Shopping and building: Tori preview

Designer Kimmo Sorsamo sent me a copy of his latest game Tori. I still haven’t tried his previous game, Epäillyt, which is a murder mystery in 1930’s Helsinki. Let’s just say that one didn’t get a very good reception among board game hobbyists and I doubt I could convince my friends to give it a go anymore. Well, it’s a family game and probably works well as one.

ToriAnyway, I was talking about Tori… Tori will get better response from gamers, as it’s definitely more of a thinking game. Players try to succeed on the Helsinki Kauppatori market place during the Summer Olympics of 1952, building different kinds of market stalls, attracting customers to them and expanding the stalls.

Points are scored by having bigger stalls in each colour, building in many different colours and by fulfilling secret goal cards, which require building certain colours of stalls and building in certain areas. Building requires building cards (drafted and drawn, Alan Moon style) and product cards, which are collected with the help of customers.

Customers match the colours of the stalls. Get a customer on the same-colour stall and you’ll get as many product cards as you have tiles in your stall. The customer changes colour immediately (as his needs have changed) and now is a nuisance, blocking your stall from future customers. If your stall isn’t the closest stall in correct colour, attracting the customer requires spending building cards.

It’s a tricky business, particularly as you have a hand limit of eight cards. That’s what makes things complicated, otherwise you’d just collect and collect and bang, build everything. With eight cards, you need to focus, as extending a large stall can require 4-5 product cards and one building card and you need more cards to get to the position where you can build.

Then there’s the spatial aspect of tile-laying. There’s blocking, as like colours can’t touch each other. There’s a also a rule that prevents creating isolated spots on the market place. Things are fairly tricky and the game really requires thought and planning — but fortunately not too much, it’ll still play in about 60 minutes and probably without too much analysis paralysis.

I thought this was pretty cool and Johanna liked the game as well. With two players, space on board isn’t really an issue, things will probably be a bit more heated with more players. I managed to actually avoid my bonus cards and when Johanna snagged the high-scoring red bonus card from me and forced the game to end, the victory was clear: she won 16-11 (this is a very low-scoring game in general). The game took just 45 minutes, which was pleasantly brisk.

I’ll definitely play again and am curious to see how this works with three or four players. The game mechanics are interesting, the customers particularly work in an interesting way.

Market place stalls
Different market place stalls. Those with round stubs are players' initial tiles, other are expansion tiles.

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2 responses to “Shopping and building: Tori preview”

  1. Yes, it’s completely language-independent. Sorsamo is enough of a businessman to think about foreign release from the beginning.