Review: Honshu

Quinns: Alright. You see Honshu, pictured above? You’re looking at one of the most desirable boxes on the planet.

The best thing to come out of Finland since karjalanpiirakat, Honshu made a name for itself during the American convention circuit last year. Contained in its small, peach-tone box are some cards and cubes, and contained within them is a simple card game, and contained within that are gorgeous little Japanese towns that are going to be springing to life right on your table. Players draft cards and tuck them under and over one another in a gentle jigsaw, probing and pondering different arrangements, searching for a high score.

This site’s own Paul Dean was convinced after a quick play. So many people were convinced, in fact, that a publisher is finally bringing a shipment of Honshu to America next month.

But should you buy it? Ah, let me help you with that as a European, from the land where copies of this game are considered weeds, and I often have to throw away four or five mouldering copies of Honshu before my breakfast of limppu and kissel.

Honshu is good, but is it “SU&SD Recommends” good? Let’s find out.

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Honshu

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Honshu is a trick-taking, map building card game set in feudal Japan. Players are lords and ladies of Noble houses seeking new lands and opportunities for fame and fortune.

One game of Honshu lasts 12 rounds, and each round is divided into two phases. First, Map cards are played in a trick and the player who played the highest value card gets to pick first from those played. Then the players use the Map cards picked to expand their personal maps. Each player must expand their personal maps to maximize their scoring possibilities.

Manipulating your position in the player order is crucial for mastering Honshu!

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