Review: Kobito (Jolly Dutch) – English

Did you know that the Japanese language has a lot of words with Dutch origins? The Netherlands was one of the first Western countries to receive permission from isolationist Japan to trade with them. Because of the trade, many loan words also drifted into the Japanese language. Especially in the field of shipping and trade, you will therefore find many words with a Dutch flavor. By listening carefully to the pronunciation of these words, you can easily discover this. Kobito, a new card game from Jolly Dutch, on the other hand takes inspiration from a Japanese word. I can’t find much on the internet about the origin of this word, except that it probably means dwarf. There is even a whole encyclopedia made about these little dwarfs who look a lot like Tingle from The Legend of Zelda. Maybe the word Kobito is also a loanword? It also looks suspiciously like the Dutch word ‘Kabouter’ (Gnome) … Who gnomes? One country known for gnomes is Ireland, where these so-called leprechauns hide pots of gold at the end of a rainbow. The game Kobito is all about these colorful rainbows and so my introduction has come full circle. Will gold actually be found at the end of this rainbow of cards?

Kobito is an easy and breezy card game where players will paint rainbows and steal gold pots. Each player must play at least the number of cards from their hand each turn as the number of rainbows in their personal studio plus 1. Players must add these cards to the public rainbows on the center of the table or to the rainbows in their personal studio. The cards must match in values (and color). Players may also add cards from the rainbows in their personal studio to the public rainbows. Once a public rainbow is finished (this depends on the pot of gold located on the other side of the rainbow), the finishing player may take the corresponding pot of gold and add it to his or her point pile. If a player cannot play enough cards from their hand during their turn, these rainbow cards must be discarded to the point pile and those cards earn minus points.

Kobito is a simple and smooth playing card game where players can (accidentally) help each other, but also thwart each other. Playing cards to public rainbows is risky, because another player may be able to finish this rainbow and claim the gold. Putting rainbow cards in your personal studio can in turn also feel risky, because you’ll have to discard more cards from your hand next turn. All in all, a very entertaining card game. The actions are at times a bit repetitive due to the longer game length, but the game is lighthearted and smooth enough that this is certainly not an annoyance. A light, breezy and fun card game!