On an unfamiliar path,
I seek a nearby lodging.
Blossoms beckon me,
Maybe I have forgotten
Myself for my heart?
Monk Kusai, 1282-1376 AD
Records describe Japan’s geisha as embodiments of grace and culture. Formally trained in dance and music, and skilled in the art of conversation, the iconic geisha enchanted everyone around them.
On the Hanamikoji–translated as the “flower-viewing lane”–the geisha are the lifeblood of commerce. A restaurateur in this district would never succeed without the help of gifted entertainers. Shop-owners engage in a unique courting ritual with the geisha, presenting them with various items and arrangements of the beautiful flowers that give the street its name, hoping to attract their patronage.
Take a Loss, Make a Gain
Hanamikoji is a simple, yet deep game of careful consideration for two players. Each player takes the role of a restaurateur, attempting to curry the favor of the beloved geisha.
Gameplay is focused around the geisha, and the use of cards representing instruments of entertainment to sway them to your establishment. Playing the majority of a color’s cards in a game turn will draw the matching geisha to your restaurant. However, each of your offerings must be planned in advance, as you can only present the geisha with gifts based on what offering tiles you have available.
Each player begins the game round with the same four offering tiles available, and each tile must be used exactly once during the round to play or discard cards in certain patterns. Sequence your plays in thoughtful reflection to outmaneuver your opponent.
If the Current Sinks
The four offering tiles are different, and may be activated in any order to make use of the cards hidden in your hand.
- Hide one card, to be played at the end of the round
- Discard two cards from your hand
- Reveal three cards from your hand. Your opponent chooses and plays one, and you play the remaining two.
- Reveal four cards from your hand, and separate them as you like into two pairs. Your opponent chooses and plays one, and you play the remaining pair.
No Greater Happiness
Experience this elegant dive into Japanese culture today at your local game store!