Now available in English from WizKids, the Hit Japanese Game of Supernatural Horror, Hako Onna, is a game of horror hide-and-seek. One player plays the “Hako Onna” (the Woman in the Box), and the rest are “Visitors”, who are trying to escape from the mansion. As Visitors, you’ll try not to make noise as you search the shadowy rooms of the mansion for items to protect yourself, for information, and for a way to escape what you do not see, but know is there. But if you stumble upon the Hako Onna, you’re dead. Players who discover the Hako Onna become a Hakobito, one of her servants, and wake up with her to move throughout the house.
During most of Hako Onna’s turn, the human players must keep their eyes closed so they cannot see where she moves to or what action she has done. The game also features a unique optional dexterity element that adds to the game’s overall tension and dread. Before a visitor can take their turn, they need to avoid making noise by stacking a small disc on top the previous ones; if the tower collapses, they’ve made noise and it instantly becomes Hako Onna’s turn.
Hako Onna can win the game in two ways:
If all visitors are turned into Hakobito, or
If she has made it impossible for the visitors to win.
The human players can win in one of three ways:
If they manage to kill Hako Onna after finding her only weakness,
If they find the secret exit, while in posession of the key ring hidden inside the safe, or
If they can bring peace to Hako Onna by bringing the remains of her body to her precious doll, Mary.
Since its original publication in Japanese, Hako Onna has reached its fourth edition, and has been republished in English by WizKids. The English edition features all-new cards for players to use as they experience the thrilling horror of this thematically-rich game.
2 Players, 3 Players, 4 Players, 5 Players
90m – 120m
江神 号 (Go Ejin)
Team-Based Game, Point to Point Movement, Secret Unit Deployment, Variable Player Powers
Action / Dexterity, Deduction, Exploration, Horror
Ejin 研究所 (Ejin Kenkyuujyo), WizKids, 神秘島桌遊
2022-05: This game has some problems, most notably it is pretty fiddly with all of the different items and escape conditions. Outside of that though it makes for a really quick tense experience. I like how the ghost is hunting the players but ultimately they have to choose to find her.
I got to play the game at a local convention. There are a lot of neat little components that feel fresh and new. However, the special powers of the players and the actual game play feels a bit slow. It feels like prolonging a game, unnecessarily by limiting the move and action to 2 turns. Its a good game for people new to gaming and who are younger.
Your players need to be willing to get their imaginations going and really fully dive into the theme and concept. If you have someone passionate about running it as Hako Onna and you have players ready to embrace what can be kind of goofy moments you will have a good time. I don't recommend this for people who don't want to let themselves soak in the theme and prefer more hands of strategy games. That being said. When we run this game we get fully invested into it. We shut of the lights, light some candles and when the players close their eyes during Hako Onnas Turn who ever plays her spooks people by making loud noises, or doing their best Japanese ghost death rattle. Fully embrace your inner sadako for the role and guide players through and immersive horror experience. Hako Onna isn't a game about winning or losing for the Hako Onna player. The game is heavily tilted in her favour just like traditional Japanese horror movies are. Hako Onna players have the responsibility of making the game fun for everyone rather then just immediately killing the players. It feels like a board game version of Dead by Daylight.