Sing Your Way To Second Place In Shikoku

November 6, 2018 by cassn

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Shikoku is the smallest of the four main islands of Japan and famous for its 88 Buddhist temples pilgrimage. It is said people have a year of misfortune and woes — at the age of 42 for men and 33 for women — so to be cured and avoid bad luck, pilgrims of those ages attend the temple 23 called Yakuōji and place of the Buddha of healing, Yakushi Nyorai. In every step, pilgrims leave a coin while singing the Yakushi mantra, which favors them with spiritual healing and prevents misfortune.


In Shikoku, players are pilgrims travelling up the 33 steps of the temple Yakuōji. However, players must neither aim to be first or last, but rather arrive at the temple doors in a middle position. Each round, players decide how quickly they want to sing their mantra, and both the fastest and slowest player will climb steps towards the temple.


The order which speed is decided next round is then determined based on the results from the previous round. For example, the player who picked the highest speed in the last round is the last to go in the next round. Once the first player has reached the 33rd step of the temple, the game ends and the winners are the players in 2nd and next-to-last place!


Shikoku is one of those games which is easy to learn and difficult to master. I love the narrative concept of this game and the aesthetic design, and it was pretty popular when it released at Essen Spiel earlier this year. Interested pilgrims can purchase the game here.

What do you think of a "second-place" game mechanic? Let us know your thoughts!

"We love the narrative concept of this game and the aesthetic design!"

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