★★★☆☆ Kodama; cute but demanding tree spirits.

Check out this game if: you are looking for a simple game that has some strategy, but feels like a creative project (think competitive solo jigsaw puzzle).

This game stands out because: it looks great and you get to build a tree (free form).

Positives:
1. This game is simple enough for beginners and kids (not sure why the high age suggestion).
2. Creating your own tree is satisfying.
3. The decree cards give players a goal or direction.
4. Clever scoring and is fun and gives players the ability to think through a few options on their turn.
5. Limiting scores per turn keeps the game close.
6. It’s fun to say Kodama.

Negative:
1. Drafting from a small pile of cards can be too limiting and lucky (but it’s a light game).
2. Can get a little fiddly with the Kodama and decree cards.

Brief Overview:
In this game, players are trying to create a healthy tree for their friends to live in. Essentially you want to earn victory points, and you acquire victory points by putting images of spirit friends in your tree. You acquire these friends by choosing one card from a small pile of cards and adding it to your tree (tree must follow “tree” rules). You can also acquire points by following special rules for the season (decree cards) and special rules for the ideal tree (Kodama cards).

Versions:
There is only one version of this game (other Kodama games are in the same world, but not the same game -however Kodama: Avenue of Kodama is quite fun). If you’re looking for a similar feeling game, check out Carcassonne, KingDomino, and Takenoko.

Teaching Advice:
This game is best taught by first explaining that you win by acquiring the most points and then explain how to get points. Go over the tree rules while teaching points (i.e. branches cannot go off the table). There is no need to go over every Kodama card and Decree card, but you should explain a few to make sure everyone is comfortable with the language.

Number of Players 2-5
Age 14+
Time 40 mins
Friendly ★★★★☆
Teachable ★★★☆☆
Replayability ★★★☆☆
Creative Freedom ★★★★☆
Inclusive (no elimination) ★★★★★
Interaction ★★☆☆☆

Link to tutorial video on YouTube.

Link to Kodama on Amazon

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