Everything happens for a reason. We had been blissfully playing Sorcerer’s City by Scott Caputo and did not want to tire of it and wondered if there was a game comparable to it? We queried on the social media; the response was swift with the suggestions for The One Hundred Torii, a game designed by Eduardo Baraf and Scott Caputo with a Japanese theme. When our boy was about five, his Uncle Jake introduced us to Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” and Japan culture snippets. Fast forward oodles of years, and our home is filled with Anime, Katana’s, and a legion of miniature Samurais. Seemed like a safe bet.
One Hundred Torii is a tile placement, set collecting game based on a journey, not a destination. Reshaping Japanese gardens by stepping through Torii gates to the sacred grounds filled with fountains, flowers, shrines, and the chance meetings with vendors, gardeners, Geishas, poets, and our favorite, Samurais. Earn the most journey points by visiting landmarks and walking through as many Torii gates as possible to achieve enlightenment- win the game.
The game is tile placement with a focal point of set collection. Building out the garden in a shared play area could have been cutthroat; however, our games were gentle and calming. (Now is a great time for this game!) The movement was clean, and the Torii mechanics was smart.
It is steeped with strategies that quickly evolve as the game nears the last turns.
Having a higher player count found the Gardener action smart and vital.
The claiming of Landmarks, Visitors, and trading up to large tokens faster is the key to winning the game. Our games were so very close in Journey Points.
This game has become the house favorite for a quick game over coffee in the mornings.
The red-backed start tile face-up and then shuffle all the green-backed tiles.
If you have four players, discard two tiles; if you have three players discard three tiles, and two players discard twelve tiles.
Deal two green tiles to each player. These are dealt face down and for your eyes only. Separate into piles the five different statues. Give each player two Japanese coins.
Make piles of the larger double-sided landmark tokens that equal the number of players. They start with the five markers and turn the ten side up in your supply once they are exchanged. Do the same with the character tokens and enclosure tokens, put them in piles equal to the number of players with the number two marker face-up. The four-marker token is flipped once you accrue the amount of help from that character. Place the larger character pieces and enclosure pieces next to the other tokens. Place the achievement markers stacked on the matching marker with the five on the top.
Place the character description board and the two meeples, Red Samurai and Blue Poet, in the play area.
Time to build the garden and tour the Torii’s. There will be interaction with visitors to guide you through and aide in collecting points. The player with the most enlightening journey (the highest points) will win the game.
The players take turns, and each turn has four steps.
Getting help by engaging the characters. You may choose a character and utilize their ability. There is a token cost and can be paid in any combination.
- Vendor: Draw 2 tiles, and discard one of your tiles to the bottom of the deck. You will already have 2 tiles left in your hand at the end of your turns, so do not draw.
- Samurai: Place the samurai meeple adjacent to any tile on the table—no tiles may be placed there until the samurai is moved.
- Poet: Place the poet meeple on top of any landmark icon. That icon is ignored until the poet is moved again.
- Geisha: Play both of your tiles this turn, but only score for the second tile.
- Gardener: Place your tile on top of an existing tile this turn. You may not place a tile on top of the starting tile with the poet on it, or a tile that has already been stacked onto.
Placing a tile that shares one side of the matching landscape that is on the table. Choose one of the landmark symbols on your tile and take the shortest path back to the starter tile that contains one of each landmark. If there are two paths to take that is the same tile distance, the player chooses the path. Take the landmark token that you connected to the original tile, and for every Red Torii you pass through, collect another of that landmark token. Every Blue Torri you pass through, you gain any landmark token that does not match the landmark token you scored. The Blue Torii tokens can be the same or different.
Claiming Rewards- If you five or tokens of the same type, you must return them back to supply and take the larger five-point landmark token that matches your returned tokens. If you have five more of the same landmark tokens, return to supply and turn large token to show the ten points. Ten points are the most you can score per landmark. The additional tokens can be used to pay for the visitors.
Once a player has gained all the five-point large token they then gain the highest value Achievement piece. The first achieved is worth five points, and the second is worth three points. These must be earned by different players. Once you complete all the landmark tokens at the ten value, they gain the Achievement Ten marker, being the first to achieve worth five points and second worth three points.
If the player utilized a Character at the beginning of their turn, they now collect the two-point matching character marker. If you have already gained this token, the player flips it over to the four-point side. The first player to use a character for the third time gains the larger three-point Character piece.
If a player has placed a tile that encloses a path, they collect the Enclosure token. If you create a second encloser on a turn, flip the token over to the four-point side. The first player to enclose a path for the third time gains the Large Enclosure marker worth three points.
Players can gain as many rewards as they have earned in that turn.
Draw tile steps- draw a tile to bring your hand back to two tiles.
The end game is triggered when there are no tiles left to draw. Every player gets one more turn. Score your makers, and the highest points win. If there is a tie, the tiebreaker is decided by the number of small landmark tokens. If there is still a tie, the Large Achievement tile. The small landmark tokens and coins are worth zero at the end of the game.
Bits and Bobs
43 Tiles (including starting tiles
120 Landmark tokens (20 each of 6 types)
24 Large Landmark tokens (4 each of 6 types)
8 Coin tokens
20 Character tokens (4 each of 5 types)
4 Enclosure tokens
10 Achievement tokens:
2 “All 6 Scoring” Achievements
2 “Three 10 Scoring” Achievements
5 Character Achievements
1 Enclosure Achievement
Mechanics That Worked for Us
We fully utilized the Gardner and Poet meeples more than the other visitors. Towards the end of the game, acquiring enough tokens to pay the Gardener and Poet cost was a ploy that we recognized each other planning.
Grabbing the last large tokens before the opponent could be challenging and depending on the luck of tiles drawn.
Closing the paths is a simple way to snag some Journey Points.
Each game proved very different and had to adapt at the moment.
Last but not Least
We found One Hundred Torii a delightful game with plentiful choices that never led to a bad turn. Pairing the game with Traditional Japanese Music, Koto & Shakuhachi Lullaby, made the experience better than therapy!
Let’s be honest; there is still a bit of drama when we play.
Sit Down -Grab a Drink – Join the Game
The One Hundred Torii
Year Released: 2020
Designers: Eduardo Baraf and Scott Caputo
Artist: Vincent Dutrait
Publishers: Pencil First Games
Game Length: 45-60 minutes
Category: Abstract Strategy
Mechanisms: Set Collection, Tile Placement and Family