Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) has announced that they are bringing the 2018 EmperorS4 house-building card game, Walking in Burano, to western shores. In Walking in Burano, by designer Wei-Min Ling (Shadows in Kyoto, Hanamikoji), 1-4 players take turns buying cards from a center 3×3 grid. Cards show the bottom floor, upper floor or roof of a stereotypical Burano house, bedecked in pastel colors. Players can take 1, 2 or 3 cards, but all need to come from the same column, and need to be either the bottom or top set of cards – no taking only from the middle. Players then earn 1 gold for each card not taken. The cards can then be used to build new houses of a single color in their tableau by paying gold. Once a house is complete, it is visited by either a tourist, who scores extra points for small details on the house, such as awnings, cats or plants, or by an inhabitant of Burano, who scores points for sets of building types. The first player to 5 completed buildings ends the game. Look for Walking in Burano at your FLGS in Q4 2019.

Deepwater Games has officially opened its doors as a new board game development and distribution company, and is starting by bringing games from the excellent company EmperorS4 to North America. The Taiwanese company EmperorS4 hit the scene strongly in recent years with such excellent games as Hanamikoji and Burano, and Deepwater Games has secured the rights to bring their next four games to the U.S.

Herbalism is a logic and deduction card game for 3-4 players, in which players try to figure out the right combination of ingredients to cure an ongoing pandemic. Players share information, but only one player will be crowned the “God Farmer”, so hidden information remains essential.

Shadows in Kyoto is a 2 player abstract game set in the same world as Hanamikoji. Using elements of Stratego, players need to gather information about their opponents pieces. Players move wooden pieces with hidden characteristics on a grid board, and win by capturing certain pieces, or by reaching the opposite end of the board. Cards with gorgeous art control movement, and add special actions to the mix. Shadows in Kyoto is a quick simple game, but with deep elements and plenty of room to tweak the complexity.

Crows Overkill is a light “take that” card game for 2-4 players. Players are trying to remove crows from in front of themselves, so that they can sleep in a little longer. Card play dismisses crows or moves them to other players, giving this party game a heavy “hurt your neighbor” feel.

Hanzi is a 2-5 player memory matching game, using 3600 year old kanji characters. Players will create new written characters which form the basis of modern Chinese culture, making this fun and engaging game also a valuable learning experience. Double sided cards show an old Han era character on one side, and the new modern character on the other. Players try to match their given theme by revealing the correct characters.

Deepwater Games is bringing these four games to America in 2018, and will be bringing certain American titles to Asia in a reciprocal deal. They have also stated that they will have 2 more titles coming from EmperorS4 in late 2018, as well as their own in-house developments. You can read the full press release from Deepwater Games on their website here.


Hanamikoji is an actual street in Japan, and back in the old days one of the most well-known places to find Geisha, Japanese entertainers fluent in the arts.  In the game of the same name you are trying to garner the favor of seven different Geisha masters who have mastered their different art forms.  To gain their favor you will play down items associated with their art like scrolls of poetry, musical instruments, and fans for dancing.  How you play those items is the interesting part as both players have four set actions they must take on their turn before you score.  The actions range from showing a set number of cards and letting your opponent choose a few before you place the rest, discarding cards from your hand, and even placing a card off to the side to play right before scoring.  Once all actions are done, scoring happens, and if you have more cards on a Geisha than your opponent, you win her favor and her points.  Win the favor of 4 Geisha or have a total of 11 points at the end of the round and you are the winner.

The art for this game is beautiful and play is very interesting with it hinging on the ‘I split, you pick’ type mechanic making for some interesting turns.  Sam Healey has already reviewed this game and gave it two big thumbs up as a game he really enjoys.  So for those of you interested in the game you can check out Sam’s video review for more information, and look forward to getting your own copy when it’s released in mid December.