Every Wednesday, I talk about one of the games I’m currently playing, and this week’s game is one that sees the table quite a bit – Kodama The Tree Spirits by Action Phase Games.
This is a great small box card game that is light enough for casual gamers and kids to learn pretty quickly, yet has enough depth for more hardcore gamers to pick up and play when they need something cute and fun to fill up some time while a bigger game gets set up or torn down.
Kodama is basically a tile placement game, with the cards serving as tiles that can be arranged organically, so that each player grows their own tree. The cards have several different features on the branches — fireflies, stars, mushrooms, flowers, worms, and clouds — that must be chained together in order to score points. Players take turns drafting a card from a central supply, in an effort to chain together the best combinations of features for their own tree, while simultaneously blocking opponents from picking cards with the features that they need.
As the game progresses, the trees start to look really cool, and it becomes apparent how beautiful this game really is. The artwork is quite lovely, and the titular kodama themselves are downright adorable. The kodama–those cute little guys from Japanese mythology that many gamers might remember from the Miyazaki film, Princess Mononoke–are used to score bonus points at the end of each “season” – spring, summer, and fall. Players start with four different kodama, and must choose one to live in their tree at the end of the season. This is where the more long-term strategic element comes into play. Do you keep growing your tree to chain together flowers? Or do you make a branch with lots of different features on it, because you have a kodama who likes that sort of thing?
I can’t help but smile every time I open the box to this game and start sorting through the cards. The cut-out design style and the cute tree spirits never disappoint.
What are some of your favorite light card games? I’d love to hear what you’re playing!
Until next time, gang. Keep it plucky,