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  • Writer's pictureNoelle Brandmier


Tokaido is one of my favortie board games of all time. The design is beautiful, the theme is wistful, and the gameplay is a lovely blend of strategic and relaxing. I first saw this game at my board game store years ago. I knew nothing about it but the box design was just so eye-catching. I was shopping for a birthday present for my friend, and I thought, "Well this is beautiful! I don't know what it plays like but I know she'll love the art." So I bought the game, and brought it to my friend's house. We proceeded to play the game, and I fell instantly in love. For a while I would request game nights just so that I could play Tokaido again. We joked about me stealing the game back from her (which I think we both knew was semi-serious as well), but eventually I just bought my own copy. Tokaido is a game about traveling along this stunning road of Japan. You stop at inns for dinner, collect souvenirs, visit spas, encounter other travelers, visit temples, and collect paintings of the beautiful sights you see. All of these things that you do during your "vacation" add up to points at the end of the game. Now since Tokaido is a busy tourist spot, you'll be competing with fellow travelers to get to the hot spots. This is where strategy comes in. Maybe you really want that last piece of the painting, but is it more important to block your opponent from getting more souvenirs? For my birthday, I received the collector's accessory pack which includes metal coins and adorable little miniatures of all the characters you can play as. I am so excited to get some free time and sit down to paint those sweet little miniatures. I could go on and on about the wonderful illustrations and pieces in this game.

I've been wanting to make a wine pairing for Tokaido for a while, and I knew that I'd like it to be either a sake or a plum wine. For a long time I flinched at sake. It was usually quite strong and I felt like it wasn't an easy alcohol for me to imbibe in. I've recently learned that I just had to try something other than house sake, and I'm glad to say that I've found a wonderfully new interest in rice wine. Additionally, I was introduced to nigori sake and happily blown away. Nigori sake is much sweeter than regular sake, and it is (in my opinion) very easy and delightful to drink! So I did my research, and found Hakutsuru's Sayuri Nigori. I love Hakutsuru's description for this nirgori: "SAYURI means "a little lily", which reminds us of the delicate image of Japanese culture." I felt that sentence went perfectly with this board game's theme. Foral notes, light fruity flavors (like pear and peach), and a soft creamy palate. I love Tokaido and Sayuri together. I really feel like they make a complete immersive experience when paired together. I've never been to Japan but I'd like to think this pairing is evocative of the trip I could someday take. Please try these two together, and let me know what you think! Oh, and happy international tabletop day!


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