Tokyo Metro Unboxing

Tokyo Metro is the next game I will be unboxing, and the final game in this trio of Tokyo inspired games designed by Jordan Draper. Players act as investors in Tokyo, building train stations, speculating on various train lines, and using their workers effectively in order to earn the most money.

 

1 – 5 Players | 60 – 90 Minutes | Designed by Jordan Draper

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Box Design

In comparison to the boxes for Tokyo Jidohanbaiki and Tokyo Jutaku, the box for Metro has the same width and depth, however it is much taller, allowing more room for all the additional components.

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The box cover art showcases assorted trains throughout Tokyo, as well as passengers, all muted in a orange hue. The overall cover and graphic design throughout the whole Tokyo Series has remained very similar, which I love and I am keen to see how it compares to the next 3 games in the series.

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The back is again very similar to Jidohanbaiki and Jutaku, with a brief description of the gameplay, and a large QR Code for further information. In my opinion, the gameplay image used on the back does not showcase the quality of the components as well as it could which is a shame as I think it is a beautiful game.

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The image above shows the depth of the box, which isn’t often seen with smaller box games. It was an interesting design choice to stick with a deeper box to maintain consistency with the other Tokyo games but I think it has paid off well. The insides of both the box and lid are printed with vibrant images showcasing the train theme and station icons from the game.

 

Rulebook

The rulebook for Tokyo Metro is simple, clear and concise. I find the use of colour to be very sophisticated in that examples are never over-saturated or distracting. It is restrained, yet still very clear to see the colouring used for each worker placement action or train station.

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Each page is split up well, with different actions separated using neat, rounded borders. Each step of the rulebook flows in a good order, and there isn’t a huge amount of reading involved before jumping into your first game.

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The second half of the book is printed in Japanese, and still features similar graphic design choices and colour restraint that is present in the first half.

 

Components

It is hard to picture how all these components for Tokyo Metro fit back into the tiny box!

Player aids feature brightly coloured summaries of each worker placement action which reference the colour of the spot it describes, making it easy to quickly find the action you need. The back describes each of the phases in a round clearly, however the text is reasonably small. There are 4 player aids, however 2 are in Japanese and 2 are in English. It would have been nice to see one for each player in English as sharing 2 summaries between up to 5 players is a bit annoying.

All the cards are small, but they don’t need to be any bigger. The printing is high quality and the card stock is nice and sturdy. Each card, both station and action, is colour-coded, so it is very clear to know what card does what.

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The train and income markers are beautifully bright and colourful, standing out from the rest of the components. Each marker contains printing which is super clear and easy to read, except for the ‘Y’ and ‘H’ train markers, which could have maybe been printed in a darker text colour.

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The retail game includes cardboard currency which mimics the look of real Japanese Yen. These are all quite small, but serve their purpose well. If you backed the previous Kickstarter campaign, the yen was upgraded to metal currency, so you wouldn’t require this cardboard money unless you run out of metal coins.

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Each of the player colours is relatively muted, so the focus remains on the brightly coloured trains and metro map on the ‘board’. The wooden player discs are simple yet functional as each of the worker spots is just a small circle. The player ‘meeple’ is very thin and small, so it is sometimes hard to grab when you move your character.

The stations are made of what feels like clay, adding a nice weight to them. The painting on these was sadly already a bit chipped when it arrived, so I am not sure how long they will stay painted for.

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Last but not least, the board! Well… not a board… A piece of cloth! Or two!

This is the first game that I own which utilises cloth instead of cardboard and it is really interesting! I am undecided in how I feel about it. On the one hand, it folds nicely to fit back into the tiny box, which is a plus. The printing also looks stunningly vibrant – another plus. I think the downside is, especially for the income track, the creasing. When any of the tokens or markers are placed on there, they become unsteady or fall over if they are near any of the fold marks. This can become fiddly when there are a few tokens on there. I believe you can iron the cloth to flatten it out, but I guess you would have to do it every time you wanted to play, which isn’t ideal. Overall, it is not a drastic issue, but it is a bit of a downside to having the tiny box.

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Availability

The version I have unboxed is from Kickstarter, however there is no difference in this version vs what you might pick up from a store. At the moment, it will be quite hard to get your hands on a copy from your FLGS, but all games are stocked on the Jordan Draper web store.

The next 3 games in the Tokyo Series by Jordan Draper are due to hit Kickstarter in January, so I assume you will be able to order any of the original games as add-ons through that campaign too.

The previous Kickstarter campaign included these beautiful metal coins as a bonus, as well as a fun ‘challenge coin’, which can be traded in to Jordan at events in return for a surprise gift!

 

Thoughts

Overall, the production on Tokyo Metro is very nice. There are heaps of components included for such a small box, and the box space has been utilised well by having a cloth ‘board’.  The overall quality might be slightly better in Tokyo Jutaku and Tokyo Jidohanbaiki, but they are all still well above average as a whole.

The cards in this game are probably my favourite aspect as they become the worker placement spots, as well as track the length of the game. I haven’t played any other games that filter through worker placement spots to progress the game, but I think it is a neat idea! I also love the graphics on the cards as they remind me of origami paper which I used to use all the time.

Each game in the Tokyo Series is so vastly different in what it offers, and it is great to see what looks like a meatier game included, compared to the more quick and simple gameplay in Tokyo Jutaku or Tokyo Jidohanbaiki.

 

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