Saturday, February 24, 2024

‘Goryo’ Is A 2 Player Asymmetrical Deduction Game

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Goryo is an asymmetrical 2 player only deduction game set in feudal Japan. One player plays as the Samurai guarding the Imperial Palace and the other player plays as the Goryo, a dreadful spirit in the form of a cat. The one playing the Goryo needs to smash 5 items before getting stuck or the other player figuring out the item that the Goryo is bound to. The game takes 20-30 minutes to play and is recommended for players 10 years old and older. The game is published by GateOnGames, an Italian publisher that started publishing in 2014 and then brought to the USA by Giga Mech Games

Goryo box art

What’s in the Box?

  • 1 Game board
  • 1 Samurai board
  • 1 Goryo board
  • 5 Broken object stones
  • 3 Spirit tokens
  • 1 Felt-tip pen
  • 32 Room tiles
  • 8 Object tiles
  • 8 Object tokens
  • 1 Mark of the Goryo
  • 5 Pawns
  • 13 Clue Tokens
  • 13 Cubes
  • 1 Bag
  • 1 Goryo Screen

How’s it Play?

As mentioned above, this is a 2 player deduction game, where one player plays as the Goryo, who is bound to a specific type of object and is trying to smash 5 other objects in rooms without being defeated by the Samurai player. To win, the Samurai must exorcise the spirit for good by finding out what type of object the Goryo player is bound to or by catching the spirit’s essence for 3 times. 

So, the Goryo randomly chooses an object from the bag which then becomes the bounded item. Rounds continue with the Goryo going first and making a path from their current position to another position to potentially break that item, then the Samurai moving to trap or catch the Goryo and then revealing these choices.

Goryo components on the table

The Goryo has their own player board where they mark their path and keep track of their information with the pen. They are trying to be sneaky and move around to break items, but if they continue to break different items, the other player has greater odds to win the game.

The Samurai player can move 3 of the 4 samurais on the board to perform actions. First by moving them, then by searching tiles they are on top of or tiles they are orthogonally adjacent to. When they search tiles and the Goryo player has been there, they place a green clue token; when they’re wrong, they place a red clue token. Green clue tokens lead them to seal an object, which means it will further trap the other player with their movement. 

The Goryo has 2 special actions they can use during any of their turns. They grey cube extends their path; as with the samurai, they normally move using the 4 cubes and can’t use more or less. The grey cube gives them a further escape. The green cube lays a false trail for the other player, and if the samurai investigates that tile, the Goryo responds with a yes they have been there.

Goryo - Goryo player with their player screen and board

If the Goryo player can’t place their target cube on the board, or they can’t break an object, the Samurai player wins. If the 3 spirit tokens get flipped on the Samurai’s board, or all object tiles on the game board except one is revealed, then the Samurai player wins. Otherwise, the Goryo needs to break 5 items, and they win if this happens. 

The Verdict

This is a 2 player only deduction game with a story that goes with it. The core of the game is about one player knowing the 1 chosen token from a total of 8, and the other player trying to figure out which one it is.

Goryo - Samurai player and their board

I like the hidden movement behind a screen and then showing it to make sure there is no cheating. I like the deduction and trying to get into each other’s heads. But the game also seems more complicated than it should be. This might be the fault of the rulebook, or possibly the design in the game itself, but there is more confusion when learning the game.

I feel like if the game presented itself in a more simplified way, and you take out the small extra stuff that doesn’t really do much to the game, then this game would be more enjoyable for most people. 2 Player games are a thing, and many people look for these specifically as there are a lot of hidden gems in these small 2 player only games. Sadly, this one is not one.

Goryo main board setup to start

Images via GateOnGames

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Author

  • Brody Sheard

    Brody is a huge board game fan who loves games both simple and complex and he loves how they tickle the brain like nothing else does. Brody works as a cardiac travel nurse, soon to be nurse practitioner and enjoys being healthy, active, knowledgable, and a fan of many topics.

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