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Gamehelphanabi

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Introduction

Hanabi is a cooperative game. Your goal, as a team, is to build a fabulous fireworks show. You do this by playing the cards in the correct order. However, you cannot see your own cards; you can only see the cards of your team mates.

Final Score Ratings

Points Overall impression
5 or less horrible, booed by the crowd...
6-10 mediocre, just a spattering of applause.
11-15 honourable, but will not be remembered for very long...
16-20 excellent, crowd pleasing.
21-24 amazing, will be remembered for a very long time!
25 legendary, everyone left speechless, stars in their eyes

Card distribution

In a game of Hanabi on NORMAL DIFFICULTY, the deck contains 50 cards. Each has exactly one colour: either Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, or White.

There are 10 cards in each colour:

  • three 1s
  • two 2s
  • two 3s
  • two 4s
  • one 5

Multicolour cards

There are three variants that add a 6th colour: the multicolour.

  1. TRICKY DIFFICULTY adds 10 multicolour cards to the normal game. These cards get marked by a separate multicolour clue.
  2. HARD DIFFICULTY adds 5 multicolour cards to the normal game: one of each number. These cards get marked by a separate multicolour clue.
  3. VERY DIFFICULT DIFFICULTY adds 10 multicolour cards to the normal game. These cards get marked by ANY colour clue.

Gameplay

You each take turns. During a turn, a player may take one (1) of three actions. After your action, the turn ends and it is the next player's turn.

The game can end in several ways:

  1. All cards have been drawn from the deck. After this happens, everybody gets 1 more turn. The game ends with the score at the last turn.
  2. Your team played all possible cards. In this case, the game ends immediately and you receive the maximum possible score.
  3. Your team made three mistakes that caused misfires. In this case, you lose the game and get negative ten (-10) points.
  4. Your team 'abandons' the game. Although discouraged, you receive zero (0) points.

Turn

During your turn, you have one (1) action. You can choose to do one of the following:

  1. Give a colour or number clue to a teammate: This costs one clue-token (-1). You cannot give a clue if there are zero (0) clue-tokens left. When you give a clue, you must indicate ALL cards of a certain colour, or ALL cards of a certain number.
  2. Play a card: When a card is played, it is evaluated. If the card fits in one of sequences, it is placed in the appropriate colour stack on the table. If it does not, it is placed in the discard pile and the team gets a misfire-token.
  3. Discard a card: When you discard, the card is placed in the discard pile and you get a clue-token (+1). Note: cards on the discard pile are out of the game and can never return.

When you remove a card from your hand, by either playing or discarding, at the end of your turn, you draw a new card.

Options

Black Powder

  • You may not give clues regarding the colour black.
  • Black cards must be played in reverse order, from 5 to 1.
  • In the deck there are three black 5s, two black 4s, two black 3s, two black 2s, and one black 1.

Five Flamboyants

After playing the last card of a colour, randomly select one of the following bonuses for immediate use:

  • Gain a clue token.
  • Gain a clue token and recover a life.
  • Give a clue regarding a colour.
  • Give a clue regarding a number.
  • Shuffle a discarded card into the deck.
  • Play a discarded card, if possible.

Lingo

When you play with others, certain words are used to describe certain objects or situations. Here is a short list.

  • MARKED: A card that is highlighted by a clue.
  • UNMARKED: A card that is not clued.
  • CHOP: The oldest, unmarked card. The card that you have no information on and will chop from your hand.
  • DRAW: The newest, unmarked card. The card that you have no information on and was freshly drawn.
  • TO BOMB: A play that causes the third misfire-token. Sometimes called EXPLOSION
  • UNIQUE: A card that has no copy (left) in the deck.
  • DOUBLE DISCARD: Discarding the (usually CHOP) card when it can be Unique (or the last copy of the card in the discard pile).
  • DOUBLE SAVE: To mark a card that is useless, because the copy of the card is already played, or marked.
  • STRATEGY: A set of rules / guidelines / conventions on how to interpret actions by players (including spending of clue-tokens).

ELO rating

If you are playing with ELO rating on, your ELO may be changed at the end of the game.

Here is how it works:

  1. Every player on the team is temporarily considered as having the average ELO rating of the team.
  2. The system will generate a bot associated with the score your team has achieved (let’s call it Hanabot). Hanabot’s ELO rating depends on the variant you are playing (50 cards, 60 cards, 60 cards multicolor), the number of players on the team and, most importantly, your team's score. All Hanabot’s ELO ratings have been set by an experienced player, they are not random or simply proportional to the score/number of players.
  3. Your team (actually your team's average ELO) will now compete against Hanabot. The system will calculate your team’s ELO gain/loss as though your team had tied with Hanabot.

If your score is below 18 (50-card game) or below 21 (60-card game), Hanabot's ELO is always 1000.


You can find all bots' ELO ratings here: http://forum.boardgamearena.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4814

The 55-card variant (50 cards + 1 of each value in the sixth color) cannot be played with ELO rating on. This is because this variant is highly dependent on draw and a team’s score may not always reflect the players’ skills.

If you achieve the perfect score and this should cost you ELO points, you will be considered as having beaten the bot associated with the score, so that you lose no ELO points.
To be confirmed: I think the ELO-system has had an overhaul.

About "cheating"

In the "real life Hanabi", you can talk. That's why we chose to let the chat open for the online version.

As a consequence, it is very easy to cheat at Hanabi. However, as you can imagine, cheating is very stupid and has no interest... except for ELO boosting. This is why there is no international ranking for this game (ie: best player, second best player) and no trophies associated to it.

CONVENTIONS

If you want to play "full information" style, meaning that you wait until you know both the colour and number of a card before you play it, you will likely be short on clue-tokens in >99% of the decks. The logical conclusion is, that you cannot play a full information style game, and the team must agree on some sort of convention. Meaning: a certain amount of meta-information is assigned to the clues.

Many players have different kinds of conventions. When different players in the same team assign different meta-information to the same clue, the game becomes unplayable. This is why the BGA table-settings give the option to set a table convention since the end of 2020. Please see this post started by Romain672. Ideally, all players adhere to the convention, to avoid miscommunication.

Below, the meta-information of several conventions is explained. In the examples, colours are indicated by their first letter : R - Red -      , Y - Yellow -      , G - Green -      , B - Blue -      , W - White -      , M - Multi-colour -      , P - black Powder -      . For example, Y2 means the card with number 2 and colour yellow.

Standard convention

You can assume the following meta-information:

  • Every card that gets marked, will be playable at some point.
  • A card marked with a number, can be played when all "number-1" cards are played. (This is usually explained as: number-clues mean that these cards should be saved and played later on in the game. It is custom to play saved cards from oldest to newest.)
  • A colour-clue means that the newest, previously unmarked card, is the next playable card in the sequence.
  • The oldest, unmarked card is safe to discard. (Obviously, if a player has a card that he is sure he will never be able to play, for example a card on which is marked as blue when the blue pile has already been completed, such card must be discarded in priority.)

Clues you should avoid giving (bad clues):

  • Giving a clue that marks 0 new cards.
  • Give a clue that tells a lie (does not conform to the meta-information above).
  • As a special remark: don't mark useless, or duplicate cards. So if you have a saved 4, you are forbidden from marking 4s, unless you are sure you are not holding a copy of that 4.

Sometimes, a "bad" clue can't be avoided. For example, when you need to save a unique 3 (using a number-clue) to avoid it being discarded. But you accidentally mark a useless card. Or if you are forced to give a colour-clue from a flamboyant, and you use it to mark 0 new cards.

When a lie has been told, it needs to be corrected. A correction-clue can never mean "play", it can only mean "discard".

Example 1:

    new -> old
P1: R1, Y1, G1, B1, W1
P2: R2, Y4, R3, B3, G5
P3: G4, Y1, R4, Y3, Y2
Table: R1, Y5, G1, B3, W4

It's P1's turn, and P2 knows his oldest card is 5. P1 will give R-clue to P2. This will tell P2, that the newest card is the next playable in the sequence (so must be R2), and that the other red can be R3, R4, or R5 (because it must be playable at some later point in the game).


Example 2:

    new -> old
P1: R1, Y1, G1, B1, W1
P2: W5, Y4, R3, B3, G5
P3: W2, G4, Y1, R4, Y3
Table: R2, Y5, G1, B3, W4

It is P1's turn again, and P2 knows his oldest card is 5, and his middle card is R. P1 will give R-clue to P3. This will tell P3, that his middle card is the next playable in the sequence (so must be R4, because R3 is already marked). This will give P2 the meta-information that his saved red card, is R3. (This particular move is sometimes called prompting, and is a common way to allow a card that is saved by colour to get played without re-cluing it.)

Example 3:

    new -> old
P1: R1, Y1, G1, B1, W1
P2: R3, Y4, R2, B3, G5
P3: G4, Y1, R4, Y3, Y2
Table: R1, Y5, G0, B3, W4

It is P1's turn, and P2 knows his middle card is 2. P1 will give R-clue to P2. This will tell P2 that his newest card is the next playable in the sequence (so must be R3, because R2 is now visible with 100% information).

Finesse

Finesse is a more complex version of the standard convention. In the finesse convention, the timing of the clue gives you extra information. You can assume the following meta-information:

  • Every card that gets marked, will be playable at some point.
  • If the oldest, unmarked card gets marked with a number-clue, then the clue meant "save this/these card(s)". (It is custom to play saved cards from oldest to newest when appropriate.)
  • A clue that doesn't mark the oldest card, means that the newest, previously unmarked card, is the next playable card in the sequence.
  • The oldest, unmarked card is safe to discard. (Obviously, if a player has a card that he is sure he will never be able to play, for example a card on which is marked as blue when the blue pile has already been completed, such card must be discarded in priority.)
  • If more than 1 person are able to give the same clue, then the last possible person should give that clue.
  • If a player gets skipped (P1 clues P3, instead of P2; then P2 is skipped), it means either:
    1. The skipped player is forbidden from giving that clue; or
    2. The skipped player has something to play.

Clues you should avoid giving (bad clues):

  • Giving a clue that marks 0 new cards.
  • Give a clue that tells a lie (does not conform to the meta-information above).
  • As a special remark: don't mark useless, or duplicate cards. So if you have a saved 4, you are forbidden from marking 4s, unless you are sure you are not holding a copy of that 4.

Special interpretation for play-clues:

  • When receiving a clue for the "next playable card in the sequence", the linking cards are not limited to already marked cards (like in standard convention). The newest, unmarked cards in every player's hand should be considered as well.
Example
    new -> old
P1: ??, ??, ??, ??, ??
P2: B1, Y5, B3, W1, W2  
P3: R5, R2, B2, G2, Y2 
Table: R0, Y0, G0, B0, W0

P1 gives B-clue to P3. This gives the information that B2 is the next playable card in the sequence, and that P2 is either not allowed to give B-clue, or has something to play. Since P2 has no marked cards, he was not blocked from giving B-clue, so he must have something to play. This something, must be the missing link (B1, to enable B2) that makes B2 the next playable card. Since there is no logical (marked) card that could be B1, P2 must assume his newest, unmarked card is B1 and blind-plays this card.

Example of reversed finesse
    new -> old
P1: ??, ??, ??, ??, ??
P2: R5, R2, B2, G2, Y2
P3: B1, Y5, B3, W1, W2  
Table: R0, Y0, G0, B0, W0

P1 gives B-clue to P2. This gives the information that B2 is the next playable card in the sequence. P2 sees that the newest, unmarked card in the hand of P3 is of the same colour (blue) AND playable now. P2 concludes it is a finesse, with the players in reversed order, so his blue card must be B2.

Example of a bluff
    new -> old
P1: ??, ??, ??, ??, ??
P2: W1, Y5, B3, W1, W2  
P3: R5, R2, B2, G2, Y2
Table: R0, Y0, G0, B0, W0

P1 gives B-clue to P3. This gives the information that B2 is the next playable card in the sequence, and that P2 is either not allowed to give B-clue, or has something to play. Since P2 has no marked cards, he was not blocked from giving B-clue, so he must have something to play. This something, must be the missing link (B1, to enable B2) that makes B2 the next playable card. Since there is no logical (marked) card that could be B1, P2 must assume his newest, unmarked card is B1 and blind-plays this card.

However, at this point the "lie" is revealed (because the colour of the played card does NOT match the colour of the finesse-clue). The blind-played card is NOT B1, but W1. P3, upto this point, was thinking he had B1. The blind-play of P2 gives him extra information: his blue card is in fact B2.

Off discard

It happens that in his turn a player no longer has a clue token and that a card must absolutely be played, it is then possible for him to discard another card than his card furthest to the right. This move tells the next player to play the card in the same position as the one that was discarded.

Example: it's player 1's turn, there are no more clue tokens, a 1B has already been played and a 2B card has already been discarded (in bold the clues known by the players):

  1. a? b? c? d? e?
  2. 4Y 5R 2R 2B 2G
  3. 2G 1B 5Y 3B 3W

Player 1 discards card d? instead of the e? card. This indicates to the player that he must play his card in the same position (therefore 2B), which avoids losing it and thus condemning the blue pile.

This movement is risky because the discarded card can be important or even blocking for the rest of the game. This movement should therefore only be used if there is no other solution. It is up to the other players to make sure, before leaving a player without a clue token, that the card he could discard to give this clue is not essential for the rest of the game.


Hat-guessing

See https://github.com/hanabi/hanabi.github.io/blob/main/misc/hat-guessing.md.

Logical Leftism

See http://hanabilogic.eklablog.com/basics-level-1-a117610126 and http://hanabilogic.eklablog.com/logical-leftism-in-a-nutshell-a163408102.

Closest Friend

TODO

Secret convention

TODO

Conventional Leftism

http://hanabilogic.eklablog.com/ll-vs-cl-the-differences-a132077536 gives some clues, but doesn't explain Conventional Leftism from first principles.

Chop-focus

TODO