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Iki : A Game of EDO Artisans is a strategy board game themed by the trade culture of Edo Period Japan. The setting of Nihonbashi was, at the time, Edo's most populated area of trade.

The main street held a variety of shops, such as rice dealers and tobacco shops, drawing in a bustle of customers. Fresh fish were caught on boat by the dozen, and sold in high spirit voices bustling through the air. At the back of the street were craftsmen and peddlers, living in the houses called Nagaya. They would support the city of Edo with their unique skill of trade.

It is said that Edo held 700-800 different kinds of professions. Within this game are cards featuring carpenters and tatami makers, food peddlers and food shops, geishas and kabuki actors, and other odd occupations.

The game board is based off of the Kidai Shoran, a precious picture scroll of the age. Looking down, we see a bird's-eye view of the beautiful city of Edo, stretching a full width of 12 meters.

With the delicately crafted illustrations of the 1600 townspeople shopping through the 90 shops, the liveliness of this era is nothing short of captivating.


  • Game board
  • 56 occupation cards
  • 6 construction cards
  • 4 Oyakata (Boss) meeples
  • 16 Kobun (Townspeople) meeples
  • 4 cylinders
  • 13 marker discs
  • 15 octagons: lumber
  • 24 hexagons: rice bales
  • 50 money tokens (32 One-Mon coins,
  • 18 Four-Mon coins)
  • 8 oval gold coin (Koban) tokens
  • 20 sandal tokens
  • 8 fish tokens (2 Spring, 2 Summer,
  • 2 Autumn, 2 Winter)
  • 4 pipe tokens
  • 4 tobacco pouch tokens
  • 4 fire tiles
  • Rule Book

Object of the Game

The purpose of the game is to survive through the course of a full year, aiming to be the top in capturing the Edo spirit. Players will take the services of a wide variety of shops and craftsmen in order to make money and food.

The one who wins is the one who has the most IKI, an ancient philosophy, believed to be the ideal way of life among people in Edo. Knowing the subtleties of human nature, being refined and attractive.

These are all elements of a true IKI master. (In the case of a tie, the one who has most firefighter power is the winner. If it is still a tie, the one whose firefighter marker is higher is the winner).

A great thanks is given to Mr. Mitani Kazuma known as a researcher of Edo culture and Japanese painting artist for providing the concept of IKI: A Game of EDO Artisans.


The person who has the best craftsmanship will be the starting player. Move clockwise. From February, the game will start from the player with the most firefighter power. Each player will decide their color.

Place each player's disc marker to 0. Place the black disc marker on January of the calendar. A single round is a single month. The game is composed of 13 rounds, 12 months plus the New Year.

In accordance to the lunar calendar, Spring is Jan-March, Summer is April-June, Autumn is July-Sept, and Winter is Oct-Dec. At the ends of May, August, and November, a fire will occur. At the end of a season (March, June, September, December), a closing will occur.

All cards are divided into types, depending on the back label. There will be the Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter cards, the 4 starting cards, and in addition, a total of 6 construction cards.

The 4 starting cards will later be explained. Shuffle the 4 season cards and make each stack face down, placing them in order of season. Place the 6 construction cards face up on the side of the board. Shuffle the fire tiles and make a stack face down, placing them on the side of the board.

Lastly, place four cards from the spring stack face up on the side of the board.

The salt peddler, boiled egg peddler, cotton peddler, and eyeglass peddler are the starting occupations. First, the player with the last order chooses one from the four cards.

The player then chooses one of the outer houses in any nagaya as shown on the board, and places the card there. The player places his/her townspeople meeple under the lower left of the card on the board.

Next, the player with the second to last order, then third to last order, do the same thing. The last one will be the starting player. If the players are less than four people, exclude the rest of cards from the game.

Place each player's disc marker to 0. From there, the pile order will be of importance. The starting player being top, pile the disc clockwise from above. In the Firefighter Track, the player's order at Phase 1 is shown, as well as their firefighter power.

During the game, when you gain one firefighter power, move the marker to the right one space immediately. If more than one player gets the same amount of points, the player who gets the same points later will place the disc on top. If one player who has already 10 points gets a fighfighter power, just put the disc on top.

Place each player's cylinder marker on the designated spot. In the Way of Life Track, you'll decide the order and number of movements in Phase 2. For two or three player games, only squares 1-4 on the Way of Life Track should be used.

You will start with 4 Kobun meeples of your color, 1 sandal token, 1 rice bale, 1 four mon coin, and 4 one mon coins.

There are 8 squares on the main street. The Oyakata meeple starts from the starting point and moves counterclockwise along the squares. The Oyakata meeple makes deals at the shops in the front and does business with the townspeople living in the nagaya in the back.

You will place each token face up on the designated spot. At the tobacco shop, pile the pipes and tobacco pouches each in the order of color. From the top, grey, light yellow, orange, and purple. At the fish market, place two spring fish tokens.

There is one shop per square. There are eight shops in total, each offering a different action.

There are four nagaya bounded each by the main street. One nagaya is composed of four houses, housing four townspeople. Four houses in one nagaya form one group. (This affects the closing time). Furthermore, two houses standing side by side correspond to one shop. Four houses at each corner with a different color form a new one group. To move in a corner house, you require two mon coins.

Place the rest of coins, sandals, rice bales, koban, and lumber next to the board for the magistrate's office (bank). Place each player's Oyakata-meeple on the starting point at the center of the board.

Game Play

One round is composed of two phases. The first phase is the Way of Life phase, while the second is the action phase. You may move on to the second phase once all players finish with the first.

Phase 1: The Way of Life Phase

In the Way of Life phase, you will decide the order of players in the action phase and moving distance at the same time.

In January, the order is from the starting player clockwise. From February, it will go chronologically from the player with most firefighter power.

If more than two players have the same firefighter power, the player who has the disc higher will play first.

From the starting player, players will place cylinders with their colors on one of the five options on the Way of Lifetrack.(When theplayers are

less than four, do not use the leftmost square). The number indicates the order in the second phase and the moving distance. Only one player can place the cylinder on one square. The next player place the cylinder on one of the left options.

The player who chooses the leftmost square must skip the action A, that is, no income, no hiring. He/She can move up any squares (1 thru 4) in the moving action. (Sandal tokens may be added). The order of the player must be the first at Phase 2.

Phase 2: Action Phase (A->B)

The order is from the left to the right on the Way of Life track. The player who places the cylinder on the leftmost of the track plays first.

Choose one of two actions, Hiring or Income, and move the player's Oyakata meeple continuously.

After moving the Oyakata meeple, the player who places the cylinder marker the second leftmost of the track starts playing.

A. Hiring or Income

Choose either Hiring or Income:

  • Hiring: You may hire one of the face up occupation cards, and pay the cost to the bank. You may also get the coins on the card you hire. You cannot only get the coins and abandon the card.

    Exameple: In March. Hiroshige decides to hire a book lender. There are already two mon coins on the card.

    Hiroshige does not have any mon at that point, but he gets two mon and uses one to hire the book lender.

    Place the card you bought to the empty house immediately, as well as your townspeople meeple. You need two extra mon to place the card on the corner houses of nagaya.

  • Income: Receive four mons from bank.

B. Moving the Oyakata Meeple and Making a Deal

Moving: Make a business deal after moving your Oyakata-meeple. There are 8 squares in the main street and the Oyakata meeple should move counterclockwise. The starting point is located in the outer square.

Move your Oyakata meeple by the number of squares you chose in Phase 1. At this point, if you use your sandal tokens, you may add the number of squares to move your meeple.

There is no limit to the sandal tokens you may use in one movement. You may use the ability of the ox-cart once in one round. You may use the ox cart and sandal token together. It is OK for more than one Oyakata meeple to reside in a single square of the main street. All of your hiring occupation cards will grow by one degree after your Oyakata meeple circulates back to the starting point.

Deal: After moving your Oyakata meeple, you may make a deal with the shop in the square and one of the occupation cards living in the nagaya. The order of making a deal with a shop and an occupation card is optional. You may make a deal with only one or just pass all together.

Two occupation cards live behind one shop, but you may make a deal with only one of them. You may make a deal with other player's occupation card as well. Once making a deal, the occupation card will level up one degree since the card gets experience. If you make a deal with your occupation card, it will not grow.

Example): Sharaku chooses Square 3 in the first phase and get four mon in action A. Adding the three mon he initially had, he now has a total of seven mon. Using one of his sandal tokens, he moves his meeple by four squares.

He makes a deal with the Ukiyoe artist living behind the exchange shop, receiving five mons by losing 1 IKI point. He makes a deal with the exchange shop, trading his twelve mon for two kobans.

End of Rounds

In order to show you completed your action, place your cylinder marker to the first place after finishing action B. Once all players finish their moving their Oyakata meeples, the round ends.

Fires occur at the ends of May, August, and November. Closing occurs at the round end of March. June, September, and December. Exchange the fish tokens to the next season's two tokens at the change of season. Treat the occupations cards that aren't hired in the instructions below.

At the end of a round, occupation cards that aren' t hired stay in place. Place one mon to each of those cards. If there is already one mon on the card, place another. (The maximum of two mons may be placed on one card).

Place the 4 new cards of the season face up for the next round. However, if the next round is a different season, exclude all cards, including the coins from the game to clear the hiring pool. Turn four cards of the next season face up.

Finally, move the calendar maker to the next month.

About Closing Time

Closing time occurs after the round end of March, June, September, and December. Follow the process below.

Salary: You will get you a total of salary depending on your occupation card's current degrees of growth. Salary can be IKI points, money, and resources. You can get the maximum salary( the rightmost) from the retired artisans.

Humanity Nagaya Bonus: Nagaya is composed of a total of five groups: Four groups bounded by the main street and one group of four corner houses.

You will multiply the number of same color occupations in one group of nagaya by the number of your meeple in the group to calculate the IKI points of each group and find your total. Note that a single card from any type of occupation does not qualify for any bonus points.

Example: There are three peddlers (with cream border) in this nagaya group, one owned by purple, two owned by red. Red player gets 3x2=6 points, while purple player gets 3x1=3 points. There is only one master craftsman (with red border) in this group, so it is not counted.

Payment for Food: Lastly, pay the rice bale depending on the number of your occupation card on the board. You don't need to pay for the retired occupation cards.

If you can't pay rice for the cards or those artisans would run away. Exclude the occupation cards by the same number of the shortfall of rice. You may choose which card to exclude.

Fire Phase

As saying "Fights and fires are Edo's flowers", fire occurs frequently in Edo, and the town's firefighters are organized around construction workers.

After the end of the phases of May, August, and November, there is a fire phase. The power of the fire is as written on the board, 5 for May, 8 for August, and 10 for November. The player who has the most firefighter power at that point will be the leading firefighter.

The leading firefighter will pick a fire tile from face down pile. The nagaya written on the tile will be on fire. The fire tile is going back to the face-down pile, and the pile should be shuffled again.

When a player's townspeople lives in a house, the fire will be put out if the player's firefighter power is equal or greater than the power of the fire (End of Fire Phase). If the player's firefighter power is less, the occupation and building card would be excluded from the game and the townspeople meeple would come back to the player' s hand.

If the fire isn't put out, the fire will spread to the next house in the same nagaya towards the center of the board. As the fire spreads, power will decrease by one. Once the fire reaches to the whole nagaya, the Fire Phase ends.

Example: In August, the fire occurs in the leftmost nagaya with the power of eight. Both yellow and purple player have the firefighter power of 5.

Since the fire's power is stronger than the firefighter's power, their occupation cards, old clothes seller and cold water seller, are excluded from the game.

When the fire reaches where an engraver resides, the fire power decreases to the power of 5. The yellow player can put out the fire and save the engraver.

The Final Round (new Years)

The final round of the game is different from the others. The order of the final action is from the highest firefighter power to the least. Players should skip phase 1 and action A of Phase 2.

You may move your Oyakata meeple to any square and make a optional business deal with the shop and one townspeople in the nagaya back of the shop. Even if your Oyakata meeple passes the starting point, your townspeople do not grow in this final round.

Once all players finish their turns, the game is the end. Move to the final calculation of IKI points.

End of the Game

When a New Years round ends, the game ends. Calculate the final IKI points. Add a total of IKI points below.

  • Set Collection Bonus of Occupation Cards

    Get IKI points depending on the number of occupation card types that you have in your hand (on the board and retirement). (1 type: 1 points , 2 types: 4 points , 3 types: Q points , 4 types: 16 points , 5 types: 25 points)

  • Tokens

    Fish Bonus : Check to see how many different seasons you have fish from. Get IKI points depending on the number of seasons. (1 season: 3 points, 2 seasons: 6 points , 3 seasons: 10 points , 4 seasons: 15 points)

    You can get extra IKI points for one of the summer bonito and one of the winter sea bream. IKI points are described on the tokens.

  • Tobacco Pouches

    IKI points for the tobacco pouch would double if you have at least one pipe. If you don't have a pipe, the points are as it is described.

  • Construction Card

    Add the IKI points of the Construction cards.

  • Resources:

    Convert the remaining resources to IKI points as the following. (Koban=3 points, Lumber=1 point, Mon (money): Every Five mon=1 point) No points for rice bales and sandals.

Two Player Game Rules

In a two player game of IKI, the 4 corner houses are not used. You are not allowed to place any card in the 4 corner houses.

At the end of each round (when both players end Action B), one player takes one card from the remaining hiring pool and places it on an empty house that he/she likes. Since this card does not belong to either player, no kobun meeple is put on it.

If there are any one-mon coins on this card, return them to the bank. If there is no empty house on the board, just skip this action.

Your oyakata meeple can deal with this neutral card as usual. Once the card is used, it must be removed from the game instead of leveling up. When a fire occurs on the card, it should also be removed. The neutral cards are included in calculation of the Nagaya bonus.

At the end of odd-numbered months, the starting player performs this action, while on even-numbered months, the other player does.

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