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Zipang Portable Kickstarter Preview

Quick Look:

Artists: Tsutomu Araki, Issey Kunogi
Publisher: Madara LLC
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2-6
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 10-20 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Zipang Portable. I was sent a prototype version of the game. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.


Rules and Setup:
Every player takes five Mangoku (money), or four Mangoku for a two-player game. Deal out two cards to each player. Take the remaining cards, and place them in the middle of the table to be a draw pile. Place the top card of the draw pile face down next to it; this will be the discard pile. Everyone puts one of their Mongoku coins in the middle. Remove one of the coins in the middle to serve as the reward pile for the winner.

Pick a starting player; that player draws a card, and out of the 3 cards in their hand, they will play one and do the action the card says. The next player will do the same. Players can be attacked, and when they lose, they will be kicked out of that round. Rounds continue until a player has no coins left at the end of a round. Then, whichever player has the most coins wins.

Theme and Mechanics:
The mechanics are simple, yet you can strategically enjoy the game knowing which cards are out there, which cards your opponent(s) have, and which cards you have. You draw one card and play one card.

The theme takes you back to 17th century Japan as a samurai during the Sengoku period. During this time, there was civil war and unrest, which you can feel in the game when you play it. You are to maintain honor while gaining land and resources until you or one of your enemies has nothing. Whoever then has the most coins becomes the all-powerful shogun.

Artwork and Components:
The artwork is done very well to fit with the theme and the game in general. I love the different colors of cards that help you know the cards better over time. I played using a prototype version, yet there was nothing bad with even those components. It would be cool to have metal coins, as it might make stealing coins and paying them to the center seem more real than using the cardboard coins.

The Good:
The game is small with only 30 cards and has very simple mechanics, yet it still seems to be strategic enough that the mechanics don't seem too simple. The art and style is amazing. This game's theme really does show, as play can be chaotic, there can be many battles, and sometimes honor is the most important thing. The fact that you have a choice between 3 cards helps with strategy as opposed to just choosing between 2 cards.

The Bad:
The cards don't have the actions written on them, which makes you either check the rule book or look at the reference card to know what action to take. It seems like some of the cards are more powerful than others, like the Warlord card. It seems like every time we played, no one could defend against the warlord attacking them.

Final Thoughts:
This game reminds me some of Love Letter, which gets a lot of praise. To me, Zipang Portable is just as simple, yet it's a little more strategic and is a better game than Love Letter for me. This is a perfect filler game that's compact and can be played anywhere. Some of the cards seem more powerful than others, which makes it hard to defend against those cards.

Players Who Like:
I would recommend this game to those who like filler games or card games. If you like Love Letter, Brutal Kingdom, or Coup, you would like this game.

I am giving Zipang Portable a 7.5 out of 10 super meeples.

7.5 10

Check out Zipang Portable on:


On KICKSTARTER between now and September 22, 2017.

About the Author:
Brody Sheard played board games with his large family growing up. He continues his love of games by teaching his family, local gaming guild, and friends about new and exciting games. Brody believes that board gaming keeps your mind healthy while also having fun interacting with others.
Zipang Portable Kickstarter Preview Zipang Portable Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by Brody on September 11, 2017 Rating: 5

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