The Game: Kodama: The Tree Spirits
The Publisher: Action Phase Games
Time: The box says 10 minutes per player, which seems about right; took us about an hour, but we were learning it, too.
Players: Me, +Michelle, +Morgan, +Jonathan
|Morgan, freeing tree spirits.|
Game Play: In Kodama, you're building a tree, and then seeing if it pleases the tree spirits. The better your tree, the more points you get. In context, this means everyone has a trunk, and each turn everyone goes around and plays branches. Branches have various features on them (worms, mushrooms, stars, etc.), and features that match previous cards get your more points - but you can't score more than 10 points on a branch, meaning the game encourages you to branch out (lol) and make your tree at least somewhat diverse.
|My tree, early in the game. Note the flowers and worms.|
Opinions: So, for a start, this game is gorgeous. It's by Daniel Solis, so I really wouldn't expect anything else, but we all remarked many times how damn pretty the game is. What's more, because of the way building your tree and scoring points works, it kind of encourages aesthetic appeal, or at least consideration, within game play.
The scoring system took us a minute to figure out, but we were tired, and really once your get it, it's pretty easy. What I found interesting was that it's really easy to stack your branches so that you get lots of points, but you really can't do that and hope to win because the minute you crest 10 points, that branch is pretty useless (unless you start again with different features).
|Morgan and her tree. Not pictured: Rum.|
Oh, and, the game instructions ask that when you finish a game, you put the little cardboard Kodama in the winning tree and post a picture, so, since Jon won because he always wins games, here's his tree: