Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.ZIPANG -Portable- is a quick little card game by Engine ID that’ll be hitting Kickstarter soon. It’s a precursor to a larger board game currently being developed by the company. It’s actually available now via The Game Crafter for those who want an early look at the game, similar to the experience I had with it.

ZIPANG plays a bit like Love Letter. There’s only a few cards, each of which has a special power. Unlike Love Letter, you can attack your fellow players to knock them out of a round. Of course there’s ways for them to defend themselves. The goal in the end is to have the most Mangoku Coins at the end of the game, which ends when one player is completely out of the coins.

e2e4c5e3c362f0dcae08d1eede05358e840371cfYou can see the full rules of the game here. These are the latest rules sent to me by the designer, but they are still a work in progress.

Gameplay is clever, the artwork is colorful and enthralling. There’s plenty of great card combos here, and lots of tough choices to make during play. Do you attack with a high powered card, or save that card in your hand to work as your defense? Do you play a great special power, or keep that card because it’s high Honor value might win you the round if the Emperor is played?

You can snag the early-release version of ZIPANG from The Game Crafter for $24. If you want to wait for the Kickstarter, a pledge of $19 will get you a copy of the game if the project is funded. If you want to go the print-and-play route there will also be a $5 pledge-level for that.

The kids and I really enjoyed this one. It’s quick, easy to learn, and has enough strategy to keep us coming back from more. I initially didn’t know what to expect from this one, and was pleasantly surprised with how good it really is.

A copy of ZIPANG -Portable- was provided free for review by Engine ID.

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