When I got info about Masao Suganuma’s new game after Machi Koro, I was intrigued. It looks quite different from Machi Koro, which was love at first sight (only). It has a classic style, serious and historical feeling in Edo period of Japanese history. In Sukimono, players (from 2 up to 6 players) are errand boy for their masters in Edo period, where they will travel around 8 prefectures in Japan in search of specific wares that are on demand. They do this as quickly as they can because of the competitions are fierce, the first always get the deal from the market demand. When one errand boy gains 50 Ryo (the currency used during that period), the game comes to an end. Errand boy with the most Ryo wins the game.
The game comes in a slim medium box (a good one) which contains packs of cards, tokens and tiles with a board. I must admit, Grounding made a beautiful finish game, the finishing surface of the cards, tiles and board are smooth and have a very nice feel. You’ll find the components need to be preserved to maintain the good quality for a long time, sleeved the cards or maybe sleeve the tiles? Now that’s another level. Unfortunately, if you sleeved the cards, it’s unlikely you will fit all of them back into the box. You need to find another storage solution, bigger box perhaps. So I just keep my copy unsleeved. Just sleeved the box.
As I already described above, players will play role of errand boy who travels around Japan to find wares (cupperwares for tea) for their masters (which being specific of what they want). They search the wares, buy them in lower price than the market demands to gain profits. It’s quite thematic with lots of ware types, 43 types (can you imagine that number?) with the total of 186 object cards.
How To Play It?
Before the game starts, players will set all the object cards into 8 piles of draw piles (as evenly as possible) and place one prefecture card on top of each pile. Draw 5 demand cards and place them on the board based on the price. Randomize the first player and starts the game.
Each round, the players will get 5 Ryo as income. And then starting from the player with the first player token and so on, will choose one prefecture to visit, take it and place it in front of him. As soon as all players already take a deck, they can check their deck and find the cards they want. They do this as fast as they can and try to be first among the players. The first one to finish this, will be the first one to sell on the market. The demand cards on the market are priced based on the types, initially. But the price can change. Each time a player sell a ware, that demand card will decrease one step in price, if it’s already on the bottom step (2 Ryo), the demand is gone, discard that demand card and ware of that kind can no longer be sold. Also if a demand card is on the top most step (15 Ryo), only a single ware can be sold, immediately discard the demand card after a player sell it.
There are 186 object cards in the game, with 43 kind of wares. With that range of wares, some of them are look alike, which can be mistaken with another kind of wares, so players need to be careful to identify the illustrations, especially in race against other players. There are 3 classes of wares, low, medium and high. Low class wares have cheaper price than medium and high wares. Also each wares have different prices listed on the back side of the cards (these prices define the price players need to pay to buy it). So based on the price situation on the market, players also need to decide whether it’s lucrative or not. So aside from selecting the wares from the deck, players also need to check the price on it’s back.
After all players sold their wares, if there’s still a demand card in the left most column of the market, that card is discarded, and all other cards are shifted to the left filling up blank columns, and increased price one step from the current step, unless it’s already on the topmost step (15 Ryo).
The game ends when a player manages to get 50 Ryo by the end of the round, players with the most money, wins the game.
My Thoughts On The Game
Okay, this was a blind buy for me. I had the chance to get it from Japan from a friend who was kind enough to buy it for me in Sugorokuya. The game is simple with good quality components. The arts are amazing, really captures the classical style of Edo period in Japan. If you take notice on the cards’ finish, it’s not glossy or doff but has a specific texture on them, trivial, I know. The tokens’ finish is very smooth (like this very much).
The game requires real time pace to search cards and also memory. Thematically, you’re scouring around Japan’s prefecture to search some wares, and you cannot help to see other wares along the way, hence it might be useful for you if you have a good memory in later occasions where you need to find those wares. Getting to be the first to sell is important, cause it can determine your chance of selling the wares before they’re removed from the market. But sometimes it’s a good idea to hold on to your wares for next round since the demands will increase in price.
The game plays rather fast, around 30 minutes. Everyone can play the game, from children to adults, a good choice for family night.
The game also comes in relaxed variant, where players are not race against each other while playing. So it’s not about the fastest one to complete the selection but more about how much money left in a player’s disposal. Player with the least money will have the chance to sell first. So the mindset is changed from the normal play. The first time I read the rules, my first concern is about the real time factor, which it could be problematic if in a rush, players will do the unthinkable to the cards. During the rush and excitement, there’s a possibility players bend the cards. But of course when playing the real time variant is more fun.