So, we’ve all been thrust into the role of firework makers. But sadly we’ve cracked under the pressure it seems and have screwed up the display! Wait, we can fix this, we have to put it back together using these cards to represent the fireworks. Just match them up by suit in numerical order and we are all good. What is this, a kids game? Oh, there’s a twist, we can’t look at our own cards? So everyone here will hold their cards face out, meaning that everyone knows what each other has except their own hand. We’ll try to reconstruct the fireworks (playing the cards in order) by giving out clues and remembering the clues that are given to us.
Takes: 30 Minutes
60 cards. 8 blue ‘info’ tokens and 4 fuse tokens. All in a nice tidy small box.
Each player is dealt 4 or 5 cards (depending on the number of players in the game) that you hold face out so you can’t see your cards, but everyone else can. Each player then has 3 options to take on their turn: tell someone else about one or more of their cards, play a card from their hand to the table in hopes that it adds to a firework, or discard a card and return.
If you give someone information about a card (color or number) you must point to all the cards of the same type, “You have two 4′s,” “These three cards are Green.” You can give a clue about color or number, not both. It is then on the player to remember what has been identified, but if they forget the other players can remind them of things they should know about a card – as long as they play fair. When you do this you place one of the blue ‘info’ tokens on the tabletop into the game box. There are eight tokens to start the game and believe me, they get spent quickly. Read on to see how to get those tokens back into play.
If you play a card to the table you want it to be the next number available for whatever suit it happens to be. All the suits are in play at the same time and you don’t have to know which suit you are playing from your hand, but it helps. Before any cards are played to the table, if someone points to one of your cards and says it is a one then you know it’s safe to play since it is obviously the first card in any suit. If it doesn’t follow this rule (it is a green four and the green suit only has one and two played into it) then you are one of three steps closer to losing. You have to take one of the fuse tokens and throw it into the box.
If you are well into the game and all the fireworks have been started (there is at least a one on the table for each suit) and someone has identified a card as a one, then you should feel free to discard that card on your turn. This benefits you in two ways; it gets you another usable card from the draw pile and more importantly it returns a blue info token to the table which enables more clues to be given out later.
The game ends when one one of three conditions. The last fuse token is exposed, in which case all players lose. All fireworks are completed 1-5, this is the best possible win condition. The last card is pulled from the draw pile, in which case all players get one more turn then the number of cards played on the table is totaled and degree of victory is determined.
After you have the core game figured out, throw in the included expansion of multi-colored cards and have fun with the game all over again.
It’s great when you play a game that you think is excellent. It’s better when you don’t need to get anyone elses opinion because two days later it wins the 2013 Spiel des Jahres (Germany’s “game of the year”) award.
The game is well thought out. There are more ones in the deck for each suit (3 of each) which makes it more likely to get the game started since they are needed to initiate a firework. There are 2 of each of the other cards, except for fives since they can’t make the game too easy. This keeps the game from grinding to a halt when you erroneously discard a card you need. You are even allowed to go through the discard pile whenever you’d like so you can easily keep track of the state of the game. If you accidentally discarded both green twos, then you know you don’t need to bother with green threes, fours or fives.
I like cooperative games that give you degrees of victory for the team. This one gives you more points based on how far into the suits you get. A score of 18, out of a max of 25 points if you complete everything, is still a win, but there is something to shoot for next game. All this adds to replayability.
The only nitpick I could find is an inconsistency in the the fuse mechanic. I do love that you get multiple chances to be wrong, and the fuse reinforces the theme, but this mechanic doesn’t line up with the blue info token one. There are four fuse tokens and only 3 of them need to make their way to the box before you lose the game, the fourth remains on the table. If there is a blue token available on the table you can use it. From looking around online it looks like previous versions of the game only used 3 fuse tokens so there must have been a reason for this change, I just can’t figure out what it is.
The best games give you a multitude of options on your turn and it’s your job do figure out which is best. Hanabi does this almost all the time, but there are times that all your blue tokens will be in the box and you have absolutely no information about your cards. This allows for the luck factor that is necessary in all truly entertaining games.
Wondering if Hanabi is good for you and your group? Feel free to ask us questions about the game below and we’ll be sure to try and help you out.
Played Hanabi before? Let us and the other readers know what you think about the game in the comments!