• Basics - level 2

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    Previous: level 1

    #8 Don't be afraid to discard – trust

    Trusting your teammates is key in Hanabi. If your teammates have not clued your chop card for some time, you can discard it safely. If you discard an important card, it is their fault. A common mistake from beginners is to think they can't discard because they know nothing about their hand. Therefore, they give (waste) clues, hoping they will receive information. Most of the time, you were told nothing on purpose.

    #9 Don't discard too early

    Discarding on turn 1 is often dangerous. Unless your team knows the game very well and you have very good reasons for doing it on turn 1, wait a little bit before your first discard.

    #10 No duplicates (part 2)

    With more than 2 players, if you have some cards clued as X, do not give a X clue to another player. If needed, a third player will be able to give this clue, because he knows which Xs you have been clued about.

    - if you are sure the Xs you clue him about are not the same as the Xs you have been clued about, for example they are obviously the last copy of their kind each. Therefore, the fact that you give the clue is more meaningful to the receiver.

    #11 Clue timing

    There are two main categories of clues: play clues and save clues.

    A play clue should be given as soon as possible, i.e. as long as the clue is pure and unambiguous and before the target player takes another turn. Why? If you don't, the player who has the playable card might draw another card that will spoil the clue and it will result in wasting one or more clues to disambiguate the first one.

    A save clue is usually best given as late as possible. If you give a save clue too early, you might be wasting a clue.

    Two examples showing why:

    - if you clue a 5 too early and the player draws another 5 before the first one has reached chop, you will need another clue to save it;

    - by the time the card you want to save has reached chop and is in danger of being discarded, it may have become playable and a single clue could be enough to get it played straight away.

    This is one of the easiest, yet one of the most important basics to learn, especially “give play clues ASAP”. It lays the foundations of quite a big part of the whole strategy as it leads to other clever tricks we will cover later.

    #12 Indirect clue

    If you know two of your cards share a feature (say 'yellow') and someone gives you a useless clue about one of them that is not playable, you should give it a thought and work out that the other one is playable.

    #13 Count cards

    In each colour, there are: 1 1 1 / 2 2 / 3 3 / 4 4 / 5. Knowing this, you may figure out the exact nature of a card you only have partial information on, by looking at other players' hands and at the discard.

    Next: level 3.

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  • Commentaires

    Jeudi 26 Juillet 2018 à 08:04


    I wanted to contest the 'play clue should be given as soon as possible' logic. Like the clue can be made impure by cards drawn in future, they can also be affected by cards already in hand. For instance, if a player has drawn a yellow 2 but his hand already has a yellow 1 and some other 2 which has been played, cluing yellow or 2 can lead to cluing useless cards. In this case, it is better to wait until either the other 2 or the yellow 1 has been discarded, is it not?

      • Jeudi 26 Juillet 2018 à 12:16

        Thanks for your comment.

        Actually we agree on this point, since the post says "as long as the clue is pure". In "as soon as possible", there are two important things:

        soon: if you can give a pure clue, go for it

        possible: a few things can make it impossible to clue soon – a lack of clue tokens, other emergencies or, as you point out, cards that make the clue worse than it could become if you wait

    Mercredi 18 Septembre 2019 à 12:59
    Quick thought about "#11 Clue timing": Yes, the clue could become ambiguous if you wait but sometimes the chances of it becoming a double clue is greater than it becoming obstructed.
    Example: All 1s are played, no 2 is played
    Teammate has: y2 X X X X (no other yellow card)
    Waiting for other playable 2s before giving a 2 hint would save precious clues.

    While this seems to be an extreme and unambiguous example, there are other ones on which we have disagreed in the past. What would you do if there are e.g. five 2s that would make the hint a double hint and four 4s that will obstruct the hint?
      • Dimanche 15 Décembre 2019 à 02:27

        Agree "clue plays ASAP" is not a 100% thing (like all tricks I mention on this blog). In rare cases it’s better to wait.

        Re your last question, I’m not sure what kind of situation that would be.

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