Hanabi

Overview: Hanabi is a cooperative card game with a unique twist: players do not see their own hand, but see all the other players hands.  Players are a team of frantic pyro-technicians who are working together to set off fireworks (cards) in order 1-5 of each color. Each turn, players choose whether to play a card, discard a card, or tell one fact about their teammate’s cards.  For example, a player may say to their teammate, “You have three blue cards.”  Players only have a certain number of times they can say a fact about cards, marked by tokens, until they have to start discarding to gain tokens back.  If a player puts down a card not in the right color or number, a fuse token gets removed.  End game condition is all cards run out (can’t draw), too many fuse tokens revealed, or players set off the right fireworks (1-5 of every color in the right order).  Players then add up total score from the highest card in each color.  Perfect score is a 25.hanabi box

Hanabi is a very unique cooperative game in the fact that you don’t see your own hand.  Communication and trust are very important in Hanabi since your teammates are your only way to gain information about your cards.  Careful planning and balancing are important, as one person may be stuck discarding a card with a hand they know nothing about.  As there are only one five of each color, giving that information about a person’s hand is essential, as an early discard can cause the team to “lose” early on.  One great mechanic about Hanabi is having a point scale at the end, so players can continue the whole game even if they know they won’t get a perfect score.

Another interesting mechanic about Hanabi is how each player can only give half the information about a teammate’s cards.  For example, you can only say one fact, so either the color they have in the hand “you have 2 red cards” and point to those specific cards, or say a number, “you have one three.”  This means it can take at least two turns to find out the full information about a card.  Because of this, players may have to discard or play a card they don’t know enough about, which makes the game have a risk-reward mechanic.  Hanabi is a refreshing and challenging cooperative game that is simple to learn but hard to master

Hanabi Gameplay
Do I spot a mistake? Minus one fuse token

2 Player Experience

Two player in Hanabi is very challenging.  As you can only see your teammate’s hand, it can be hard to get the right cards from the bat to play.  You may be stuck with a couple  “five” cards that can’t be discarded but can’t be played until the end of the game.  Because of this, two player is much harder than four player as you have less information and less cards to go by.  Gameplay isn’t as interesting because there is not as many decisions one can make and can sometimes feel more like Solitaire. Hanabi can be played with two players for an extra challenge, but having more players is recommended.

4 Player Experience

Four player with Hanabi was a much different game than two player.  Since there are more people to give information and more cards to go around, playing and discarding cards aren’t as much of a risk.  The game decisions were much more straight forward as it was more likely a player would have a card they can play after being given the correct information by a teammate.  While it didn’t make Hanabi too easy, four player made the game interactive enough to be enjoyable while still having a good difficulty level.  Hanabi is definitely a game that excels with more players.

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