Round about 1830, Hokusai created the famed and fabulous woodblock print, “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”. This delightfully designed and colourful game is make believe of course.
“I’m sorry Justin … and there’s no Father Christmas either.”
It’s ‘based’ in a school opened by Hokusai at Kanagawa (Tokyo) in 1840.

Inc. Yokai expansion

In front of the players (students) is a bamboo school board, upon which cards are laid to indicate what benefits might derive from today’s classes: many and varied. Lesson by lesson, students can choose whether to draw (draft) cards from the board, or to push their luck and wait to see if opportunity arises to draft better cards: greater benefits. Given that other students also are seeking to maximise their gains, there are decisions constantly to be weighed, and only three lessons in each round (might ‘courses’ have been a better word) within which to make them.

Each lesson card can be used in one of two clear-cut ways: not both.

If they choose to improve their studio, students may acquire new paint brushes, or gain abilities allowing them to move their brushes around ~ and other things.

Alternatively, the cards’ images can be added to students’ developing landscapes. They will be seeking not only to make their landscape bigger than anybody else’s, but also to judiciously embed within it point-scoring characters, animals, plants, buildings, and seasons.

As aspirant artists, students also want to gain diplomas. These become available as they accumulate richness and diversity within their studios, or within their landscapes. They’re confronted by a constant balancing act – whether to improve the studio, or the landscape.

The game is awash with opportunity to make choices, and then wish you hadn’t. It’s got the excitement of choosing when to draft cards from the board and how to use them, along with the nagging fear that if you don’t take the opportunity now, one of your opponents will!

Though there’s no direct conflict between students, it’s not unheard of for someone to take away a lesson to ‘spite’ the others: can you believe that?

With the Yokai expansion there is opportunity for more ‘take that’ play between players, so it adds in a gently lively way to the game’s competitiveness.

  • quite a bit to get used to, but the FunGames reminder leaflet helps a lot
  • the number of options may bewilder a bit initially
  • the second game flows much easier
  • a few minutes to set up
  • strategic thinking is needed
  • luck is involved, in the way that lessons appear: but not a great deal
  • choices are what matters ~ immensely

Want to study at Kanagawa?