Sun Beats Down – Playing Forbidden Desert

Continue reading Sun Beats Down – Playing Forbidden Desert


Hanabi – The Quieter, Safer Fireworks

Anyone with a young child or nervous dog knows that they don’t handle fireworks well.  For the past week, our poor pooch has been sleeping under our bed due to the celebrations in our neighborhood.  My friends with babies talk of how much fun it is to try and soothe their little ones once the fireworks begin.

Well, now Cam and I can enjoy fireworks thematically with the cute little card game, Hanabi. At around $10-11 bucks, it’s cheaper than buying actual fireworks and provides hours more entertainment than watching your hard earned money explode within seconds in the sky.

Hanabi is a card game for 2-5 players.  Preferably 2-5 players with good memories.  It is a cooperative game, with everyone working together to build a fireworks show.  Each player has a hand of card.  Be careful not to look at your hand.  Each player’s hand faces outward towards the other players.  Half the time I picked up my hand, I absentmindedly looked down at them, forcing us to shuffle and redeal.  So cards should be fanned out so that each person doesn’t look at their own hand, but can see all the other players hands.

There are five colors of cards.  Within each color, cards range from 1-5.  The goal is to build the fireworks with each color and playing cards in sequential order.  For example, a red 2 can only be played after a red 1.  If a green 3 is played, but a green 2 hasn’t been played yet, then it’s essentially a miss.  There are special fuse token.  Once a mistake is made, a fuse token is taken away until the last one is reached, which is the explosion.  There are only 4 fuse tokens, so within a game, only 3 mistakes can be made until an explosion and the game is over.

So, how do you play if you don’t know what cards are in your hand?  That’s where the good memory comes into play.  During a player’s turn, he/she may play a card, give a hint, or discard a card in their hand to gain another hint.  There are 8 hint tokens.  In the beginning of the game, it’s more common for players to spend the hint tokens and give one player a hint, so players can start playing cards for their fireworks show.The hints must be specific and you must point to the cards.  Two types of information can be given, a hint about which cards are a specific color, or which cards are a specific number.  A player must also give complete information.  If a player happens to have three 1’s, but you only point to 2 of them, this is incomplete information.  The player receiving the hints must remember and keep track of what he has been told about his hand.  I suck at that.  Sometimes, I play a card, thinking I was told it was a blue 1, and it turns out it was a red 5.  If a card is played out of sequence, it is discarded.

If the hint tokens are all used or getting low, a player may choose to discard a card to gain a hint toke for the group to use.  This is useful if a player thinks or has received a int that tells them that they have a card in their hand that has already been played for the fireworks show.  For example, there are three 1’s for each color in the deck.  The fireworks show only needs one.  If a player thinks they have a extra one in their hand, they can discard it to gain a hint.  Sometimes, this backfires though, when a player can’t remember what they have, or if the hints are played poorly and some players are playing blind.

The best part of the game for me is when I forget what I have in my hand.  Trying to break or bend the rules, I look at Cam and point at my cards, saying “This is a red 5, and this is a blue 3.”  He refuses to answer, saying “I already told you several turns ago.”  His laugh can sometimes give it away though.  It’s even funnier when he does the same thing and I watch him point at one of his cards, saying “It’s a white 4,” as he points to a green 2.

Overall, it’s a fun little cooperative card game.  It’s very simple and was pretty cheap from Barnes and Noble.  If you don’t feel like spending a ton of money on your next new game, I recommend this one.  It’s great for kids, or old fogies like me to need to improve their short term memory.