Jess: Tokaido is one of my favorite games (you can see me gush about it in my review). The release of it’s next expansion “Matsuri” is planned for Q4 as a MSRP of $25.00 and I can’t wait! Matsuri are traditional festivals held in Japan. I particularly love the Sakura Matsuri which celebrate cherry blossoms, but how do these festivals figure into the game? I chatted with the super awesome Antoine Bauza, Designer of Tokaido, to get his point of view on the upcoming xpack and tried not to geek out all over him.
Jess: Tokaido is a beautiful. Could you tell me a little bit about what inspired you to make the original Tokaido and this new expansion?
Antoine: I’m a japan lover and I used the Japan in several works before Tokaido (boardgames : Hanabi, Ikebana, Takenoko and also writings : a comic book and some children stories). Tokaido was a way to payback to this country I love, making a game design that celebrate Japan and possibly make players want to discover it…
The kickstarter was a huge success and I wanted to a part of this adventure, so I agreed to design another expansion for the game. The time window was narrow, so I had to focus on something simple, even for Tokaido standards. The Matsuri are a big part of the japan culture and they were a perfect topic for this second expansion…
Jess: How do the Japanese festivals affect the game?
Antoine: When you play with this second expansion, the first player to arrive at the inn draw 2 Matsuri cards and choose one to be celebrated. Pretty Straightforward, but each Matsuri will change a bit the rule for the next part of the journey. For example, the Cherry Blossom festival will grant you bonuses for taking a Cherry Tree card and with the Matsuri cards, a new bunch of travelers (15 if I recall correctly) come along, each with a new ability.
Jess: What is your favorite part of this new expansion?
Antoine: I guess it’s the flavor. I really enjoyed researching on the matsuri, asking some Japanese friends to help me with their names, historic and content. The flavor in Tokaido is very important, and the design of the expansion must save a nice place for the flavor. I hope I succeeded!
Jess: What do you think is next for you? Do you have any new projects lined up?
Antoine: I’m working on several games at the same time (usually about 10 different games, at different rhythms). 2015 was a slow year for me (only 2 news games released and 1 expansion) but 2016 should be rich, maybe with some surprises for the Tokaido lovers !
Jess: (Being a martial artist, I couldn’t help, but ask:) I hear you studied martial arts. I was wondering what style you studied.
Antoine: I practice Aikido 🙂
Thanks Antoine! I am all fired up to see how the new expansion comes out! I really like the idea that the Matsuri cards will change how each game is played. Now the tactics for each game will involve more than my usual tactic of just making sure Mitsukuni hits every hotspring in a hundred mile radius. Somehow I always end up playing the old man.
You can pick up a copy of the Tokaido base game on sale on Amazon right now and start preparing for the oncoming festivities!