The Year of New Editions sweeps its way into the media event that CMON held at their booth here at Gen Con. The next game on our preview program was the 2nd edition of Dojo Kun. If you've ever wanted to run your own martial arts school, this is your chance.
The game is divided into two phases. In the first phase, you're working at building up your dojo as well as your fighters. In the second, you compete in a tourney where your fighters vie for supremacy, using all the skills they used in the first phase. The game consists of two seasons of those. So you'll build, fight, build, and then fight.
During the first phase, the game is like a worker-placement game. You have your Athletes, who are the students at your dojo. Then you also have your Master. There are different things that both can do as part of this phase. For the Athletes, they will train, or they may do odd jobs in the town (which also counts as some training, lest we forget "paint the fence" and "wax on, wax off") which will earn your dojo prestige. They can also gain ki, which is used as currency in the game. As for your Master, they can do things like recruit new Athletes to the school, or build extra extensions onto the dojo (in order to accommodate even more students), or create training apparatus to further enhance the work done by the students.
Then, in the second phase, it's time to see whose training paid off the most. Masters pick their best Athletes to compete against one-another. The training you did earlier correlates to dice that you will get to use in the fights. Different sorts of training will grant different types of dice. There's a hierarchy of punches, kicks, and grabs in a sort of rock, paper, scissors mechanic. During the tourney, you can bet on which fighters you think will win, which can create currency to be used in the second phase of building in order to further enhance your dojo.
The game is for 1-4 players, though even in multi-player games, there are rules for the game creating fighters to be placed in the tournament in order to make sure there's a proper amount of competitors.
I like how it seems like you basically get two games in one. Many worker placement games give you various bonuses for what you do during one turn, but I can't think of one, offhand, that changes so much where it switches to a dice-driven combat game in-between the worker placement rounds. It will be interesting to see this one in full action.