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Gaido - A simple game of traveling through Medieval Japan - feedback most welcome!

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trollitc's picture
Joined: 08/02/2012

Gaido is a simple 2-4 player set collection game with a literal twist.

The print and play file is available as a PDF (9 Pages) and I'd love some feedback. The game consists of 20 cards and 24 tokens (I use pennies). It's played over three rounds with diminishing resources.

I've posted the rules below.


Medieval Japan has so much to offer in the way of scenery! Mountains, quaint villages, hidden shrines and more. The real treasures however are those that jump and fly - the rare brown squirrels, cranes, egrets and eagles who make their homes in remote locations. These hard to find creatures are the ultimate destination of any tour of the countryside.

In Gaido, players take on the role of guides and travelers journeying through the countryside of medieval Japan. Guide duties are shared, with each player taking the responsibility for one day of their journey. The guide directs the group of players through the Japanese landscape, to their journey’s end. Only the current guide can decide when a journey is over.

There are four animals the group are trying to spot. Squirrels, cranes, egrets and eagles. These animals are found in four different locations. On the play table, players will create four stacks of cards, called Journeys. These stacks represent the different paths to the four animals.

Every Journey card has a series of arrows on it which indicates how many points each player will receive when that stack is scored. Cards can be played facing any direction. There are sixteen Journey cards.

There are also four Journey’s End cards which, when played on one of the four journeys will immediately end that journey and score that stack of cards.


There are a total of 16 landscape cards, and 4 Journey’s End cards, represented by different animals. There are also 24 tokens.

To start the game, shuffle all 20 cards. Each player draws 3 cards to form their starting hand. Any leftover cards are placed within easy reach of all players as the Draw Pile. Place all 24 tokens within easy reach as well.


This game is played over three rounds.

The player who most recently went on a long journey starts the first round.

One each player’s turn, they draw one card, and then they must either play one card into one of four stacks, or discard one card into the discard pile.

There are four different Journey cards. These are played on the table in four stacks, called Journeys. One stack for each different landscape. They may be played facing any direction.

Cards have numbers of arrows in this order, from Bottom (pointing down), Left, Right, Top.


The number of arrows are the number of points earned by the players they point at when a Journey stack is scored. If playing with less than four people, ignore arrows that do not point to a player.

At the start of the game you will want to play a Journey card with the largest number of arrows facing you. You may wish to change this however as the game progresses and the timing of scoring becomes more of a factor.

You may only place a Journey card on top of another Journey card if they feature the same landscape, and if you can place the card so that there are more arrows pointing to you than there are in the card you are covering on the stack.

If you have a Journey’s End card in your hand, you may also play this next to any of the four Journey stacks, as long as at least one landscape card is already in that stack.

As soon as you play a Journey’s End card next to a stack, no other Landscape cards of that type may be played on that stack and the stack is scored before play moves on to the next player.


To score a Journey stack, the player who played the Journey’s End card then rotate the top card on that Journey stack 90* to the left or right.

Starting with the lowest number of arrows, each player takes a number of tokens equal to the number of arrows pointing at them.

That Journey may no longer be played in this round. If a player has or draws a card of that Journey, they may keep it in their hands or they may choose as their action to discard it. You may only discard Journey cards, and then only if that Journey has come to an end.

The round ends in one of two ways. Either when all 4 of the Journey’s End cards have been played, or as soon as the last token has been taken.

Each player counts up their tokens. The player with the most tokens is the winner of that round and is declared the Gaido (guide). If there is a tie, each player with the highest number of tokens is declared a Gaido.

Each time a player is declared a Gaido, they take one token from the pile and set it aside. This is their reward.


At the end of three rounds, after all Gaido have been declared and they have claimed their tokens, each player totals up their rewards. The player(s) with the highest rewards wins.

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