IELLO: Kobayakawa – Review

May 3, 2016


Publisher IELLO
Genre Card
Number of Players 3 – 6
Play Time 15 minutes
Initial Review Date 2/19/16
Last Updated 2/19/16
Official Rules PDF

In this game you play as dueling samurai. The game is played out in seven rounds where you have to judge if your opponents have you beat and then bluff appropriately.


Each player is given four tokens and dealt a single card. Then the remaining cards are placed in the center of the table to form a draw pile. The top card is then flipped face up next to the draw pile. Finally, 8 tokens are placed in a stack next to the draw pile.


On your turn you have two options:

  • Draw one card and picking one to keep and one to discard face up in front of you.
  • Blindly place the top card of the draw pile on top of the face up card in the middle of the table.

Once it gets back around to the start player then each player decides if they wish to fight or not. If a player passes then they are out of that round. If a player decides to fight they bet one of their tokens. One token is added from the center stack.  If only one player decides to stay in then they win and do not have to show what they had. If more than one player stays in then each player reveals their card.

The player with the lowest card gets to add the card that is currently face up in the center of the table to their card in order to determine their total. Then the player with the highest total wins. The winner gets all of the tokens. All of the cards are reshuffled and a new round is setup. The new start player is the player who won the previous round.

This continues until there are only two tokens in the center stack. In the final round both of these are added and players must add two tokens to stay in, unless they don’t have two.

If a player runs out of tokens before the end of the game then they are eliminated.


This is a surprisingly simple game that has some depth to it. It’s a bluffing game that doesn’t drag on forever. Also, while elimination can happen it doesn’t feel like it’s a common occurrence, unless someone is just playing really fast and loose. If you like betting and/or bluffing games this makes for a light opener or filler. If you hate bluffing and /or betting games, then you will probably find this game less painful than others of this type.


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