Alfie Dix, 17, reviews board games that he plays with the family and subsequently with groups of friends.
Many gamers, myself included, enjoy difficult games. It matters not whether it is a long or short game, just that it has a multitude of decision points. These games have areas where personal skill can show and interesting forms of gameplay can happen. So dexterity games, which generally require physical rather than mental prowess, are frowned upon by many hard-core gamers. So why, you may be thinking, have I decided to review Tokyo Highway, a dexterity game? Well, there are many reasons but the first is particularly important in families.
One problem with many family games is the ability gap between the adults and children. If adults play properly, children aren’t able to win. (Read this blog that gives 7 reasons why you shouldn’t let children win at board games). This can make game-playing an ordeal for at least one member of the family. We don’t want that to happen! However, in many dexterity games, such as Tokyo Highway, children can compete on par with adults – at least, once their fine motor skills are developed. While some dexterity games can be dull for adults who like more of a mental challenge, Tokyo Highway is in my opinion, different. Let me explain why.
The objective of the game is to put all of the cars of your colour onto your roads. The roads are grey lollipop-like sticks which are supported by small stackable wooden cylinders. Each turn, you may only place one new road. If your road goes above or below another player’s road, you may place a number of your cars onto the new road, equal to the number of roads you have crossed. Whenever you place a road, you are trying to maximise potential points this turn and set your position up for future turns, without making yourself a target for others. This gives the game lots of decision points.
The other great thing about Tokyo Highway is its sheer beauty. Lollipop sticks and wooden cylinders may not seem like much, but the overall impact of a finished game is something unforgettable. Through the game you are trying to weave your roads above and below others and due to this the end of the game is a huge maze of roads with beautifully accentuated car colours and looming structures bringing a huge aesthetic appeal that rarely found in board games. The cars from Tokyo Highway were featured in our Top 10 Coolest Game Components video. Where do you think they came?
If you want to mix it up a bit, try changing the surface on which you play the game. Add levels and obstacles that players must build their roads on and around. This will increase variety and difficulty. This game is a perfect addition for any family looking for a dexterity game. It is adaptable, but simplistic and very very pretty.