Full disclosure: A preview copy of Hanamikoji: Mini Expansion 6 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.
By the time you’re reading this, I’ve figured out a distribution strategy for these reviews, and I’m excited about that opportunity. As of now, I’m trying to decide, because I don’t really want to do one of these a week for seven weeks. Maybe we can get some other configuration for reviews. I hadn’t thought it through yet. But let’s dive in and see how this one plays!
In Hanamikoji’s sixth mini expansion, your new goal is “Repel Evil”. Why? Unclear. But now, you’ve got some new tricks up your sleeve. A massive Transit action. The biggest Reveal Action in Hanamikoji. A sneaky Giveaway. There’s a lot to do! If this is what you’ve got up your sleeve, it sounds like evil better watch out.
We’re near the end of these! We’ve got another set of new Action Tokens:
One could use these to play a game of Hanamikoji:
So let’s talk through the four Actions:
- Giveaway: Chose one card and place it face-down on your opponent’s side of the play area. They will reveal and play that card at the end of the round.
- Gift: Choose two cards and reveal them face-up. Your opponent chooses one to keep and plays it on their side of the play area; you get the other.
- Reveal: Choose three cards and play them face-up on your side of the play area.
- Transmit: Choose four cards and play them face-down. Your opponent chooses three of those cards and discards them without looking. You keep the fourth and reveal it at the end of the round, playing it face-up on your side of the play area.
As usual, play until both players have taken each action once. The player who controls four geisha at the end of the round or earns 11 Charm Points wins!
- Holding on to your Giveaway 1 Action until the end of the round is usually an okay idea, especially if you keep Reveal 3 as well. This essentially means you’ll have two turns with three cards, and you can pass one of them to your opponent if you don’t like what you’ve got. This is your big chance to pull through the randomness and dump stuff that either you want (via Reveal) or that you don’t want (via Giveaway 1).
- Gift 2 is a godsend if you have to do a second or third round, since you can force your opponent into situations where they’re forced to tie you on certain cards. Gift 2 lets you present two cards, which can be handy. Already have your third of a set of three? Gift 2 with the other two cards. Have you already claimed one of the 2s in a previous round? Gift 2 with both cards this round so you can maintain your control. It’s fantastic.
- Reveal 3 is strong, but it also communicates a ton of additional information, so be careful. I usually wait until the end for Reveal 3. It informs what your opponent will Gift, Transmit, or Giveaway, so giving them as little information as possible means that they can’t necessarily work against you. Just keep in mind that you might draw an absolutely garbage card, so, maybe it’s worth using Reveal 3 once you have a set of three cards that you actually want to play?
- Transmit 4 loses you a bunch of cards, so think about which cards your opponent may have gotten rid of. Unfortunately, you don’t get to see which card they kept, so you may not be able to glean much information. It’s worth considering what they might have played or you might not have seen; remember, only one card remains unplayed, so if you’re not seeing large clumps of a number or set of numbers, those are probably buried, to some degree. It’s also worth keeping track of which cards you burned, so you can get a better sense of what’s available.
- Similarly, I wouldn’t recommend holding on to Transmit 4 for very long. Great ability, but risky; if you’re not okay with losing all of the cards you Transmit, don’t play it. Naturally, unless you are just adventurous in a scary way, I wouldn’t recommend making Transmit 4 your final action; you’ll get something, but who knows?
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
For more general Pros and Cons of the expansion set, see my review of the first mini-expansion.
- The purple is a really slick color, here. I just like it a lot. Purple is probably one of my preferred player colors anyways, but it looks solid in this set! I really like the thematic color choices of the various mini expansions, but the purple or the blue might be my favorite?
- Reveal 3 is an amazing action at pretty much any point in the game. Getting to dump three cards that you actually want feels great, is fun, and can be a really great flourish in the game. Just be careful! Your opponent gets the same privileges, and that can flip the game on its head. I like a big reveal, generally, and this is certainly that.
- I also love Transmit 4, since you only get to keep one card. It makes the game very exciting, and provides a nice way to figure out what you want to move towards early since you get to see a bunch of cards get knocked out. Transmit 4 is my favorite opening. I like to hold the cards facing me, so my opponent can’t see them but I can. I get to see what the cards getting dumped are and in what order they get dumped. It’s so exciting. It’s also just a great place to get started, since the card you get to keep can really guide your actions.
- Having Giveaway 1 as a nice way to mix up the secret information is fun. The Giveaway actions, generally, are pretty entertaining. I love Giveaway! You just get to assign a player a garbage card and they’re stuck with it. It’s a lot of fun. Probably third favorite action overall, behind Transmit and Refer.
- Gift 2 feels better than most of the other Gift Actions. Everyone gets one card. No more, no less. I think it feels better than giving a lot of cards away, and it’s easier to strategize for me over getting a ton of cards back. It’s not too complicated.
- I truly don’t get why this is the “Repel Evil” expansion. Maybe it’s because of the big Reveal action? I’m going to spend way too long thinking about this.
- I think this is one of the farthest departures from Standard Hanamikoji, which does feel a bit different. This feels pretty different! Bit more hidden information, bit more randomness, and I’m a huge fan of all of it. It changes the feel of things around, which may not be for everyone, but it worked really well for me. For Hanamikoji purists, though, this might just not be what you’re looking for, or it might take time to adapt to the new action set.
Overall: 8.25 / 10
Overall, the sixth Hanamikoji mini expansion is my favorite of the set! I just … love Transmit. The huge Reveal action, letting you play three cards face-up, is pretty awesome, but randomly losing three of four cards is pretty hilarious, as well. The set feels whimsical. You either get some random cards, give your opponent a small choice, or you keep cards for yourself or give them away. I think this is exciting! Hanamikoji remains a quick game, almost effortlessly so, and the distance that this puts between itself and the base game is quite entertaining. It might be too much distance, if you’re a Hanamikoji purist, but there’s a lot to like here, even if this mini expansion isn’t for you in particular. If you’re looking to shake things up, though, I’d recommend this Repel Evil mini expansion!
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