Billion Road

Billion Road Review (Nintendo Switch)

Title: Billion Road
Genre: Party Game, Video Board Game
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PC)
Developer|Publisher: Bandai Namco | Acttil
Age Rating: EU 3| US E10+
Price: UK  £35.99| EU €31.99| AU $60.00|CA  $50.39 | US  $39.99
Release Date: 16th April 2020

Review code provided by Acttil

Billion Road is a board game, but the board is a map of Japan. You can play with one to four local players, with or without bots. The board is traversed by road, boat and plane. With each roll you can choose the specific steps you move yourself, though there’s no going backwards without looping around. The goal of any mode is to have the most in assets by the end of the final year. Each year is twelve turns but starts in April, the start of the Japanese financial year.

All Aboard!

There are many spaces to land on, ones that increase or decrease your money and give items or monsters. Landing on one of the cities of Japan allows you to purchase businesses which give you revenue at the end of the year. Owning all properties in a city gives you a monopoly, doubling your earnings. If you come back to the city you can then invest more into your businesses to increase profit. In any style of gameplay the hosts of the Billion Road show will select a particular city to be the goal. In this game you must actually land on said spot and not just go past it. Reaching the goal will give you a hefty amount of money, more so if you have worker monsters of the goal colour, or have hit goals in succession. Then the goal will shift again, the game shows how many spaces you are away from the goal and you can view the map yourself.

Billion Road


Friends and Foes

Billion Road

There are three kinds of creatures besides the players. Worker monsters can be acquired from walking past them on the board, opening a monster egg or landing on a monster spot. The ones that appear on the map will disappear after a while (often I’d have to remind people to press the skip button so we didn’t need to see every instance of it). They have different colour attributes which only matters with the goal bonus. There are many and they all have a unique ability. Such as Hot Dog who will let you move one more space, or Miko who banishes nasty followers (except for a Malison unfortunately). These abilities can only be used a few times before they’re out of charge, which can be fixed by landing on a healing space (or using monster food). You can’t control when they activate and some specifically only work when near others. Only three workers can be in your party at a time. Finding the right monsters for your team is a very important part of strategy. Items too are important as some might help you land on the goal spot, or screw over your opponents.

Billion Road


Real Monsters

Billion Road

Nemesis are big in game events happening almost yearly from the second year on. Most of them damage properties in the area they show up which lowers your revenue. Some may even destroy properties leaving them off market for months. Your workers have an attack value and once per turn you can send your monster to attack the nemesis. Some will have abilities to increase damage such as Diceclops who might deal one or eight times damage. If you can beat the nemesis before it completes its rampage in the told time (often three months) you’ll net a cash bonus. Still fighting them at all will give you some money based on the damage you dealt. Monsters will become exhausted so you can’t send them out the next turn, use their abilities and if off fighting they won’t count towards the goal bonus.

Billion Road

Followers are creatures that appear after someone has reached a goal. The person furthermost from the goal will be given a nasty one. While occasionally the goal lander will get a beneficial one, I’m not entirely sure how often that is. The nice ones like Lucky Egg will give you free or duplicate items, while nasty ones can give your money away to someone else every turn leading you into the red. Reaching the goal will remove followers, and they can palmed off to other players just by passing them. I had my sister steal my good follower, leaving me with Malison (one of the worst) and then she hid in a corner!

Month By Month

Billion Road

Asides from the usual turn of play there are many events that occur. Yearly ones like Valentine’s and Halloween result in players rolling dice with the highest getting money from others. There’s also more random pop ups like the Shady Guy who will ask property owners to invest money, and comes back in six months with an increase or decease to revenue. In the tournament mode I came across a stamp rally that would give whoever collected the listed monsters before the due date, a prize. Many things that seem random actually occur due to what property you own. Such as the “Farm or Die” segment where I choose to focus on particular dessert for my farm, then later in the year find if it was a success or not. If you happen to land on a city on their festival month you’ll gain a bonus. The game has next to no mini games but I did find the Chicken Channel event can occur to certain property owners and they must mash the button for advertising popularity.

Billion Road

Certain events are time locked, the airports don’t open until the second year. This then allows you to travel in the sky getting across the board much faster. Monster Island is a generated location you can enter during certain parts of the year, these are small islands that have a lot of monsters you can collect but might be covered in negative spaces!

Follow the Billion Brick Road

Billion Road

Gameplay is the same in each of the three modes. It can be played in single player which lasts thirty years (three hundred and sixty turns!). In this tournament mode you’ll compete against two CPUs and every five years the last place person will be swapped out. The replacements start with a hefty amount of money and property so they can contend strongly. Thankfully in single player you can fast forward opponent’s turns making it go by much quicker than against human competitors.

You create your own custom avatar, but if you want to unlock more options you’ll need to progress  through the tournament mode. With inbuilt achievements based on activities like successive goals, having a certain amount in assets by a particular date and so on. Defeating opponents in this mode will give you their appearance as a whole costume.

Never Mix Business and Family

Billion Road

Scramble is a quick three year mode playing against human opponents and/or bots. It’s a good way to introduce people to the game as with three players each year could take up to half an hour.  You’ll be given extra money at the start and airports will be open right away. There’s also free play that allows you to play up to ninety nine years. The game has six different save slots so you can keep your single player progress and go on to play with others instead.

Pieces on the Board

Billion Road

The characters and monsters look like they come from an anime for young children, though the monsters have varying designs. There is a monster manual where you can find models, art and descriptions of the different monsters in game. While Japan itself is like a cute diorama, with set pieces to embody different regions. Various places have toy cows to represent local livestock, huge scarecrows over rice paddies and giant ramen bowls above buildings. Thankfully there’s no attempts to override the culture, even the money is still in Yen.

The music is okay, which is fine since it’s a rather long game it’s best to have anything that’s just not annoying. There’s no voice acting at all for the announcers.

Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Billion Road has an auto save only system (clearly to prevent re-rolls), so make sure you manually change the settings in game. Once I lost a whole six turns of progress for wanting to leave the game as it hadn’t saved since the start of the year (April)! One jarring decision was that the PC version has online play whilst the Switch does not. If you don’t have anyone to join you I’d recommend the PC version instead.

Playing in handheld there were some minor performance issues with event scenes. Of course this doesn’t effect the gameplay.


Billion Road is a time consuming game full of highs and lows. The game features a lot of luck and strategy but you won’t get anywhere if you’re not thinking right. Some might find the length of games to be a hassle when playing with others so I’d definitely suggest scramble mode for the first time.

Sadly there’s no online on Switch so if any previous contestants aren’t willing to make a return you’ll have to play with computers instead. The different monsters and events help it to stand out a bit more than an average board game plus you have the ability to leave it alone without taking up space on the table. I really enjoyed it but that might be because I’ve won most of the time.

From my little sister: “It it super fun for all ages. The only thing I didn’t like is that it is a bit hard.”

Final Verdict: I like it a lot!

One comment

  1. I was getting really excited to possibly grab this game, then got to the part about no online multiplayer on the Switch. What a strange decision! If it were a lot cheaper I might consider it with no online multiplayer, but as it is that’s a high price to lack such a basic feature . Especially for a board game.

    Great review!

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