Monday, August 17, 2015

Hanabi: a (Cooperative) Game Unlike Any Other

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The problem with most cooperative games is that sometimes someone gets bossy. And when that happens, players who don't like to be told what to do get grumpy. If this sounds familiar to you and yours, you might shy away from cooperative games. like we do. (Ask us when we last played Shadows Over Camelot.) But since discovering a beauty of a card game called Hanabi, we shy away no more. Hanabi is not like most cooperative games.  

In fact, Hanabi is not like most card games period. Players hold their cards facing out, which means that each player knows what everyone else has but not what's in his or her own hand. Call it a gimmick, maybe, but it's also genius. Since all players are equally blind, no one player has enough information to take control. 

The goal of Hanabi is to build a fireworks display by laying down cards in the proper sequence and on the matching color. Since players don't know what's in their hands, they rely on clues from other players and on deductive reasoning to lay down the right card at the right time.  It all becomes surprisingly intense. 

We like this game a lot. It only plays up to five, which is a drawback for us, but it's portable, quick to play, easy to learn but challenging. You can't go wrong with this one, whether you like cooperatives or not.   


# Players . . . 2-5
Game time . . . . . . . . 20-30 minutes
Set up . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 minutes
Luck . . . . . . .  .7 . . . . Strategy
*Interplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.5
Visual Appeal . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Component Quality . .. . . . . 7
*Replayability . . . . . . . . . . . 9


*See "How we Rate" for a definition.

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