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Hanabi» Forums » Variants

Subject: Up-or-Down Variant, for experienced players rss

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Sean McCarthy
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Purpose:

* Add difficulty.
* Shake up strategies.


Requirements:

You need a modified deck. Remove two "1" cards from each suit and add a single "START" card to each suit. This is most easily done by marking up a 1 from each suit, or less permanently if your deck is sleeved. Unfortunately, there's no way around this. But if you're diehard Hanabi fans, maybe you have an extra deck lying around.

So anyway, you end up with each suit containing: 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, START. You can play with only the 5 basic colors, or also with the multicolored suit (in this case I recommend the version where they must be clued as every color).


Rules Changes:

* Each suit can be started at either end, with the 1 or with the 5. The rest of the suit follows: if a 5 is played first, a 4 must be played next, etc. The suit must be either in ascending or descending order.

* The START cards can also begin a suit. If played as the first card of a suit, they stand in for the 1 or 5. 2 and 4 are both legal plays on the START card, but after that the order is of course determined by which one was played. If a START card is played when the suit is already started, it is always a strike.

* The START cards do not have a rank; if you give a rank clue, you never indicate them. They can only be indicated by color clues.

* To be clear, you get the free clue token for finishing a suit (as per standard hanabi rules) at the time the fifth card to a suit is played, be it the 5 or the 1. You don't get it specifically for playing the "5" card, but for playing the fifth card, whatever it may be.


My comments:

With this deck composition you still have two cards of each of the inner ranks, 3 cards that can be played to start the suit, and only 1 card that can finish the suit. And as a bonus, you even have some added flexibility! You're less likely to be stuck with useless 4s and 5s early in the game, and you're more likely to be able to use a given card that you draw as a play. However, this is accomplished with 5 fewer cards in the deck (6 if playing with the 6th suit). Removing 5 cards makes the game quite a bit harder, as anyone who has played with the 5-card multicolor suit knows. In addition, the ability to clue multiple 1s together early in the game is reduced, because the cards that can start a suit are split into three categories which don't share a rank with each other.

Personally I enjoy the added difficulty of playing with an only-5-card multicolor suit as per the official variant, but only the way it makes the game much tighter, and not the way it introduces some unwinnable situations into the game. (For example, if the multi 1/2/3/4 are on the bottom of the deck, a perfect score is impossible.) A goal of this variant is to reduce the available cards similarly without adding that extreme dependence on draws.

However, the main reason for this variant is just to shake up the game if you've found your strategies and conventions becoming a bit stale, or your players a bit too reliable. We've tried a couple games of this now and it succeeded in that, so here it is, I hope you enjoy it!

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Chris Edwards
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I haven't tried the full variant yet, but last night my girlfriend and I played a bunch of games where we combined your rules with the speed Hanabi variant. Two players, 3 clue tokens, hand size of 2 cards. The deck consisted of Start (we used 5 to stand in), 1, 2, 2, 3 in each of three suits (15 cards total).

The fact that the suits only go up to 3 led to the side-effect that Start, 2 could be followed with either 1 or 3. We won several games rather easily, but did run into some interesting challenges and fell short of winning a few times.
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Sean McCarthy
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Interesting!

I wouldn't really expect well for this variant to combine well with a variant where there are only 3 ranks. But that's cool.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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Played this a few times now and we finally beat it! (25/25 points.) It's really hard - in a four player game, the actual maximum number of cards you can discard before you mathematically can't get 25 points is 8. That's an average of two discards per player for the entire game. In our game, the discard pile had just 6 cards in it at the end. (Which was the max for us, since two of us didn't have a play in the final round.) The victory felt miraculous.
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Peter Hendee
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I do not think it means what you think it means.
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SevenSpirits wrote:
In a four player game, the actual maximum number of cards you can discard before you mathematically can't get 25 points is 8.


Are you playing with five cards in each player's hand in a four player game?
 
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Remy Suen
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PeterHendee wrote:
SevenSpirits wrote:
In a four player game, the actual maximum number of cards you can discard before you mathematically can't get 25 points is 8.


Are you playing with five cards in each player's hand in a four player game?

Sean's match looks good to me assuming Sean is referring to vanilla Hanabi with 50 cards.

4 players x 4 cards = 16 cards.
50 cards in a deck - 16 cards in the opening hand = 34 cards left in the deck
34 cards - 25 cards for 5 points in each of the 5 colours = 8

Of course, there is some leeway during the final round since everyone gets "one more go" but you're going to feel the heat once you've discarded 8 cards.


Didn't realize I was in the 'Variants' forum, whoops!

So I think the math is more like this...?

4 x 4 = 16
45 cards - 16 = 29
29 - 25 = 4
4 + 4 more for the final round = 8
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R. O. Schaefer
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SevenSpirits wrote:
Played this a few times now and we finally beat it! ... The victory felt miraculous.


Congrats, Sean! I still have to try it - havn't so far, mainly because you have to do something with the cards or buy a second copy. But I definitely will - your variant sounds really good.
 
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Pierre Beri
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SevenSpirits wrote:
Played this a few times now and we finally beat it! (25/25 points.) It's really hard - in a four player game, the actual maximum number of cards you can discard before you mathematically can't get 25 points is 8. That's an average of two discards per player for the entire game. In our game, the discard pile had just 6 cards in it at the end. (Which was the max for us, since two of us didn't have a play in the final round.) The victory felt miraculous.

Why not put two START cards of each colour in the deck?
Only one sounds like the game is much harder.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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Making it harder is a large part of the point. But I suppose you could try with two start cards if you didn't want that aspect.
 
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