Next on the list as we start to get to the real cream of our crop is a great two player card game, Hanamakoji. It plays quite quickly but has lots of tense decisions that need to be made. Almost every turn you will be helping your opponent in some way so the struggle is find a way to help them the least while helping yourself the most.
The actions available to you make it difficult to make sure you get the upper hand because most involve your opponent getting first dibs on the selection of cards. There are only 4 actions you get each round. The two that don’t directly involve your opponent let you secretly score a card and the other lets you secretly discard two cards from the round. The remaining two actions however let your opponent make choices with your selections. One of them you make two stacks of two cards and you get to score one, but first your opponent chooses one to score. The other action lets you pick three cards and you get to score two of them but your opponent first gets to score their choice.
By getting cards you are trying to have the most cards on your side of the table at the end of the round. When that happens you move the scoring marker to your side and you are considered to both have the control of that geisha plus the points she provides. At the end of the round if you control 4 geisha or have 11 points in your control then you win the game. Most games you will play 2 or 3 rounds as you push and pull control of the cards to try to reach the victory conditions.
Overall the game causes lots of hard choices to make, mostly because of how much your opponent gets first dibs in most cases. You try to give them impossible choices or ones too good to pass up and let you have what you really wanted. Because of the quick game play with super tough decisions this is one of our favorites. If we have two people looking for a game this is one of the first we will grab as you can get playing in minutes but have tons of fun round after round. Definitely deserving of the #31 spot on the Top 100!