Gameday First Play – Hanabi

Posted on by Jesta

The 2013 Spiel des Jahres winner.

Another great game by Antoine Bauza.

Hanabi – named for the Japanese word for “fireworks” and consisting of the ideograms “Flower” and “Fire” – is a cooperative game in which players try to create the perfect fireworks show by placing the cards on the table in the right order.

The card deck consists of five different colors of cards, numbered 1-5 in each color. For each color, the players try to place a row in the correct order from 1-5. Sounds easy, right? Well, not quite as in this game you hold your cards so that they’re visible only to other players. To assist other players in playing a card, you must give them hints regarding the numbers or the colors of their cards. Players must act as a team to avoid errors and to finish the fireworks display before they run out of cards.



This game is so simple yet so taxing.

Remembering what your holding is easy, doing it while remembering what everyone else knows about their cards is hard.

It’s fun, very fun.

You give a hint to other players cards by using a hint token, of which you have 8. Hints can only tell one player about a number or a colour of their card. That’s ONE number or ONE colour. So if they have three 1’s or 3 red cards you can tell them “That, That and That are Ones” or “These three are Red”.

That’s it.

You can discard a card to gain a hint back but you need to be sure the card you discard isn’t one you need.

Declare you’re playing a card that can’t be played and you lose a life, 3 strikes and you lose as a team.

The only issue I have is people telling you they know what they want you to do, forgetting that they know what you’re holding but you don’t. Having a go at you for it is a pointless waste of a distraction from remembering everything.

Also it relies on people playing in the spirit of the game. You shouldn’t give any information about anything ever unless it’s part of a turn. Giving any information out either by speaking, pointing, nodding, suggesting or changing inflection of your voice spoils the game.

Def needs to be played with the right people.

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