Hanamikoji by Deep Water Games Review


Hanamikoji by Deep Water Games Review 1

Publisher: Deep Water Games

Game Type: Two Player Card Game

Designer: Kota Nakayama

Initial Year of Release: 2018

Artist: Maisherly

Theme and What is it?

You are invited to walk the most famed Geisha Street in the old capital, Hanamikoji. Prepare to see classy and graceful women known as Geishas who are skilled in art, music, dance, and other varieties of performance and ceremony. Geishas are greatly respected and adored, and they are masters of entertainment.

Hanamikoji is a two-player game where you compete to earn the favor of seven distinguished Geishas by collecting their preferred performance item.

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Gameplay Mechanics

In this two-player game, 7 Geisha cards are laid down. Each Geisha card has different points that correspond with item cards in the deck. A victory marker is placed in the center of each Geisha card. Each player takes a set of four action markers. The markers represent four actions that can be played.

Marker 1 “secret”: Choose 1 card from your hand and place it facedown under the Secret markers. This card will be revealed later in the scoring phase.

Marker 2, “Discard”: Choose 2 cards from your hand and place them facedown under the Discard marker. These cards will not be scored in the scoring round.

Marker 3, “Gift”: Choose 3 cards from your hand and place them face-up in front of you. Your opponent then chooses 1 of the 3 cards and places that card on their side. You place the 2 remaining cards on your side in front of the corresponding Geisha.

Marker 4 “Competition”: Choose 4 cards from your hand and place them face up in front of you. Divide them into two sets that each contain two cards. Your opponent chooses 1 set and places those 2 cards on their side next to their corresponding Geisha. You place the remaining 2 cards on your Geisha row in front of their matching Geisha.

To begin, shuffle all of the item cards. Remove one of the cards from the round and deal 6 cards to each player. During the action phase, the player who begins draws one card and then proceeds to choose one of the actions. Once their action is resolved, they flip that corresponding token over, and that action is no longer playable for that round. Once all 4 actions have been taken, proceed to the scoring phase. Place the card that is under token 1 and then score. The token in the center of the Geisha moves to you if you have the most points, or it moves to your opponent if they have the most points.

You can win in 2 ways: if your geisha points total 11 or if you have won the affection of 4 geishas.

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Initial Impressions

I’ll admit when first reading the directions I was a tad confused, but as I sat down and actually played it, I realized I had made it harder than it needed to be. There are four choices that hinder you or help you to beat your opponent. Did you keep a card that could help you, or did you place a card out that your opponent really needed? For being so simple in game play, it still brought the competitive side out of me.

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Game Build Quality

The game comes in a very sturdy and durable box, with nice thick cards. You could take the cards out of the box for travel and they would still hold up. No complaints about any game component from me.

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Artistic Direction

The detail and artwork of Hanamikoji caught my eye immediately. The artwork is beautiful and very detailed. I love that the entire card is covered in detail. They didn’t rush through the artwork, it was well thought out and executed nicely. I didn’t like putting the token on the cards because it covered up the beauty of it. I believe the artwork is a big part of why the game is so enjoyable.

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Fun Factor

It’s rare to find a good two-player game that you don’t get sick of after playing it a few times. There is a competitive edge to the game that makes you want to continue to play to win the final Geisha or the final points. Plus, the art work is just gorgeous and that alone makes the game wonderful to look at.

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Age Range & Weight

Hanamikoji is rated 7+. I think 7 still might be too young. There are a lot of planning ahead moves in order to decide what to play, as well as deciphering what your opponent might play. It may take a few rounds to grasp the whole concept, but once it is grasped, it is a simple yet competitive game to play.

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Hanamikoji is a delightful game to play! The cards are beautiful in their detail and the game play runs smooth and quick. It’s a game you can pack for travel or even take out to dinner. There is still some competitiveness to the game, but all in all it’s just lots of fun! With the beautiful detail of the Geishas, I would try my best to win the favor of their company.


  1. Hi Ally,

    Great work!

    Did you know that Hanamikoji can be played online on https://www.happymeeple.com online platform (with other games like Lost Cities and Circle The Wagons to name just a few)?

    The game comes with a tutorial so anyone can learn the game in a few minutes.

    Keep up the good work Meeplegamers!

      • Oh yes, we do. Don’t worry! We have been making those games for quite a few years now.

        Try it out and you’ll see a lot of work has been put into the platform.


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