Strategic Depth - Beginner
Setup Time - < 5 mins.
Play Time - 20 to 30 mins.
Players - 2 to 5
Mechanics - Deduction, Memory, Cooperation, and Planning
Production Info - 2010 | Asmodee, R&R Games | Antoine Bauza
Hanabi is a challenging but fun cooperative card game. Players must work together to launch a spectacular firework display. Trouble is, it's dark out, so you can't really see what you are working with. Each player holds their cards so they cannot see their own but only the cards of their teammates. They must give each other vital information and remember all the information received. Then use the information to choose which cards to play. Helping each other play the right cards at the right time is the key to creating an unforgettable show and avoid being booed by the audience.
- The Good -
Deduction and Cooperation
This is a true cooperative game because everyone takes their own individual turn and there is no alpha player like in most other cooperative games (Pandemic). Everyone must give clues (without seeing their own) throughout the game and also make the hard decision of what card to play or discard. One of the other best features of the game is the deduction and memory component. You have to really pay attention the entire game to remember clues given so to not waste a turn or discard the incorrect card.
Compacted Size/Quick Setup
This is an excellent game to travel with for friends or family. It's the smallest game that I own and I can actually fit the entire game in my pocket! The set up is less than 5 minutes and there are only a few game pieces as most of the game is cards.
This is the only game that I have played that you cannot see your own cards but can see everyone else's. I love all the games that I have played by Antoine Bauza (7 Wonders, Tokaido, Takenoko) because of the unique mechanics he brings to each game. This game is not an easy one to win if you are following the rules and involves unique strategy. This unique mechanic also intrigues new gamers with the social interaction and advanced gamers with the challenge.
- The Bad -
Easy to Cheat
My biggest complaint of this game is that it's easy to cheat even when you are trying not to cheat! Communication is a major component to the game but most people accidentally give too much information on a clue or make facial expressions to deter a player from making a bad clue. I find it easier to make up rules for clues at the beginning of the game along with token use so players are on the same page with less room for cheating.
This game is an excellent social game but that always means a weak link can be exposed. Since this game requires so much focus, concentration, and memory it's easy for a player to start forgetting clues given to them and that will affect the entire team. It can also cause tension among couples because of different communication skills! However, this is one of the best features of the game as well since it's a pure cooperation game and involves every player to be focused.
- Overall -
Hanabi is a great communication and true cooperation game. Even though the card game is great filler game, it will require complete focus on concentration. You will want to give more clues each time and even want to cheat (unintentionally) because of the limitations each turn. Hanabi is an excellent game to own because of it's unique play, communication, portability, and ease of teaching. I love to bring out this game for people who don't like normal strategy games because of it's unique play and social interaction. Also, I play this game with advanced strategic thinkers because of the challenging aspect of the game and enjoy trying to go for the highest score possible. The game can seem very simple at first but to achieve a good score you must play tokens at the right time, give strategic clues that do not overlap, and discard the common cards.
The following rules are meant to be a high-level reminder of how to play this game. If this is your first time playing, we highly recommend reading the official rule book which goes into more depth.
Official Instructions PDF Download:
- Setup -
- Place the 8 blue Clock tokens face up on the table.
- Stack the 4 black Fuse tokens nearby with the longest fuse on top and the explosion on the bottom.
- Shuffle the 50 cards to make a deck and put them face down. Use only the 5 suits for normal play, as the 6th multi-color suit is for advanced play.
- Deal a hand of 5 cards to each with 2 or 3 players.
- Deal a hand of 4 cards if there are 4 or 5 players.
- Last and most important step, DO NOT LOOK at your own cards. Must pick them up so that the other players can see the front of the cards (colored with numbers)
- Game Play -
The player with the most colorful clothing begins the game, which I always forget to follow. I love how each game has their own unique starter player clause. The players than take their turn going in a clockwise direction. On their turn, a player must complete one, and only one, of the following 3 actions (and they cannot skip their turn).
1,Give one piece of information.
2. Discard a card
3. Play a card
Important: When it's a player's turn, their teammates cannot comment or try to influence him.
- End Of Game -
There are 3 ways to end the game of Hanabi : The game ends immediately and is lost if the third black fuse token is placed in the lid of the box. The game ends immediately and it is a stunning victory if the players manage to make the 5 firework sets before the cards run out. The players are then awarded the maximum score of 25 points. The game ends when a player takes the last card from the pile: each player plays one more time, including the player who picked up the last card. The players cannot pick up cards during this last round (as the pile is empty). Once this last round is complete, the game ends and the players can then add up their scores.
- Winning -
Hanabi is a cooperative game so everyone wins or loses as a group. However, no one really loses in Hanabi as the score has a overall impression scale. The goal is to get all five suits in numerical order from 1 to 5 to score a maximum of 25 players, which is SO hard to do. Your points are based off how many cards you got for each color suit as a group without using the last black fuse token which would end the game immediately.
- Great Instructional Videos -
Here's a few helpful instructional videos you or your group can watch to learn how to play this game visually.
GAME PLAY QUESTIONS
How many clues can you give on your turn to a teammate?
You are only allowed to give one clue, a number or a suit on your turn. Very important rule and makes this game difficult.
How do you get a blue token back?
You get a blue token back once you discard a card or get complete a suit with the 5th number in the set.
What happens when you play a card that doesn't begin, add to or complete any firework?
You remove the top black fuse token and place it in the lid of the box.
How many errors do you get before you lose the game immediately?
The group can play a card 4 times incorrectly total before the time bomb explodes and will then lose immediately.
Can you look at the already discarded cards?
Yes, players can look at the cards in the discarded pile at any time.
Can a player point to just one number of a color when giving information?
No, player must give complete information. If a player has two green cards, then player has to point to BOTH green cards.
What happens when the group runs out of blue tokens?
The player has to either discard or play a card and cannot give any information that turn.
BUY THIS GAME
You have a variety of options across the web where you can purchase this game. We have an affiliate relationship with Amazon where they will give us a percentage of anything you buy on their site if you click one of our Amazon links on this site. This costs you absolutely nothing and is a free way to support our site so we can keep providing you great content and keep this website ad-free! Thank you for your support!!
Highest Price: $11.48 (Nov 29, 2017)
Lowest Price: $6.38 (Jun 20, 2017)
Average Price: $10.31
*According to CamelCamelCamel.com (01/06/2018)
Expanding The Game
There is no expansion for this game. However, in the game, it comes with a 6th multicolor suit which is saved for advanced play. I still have not played with the 6th suit in any of my groups as it's challenging enough to try and get 25 points without the 6th suit.
If you like how this board game plays, you'll definitely want to check out these great games which play similar.