Ohanami - Dastardly Review #145
Ohanami by Pandasaurus Games and Steffen Benndorf was a pleasant surprise to us. We first played it at a neighbors...and had our own copy the next day.
The most complex thing about Ohanami is agreeing on how to pronounce it but Ohanami still packs a lot of challenging fun in its small box.
The theme of Ohanami is to create gardens which are three columns of cards. Not very exciting but it works. In fact, we view it more as an abstract game than one with a strong theme.
Ohanami has a bunch of beautiful cards numbered 1 through 120. They are in four suits pink, green, gray and blue.
And there is a very well laid out score pad to keep track of the 3 rounds of play and the varying scoring rules.
Ohanimi takes about 3 minutes to learn.
You create three columns of cards (gardens) with the cards arranged in increasing value. A card can be added to the top or bottom of a column but never inserted. Super clean and crisp.
Cards are played in 3 rounds. Every player gets 10 cards to start a round. Players pick out 2 cards from their hand and play them onto their individual garden areas. Then they pass the remaining 8 cards. Then pick and play 2 cards. Pass the 6 cards. This continues until players have played all the cards.
A player can choose to discard a card if it is either unplayable in their gardens or the player doesn't want to play it (because it will hurt their chances of playing future cards). Discarded cards are not scored in the current hand.
The gardens continue to grow from round to round. Each round picks up with the gardens that finished the prior round.
Strategy comes into play with the scoring.
Each of the four colors has it's own scoring mechanisms. The values are based upon the count of cards of each color in a player's garden.
Blue cards are worth 3 points and scored at the end of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd rounds.
Green cards are worth 4 points and scored only at the end of the 2nd and 3rd rounds.
Gray cards are worth 7 points and scored only at the end of the 3rd round.
Pink cards are scored based off an escalating scale printed at the bottom of the score pad: 1 Pink card = 1 Point, 5 Pink cards = 15 points and 15 or more Pink cards are worth a whopping 120 points.
We love Ohanami. Each time we introduce people to Ohanami they run out and buy it. It is highly addictive, fun and frustrating.
Each player tends to come up with their favorite scoring strategy: Going for Blue early and often, dominating Pink, choosing the color based on the round etc.
The balance in Ohanami is awesome. So far we haven't found any strategy that is a sure thing...you have to adjust based on how the cards come up.
Also, you can mess with the other players by passing them cards that don't fit well into their gardens at the end of the rounds. This forces them to discard or sub-optimize their gardens by creating big gaps in numbers. So much fun!
Note: If you use up all of the scorepad (like we did) there are PDFs of the scorepad you can easily print out on BoardGameGeek. There is also a super simple spreadsheet download that eliminates adding up all values.
Ohanami has become a family favorite.
A quick 15 minutes of fun with the perfect amount of frustration and challenges. Awesome for playing in a bar or filling in time at home or on a trip. Great for throwing in the travel backpack.
The one consistent negative we experience is the color of the cards. They are beautiful but are very light pastels. The gray suit is often difficult to tell apart from the blue or green. This happens especially if you aren't in bright light.
A well timed pass of a high or low card to your opponent can ruin their day!