Kodama Forest is a tile-laying game which reminded me of Tetris if Tetris was slower, duller and pointless.
Before I continue you need to know that I received Kodama Forest for free but as regular readers of my reviews will know, that doesn’t matter to me and I will tell you what I think regardless.
Before I do that let me explain how the game works.
Players take two paper gameboards and place them between the players on either side of themselves. Then you put back the extra sheets you have taken because you couldn’t work out what you were supposed to do.
Then you create three pools of tokens for Pandas, Frogs and Butterflies and build a frame around each player board.
Each player then draws three tiles from the bag containing them and you are ready to play Kodama Forest.
You talk with your neighbour and play a tile to the gameboard on your left attempting to cover as much space as possible whilst avoiding the Kodamas’ that live on the blue spaces amongst the dirt.
Once done each player then works with the player to their right to place a second tile on their neighbour’s gameboard trying again to cover as much space as possible.
If you complete a flower, bamboo or pond you then place the relative token into a free spot, Panda for Bamboo, Frog for completing a pond and a Butterfly for completing a Flower.
You then draw two new tiles from the game bag and repeat until one board has covered all the 5s and 10s printed on their mat.
When this is done everyone adds up the uncovered 10s, 5s and blank spaces on the boards to your left and right and that is your score. The player with the lowest score is the winner.
Kodama Forest in practice
Kodama Forest then is about negotiating with a partner to cover as much space as possible so that you score as low as possible.
My main issue with Kodama Forest is that it’s shit.
I have never played a game that felt as pointless as Kodama Forest and I have spent time playing hide and seek with a three-year-old who hid in the same space for months.
If you are over 8 filling the board is a simple process, there is rarely ever a time when you will be stuck so whoever gets the attention of their partners first wins.
I have played around 9 games of Kodama Forest but simply because I was due to write a review of it. I was struggling to get through those matches and I couldn’t wait to tell you to avoid this game if you have hair on your balls.
The game mechanics have been done a million times, from the quality of the thin, papery and bland player board to the irritating and ill-fitting frames that were so terrible we stopped using them, there are no redeeming features that I can take away from Kodama Forest.
I think if you have read this review of Kodama Forest you will know roughly what I am going to tell you but for those of you who jump straight to the summary I will spell it out again.
Kodama Forest is singly the worst board game I have ever had the misfortune to play. It’s boring, made of the cheapest components despite the £34.99 RRP and I think the publishers Indie Boards and Cards should be ashamed.
Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig from Stonemaier Games is comparable in some ways to Kodama Forest but that is like saying a Bugatti Veyron is comparable to a Smart Car because they are both cars.
So I do not recommend Kodama Forest, I will say again that this game is shit, avoid it. Now, I am going to take my copy into the garden and spit on it.
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