#850 – Hanamikoji: Mini Expansion 3 [Expansion]

Base price: $25 for all 7, or likely $5 each.
2 players.
Play time: ~15 minutes.
BGG | Board Game Atlas
Check it out on Kickstarter!
Logged plays: 3
 

Full disclosure: A preview copy of Hanamikoji: Mini Expansion 3 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. 

Somehow, this is the last of the Hanamikoji mini expansion reviews that I’ve been writing. I’m truly unsure how this ordering ended up being the ordering that I went with, but we did it. We’re done! Seven mini-expansion reviews in a row. Get excited. Though, I suppose that the Peace of Mind Expansion is the right one to end up with. So let’s do that.

In Hanamikoji’s third mini expansion, peace of mind is a lot to ask for. It’s an intense little game, and now you have all sorts of new tricks, including the new and elusive Referral action. Intercept, too! Worst of all, your Gift for your opponent gives them three cards from your hand, which is wild. This is a pretty intense expansion; will you be able to calmly work your way to a victory?

Contents

What’s New?

Hopefully you’ve been keeping up with the other mini-expansion reviews, but brief recap. This swaps out your standard Hanamikoji Action Tiles for new ones.

Game plays normally otherwise.

Here are the Actions!

  • Reveal: Play one card face-up.
  • Referral: Choose two cards from your hand and place them on the bottom of the deck. Draw two more cards from the deck and place them face-down. Reveal and play them at the end of the round.
  • Intercept: Pick three cards and play them face-up. Your opponent removes two from the game, and you play the third card face-up on your side.
  • Gift: Play four cards face-up. Your opponent chooses three to keep, playing them face up on their side. You get the leftover one.

Play until all four actions have been taken by each player. If a player controls four geisha cards or has 11 Charm Points, they win!

Strategy

  • I usually Reveal 1 towards the end of the round, but it’s a perfectly reasonable move to use in tandem with Referral 2, if you know what you’re doing. Reveal 1 is usually just good-ish whenever, but you can also use Referral 2 to push two cards to the bottom of the stack, keeping the one you want on top. Then, the card you draw as the final card of the game is that card (provided you take your turn last), so you can use Reveal 1 to finally play it. That works great in certain contexts, since you actually get the advantage of playing Reveal 1 on your last turn without having to rely on a random card.
  • Referral 2 is extremely good for a variety of reasons. Used towards the end of the round, you can essentially pass cards back around to yourself by burying two cards and later drawing one of those cards, or burying two cards and then immediately drawing one of those cards back and keeping it. Or, you know, you can just see if Refer is still something your opponent has and bury two cards that are useless for them and hope they don’t realize before it’s too late. All fun options.
  • Intercept 3 is something to be worried about, but it’s not too big of a deal. Your opponent gets to see all three cards (unlike, say, Transmit), so giving them a chance to dump two cards that would be extremely helpful for you is probably unwise. Instead, try to use Intercept to give your opponent a choice of discarding a few mediocre cards. That’s typically pretty helpful.
  • Gift 4 is the one you need to worry about! You’re giving away three total cards and your opponent gets to pick them. This is rough. Your opponent gets a choice of three cards from your hand, and that can be pretty terrible. The one silver lining is that you get the same deal from your opponent, which is nice. I’d generally recommend against giving them a wide set of cards, but giving them a 3 / 3 / 4 / 5 means you’ll get one of those back (likely the 5) and they at least won’t directly control everything, which is good. As with all of these, it depends a lot on the game state and what cards you have in your hand.

Pros, Mehs, and Cons

For more general Pros and Cons of the expansion set, see my review of the first mini-expansion.

Pros

  • The Referral Action! We’re finally here. Refer 2 is so much fun. I love the Referral Action. It’s a sift action, meaning you can use it to take cards and bury them to try other cards, so you can cycle cards out of your hand that you don’t want. I love that in games, and it’s an incredible thing to add to Hanamikoji.
  • Ironically, while Gift isn’t my favorite, this truly brutal Gift Action is pretty fun. It’s just a wildly mean thing to do to players. It’s particularly brutal because the player you’re inevitably going to have to mess with is … you. If you can get certain configurations of cards played, you can get out of the Gift without giving your opponent a wildly good set of cards, but the risk / reward of holding on until you have the best possible hand is extremely risky. You can really mess up your game if you bet wrong.
  • This or the purple expansion is probably my favorite color expansion, at least. I love the color scheme, here. The blue is really pleasant.

Mehs

  • The only thing keeping this from being my actual favorite expansion is just that Play 1 is … fine. Gift 4 is a hoot, and Play 1 is a smidge basic. It’s not bad, just a bit unremarkable. That and I prefer Transmit to Intercept.

Cons

  • There’s a small gap that can exist for new players where they wait until the last action to use their Gift action, and that can really mess up the round for them in a lot of cases unless they have a really good set of cards. You shouldn’t do this! By then, your opponent has a ton of information and they’re about to take a ton of the cards you hand them. That will effectively give them a lot of options for how to control the game. Some new players might not realize this right away and that can leave a bad taste in their mouth, and that’s a bummer. It doesn’t always go down this way, but there aren’t a lot of guardrails in Hanamikoji.

Overall: 7.5 / 10

Overall, there’s a lot to like in Hanamikoji’s third mini expansion! A lot I like, at least. Referral is my favorite action in the game (specifically Referral 2), so getting to see that here is nice and I’m glad that it can get used. That combined with the honestly insidious Gift 4 where your opponent keeps three of the four cards means that you’re in for a hectic and challenging (but fun) game when you bust out this mini-expansion. This one might mess with new players a bit, but that’s kind of how Hanamikoji can be. Takes a couple games to get your sea legs for the game. That said, I do wish we had the Transmit action instead of Intercept, but I can’t get the exact expansion I want; that would be too good. If you like these actions or are okay with a bit of chaos in your game, I think that Hanamikoji’s Peace of Mind expansion might be worth checking out!


If you enjoyed this review and would like to support What’s Eric Playing? in the future, please check out my Patreon. Thanks for reading!

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