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Japan walking game Tokaido takes to the sea in serene sailing sequel Namiji

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After traversing the coastal route between Japan’s Kyoto and Edo, the next Tokaido game is taking to the waves themselves.

Namiji is a standalone follow-up to Antoine Bauza’s laidback exploration game, which saw players visiting landmarks, meeting locals, eating meals and simply taking in the scenery along the East Sea Road.

Namiji’s gameplay features a similar flow to Tokaido’s last-goes-first player turns, which let players jump as far along the route as they wanted – with the downside of potentially handing consecutive turns and actions to their opponents as they caught up.

While the mechanics will be familiar to Tokaido players, the new game plays out on the sea, offering up a new choice of actions – the first images of the game’s prototype demonstrated at this month’s Festival International des Jeux in France show three decks of cards with whales on, suggesting we might get the chance to whale-watch.

In place of Tokaido’s ambling meeples are tokens shaped like sailboats, with the straight coastal road replaced by a circular naval route. Despite the visual change, the board’s track is still said to be linear.

Returning to give Namiji a minimalist look in keeping with Tokaido’s simple visuals is artist Xavier Gueniffey Durin – also known as Naïade – while Bauza is again credited with its gameplay design.

Namiji is the first standalone sequel to Tokaido, which has received two expansions – Crossroads and Matsuri – and been adapted for mobile since its release. A remastered edition of Tokaido was released for its fifth anniversary in 2017.

Namiji will be released later this year.

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