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Tokyo Highway: Rainbow City brings a colourful upgrade and expansion to the road-balancing board game

I wonder if you know how they build roads in Tokyo.

Tokyo Highway: Rainbow City board game expansion art from Kickstarter campaign
Image credit: Itten

Competitive road-building board game Tokyo Highway returns with two brightly hued boxes, one each for veterans of the road and new players who haven’t yet experienced this clever dexterity game of auto infrastructure.

Designed by Japanese studio Itten, Tokyo Highway: Rainbow City is both a reimagining and expansion of the 2016 board game that first introduced tabletop fans to the fun of building interlocked highway jumbles. The studio will launch a Kickstarter campaign on January 23rd hoping to crowdfund two boxes: one is an expansion for those who already own the core box, while the other updates the original and includes a boot-full of fresh components.

If you’ve never played Tokyo Highway before, it's a deceptively simple game for two to four players who all compete to construct highways around Tokyo landmarks and their opponents’ ever-growing lanes. The goal is to be the first to place all of your 10 cars while also completing side objectives to earn bonus points. Directly inspired by the equally intimidating and impressive Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway, Tokyo Highway: Rainbow City retains the gameplay of the original while lacquering some colour and extra pop to the board game’s fully wooden pieces.

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What’s new in this crowdfunded box? Itten explained in a press release that Tokyo Highway: Rainbow City will add new landmark components, such as the airport, museum, stadium and eponymous rainbow, instead of simply relying on the flat images on the neoprene mat. The publisher has increased the number of included car meeples to 10, and different models will play into divergent strategies. Itten has upgraded the materials of several components inside the box for a better overall play experience. For example, rubber pads on roads help car meeples stay parked and the highway poles and supports now sport anti-slip pads.

Accompanying the varying car types are new missions that players can chase in order to earn bonus points and pad out their score at the end of the game. Some involve building around the tower, rainbow or other landmarks, while others will award points to the highest support structure, most exits and even the biggest traffic jam.

The Kickstarter campaign for Tokyo Highway: Rainbow City will run through mid-February and begin shipping later this year. Backers will be able to separately choose whether to purchase the full board game with all upgrades included or just the expansion, which is meant to complement older boxes. Itten is a fairly new tabletop designer who has been creating largely dexterity-based titles since 2016, including Funbrick Series and Crash Octopus.

Tokyo Highway: Rainbow City board game expansion art from Kickstarter campaign
Image credit: Itten

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Tokyo Highway: Rainbow City

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Chase Carter avatar

Chase Carter


Chase is a freelance journalist and media critic. He enjoys the company of his two cats and always wants to hear more about that thing you love. Follow him on Twitter for photos of said cats and retweeted opinions from smarter folks.