What's Eric Playing?

#179 – Kobayakawa

Base price: $22. (Less for the Iello version.)
3 – 6 players.
Play time: ~15 minutes.
BGG Link
Buy on Amazon (via What’s Eric Playing?) (Iello version)
Logged plays: 3

Another Oink game! I’ve already reviewed a bunch, so let’s add another one to the pile. This was one of the many Oink games I picked up at Gen Con, so, excited to get this one reviewed.

In Kobayakawa, you play as warring clans vying to control the land via your wealth, influence, and strength (I guess). That said, being strong isn’t enough, as the powerful Kobayakawa may seek to thwart you even if you are the strongest. Will you be able to outsmart them and take control?

Contents

Setup

There’s almost nothing in this box. You’ve got the medals:

Give each player four. Now, shuffle the cards:

Flip one face-up and give one to the other players.

You’re ready to start!

Gameplay

If you thought that was easy, just wait until you play the game. On your turn you have two options:

That’s pretty much it. Once every player has taken a turn, you decide — do you want to fight, or stay out of this one?

Now for the fight! Every player reveals their cards:

Now, normally the player with the highest card wins. However, the Kobayakawa always favor the underdog, so they’ll add the card in the center to the lowest card played. That means in this case the 1 gets a +10, so it’s actually … 11! That’s still not higher than 13, so, the 13’s owner wins and gets all medals bet and one from the center. Ironically, if 1 hadn’t participated, then the 5 would have gotten the bonus and 15 > 13, so they would have won.

The player who won starts the next round. Play until you have two medals left in the center. This starts the final round — in this round, everyone must bet two medals to fight. If you don’t have two medals, you may bet your one medal. If at any point during the game you run out of medals, you’re out of the game. Be careful!

Once the game has ended, the player with the most medals wins!

Player Count Differences

Honestly, the only place I have a problem with this game is at three players. There aren’t quite enough players to prevent one player getting enough medals that nobody can catch up with them, and that makes the game kind of moot. That said, at higher player counts (6) you end up with a final round that usually, whoever wins, wins. That makes the rest of the game kind of feel irrelevant, which can be a bit frustrating. I’d stick to this game at 4 or 5.

Strategy

Pros, Mehs, and Cons

Pros

Mehs

Cons

Overall: 7 / 10

Overall, Kobayakawa is pretty solid! I think as far as light bluffing games I probably prefer things like Cake Duel, but I don’t think this is a bad game to pack with you if you are playing with more people than the two that Cake Duel allows for! It’s short, light, and easy to play, and it’s pretty fun! I’d say it falls well within the bandwidth of the Oink Games line, and if you’re looking to add it to your collection, it’s not a bad pick!