Welcome to my tour of various board games. As someone who previously played mostly tabletop roleplaying games and card games I actually don't know that many board games. I've played even less! So, I'm catching up and playing the games we have, starting with Honshu. 

Honshu is a tile-laying game about building the best city you can. Each tile has 6 squares and you lay them out however you want across your play space so that it is on top or below another tile.

tile laying

For each town square connected to another town square you create a district. At the end of the game, counting only the biggest district, you score 1 point per square. Each forest square gives you 2 points. Each lake square forming a lake district gives you 3 points, not counting the first tile in a district so 3 squares only gives you 6 points total. There are also production and factory squares that give you resources that score variable points.

Half of the fun comes from trying to lay out the tiles, finding the most efficient layouts. However, the other half is more interactive, fighting over which tiles you get to play. Over the course of 12 rounds you each lay down a tile, each with a number on them and take turns choosing which of the tiles works best for your city. The order of choosing is based on the tile you laid down. This gives the game interactivity as you try to build your own city while also cutting other people's chances of making the most points.

The game isn't dead simple but its far from complicated. It might take a minute to get your head around the trick-taking part and deciding if you want boost your number (using irreplaceable resources) to get at a valuable tile or save resources for sure points at the end. There are some rule variants included that change the scoring rules so the game has an additional value add for re-playability.

In my experience its great fun, either as a full game to play for a casual game night or as a wind down after playing a heavier game. The game has pretty universal appeal though the art on the cards isn't nearly as pretty as the front of the box. Still, the art is distinct enough as to be easy to distinguish between squares. There is a sequel game that adds mountains and changes some of the scoring rules called Hokkaido. I haven't personally played Hokkaido but all the buzz on forums is that they're basically the same so pick whichever theme (spring vs winter) appeals to you.

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