The One Hundred Torii

The One Hundred Torii

Imagine if you’re walking in a beautiful Japanese park with lanterns, flowers, even samurai’s and possibly a poet. Now picture that you can build this amazing park yourself. Think this sounds good? We thought so too. This was exactly what the creators of this game wanted you to imagine. Welcome in One Hundred Torii, inspired by a trip to Japan many years ago, designed by Scott Caputo and Eduardo Baraf from Pencil First Games. For the people reading this who don’t know us yet, we LOVE tile placing games. And Tang Garden being one of our most favorite games, we were very excited to try One Hundred Torii.

How to Play.

Before you can start building your garden, place the starting tile with the red background in the middle of the table. shuffle the remaining tiles and place the appropriate number of tiles facedown on the table. Each player receives two tiles and two coins. Take out all the tokens and place them nearby on the table in piles. Place all the character tokens, and big tokens in piles nearby, in the same amount of players. Lastly, place the samurai and poet meeple on the table and keep the info board reference card in reach.

The goal of the game is to earn the most journey points by expanding the garden. The game is played in turns, and one turn has four phases.
On your turn, you can start by getting help from one of the characters. If you pay the cost in coins, landmark tokens or both (the cost is also shown on the reference card), you can use the ability of that character, such as placing two tiles for example. After receiving help, you can place a tile horizontally or vertically next to an existing tile. If you place a tile, you can earn landmark tokens. try to place the desired landmark token on your tile as far away from the matching landmark tokens as possible. To score your tokens, simply follow the shortest route from the first available matching token to your tile. You receive one matching token for the token you play. But you will also receive one extra matching token for each red torii you travel trough, and a token of your choice for each blue torii you travel trough.

After you’ve placed your tile, you can claim your landmark tokens . If you have five of the same landmark tokens, you can claim the five points landmark tokens. If you have ten of the same tokens, simply flip it to the other side. You cannot score higher then ten points for each landmark. You also gain the character bonus. The first time you receive help from a character, take the matching character token and place it with the lowest points face up. The second time, you may flip it to the four points side. the third time is the last time you can receive points by getting help from the same character. If you receive help from the same character for the third time, take the big matching character token if it’s still available. After the third time, you can still use the help of the character, you just cannot score points from their help anymore. If you enclose a part of the garden with at least two landmark token in it, you also gain the enclosure token for it. There are more ways to score extra points, having at least five landmark tokens from each types, having at least three ten point landmark tokens at the same time or getting help from the same character for the third time. If you do any of the above before all of the other players, you can claim extra journey points for it.

Once you have claimed your tokens and achievements, you draw back up to two tiles in your hand if possible. The game ends when the last tile is drawn. Every player including the player who drew the last tile, gets one more turn before the final scoring. To count you score, simply add up all the journey points from your large landmark tokens, character tokens and achievement tokens. Left over landmark tokens or coins, are not worth any journey points. The player with the most points wins the game!

Playthrough of the game.

Torii is one of those nice light games that you can just take out and play within a couple of minutes. We had a lot of fun playing this game and trying to place tiles the furthest away from the matching landmark tokens as possible. The heat was on since we saw that the big achievement tokens had five points on it, which is a lot in this game. The first to gain that achievement, gains the token and the points on it. So a war broke out between us, trying to reach three times ten of the same landmark tokens to gain those points. This proved to be quite difficult, since we both were trying to gain lanterns. That’s also where we found out we didn’t like one rule of the Samurai character. The Samurai can be placed on the board, adjacent to a previously placed tile. Since you use character help before you place your tile, this means that you will always place the Samurai next to a tile placed from the previous player. What I was really missing in this game, was the ability to place the Samurai next to a tile I just placed in order not to block myself. Because of this, I changed my strategy and tried to block Tomasz by placing lanterns everywhere so he couldn’t make long routes.

We found that although this game is very easy to learn, it’s a game where you have to think ahead and try to plan the best strategy in order to gain the most points. One hundred Torii is really simple, but engaging. It is fun to see our table brighten up with every new tile placed, and every game turns out different. Other than the missing rule of the Samurai we would like to see, this game is really flawless and has a nice play flow. We like the cartoonish art style and quality of the tokens and tiles. If you are fan of the Japanese culture and garden landscapes, this game can certainly peek your interest. The designers included where their inspiration is coming from and a little info about Japan and Japanese gardens itself.

Final Thoughts.

The one hundred Torii is a fun light strategic tile placing game which is simple to learn and set up, but challenges you to plan ahead. You can play this game with two to four players, but it also has a single mode which is also very easy to learn. With enough tiles to play, and strategy’s to use, we found that this game is played different every time. But one thing always stays the same. You’re constantly looking to take the longest route to your tile, while trying to avoid leaving open other ways for your opponents. Because if you see a long line to use, your opponents can use it to…

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