Escape Velocity

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Kodama is a card game where you take care of a tree by placing cards to grow its branches. By choosing cards with the right symbols, you collect points over three growing seasons. At the end of each season, one of the Kodama (tree spirits) will award you extra points based on how well you have chosen your cards to suit its needs.

Passepartout_Review (1)

This is a pretty quick game, perfect for when you have about half an hour to kill before dinner. It has very beautiful artwork and I really enjoy how your tree looks after you have been adding branches to it for a couple of rounds. There is not a lot of interaction between the players, you are mostly just focusing on building your own tree with the cards that are available to you. However, since a turn only consists of choosing and placing a card, you are not endlessly waiting for other people to finish their turn. The game is partly based on luck, but mapping out a good strategy at the beginning can get you pretty far. Because the Kodama that you are dealt at the beginning are different every time you play it, your strategy has to change too. So far, this has kept the game interesting to me even after having played it quite a number of times already.

Look, anyone who knows me, knows that I don’t like tabletop games. It’s just not my thing. I like learning new things, just not “live” in front of people, and especially not if someone’s going to end up winning but it won’t be me because I didn’t know the rules from the start.

Occasionally I will be convinced to play one, as was the case with Kodama.


I’m pretty smart, but the rules sounded complicated at first. They always do, though.  I don’t usually try to keep up because I never understand board game rules when I hear them explained. I also don’t read instructions and often skip tutorials in video games. It’s a personality flaw and I get that. I’ll keep doing it, though.


ANYWAY, it was actually very easy when we started playing it. The art is cute, too.

I didn’t win so it could have been more fun, probably.

I think Robin summed it up pretty well in her review: Kodama is a nice fast-paced game with captivating artwork and a good replayability. Although luck is part of the game mechanics, the right strategy could still bring you victory.

Personally, what I really like about this game is how it invokes my inner peace. I don’t have to anticipate other gamer’s moves and can just focus on my own tree. Because I’m usually not a very competitive player, Kodoma’s set-up is perfect in that regard.

Kodama looks beautiful and is quite fun to play with a non-competitive mindset. However, on the part of game mechanics it is limited. The way you score points is simple. It gives you a little bit of space for strategic gameplay, but no more than that. As for placing the cards, they rarely fit perfectly. And if you want them to, you can place very few. Therefore you need a good deal of collective leniency to play this game. Kodama can be a nice little group activity, but as a game, it does not offer enough for me.

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