Top 100: #9 Hanabi

Some games while simple can be really great and exciting at the same time. That is the slot that we put Hanabi in - our #9. Some games have now used its central unique mechanic in different ways but Hanabi was the first time we experienced it. You are working together with your fellow players to put on the best fireworks show. But pulling off that show can be difficult when it is hard to communicate!

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The central difference Hanabi has to lots of other card games is that all of your cards face away from you. So you have no knowledge of what cards you have unless told by other players. But you do know what all of their cards are which occasionally can help you deduce some knowledge about what could possibly be in your hand.

On your turn you can either give a clue, play a card, or discard a card. Simple choices which is another thing we like in games. Which you decide to take is sometimes a hard choice since the number of clues you have as a group is limited. The only way to get clues back is to successfully play a five or discard a card. But be careful which card you discard as they are limited as well!

As a group you are trying to get the 1 through 5 played of each of the five colors. But how do you do that without knowing what is your hand? As mentioned the only way you get information is through clues you get. But not only are you stuck in that restriction but the types of clues you can receive are limited too. When giving a clue you can only talk about a single color or number and you have to call out all the ones that match even if you might only want to point out one card! It is good to think that the only reason people are telling you information is because they want you to do something with those cards. There is no room for extraneous information!

Hanabi is a great game unmodified as you try to puzzle out what each of the cards in your hand is and how best to use them - either as cards to play or to discard to retrieve clues. Players aren’t supposed to communicate in any way other than those clues but sometimes the unintentional cheating creates some of the best moments. As you reach to discard a really important card and the rest of the group tries not to wince. It is the terrific game play and the fun memories we’ve had playing it that earn it the high spot of our 9th favorite game of all time!