Hokkaido is a standalone expansion to Honshu – a tile-laying game from designer Kalle Malmioja, released in 2016. Hokkaido is the second map-building card game in the Nippon series, bringing new ideas and mechanisms to the first design, Honshu. The key new thematic element of Hokkaido is the mountain land-type, inspired by the more mountainous terrain of Hokkaido Island in comparison to Honshu.
Hokkaido is a game for 2-5 players. Like its predecessor, this is a map-building and tile-laying game which takes place over 12 rounds. Cards are drafted at the beginning of each round and then each player builds their own landscape by overlaying or underlaying their cards (each a 3x2 grid) with their existing patchwork. Each card will have different patterns of terrain and each will score differently at the end of the game – some rewarding large single area of a different terrain type, whilst others allow you to build multiple zones or to produce resources which are consumed by factories for points.
We found Honshu to be a really relaxing game and enjoyed it both at two players, and with more people. The new implementation sounds like it will be simpler to get to the table with more players and will ensure that the play time stays within the territory of a quick filler game.
Hokkaido - Coming Soon
If you like small-box tile laying games, then Hokkaido might be a relaxing game to look out for. With a deck of cards as the primary components, this style of game is great for travel – so long as you’re travelling somewhere with a decent sized table!
In particular, if you enjoyed the two-player drafting rules of Honshu, then Hokkaido uses similar mechanisms at all player counts, making it a solid choice for a more streamlined game. However, if you’re simply interested in adding more variety to Honshu, then Hokkaido is backwards compatible as an expansion too.