‘KOI’ Is Delicious and Dastardly

11 min readFeb 4, 2019

Posted on February 3, 2019 by Jonathan H. Liu

Ah, to be a koi, catching dragonflies and frogs to eat. If only those other koi didn’t keep getting in your way. And who put that rock there? KOI is peaceful and tranquil… until the game begins: then it’s every fish for itself!

What Is KOI?

KOI is a fishy game for 1 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, and takes about 40–60 minutes to play. It retails for $39.95 and is available directly from Smirk & Laughter Games, or look for it online or at your local game store. KOI can get a bit confrontational, but the gameplay and theme are all suitable for 10 (or maybe even as young as 8) as long as people don’t mind the “take that” nature of the game.

KOI Components

  • Game board
  • 60 Cards (40 Movement, 20 Natural Beauty)
  • 20 Weather Cards
  • 8 Koi Fish meeples (2 each of 4 colors)
  • 25 Dragonfly meeples
  • 10 Frog meeples
  • 20 Stone meeples
  • 15 Cherry Blossom tokens
  • 21 Lily Pad tokens
  • 2 Wind tokens
  • First Player token

KOI is stunning to look at. The watercolor illustrations by Christy Freeman are lovely, from the box cover to the weather cards to the borders of the game board, and it helps immerse you in the world of the game. (Of course, it also looks calm and tranquil, when the gameplay could be anything but!)

The fish meeples are lovely: small wooden fish that are curved to the side so it looks a little more dynamic. I love that they have different patterns rather than being just different solid colors. Each player gets two: one is used for movement, and the other tracks their score on the side of the game board. The other meeples are also cute: the frog meeples show the profile of a crouching…


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