Fans of the 2016 game Kodama: The Tree Spirits (Indie Boards & Cards) will be thrilled by the incredibly tactile Kodama 3D edition.
In this game you help the Tree Spirits (Kodamas) to tend and grow their 3D trees by moving through them through the forest and picking up branches to add to your tree trunk. The size and layout of the grid of branch piles is determined by the number of players and is where most of the player interaction occurs. You move your Kodama meeple orthogonally or diagonally any distance in a straight line provided it is unobstructed; so other meeples will block your movement opportunities. You collect and add to your tree the tile at the top of the pile you move from, so you always need to plan ahead to collect the branches with the icons needed to score you points from your objective cards. Or of course you may move to scupper the point-scoring opportunities of opponents.
The game doesn’t end once you’ve acquired that perfect branch, however, as now the extra challenge of Kodama 3D kicks in: you have to add your branch to your 3D tree trunk without over balancing and causing your tree to become uprooted. Each branch is able to slot through the holes on the base of your tree trunk, and has a number of holes in which you can slot more branches, meaning your tree grows bigger as the game goes on. Tho' Kodama 3D isn't exactly a dexterity game, if your branch placement causes your tree to topple over then you have to place the branch elsewhere, which is likely to adversely affect your scoring.
While grappling with a leafy situation, you must always keep in mind the objective cards you start with and can pick up during the game. Goals range from having all your branches end with a certain colour, or having three branches with the same spirit icon in a row or collecting the most amount of mushroom icons or worm icons, so designers Daryl Andrews and Erica Bouyouris have built in ample scope for strategy in maximising your scoring.
Kodama 3D is a quick and easy-to-teach game that’s great for encouraging kids to think strategically while being entertaining for adults too. It benefits from the attractive art by Kwanchai Moriya, and the 3D aspect adds a challenging dynamic to the game without feeling like a gimmick, although the cardboard pieces are at risk of wear over time. Keeping track of your score during the game can get a bit challenging with lots of goal cards and a large tree, but all in all Kodama 3D is a bright easy-going game for all the family. Younger players will inevitably focus on their own tree but canny gamers will also keep a watchful eye on what other players are collecting and on what they can profitably deny them...
(Review by Claire Woodward)