SNAP Review – Tokyo Jutaku

Tokyo Jutaku box
Tokyo Jutaku box

Have you always wanted to be an architect? Try your hand at creating buildings to fit in tight spaces in Tokyo Jutaku, a speed building game from Jordan Draper Games.

Is Tokyo Jutaku perfect for your budding architect? Listen to our thoughts, or read on below.

6x6 grid of cards; middle 4 are missing and the empty space holds a pile of oddly shaped wooden pieces


The game board is a 6×6 grid of cards, with the center 4 cards missing. Fill that center area with 69 wooden pieces that you’ll use to build. Beware! These wooden pieces do not fit together quite the way you’d expect!

Shinagawa: cards representing floorplans
One side is more difficult, I guess?

Group the cards together by district, and pick which side of the cards you’ll be using. (We think the side with the higher yen value is intended to be more difficult.)

Each player chooses an architect token, and places it on a card somewhere on the outer border of your city. Take the site card in front of yourself and leave your architect on the map.

How to Play

Each card specifies a district name, a yen value for completion, and two additional numbers. The first number is how many floors your building must be, and the second number is the exact count of pieces to use.

As you construct your building, pieces on the same floor must touch flush along edges, and higher floors cannot hang over any empty space.

Once everyone has selected their card, someone says “begin” and the race is on! Players take one wooden piece at a time and adds it to their building.

When a player thinks they have completed a building, everyone stops, and the building is examined. If it was successful, that player places the building card in their score pile, and all players dump their wooden pieces back into the middle.

Then each player may choose to move their architect to a new building card (or keep the one they already have if they’d like to try it again).

The game ends when one player has completed four buildings. Then all players add up the yen total in their score pile, and the player with the most yen wins!


We enjoy Tokyo Jutaku, but it’s a very hard game. Anitra prefers the more frantic feel of a larger group rather than head-to-head play.

There is almost no artwork in the game, except for the buildings you yourself build! The juxtaposition of the frantic play and the serene feel when looking at a completed building gives an added tension.

The age recommendation on Tokyo Jutaku is 14+, due to the little pieces. [more here – frustrating, not good for mobility issues]

It’s nice to have a small, light game that supports so many players without being a party game.

There’s a variation in the rulebook called “Countdown” that is a pure speed game and allows for solo play, which we appreciate.

We would tentatively recommend Tokyo Jutaku for families with older kids or groups of adults. It’s a big game in a small box, available directly from Jordan Draper Games.

The Family Gamers received a copy of Tokyo Jutaku from Jordan Draper Games for this review.

Tokyo Jutaku
  • Floors


Number of Players: 2-8 (1-8 for “Countdown”)

Playtime: 10-45 minutes

Age Range: 14+ (quite a bit younger if they don’t get too frustrated)