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Race to Edo

Project Overview

Race to Edo is a 2-3 player competitive board game where players use three unique types of pieces to battle it out to become the first to reach Edo, the capital of Japan during the Tokugawa Shogunate. 

Fun Fact: Edo is the old name for Tokyo!

Personal Project

Skills: Game Design, Rapid Prototyping, Playtesting, Theming

Table of Contents


Game Overview and Rules

Game Objective:

Be the first Daimyo to reach the Edo tile on the far right!


Eliminate all other players from the game!

The Board:

The board is made up of 12 tiles. The board is set up as shown above.


- Players roll a die to determine play order.

- Each player rolls a die, and moves one of their pieces towards the Edo tile based on the number rolled.

- If a player rolls a 6, they may choose one of the following options

           1. Activate one of your piece's special abilities

           2. Split 3 movement among any number of your pieces

- After each player takes their turn, the left-most tile moves to the left of the Gate tile, and every other tile to its left moves left one tile. The grey tiles should never move.

- Any pieces that were on the left-most tile at this time are eliminated from the game. 

- Pieces that are pushed off to the left of the board by abilities are eliminated from the game.

The Pieces:

There are three types of pieces in this game.

  1. The Daimyo​
    - Can activate other friendly pieces' abilities by landing on the same tile.
    - Can duel other Daimyo pieces
    to either advance or retreat one tile.
    - If a player's Daimyo piece is eliminated, the player is eliminated from the game.

  2. The Bow
    - Has the ability to knockback enemies 1 to 3 tiles to the left, based on your dice roll.
    - Primarily used to hinder or eliminate opponent pieces.

  3. The Ninja
    - The wildcard piece, the Ninja has a variety of abilities that range from providing extra movement and swapping locations of pieces, but an unlucky roll might set you back, or help out an opponent.
    - Designed as a piece that can help out a struggling player, and cause some fun mayhem in the process.

Special Board Tiles:

There are some tiles that have a special effect when pieces land on them.​

  1. The Post Station (Green)
    When a player's piece lands on the post station, they may move one of their pieces to its closest friendly piece.

  2. The Temple (Brown)
    - Pieces on the Temple tile may not be targeted by opponent abilities. Players may still target their own pieces on a Temple tile.

  3. The Monsoon (Blue)
    - All pieces must stop on monsoon tiles, regardless of what they rolled.

  4. The Gate (Grey)
    - All pieces must stop on the Gate tile, regardless of their roll. Players must roll a one to advance from the gate to the Edo tile.
    - The Gate tile never moves.

  5. Edo (Grey)
    - Players can win the game by moving their Daimyo to the Edo tile.
    - Pieces can only enter the Edo tile by rolling a 1. Movement caused by abilities do not count.
    - The Edo Tile never moves.


Prototyping, Playtesting, and Iterations

After coming up with the basic gameplay, I used Google Slides and Powerpoints to make mock-ups and prototypes. By attaching a script that simulated a 6 sided dice to my prototypes, I was able to hold remote playtests with a variety of testers to gather data and feedback. I conducted a total 27 playtests to inform my iteration and balancing process.

Prototype 1:

Made up of 11 tiles, the only special tiles were the post station and the monsoon. 

- Playtesting revealed that aggressive strategies centered around the bow's ability to knockback enemies were too powerful, so I decided to indirectly nerf the ability by introducing a new tile in the next prototype.

Prototype 2:

- Introduced a Temple/Shrine tile, which allowed players to shield their pieces from enemy abilities, helping balance the bow piece's power. The tile also helped introduce a more defensive playstyle, where players would keep their Daimyo piece on the Temple and focus on hindering other players with their other pieces to gain an advantage.

- Players gave feedback that they would like the games to go on a bit longer, and that whoever rolled high had too much of an advantage. Also, players reported that the current start positions made it too difficult to keep their pieces from fall off the left side of the board. Lastly, the ninja abilities were said to be too powerful.

Prototype 3:

- Introduced a Gate tile, which stopped players from being able to reach the goal too quickly

- Introduced a second Monsoon tile to further slow down player progression.

- Adjusted starting positions so players had more time to move their pieces forward before they were swept off to the left.

- Made the Temple tile the starting position, so players who had earlier turns could not eliminate later players with abilities before they could respond.

- Adjusted the ninja abilities so players had a 33% of rolling a negative effect, to balance out the high rewards the piece offered.

- Iterated the shape of each piece to make them visually distinct.

Final Prototype:

- Introduced colors to each special tile to make them visually distinct.

- Each tile was themed to go with a certain month of the year, and given illustrations and a Japanese poem from the Hyakunin-isshu poem collection to match the given season.


Piece Details


Tile Details

I hope you enjoyed your journey to Edo!

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