, which is fun. I do think it might be a bit light for some gamers, but if you enjoy dexterity games at all, this is a fun game.
Overall Grade: B+
Gamer Grade: C
Casual Grade: A
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