Full disclosure: A preview copy of Hanamikoji: Mini Expansion 2 was provided by Taiwan Boardgame Design. Some art, gameplay, or other aspects of the game may change between this preview and the fulfillment of the Kickstarter, should it fund, as this is a preview of a currently unreleased game.
I figured I’d change it up after moving through Expansions 7 through 4, so I’m trying 2 and then finishing up with the third mini expansion. Why? Mostly for the whimsy of it all. If I’m being honest, it’s because I wrote more on this than the third, so coming back to it I decided to take the easier win and just finish it up. Let’s jump in and then see what’s up!
In Hanamikoji’s second mini expansion, the theme is Health! Why? Don’t worry about it. For the benefit of your health, however, you’ll have giveaways, gifts, and cards to receive and intercept! Exciting times ahead. Will you be the player that gets to end up feeling well?
We’ve got new Action Tiles!
Set the game up, as usual:
Let’s talk about what they do:
- Giveaway: Choose one card and give it to your opponent, face-down. They will reveal it after the round ends.
- Reveal: Play two cards face-up.
- Gift: Play three cards face-up. Your opponent chooses two to keep and play on their side; you keep the remaining one.
- Intercept: Play four cards face-up. Your opponent chooses two and discards them from the game face-down. You keep and play the other two.
After all four actions have been taken by both players, the round ends! If any player controls four geisha or has 11 Charm Points, they win! You know, just like the standard game.
- Giveaway is an excellent poison pill that your opponent can’t predict. Thing is, you only want to give away something you’ve already lost. If they’re winning a tiebreaker or they’ve already beaten you on 5s or 4s, you should just pass them another card from that set. You’re still giving them something, but you’re not ceding any points to them. Just be careful! If you hold on to cards for too long, you might be forced to give a useful card to your opponent.
- Reveal is going to give a ton of information, so choose wisely when to use it. Reveal is hefty and useful, since you can drop two cards at the same time, but if you drop those cares too early, then suddenly you’ve armed your opponent with a lot of information that they can play around with. The nice thing about the game is that there’s definitely a bit of give-and-take as to when the best time to use this, based on what cards you have.
- Gift can be useful in a variety of contexts, but giving your opponent their choice of three cards can be a risky maneuver. As with a lot of Gift actions in other expansions, sometimes it’s best to give your opponent cards before they can really get a sense of what they should be doing. Other times, it’s very fun to “gift” your opponent cards that don’t help them. If you already have two 5s, using the Gift with the other three means that there’s nothing your opponent can do to keep the cards away from you. So try doing stuff like that.
- The nice thing about Intercept is that nobody gets those cards that your opponent discards, so giving them four cards that exclusively extremely help you is great. It is, of course, difficult to get four cards that exclusively help you, but I wouldn’t, for instance, give your opponent a set of cards where only two of those cards help you and the other two are garbage. If your opponent can get a sense of what cards you need, those cards are going in the garbage! That said, if you’re the opponent in question, do your best to figure out which of these cards you’ve been presented will help your opponent and just dump them in the trash. That’s your job!
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
For more general Pros and Cons of the expansion set, see my review of the first mini-expansion.
- Giveaway is always fun. I like Giveaway! You have to give your opponent a gift, and they don’t even get to pick what it is! This is topical, as I’m writing it during the holidays, I guess. But I enjoy the Giveaway action, since it adds a bunch of
- I also find the green color scheme here very pleasing. The darker olive is a fun color scheme for tiles, and the gradient on the lighter set is very nice as well! The green on the cards is a darker shade that goes with the tile sets but doesn’t exactly match either. Good color choice.
- I really dislike the Competition action (make two pairs; your opponent keeps one), so Intercept is an improvement to me on two levels. Here, not only do you get to not give your opponent cards, but you also don’t have to sort them into pairs. I’m not sure why I dislike I-cut-you-choose so much, but here we are. Not having to cut beyond pulling cards from my hand is such a relief.
- Why is this called the Health Expansion? A mystery. I love trying to figure out why the expansions are called whatever they’re called, and I have literally no idea. So there’s that. It would be nice if there were some explanation or an official name, but what can you do.
- I prefer Transmit to Intercept, but that’s me. The major difference between them is one is face-down (Transmit) and the other is face-up (Intercept). I like the face-down version of the action, since it forces your opponent to choose arbitrarily and depends a lot more on which cards you take. With Intercept, you just need to offer up your least useful cards and hope your opponent can’t do anything that will hurt you too badly.
Overall: 7.5 / 10
Overall, I did enjoy Hanamikoji’s second mini expansion! I’ve generally found that Intercept is a fun action, but I do prefer Transmit, because it’s more whimsical, and for a short and light card game, whimsy is kind of the name of the game for me. Here, you’re giving a lot of cards away, which is pretty interesting, since the big crux action of the game is you offering cards to your opponent for them to shred. It’s essentially a second opinion. Maybe that’s why this is the Health Expansion? Unclear, but it’s certainly a solid entry in the series. If you’re a fan of giving cards away or you just want to mess with your opponent, this mini expansion may be one to check out!
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