Seikatsu Review



IDW Games

A review by


  • 1-4 Players
  • 30 Minutes
  • 10+ Ages


Every so often you want to put away the dice. The cards do not need shuffling. The miniatures need rest and the desire to send the meeples out to work has passed. You want to sit, relax, watch the birds and smell the flowers. The sun is shining and life feels good. Enter Seikatsu which is a word that means Life in Japanese. You and up to three friends have a garden to tend and birds to watch. Waxwing.

Inside the gorgeous art on the box of Seikatsu you will find,

  • Rulebook,
  • Cloth bag,
  • Garden board,
  • Score pawns,
  • Garden tiles,
  • Koi Pond tiles.


To call the Garden and Koi pieces is to do them a disservice. They are in fact similar in size to poker chips. But they do look a lot nicer. All the components in Seikatsu look spectacular. The only thing that you could create a grumble about is the score trackers. While they are wooden and flower shaped they are a little on the small side. Another 2 or 3mm diameter would have made them perfect (I am having to be very picky here). The insert holds all the components well but to be fair like a lot of boxes is on the big side. It could have been half the depth and still held everything with room to spare.


How is a game of Seikatsu played? Each player starts with two tiles in their hand. On their turn they draw a third tile from the communal bag. They then choose one of those tiles to lay onto the board following some basic rules.

  • Tile must be placed adjacent to a previously placed tile onto an empty space.
  • That’s it.

Seriously I told you the rules were simple.


Where Seikatsu is interesting is how you score your points and the placement of those tiles becomes critical. This is because the Garden tiles each have flowers and a bird on them.

When you place a tile you instantly score for matching with adjacent birds creating Flocks. So far so easy, You also have Some Koi ponds ‘wild tile’ that when played allow you to call them as one type of bird. Still sounds too easy doesn’t it.

However it is the end game scoring where you will have been thinking towards for the entire game. Once all the tiles have been placed you will score for the flowers. Even though all players score using the same Flowers, what makes it different is you score based on your view of the garden. Each straight line from your garden viewpoint scores exponentially more points based on the largest group of Flowers. Thus what might be a group of 4 for your view will only be individual flowers for all other players.

Scarlet Tanager.

And the strategy becomes clearer. Will you place a tile to score birds now or flowers later? Which is the optimal move for points? Does that tile you just placed score an opponent 11 points at the end of the game? Is a Bird in the hand worth two in a bush?


Seikatsu is a game of contemplative reflection. It is a gentle easy to learn and easy to play game. Light on rules, with a hidden depth that is joy to uncover. Great for families and meet-ups and worth bringing out at game groups. One point to note is this a good with solo play a nice puzzle. 2 and 3 players really shine. 4 Player does feel a little “tacked on” but do not let that put you off. Seek this game out then sit back and relax.

I was provided with a copy of Seikatsu to review as part of the BGE group. I have now passed this copy on to another reviewer in the group. This has no bearing on my review or my final thoughts on the game.

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