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Beauty and Guile in the “Floating World”

In the Emerald Empire, a special place is set apart from the often-harsh realities of feudal life. Within the “floating world” of the geisha house, great artists are the center of attention: beautiful women who are masters of art, music, and conversation. The prettier and more skilled in her arts a geisha might be, the more popularity she gains and the greater her opportunities for success. But to win such a prize is not easy; a successful geisha must find ways to distinguish herself, to promote her own name over her rivals, or even sabotage rivals. Even within the Emerald Empire’s peaceful domain of the “floating world”, enmity between geisha can be as bitter as a samurai feud.

In Mai-Star, 3-6 players take on the roles of different geishas and compete to earn the most prestigious title. They play cards to raise the reputation of their geisha, and take guests to earn money, which is the measure of victory. Playing a card only raises the geisha’s reputation and will not earn any money. But without raising your reputation, you will not be able to serve the finest guests who can reward the most money or serve as powerful allies. Players must choose which customer cards to use as advertisers and who to use as guests. When one player runs out of cards, the round is over, and any cards remaining in hand will serve as penalty points, so it’s also a matter of using up your hand as quickly as possible. The player who has earned the most money after three festivals (rounds), is considered as the most skillful geisha, and will inherit the title of Mai-Star.

Download the Mai-Star Rulebook (3MB PDF)

Download printable scoresheets  Mai-Star Scoresheets (1MB PDF)

Click here to check out the design diary by Seiji Kanai.

Click here to check out the background stories of the six geishas featured in Mai-Star.

Game Info

3-6 players
Ages 14+
30 minutes playtime

6 Geisha cards
75 Customer cards

Retailer Info

SKU: AEG 5804
UPC: 7-29220-05804-1
MSRP: $19.99
Case Count: 6

Game Images

Mai-Star box top  MaiStar_BoxBottom  MaiStar_cardbacl MaiStar_Suzune6  MaiStar_Oboro  MaiStar_Natsumi MaiStar_Momiji MaiStar_Harukaze MaiStar_Akenohoshi MaiStar_Thief MaiStar_Okaasan MaiStar_Monk MaiStar_Daimyo MaiStar_actor



“It’s definitely worth checking out!” —Board Game Brawl

“ …If you like the feel of classic games, then Mai Star may be one to seek out.” —Geek Insight

“ I think the game excels in its subtle innovation, it’s fun interaction, it’s fast play, and random table trash-talk!” —Meeple Reviews

“Mai Star is intriguing at a glance, intensely competitive, and because it uses art from L5R, pretty…good-looking.” —Drakes Flames

“I really like this game, it plays well with 3 and any number up to 6. It’s a light game, and each turn is quick and the game flows nicely.” —Oxford Meeples

“Mai-Star is *a good game*. The cards are beautiful and easy to read, it’s fast, it’s fun,…” —Little Metal Dog Show

“…it is fun, quick and easy to teach and play.” —Play Board Games

“Mai-Star is what we have come to expect from Seiji Kanai, a game that is quickly explained, quickly played and a lot of fun.” —Meople’s Magazine

“The game is elegant. The artwork and quality of the components and rule book are fantastic. The core game play is simple and easy to learn.” —How Lou Sees It