Stepping Up to Yokohama: A Duel of a Solo Experience

Jun 1, 2024 | Sessions | 0 comments

Plan careful routes throughout the city to gain bonuses and make a living as an expert merchant in Yokohama.

There was probably no guesswork when it came to what I would play after Yokohama Duel… Time to go back to the original Yokohama and check out an unofficial solo variant for it! I was excited to be able to compare the pair and see if I had a favorite between them. My merchant skills were turning me into a master of the import / export trade. Ha ha!

Game Overview

Game Name: Yokohama
Publication Year:
2016
Designer:

Artists:
Adam P. McIver & Ryo Nyamo
Publishers: OKAZU Brand & Tasty Minstrel Games
Solo Mode: Unofficial Solo Variant

Workers pave the way for connected paths between areas, while a mercantile president travels to take actions. Shops and trading houses pop up to add to the overall power, yet it is an intricate game of finding the right balance. With a lot of variety in the setup process, the city is always busy!

Appreciating the Busy but Clear Design of the Components in Yokohama
R

First Play

May 31, 2024

Complexity

3

Latest Play

May 31, 2024

Expansions

0

Setup Time

10 Minutes

Lifetime Plays

2

Play Time

50 Minutes

:

High Score

168

1

Game Area

34" x 26"

;

Low Score

105

Uncluttered Play Space

As I started the setup process, I thought this was going to be an overwhelming area. With randomized tiles and cards, plus modular boards, it looked like so much.

However, although this isn’t necessarily a tiny play area, it conveys all of the important information pretty easily.

Never did I feel lost about finding a specific space, and the rulebook was only needed for some small clarifications.

I was a bit spoiled by Yokohama Duel, though, as the setup process here felt lengthy with shuffled tiles, cards, and tokens. So much! Luckily, it flowed well during gameplay.

A Place for Nearly Everything in the Randomized Setup for Yokohama

Unlocking More

Rather than directly paying to place buildings, this was a stepped process of paying to unlock each one from the warehouse. Clever! This also worked pretty nicely overall.

I enjoyed the tough choice of how to place workers. I could either place 2 on a specific location, or 1 on 3 different locations. My president needed clear paths to move!

Plotting those routes was interesting, too. The best areas weren’t always right next to each other.

Figuring out the ideal power level was also tricky, as it sometimes made sense to wait before visiting locations.

A Neat Way of Unlocking Buildings and Workers in Yokohama

Charming Meeples

One of the rare tasks assigned to me is the application of stickers… Which isn’t found in a lot of games! This copy hadn’t been touched, so I had fun with some stickers.

The president meeples are all very unique in this way, and seem to have a very charming appearance!

I had a lot of appreciation for the game itself, but the solo variant left so many ambiguities and questions.

Additionally, I didn’t like the constant rolling to see if something happened at the 10 locations. I enjoy a blocking solo opponent, but not one that requires a lot of work.

All Sorts of Meeple Personality and Neat Decisions to Make in Yokohama

Failure to Score Well

My turns were interesting and challenging, since I often wanted to do a lot at once… But sometimes didn’t have the workers to pull off what I wanted to! Very interesting.

Yet I didn’t feel like the solo variant did what I wanted it to do. The solo opponent’s president moved haphazardly, and I had to guess what to do during half of the turns.

There is definitely an excellent game here, but I’m more drawn to Yokohama Duel for a solo experience.

Although it’s different, it streamlines a lot of the setup and work to get to the core mechanics… And fun!

Enjoying a Game and Not an Unofficial Solo Variant for Yokohama

Is It Always About Playing Favorites in a Family?

Game families, or related board games from the same publisher with similar mechanics and settings, have a wide range of definitions and sizes. In this case, this is about the tiniest family possible that I own… Yokohama and Yokohama Duel! There are others, yet this is the pair that I found myself playing and comparing over the last week or so.

In short, I sometimes find myself loving everything in a game family. But most don’t feature slight differences, so loving one game doesn’t mean the entire family is going to be an excellent choice for me. Still, this does mean I tend to lean into favorites. And in this case, I was kind of surprised that the original didn’t win me over as much.

Likely, it’s due to the differences in the unofficial solo variants. I still enjoy the streamlined gameplay of Yokohama Duel a lot more, especially for a solo experience. It will be easier to get to my table and quicker to set up, while offering meaningful decisions that don’t diminish those from Yokohama. So… Yep. I’m playing favorites with this family. Ha!

Session Overview

Play Number: 1 & 2
Solo Mode: Unofficial Solo Variant
Outcome: 105, 168 (1 Win & 1 Loss)

My second play went a little smoother, mostly owing to the learning process. I made a lot of better decisions! The solo opponent still acted haphazardly, and I was tired of rolling dice for random actions very quickly. Yet I had a decent amount of fun, and can see the appeal of this one as a multiplayer experience! It was neat to start chaining my technology cards together so I could find ways to move ahead. Plus, I just loved the look of the play area!

Celebrating the Awesome Synergies and Neat Technology Cards in Yokohama

%

1 Play

Affordability

Price & Value

7

Functionality

Challenges & Mechanics

7

Originality

Design & Theme

6

Quality

Components & Rules

9

Reusability

Achievement & Enjoyment

7

Variability

Distinctness & Randomness

5

+ Pros (Positives)

  • Placing workers to plot routes throughout the locations is interesting and offers up many thoughtful choices.
  • The randomized setup may take some time, but ensures that there is never an overpowered location or region.
  • Technology cards can offer up some very interesting abilities that help out in situations, and can work together.
  • Managing unlocked workers or buildings from the warehouse is very strategic and takes some careful planning.
  • Although there are a lot of moving parts, the complexity level isn’t too high and gameplay flows very smoothly.
  • For the large appearance of the play space, it is very organized with important information available at a glance.

– Cons (Negatives)

  • There are a lot of ambiguities and omitted situations from this unofficial solo variant, making it rather confusing.
  • Setup takes a fair amount of time with all of the randomized elements, which may not feel totally unique.
  • Very rarely does it feel like movement is restricted, and it seems like a minimum of 3 presidents should be in play.
  • It can be easy to forget to perform the additional actions, like using a foreign agent or claiming an achievement.

More Yokohama

Explore related posts about Yokohama!

Victory Conditions

Score 160+ Points

  • Overall Goal Progress 100% 100%

Goals and Milestones

R

Score at least 160 points.

Continue the Conversation

What do you think of Yokohama? Do you have a favorite in this family of games? The solo experience may not have worked out for me, but I hope this is a helpful example of discovering a great experience. I can’t remember the last time I played, and now I’m hoping my husband will play this with me at some point soon. A very happy ending for this one!

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