Edamame – Happy Baobab – Review

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Work your Edamame and build up your dragon — fight and win for the honor of your clan!

Matthew Kearns



Publisher: Happy Baobab

Designer: Kentaro Yazawa

Artist: Aiko Kitamura

Artist: Yoko Takei

Game Type: Resource Management

Game Type: Worker Placement

Initial Year of Release: 2018

Age Range: 10+

Expected Playtime: 40-60 min

Number of Players: 2-4

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Theme and What is it?





You are the leader of a great Edamame clan and you must raise a strong dragon in order for your clan to survive.  To do so, recruit Edamame from your clan to provide the resources and gold needed to strengthen your dragon in its speed, attack, and health.  When sufficiently grown, the dragons will do a battle of honor to see which dragon and clan is the greatest!

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Gameplay Mechanics






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The goal of Edamame is to acquire the most Victory Points after the final honor battle.


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Shuffle the Level 1-3 Edamame cards, each level separately, and stack them with the highest on the bottom/lowest at the top.  Turn over the first four cards to create the Edamame market.

Put out the Score Board and Action Board next to the Edamame market.  Shuffle the Scoring cards, draw one, and put it next to the Edamame market.  Put the Action token next to the Edamame market.  Put the Round token on the top dragon icon on the Score Board.

Stack the Dragon cards, front and rear, with highest level on bottom up to the lowest level on top.

Each player picks a color and receives the components of that color and one of each type of Level 0 Edamame card.  Put the Player tokens next to the Score Board.  Each player receives 5 coins and 1 yellow cube.

Put the remaining coins and piles of each of the color of cubes within reach of the players.

Determine who is the first player and give him the First Player token.


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On each turn, the players have a choice of one of four actions: Work, Recruit, Grow Up, Rest.

For the Work action, you put to work one of your Edamame, an Edamame of an opponent’s Edamame, or both one of your Edamame and one of your opponent’s Edamame.  Activate the Edamame’s action by paying the cost to the common piles for your Edamame or put it on the Edamame card for the opponent’s Edamame, then gain the reward for the Edamame.

The Recruit action is where a player pays the cost in coins to gain a new Edamame.  Each Edamame has grey hearts on them and a player cannot have more total grey hearts than the red hearts from his dragon and Edamame.  If the total grey hearts is greater than the red hearts, then the player chooses which Edamame are discarded to get back down to the number of red hearts.

When a player chooses the Grow Up action, the player gains 1 yellow cube (max 3) for each “attack” characteristic he has and then pays the cost of the selected Dragon card.  The Dragon card is put on top of the player’s Dragon card and its characteristics to the rest of the player’s total dragon characteristics.  Finally, move the Round token to the next column.

If a player wants to Rest, he gains 1 coin (max 4) for each “speed” characteristic he has.  Then he also gathers all the resources placed on his Edamame cards.

If the Round token reaches the column for the number of players, the players score Victory Points based upon the current round’s requirements.  If you don’t meet the requirements, you can gain 1 yellow cube or 2 coins.

When the final round is completed and those Victory Points are gained, the game ends when the dragons are pitted against each other with the winners of each skirmish gaining Victory Points.

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Initial Impressions





I had to read through the rules a couple of times to understand them because the English translation needs some work but it’s a fairly straightforward game with a lot of useful symbology to support the game.

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Game Build Quality





The game components consist of cards, cardboard tokens and boards, and wooden cubes and tokens.   The cardboard used is excellent, hefty and durable.  There is disappointment with the die cuts as the paper would tear sometimes when punching out the items and there are 2 major connection points for items that would leave bumps on their sides, too.   I will say I love the box – big enough to store the game, pretty, and well-made.

The cards are average quality, no core, and linen finish; the cards get used a lot and so would highly suggest sleeving them.

The wooden components are typical but I did have one split during play, but there are plenty provided so it wasn’t much of a problem.

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Artistic Direction





I’ve always liked the art of Happy Baobab’s games and this one didn’t disappoint either.  It’s whimsical and fun, though the Edamame art tends to contrast against the Dragon art.  Otherwise it is all well-represented in all the components, rulebook, and box.

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Fun Factor





The core of the game are the mechanics of worker placement/resource management but it is exciting to build up your dragon, getting him ready for battle at the end of the game.

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Age Range & Weight





Though the complexity is low, 10+ for age range is spot on because you need to be able to plan ahead more than a couple moves along with taking into account what the other players are doing if you want to win the game.

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Edamame really is a fun game to play.  Given the single action to perform each turn keeps complexity low and makes it a good introduction into games that have these mechanics.  For me, the theme was kind of muddled (maybe because I’m a westerner) and seemed to be pasted on top of the mechanics.  The rules I think needed a little more play to iron out some little kinks.  Regardless of criticism, I’d get this out for kids and play with them for sure.

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