Full disclosure: A preview copy of Hanamikoji: Mini Expansion 7 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.
Here it is! End of the line, for now, at least. Finally got through them all! Or, at least, I’m hoping that’s the case. I’m doing these out of order. Why? That’s the operative question, but I am definitely not doing this in a logical way. The holidays! What an exciting time to not necessarily do reviews in any logical ordering. Been kinda doing these piecemeal, and that, while goofy, is getting the job done. So let’s get into our final Hanamikoji expansion!
In Mini Expansion 7, aptly-titled Wealth and Fortune, it’s all about … I’m going to be honest, I never know why these are titled the way they are. Admittedly, I put very little effort into figuring it out, but here we are. Even figuring out the titles was some work. Four more action tiles, each in red, this time. Can you successfully navigate these actions to win the favor of the geisha one more time?
Last one! Unless they make more. Maybe they will. Here’s the set of Action Tokens:
Here’s a setup shot:
Let’s dive into what the actions are. They may seem familiar.
- Secret: Place one card from your hand face-down. At the end of the round, reveal it and play it on your side of the play area.
- Gift: Place two cards face-up. Your opponent chooses one and plays it on their side of the play area; you get the other one.
- Discard: Discard three cards from your hand face-down; they’re removed from the game.
- Competition: Place two pairs of two cards face-up. Your opponent chooses one pair and plays both cards on their side of the play area; you get the other pair.
Play until both players have taken all four actions. The player who controls four geisha or has 11 Charm Points wins!
- Kind of just do whatever you’d do in standard Hanamikoji. It’s kind of the same game, just, the 2 and 3 Actions are swapped. You don’t necessarily need to totally broaden your horizons so quickly.
- Hiding a card early or late doesn’t really make a difference, so I tend to use Secret once I have a sense of what my strategy is going to be based on the cards I’ve gotten and seen. Using Secret in tandem with or as a result of other actions can be pretty helpful, since it’s the only card that gets to be truly yours. Plus, it lets you skip an action of giving cards away, which might let you better plan for your subsequent actions.
- You can present more balanced Gift options since you don’t have to worry about them getting more cards than you do, or you can use Gift to force ties. If you’ve already won control of a card in a previous round, you can use Gift 2 to present a pair of identical cards to tie your opponent and maintain control of that card. Same deal for Competition. If you’ve already buried a 3 with Secret and you end up with the other two cards, you can Gift 2 with them to give your opponent something useless. That’s always fun.
- Discard 3 is potent, so just make sure it’s not the last thing you do. Unless, of course, you’ve filled your hand with trash. You don’t want to keep anything useful in your hand for too long, in this game; you’ll either end up giving it away or dumping it.
- Competition isn’t necessarily the worst thing to make your last move. Same with Gift, for much of the same reason. Your opponent’s options are pretty limited based on what you’re giving them, so you can potentially give them whatever garbage you’ve got left, should you properly curate your hand over the course of the round.
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
For more general Pros and Cons of the expansion set, see my review of the first mini-expansion.
- The reds are very bold; I kind of love the color scheme for this set, even though I’m not much of a “reds” guy. I think the color set ends up being pretty striking; it works really nicely against the dark colors on the cards, and it just ends up looking pretty good on the table? I really like the specific color choices of the whole set, though.
- Discard 3 is always a hoot; keeps ’em guessing. Dumping three cards at once is hilarious. You just wreck half your hand! I like to use it to try and secure the 2s, should I be able to get them, but it’s interesting to see what cards players drop all at once.
- Gift 2 is always nice because it just feels balanced. An offer for both players, but your opponent chooses which you get! It has a fun balance since both players have to ultimately take that action and both players end up with one card from each player’s offer. I like it a lot more than Competition, even if I’m not totally sure why.
- While I dislike Competition, the symmetry of Competition 4 and Gift 2 is kind of nice. It’s a weird, satisfying symmetry, since you’re just making two sets of cards for your opponent to take. Honestly, this might be what pushes this set above the base game, for me?
- Ugh, Competition is back. Yeah, I don’t like Competition at all. I think that it just… hits the I cut you choose part of my brain in a bad way. I’m not sure why Competition is my least favorite action in the entire Hanamikoji canon beyond that, but there it is.
- I think my main gripe with this one is that it’s actually extremely similar to the base game; you just end up with one fewer card since you Discard 3 instead of gaining 2 from your opponent’s Gift Action. It’s kind of odd! There’s just … not that many differences. Actions 1 and 4 are entirely the same, but 2 and 3 are swapped. It’s ironic that this is the Wealth and Fortune expansion, given you end up with fewer cards than the base game. Base game gives you 7 cards; here, you only get 6. It’s weird.
Overall: 7.25 / 10
You know what? We’re at the end of this, and I’m going to be real. This was hard to write! I had some difficulty telling the expansions apart as unique experiences, not because there’s anything wrong with them, but because they’re fundamentally small-shift variations on the original game. This leads me to Mini Expansion #7, which is extremely similar to the base game. Threw me off a bit. I do gently prefer it, since you Discard 3 and Gift 2, which I prefer to the other way around. Add in a nice color scheme (the red tiles really pop) and some nice symmetry between the Competition 4 and Gift 2 actions, and you’ve got a set that, while it doesn’t achieve much beyond the base game, for me, is a small improvement! I just like symmetry. This whole endeavor let me also figure out which actions in the Hanamikoji ecosystem are my favorites and least favorites, and generally, it seems like Competition is firmly at the bottom. I do not like I cut you choose, mechanically, and here we are. I think this set is great for folks who like the core Hanamikoji but want to deviate a bit, but given that I have largely preferred the other expansions, this ends up in about the same place. If you’re looking for an expansion that’s pretty similar to the core game, then the seventh expansion might be up your alley!
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