Looking for a deceivingly difficult game for your groups next get together? Check out Tokyo Highway- it’s like pick up sticks, but like in reverse!
Tokyo Highway is a 2-4 player game designed by Naotaka Shimamoto and Yoshiaki Tomioka. Published by Itten games of Japan, is now available in the United States. Typical playtime is 30 to 50 minutes.
Tokyo Highway: $49.99
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This game is based on Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway, known for its distinctive metropolitan structure. The game has no board, no squares. Players build roadways across each other’s highway and compete to place all their cars under a certain rule. As you follow the simple steps and build your way, there arises a unique architectural space on the table. Build your original highway with the balance of your fingertips and creative construction strategy.
Note: Published by Itten Games; distributed by Asmodee North America.
36 Road Sticks
1 Pair of Tweezers
Game Length: 30 minutes
Tokyo Highway: Road Planning Dexterity Game Review
Tokyo Highway is in the dexterity game genre. Each player has a pool of pillars, roads, and cars. Turns consist of placing at least one pillar and road. Each sequential road section’s pillar must increase or decrease by one height from the previous. After you place your road if you cross over another player’s road that hasn’t been crossed already, you can place one of your cars on the road.
Alternatively, you may also place a car if you pass under another player’s road that hasn’t been crossed under. The first player to lay all their cars on roads wins.
There are also a limited amount of yellow pillars for each player. These are special in that they break the normal pillar rules. With the yellow, you can increase or decrease your pillar height by any number. The only caveat is that your road must be stable enough to hold a car. Otherwise, it’s not safe enough to be a drivable road. Yellow pillars also act as junctions. You can even split off into two roads from a yellow pillar.
The last thing you can do is make an exit ramp. This is done from a height of one pillar with the road touching down to the table. This will let you place a bonus car plus another if your exit ramp crosses another player’s road.
Originally a two-player game in Japan, an expansion was added to make it four players. The US release has the four-player module as well as buildings used as obstacles. Roads cannot pass over buildings, so you really have to plan your path effectively.
I really enjoyed Tokyo Highway and it was a hit at game night. The gameplay was easy to learn, however, it was a bit nerve-wracking. The fear of knocked over someone else’s roads was very tough to overcome. You do get penalized for each piece you knock over. You have to pay the opponents with a pillar from your supply for each opposing element that is disturbed. Other than shaky hands being an issue, it’s a really exciting experience.
The final result of every player’s roads creating the network of highways is very satisfying. The table presence is outstanding. I definitely had a fair share of spectators wander over to check out what was going on while we played. The component quality is pretty good I like the car meeples and their colors are vibrant and clear. The roads are practically long grey popsicle sticks and the buildings are blocks of wood. This doesn’t detract from the look of the game at all. If you have a chance to check this one out, I highly recommend it.