Tips & Strategies (23)

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Tips & Strategies (23)

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5
Vanguard
50 of 50 gamers found this helpful
“Dual use deck”

Looking for more variety? With the addition of 65 poker chips or tokens, the Hanabi deck can also be used to play “Ikebana”, a hard to find competitive flower arranging game also by Antoine Bauza. Rules for this can be downloaded from BoardGameGeek (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/70918/hanabi-ikebana).

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6
44 of 44 gamers found this helpful
“Information Not Inklings”

I haven’t seen any tips here of this sort, but have heard elsewhere (no disrespect to the video reviewer) about reading body language, ticks, and quirks of the clue-giver to read more from their clue than what was specifically said. Having grown up in a bidding card game family, I have been “trained” to not give any information this way and not to permit it from others. Now, in Hanabi, you are only cheating yourself, not the other partners, if you share additional information this way, so you are welcome to it. But in games I play we take a strict house rule against it. I believe the game is intended to be played through information and inference, “What was the clue you gave me?” “Why did you give me that clue?” “Why did you give me that clue now?” These are all “valid” inferences to determine what your next play or future play should be or should not be. But pointing out cards in a particular order or making voice inflections to communicate more information makes this a very different game.

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5
Australia
I play red
42 of 42 gamers found this helpful
“6+ Players”

Although the box says Hanabi is for 2-5 players, you can play with more if you make a few modifications.

We played with six, and dealt THREE cards each, instead of four.
You can also introduce the ability to “pass” a limited number of times per game (I’d recommend twice with six), as there are a lot more turns in which to discard/play, which means the deck will be exhausted very quickly if you don’t do this.

You can scale it the same way (fewer cards, more passes) for more than six, and tweak as required. 🙂

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6
39 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“Table Talk?”

This game is all about limited “table talk” – the information shared through clues and inferences from clues.
If you have competitive gamers at the table, the house rule regarding any additional table talk beyond what is expressly permitted in the clues might be very strict.
If you are playing with younger players or, in my case, an aging parent, you might allow additional table talk (without destroying the basics of the game). You might ask the person periodically, “What do you know about this card?” (since they have it set aside in their hand) or similar questions to keep their mind focused.

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8
El Dorado
I'm a Gamin' Fiend!
Rated 100 Games
Paladin
38 of 38 gamers found this helpful
“Card organization”

Like the real estate adage, success in Hanabi relies on location, location, location!!!
The most important thing you can do when playing is keep track of what cards are in your hand. The best way to do this is to remember which cards are where. I can guarantee that if you hold your hand of cards like a regular game of cards (all in a row,) you will fail. Come up with creative ways to organize your cards – some sticking out the bottom, some upside down, some sideways. It may make holding your cards more awkward, but I can guarantee that you (and your fellow fireworks aficionados) will have a much easier time.

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10
Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Inventor
Advanced Reviewer
77 of 78 gamers found this helpful
“Only the Last Fuse Token Ends the Game”

My group showed too much respect to the Fuse tokens during our first games. Nobody wanted to be the one responsible for prematurely ending the game. We kept our options limited to “give a clue”, “discard a card” and “play a sure thing”. We never considered plying cards that may work. Our game ended by running out of cards and we had a mediocre score due to our overly cautious play.

There are multiple Fuse counters for a reason. Only the last one seals your fate. Use the first few as opportunities for calculated risks. When clue tokens are dwindling and you have a few cards in your hand that could be playable or discarded, consider the blind play versus the automatic discard. (Don’t do this with cards that could be the last of their kind unless it is near game’s end anyway!) A common example would be when two colors are scored at one point and you are still searching for the other colors’ ones. If you know you have a couple of ones remaining in your hand, based on what information you can glean from all exposed cards, you can probably take a shot at playing one rather than discarding something obvious. This play should help increase final scores without risking the end of play.

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8
USA
Scotland
I play black
25 of 25 gamers found this helpful
“Oldest Card / Newest Card”

We have a house rule of always designating one side of your hand of cards to be the “old” side and the other to be the “new” side. For instance, when I am looking at the backs of the cards in my hand, the card furthest to my right is always the oldest (has been in my hand the longest), and any time I draw a new card to add it to my hand, it becomes the left-most card in my hand.

This helps make discarding predictable for all of the other players, since they know which card I will be throwing away if I have to or choose to discard. It also insures the maximum amount of time for players to give me a clue about the 5 in my hand before it gets discarded.

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8
USA
Scotland
I play black
42 of 43 gamers found this helpful
“I know nothing about my hand!”

We intentionally do not give someone ANY clues about their hand when their oldest card needs to be discarded. This helps us not waste clues on someone who is holding multiple cards of the same number, when only one of those cards is actually safe to discard. Not knowing anything about the cards in your hand removes any temptation to attempt to play one that is unplayable.

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8
Intermediate Reviewer
Paladin
Tinkerer
Novice Advisor
100 of 103 gamers found this helpful
“Flip the cards”

Note that the back of the cards have orientation. Put all new cards in your hand the same way (and it can also be clever to “feed” your hand from the same side so that you keep track of which cards are oldest) and when you get a clue regarding a certain card, flip it around. It makes it easier to keep track of which cards are which.

Cards you know are meant to trash, flip them sideways.

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4
Scorpion Clan-Legend of the Five Rings
Arrowhead
112 of 116 gamers found this helpful
“Give information on danger and cards that should move”

While this may be different for some groups – with so few clues available make sure that the clues you do give lead to action. In general a clue that helps a player make a move three or four moves from now doesn’t help too much. Knowing I have 3 fours doesn’t help much when the highest stack is at 2.

If someone has two one’s and neither is represented on the table – let them know they have ones. In our group this means that the ones can be acted on. With holes in the one’s tableau that means I can usually play them. Our group extends this convention to other numbers/colors as well.

The exception to this are the land mines – the 5’s and the cards that have a match in the discard. These are the cards you need to inform the person what they are as soon as possible. In our group telling me I have two 4’s when no fours can be played (or no way I can decide which one is playable) means one of them is critical – save them. Obviously pointing out the 5’s is critical as well

If you don’t receive information on a card in 3-4 turns and the table had the clues to do it (especially the person to your right) then that card is probably a safe dump.

Using these conventions our group has routinely performed in the 20’s with two successful shows.

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10
Critic - Level 5
Professional Advisor
Expert Reviewer
Marquis / Marchioness
107 of 112 gamers found this helpful
“Hints Don't Just Tell You What a Card is, Hints Also Tell You A Card Is Not”

When first playing Hanabi, we spent a lot of time focusing on what the cards in our hands were. You’d move things around to remember what was a 2, or what was blue.

After a few plays, it became clear that almost of equal importantance of learning what a card was, it was also helpful to recall what a card was not.

For instance, when told early in the game that you have two 1 in your hand, you should remember that the other cards do not have the value 1.

This becomes most important in the mid to late game, especially when told higher cards. If you were told you have 4s (or 5s) at some point, you were thus also told that the other cards in your hand are not 4s or 5s. This bit of information can help make the crucial decisions of what you can discard safely as the piles on the table fill up.

Keeping this in mind, along with focusing on what is in the discard pile, can help you figure out what is in your hand a turn or two sooner than you may have otherwise. Thse extra few turns can go a long way to maximizing your score.

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4
I Am What I Am
I play yellow
64 of 67 gamers found this helpful
“Don't use the last clue!”

Especially important in a 2 player game, don’t use the last clue if if can be at all avoided. Consider first if there is anything you know can be played or discarded, and is it really important to tell the other player that information right now. If there are no clues left for the other player they cannot tell you important information if needed leaving you blind.

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6
30 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“Card Holders”

There are many great strategy tips here already, so here’s a logistical one. If you have the basic deck (that is, not the large cards with table stands), a set of card holders (the kind you usually use for the kids who can’t hold many cards) are worth the $5. These allow you to position the cards you have received clues in ways to help you remember. They also reduce the wear and tear (oil and sweat) on the cards. There are some that will stand up on the table, too.

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8
Intermediate Reviewer
Paladin
Tinkerer
Novice Advisor
61 of 64 gamers found this helpful
“Force players to discard”

Through most of the game you will have few if any available clue tokens to spend. That is not always a bad thing, which may sound strange at first.

If there is only one clue token left and the player after you (it’s your turn) doesn’t have any dangerous cards to discard and doesn’t know much of his/her hand, you can force a discard by spending the last clue token elsewhere. This itself is also a clue to the next player that the hand consist of safe-to-discard cards, which can often be repeated later turns.

The basic rule is that if there are no clue tokens left when it’s my turn I SHOULD be able to either play a card or discard a card (depending on what I know of my hand). If I discard a critical card the other players are to blame.

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6
The Gold Heart
Arrowhead
29 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“Don't Be Too Hasty To Make a Play. ”

When you are down to one or no clues, if you know you have a player and a safe discard, it’s best to do your discard first and save your play for your next turn ( as long as you’re not too near the games end). Especially if the player next to you has a blind hand. By discarding first you give that player the option of giving a clue to save them from having to blindly discard.

Now if they have no players and you want them to discard then go ahead and make your play.

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10
Grand Master Grader
Movie Lover
Book Lover
I play blue
42 of 44 gamers found this helpful
“Hold the Fives...”

There is only one “five” card of each color. Discarding a five before its corresponding “four” has been played guarantees a less than perfect score. Establish a method of keeping your known fives separate from the rest of your hand. You can turn the cards 90 degrees. Or turn them upside down while keeping new or unknown cards oriented in the opposite direction. No matter how you do it, keep the fives from being discarded or played too soon.

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6
26 of 27 gamers found this helpful
“Establish Conventions”

Many of the tips here describe “conventions” that players have established; ways of holding the cards, giving clues, discarding, etc. It is really helpful to establish a few conventions with the players, especially new ones, before starting a game. There are many that are helpful, but here are some basic ones to get started:
1) The side of the hand new cards are added – always use the same side.
2)The opposite side of the hand will then have “old” cards – the first of which will be the discard if the player has no other play.
3) How 5’s will be designated in the hand – hold them out the side or the bottom of the hand. You get no second chance to play a 5…

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8
Intermediate Reviewer
Paladin
Tinkerer
Novice Advisor
95 of 101 gamers found this helpful
“ones and complete colors”

Since the main obstacle in this game is not having enough clue tokens you want to be able to gain some back, and that has an impact on your completion strategy.

The first is pretty obvious, once you have all the colors on the table you can give people with at least two “1” the hint that they are ones and they can trash them giving you more clues back than it cost to give them the information (and don’t forget the bonus information that they now know that the rest of the hand is NOT ones).

The other one is to complete a color. If you can give a clue that will either finish a color with a five or crank another color up to four, the general rule is to complete the first color, and this for two reasons:

1) When you play a five you get a clue token back
2) All of a sudden you can point out “free trash” in the same way as with the ones.

Of course certain situations may break this rule if you need progress in order for your timing to flow.

Also remember that it is not good to trash to many cards in favour of clues. Quite often the game ends because you run out of cards, and any clues still at your disposal at that time means a lost opportunity to play a card instead.

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9
31 of 33 gamers found this helpful
“durable version”

If you enjoy this game you should be aware that there is a deluxe version. This version is a tile set that has a nice weighty feel and will obviously outlast the cards. It is also very pretty in appearance. It is not cheap, but if you look around online you can usually get a good price on it.

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10
Critic - Level 5
Professional Advisor
Expert Reviewer
Marquis / Marchioness
73 of 79 gamers found this helpful
“The Discard Pile Holds a Lot of Information”

When playing through Hanabi, groups tend to feel they need more information than they have.

When looking for more information, be sure to include a thorough examination of the discard pile. Since you know how many of each card is in the deck, knowing what is in the discard pile can be a big help in identifying cards in your hand.

For instance, if you’re told that you have a 4 in your hand, and it’s towards the end of the game, you can often work out which 4 you must have, based on what has been played, what is in the discard pile, and what is in the other players’ hands.

Additionally, if someone discards a non-one card, and someone has the other in their hand, you should make sure your clues get across that the card has become important and shouldn’t be discarded.

When we play, we make a point of spreading out the discard pile (and sorting by color) to make it easier for people to determine what is (and isn’t) in the discard pile.

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