What’s not to like about running around as cyber-samurai and slicing up demons and the other factions claiming your stake of the world.
Theme and What is it?
We choose to go to the moon in this decade not because it’s in space but because it’s landed here on earth and is full of oni. Tsukuyumi: Full Moon Down is an asymmetrical faction area control game. The moon has crashed onto the planet and it housed the Japanese demons known as oni, and players not only fight for control of the board from the oni but also from each other. With 5 different factions to choose from all with varying amounts of soldiers and abilities there’s a theme for a lot of different people to get behind.
The overall mechanic is area control, and the turn progression is really special on accomplishing
this goal. There are 4 rounds each broken into 4 phases and the actions each player takes is
decided by an action card from a hand they are dealt, but the added razzle-dazzle comes from the
fact you pass the unchosen cards to your left and in a 4 player game are never going to chose
from that hand again.
Your combat actions have a balancing counter attack options for the defending players so be careful of what you choose to do. The simple version is just place units, move units, and conquer but with all of the abilities of each faction and the oni there are so many nuances that make this game brilliant.
Opening the box and seeing a ton of pieces and 2 rulebooks makes the game look intimidating at first,
but don’t let that scare you off. The first rulebook gets you started and the second one is more like a glossary of how each faction works and the 2 book system probably made understanding the interactions easier than if it were just in one. With a race of Australian sized bugs, an army of angry Wilburs, and even robo-samurais, I was over the moon with excitement to see how this was going to play out.
Game Build Quality
The quality of the game in one word, sturdy. Thick cardboard standees, solid gameboard, and the
cards feel well being shuffled. That being said the stands for the standees are just a hair too
narrow and makes for too tight a fit for the standees. The cardboard has a tendency to curl up a tiny bit.
There is mention of it on the King Racoon website for solutions to this and the newer version
comes with minis.
The art goes in one direction—comics, and like the moon they crushed it. The second half of the codex rulebook was also just short comics of each of the factions. Each group of pieces has their own individual artwork, 5 different factions with 5 different themes, even the plain nothing special tiles have uniqueness about them.
Once you get past the daunting learn time, which for my group was about an hour and we stumbled through the first round the game speed picked up and we found ourselves more enthralled with the game instead of figuring out what we were supposed to be doing. If the game allows you to get lost in the theme and feel like you own the faction you chose, it’s a win in my book and makes the game really enjoyable.
Age Range & Weight
It is recommended at 14+ which with someone to teach the game and show how the mechanics
all function is fair but straight out of the box with 3-5 14-year olds and an instruction book it
could be a struggle to get started. In our personal playthrough, we struggled a tiny bit with making decisions because we didn’t know what the other factions could do. It’s very upfront heavy but past that hurdle it’s very easy for a 14-year old to play.
What’s not to like about running around as cyber-samurai and slicing up demons and the other factions claiming your stake of the world. With a game with asymmetrical players it can be hard to balance, and I feel like one faction wasn’t dominate over the others. If area control and battle games are your type of thing then hopefully this one lands on your table.
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