Years ago, I bought the original Yedo first edition from Pandasaurus and Eggertspiele. I didn’t get to play it much because my brother didn’t like how difficult the game was. I finally got to play more when we started playing with a regular group (which is just 3 of us most of the time). I loved it. It was well out of print by then, so I was glad to have kept my copy all that time. But after being out of print for years, it was finally getting a new edition. A deluxe, Kickstarter exclusive edition… Not being able to throw down almost $100 for the new edition, I was forced to skip it. But I did write a review of the original. During a reprint run, my friend, who also loves the game, decided to get a copy. With all of us finally vaccinated, we met back up and got it to the table.
He bought the full deluxe copy with all the bells and whistles. For the most part, everything looks great, but I don’t really like the neoprene playmats. They’re large with unused space in the corners. The normal player boards are also awful, with a lot of white space and almost no useful information. The old boards were also the player aid, but they’ve moved all that information to a separate sheet. So now the—very large—player boards just help keep pieces organized. That’s really it. Not only that, they put a nice picture of your clan headquarters on the board. But your annexes, the rooms you build in your HQ, which go onto your board, don’t go in the building! They just sit off in the white space on the side… My friend also has multiple complaints regarding the insert.
Anyway, most of the components are great. They’re very over-the-top in production value, which makes the game expensive, but they are nice. For me, though, the graphic design and artwork take center stage. It’s a great-looking game. I love the way the game looks.
For our first game of deluxe, we didn’t want to go overboard on modules or messing with the decks, so we did the basic setup but added the Tea House and Clan Powers. The Tea House is easily one of the best things they added to the game, as it gives you something to use your workers on if they don’t have anything useful to do on the board. And their powers are really fun. We even had some competition going for characters at times. Great module. The Clan Powers were okay. They felt more minor compared to the Tea House. We’ll probably try the Specialists next time.
My start was the Clan Power “The Duplicitous.” Since we weren’t using specialists, I got an extra worker at the start and +3 Mon. The extra worker was nice to have for sure. But during the game, there were TONS of cards that made it cheap to get another worker, most of which we couldn’t use because we had all our workers by the time they came up. And only some of them had an effect for if you had your workers. My starting Character was the guy that lets you draw 3 Missions and keep 1 (forgot his name). So after completing my first mission, I was able to go digging for another one right away.
I like the bonus cards, and they’ve helped me win in the past, so I always make sure to grab two early and work towards them. My first two I drew, both very early, were the ones shown above. I almost tossed the Warfare one because I only had 1 Warfare completed for a while. Somehow, I ended up completing so many Kidnapping missions that I could have completed my bonus card twice over. There were multiple times after already pointing out how many people I’ve kidnapped, that I went to draw a new mission and drew yet another Kidnapping mission. Word had gotten around, and everyone was coming to me for their kidnapping! I kidnapped multiple daughters, at least one son, and we never killed anyone. I drew a bonus card late-game that would have given me 6 points for completing one of each mission type, but I had never done an Assassination. By the end, two of us had completed Black missions, and in both cases, we drew ones that we had most of the assets for.
Both of my opponents made use of the Banker character to make extra cash, but my brother was just trying to hoard money because he had a bonus card that rewarded points for having the most money. Problem was, he wasn’t really spending money on things like annexes or new weapons, so he was more limited in his missions. In the end, I completed 3 missions in the final round, making more money than him, so he ended up swapping out that card for another. His other bonus card rewarded him points for completed green missions (the easiest), so he emptied the green mission deck. But I think both of those goals prevented him from pursuing more rewarding missions. He scored quite a bit lower than my friend and me.
Our final scores above, red (me) and blue both passed 50. Ignore the Watchmen. We forgot to remove him in the final round, but the most it affected was that I used my Blackmail card, which I was refunded when we noticed the mistake. There may have been a couple of times we didn’t get our points for building annexes, but otherwise, I don’t think we made any major errors; we’ve played before a few times, so most of the game was familiar.
I really like the new cards. The new actions are way more interesting and valuable than the old ones. The bonus cards have also been improved. And I like how customizable the decks are. You can make the game play however you want.
The rules are a disaster, unfortunately. Even the errata/FAQ has errors in it. And there are still clarifications missing. The original rules weren’t this bad. What happened? The rules aren’t even organized well, it’s horrible trying to look something up during play. You have to guess which section to find a rule, and at least half the time, it won’t be there. Combine this with several production decisions I strongly disagree with, if at all possible, I am avoiding Board & Dice in the future. I hope that someday the designers are able to take Yedo to a good publisher.
The game itself is great.