“Yoko… What lies ahead for us?” asked her friend Tomoyo.
Yoko stared out into the sea, calm and serene. “Today we are just maiko. But one day, we will complete our training and become known as geisha.”
“Yes, artists of the highest order. But then what?”
“Okaasan said that one day, perhaps some of us may be lucky to inherit the teahouse... if fortune favors us and our hard work.”
Welcome back to Hanamikoji! In Hanamikoji: Geisha's Road, a 30-minute two-player, competitive strategy game full of implicit intentions, veiled messages, and hidden actions, players represent rival but friendly patrons supporting Yoko, Tomoyo, and others along their journey from apprentice (maiko) to full geisha (artist) and perhaps even the owner (okaasan) of their own establishment.
To do so, players help their favored geisha advance and build prestige through performing their art at different teahouses. Geisha start as apprentices (maiko) but become full geisha and score prestige points after accruing the necessary patronage to return to their original teahouse (ochaya) for the graduation ceremony (erikae). Some geisha may continue their path further and eventually inherit the teahouse (upon a second return) to become the new okaasan, recognized with more prestige points.
At the end of the game, the player who provides the most support to each geisha is recognized. The player who has supported the most prestigious group of geisha wins the game.
Does the sequel to Hanamikoji live up to the legacy of its older sibling? Find out with Meeple Mountain’s review of Geisha’s Road.
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