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Subject: Elegant house rule(s) to prevent 'cheating'? rss

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Ron
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My parents won't stop making not-so-subtle faces at each other! But it's no fun to directly tell people "stop doing that", instead I was trying to think of catch-all rule(s) to combat this. So far I'm considering:

1. When giving clues to another player you must look only at their cards (no eye contact allowed!)

Another issue is people over emphasizing a particular card when giving clues (typically, a card which should be played immediately). Not sure how to elegantly combat this one.

So, which rule(s) do you use? Are these rules even necessary?
 
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Michael Tyree
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I sympathize with the plight, but I gave up trying to be strict with my groups. MOST of the time they don't cheat much in this, but they ALWAYS have a laugh and enjoy themselves so I don't worry about it. It's the nature of the beast that some folks will stretch the limits.
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Ron
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mtyree1972 wrote:
It's the nature of the beast that some folks will stretch the limits.


We have only two games of Hanabi under our belts, and I would hate to give up so quickly, but I have a strong feeling you are right.
 
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Robb Effinger
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Another poster on these forums indicated that his method of dealing with clues that were not quite legal was to deliberately misinterpret them, and play the "wrong" card. This would especially work if you could explain (with logic) why you played that card, instead of the one that was emphasized, to help other players try to start thinking logically.

Another option to prevent emphasis on clues is to point to all cards you're cluing at the same time. ("These are your twos", as opposed to "this card and THIS CARD are twos").
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thespaceinvader -
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pvtparts wrote:
My parents won't stop making not-so-subtle faces at each other! But it's no fun to directly tell people "stop doing that", instead I was trying to think of catch-all rule(s) to combat this. So far I'm considering:

1. When giving clues to another player you must look only at their cards (no eye contact allowed!)

Another issue is people over emphasizing a particular card when giving clues (typically, a card which should be played immediately). Not sure how to elegantly combat this one.

So, which rule(s) do you use? Are these rules even necessary?

You don't have to *tell them* to 'stop doing that'.

You could instead discuss with them that you're aware that they're doing that, and that you find the game less fun when they do that, and you think they would find it more fun if they don't do that as well, and ASK them to please stop doing that.

It doesn't have to be 'my way or the high way', you could have a discussion about it instead and come to an agreement. You could make draconian rules about how to play, that might work for your group, but you shouldn't make them arbitrarily anyway.
 
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pvtparts wrote:
My parents won't stop making not-so-subtle faces at each other!

For me, the key is in how I give directions:

"Keep in mind that this game is weird in that we're all playing against the system and it can't defend itself against us. We can easily win by saying, 'Play THAT one'... the game is not going to jump up and scream, 'How DARE you!' So it's completely up to us to determine how challenging we want the game to be and what is and is not legal. If we decide we crossed the line, then we'll count it as a fault and expend a red (or bomb) token."

In other words, I make it clear that we must collectively decide what constitutes cheating and how it is to be enforced. It's not something you can just legislate away.

If they wish to allow silly faces or even point to the correct cards, then that's their collective decision. You can ask, "Should we count that as a fault?" but beyond requesting stricter enforcement there's really nothing you can do.
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Daniel B-G
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My mother in law does this whenever I play with her. That being said though, she really enjoys hanabi, and she's fairly lukewarm to most of the other games I've played with her. If they are enjoying it that way, let them do it for a while, but if and when they comment on how high their scores are, you can just say "well that's because you do x, y and z. I'm completely OK if you want to play it that way, but it does make it far easier than the game was intended". Try to inspire them to do better, rather than chastising them for doing badly.

Hanabi is prone to differing player expectations. I play mostly in a very social group where people will ask one another "If I don't give you a clue, what will you do" and based on their answer they will act. We enjoy playing that way, other people think that's cheating. I've heard of groups that play in silence apart from clues. If someone tried to play the game with me like that, I'd shuffle my hand into the deck and walk away. I play games to interact with people. If there's no table talk I'm out.

That might be a bit rambling. All I'm trying to say is that you should try to play in the way that everyone wants to, but be conscious that the margin between the extremes is a huge yawning gulf with this game.
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James Rousselle
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Our group hates this type of clue giving. Here is how we handle it.

If someone says, "this is a two and THIS IS A TWO", then I take the 2 cards (tiles), shuffle them below the table, then return them to the owner. It doesn't take long for the clue giver to realize this method of cheating won't be tolerated.

Also, when giving clues, we number our cards (tiles) from left to right as seen from the perspective of the person holding the cards. Thus, card #1 is the dump card. So, in the above example, I would give a clue such as "cards 2 and 3 are two's". In general, the clue giver does NOT point to a card (to avoid body language clues). If there is any question, the clue receiver points to his card(s) and asks for confirmation of the clue.

I know of some who say, when they give a multi card clue, the 1st one that is pointed out is the one that plays. As mentioned above, I shuffle when this occurs.

On the other hand, I don't have any problem with a convention that says which card to play when a 2 card clue is given. This locks the team into one way of playing such a clue. So the team has to decide BEFORE THE GAME BEGINS how such clues will be interpreted.
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We have "shame tokens", awarded freely whenever you think there is a "dubious moment". At the end of the game, we record our score as, say, "24 with two shame tokens thanks to Chad". They mean nothing, but are a friendly reminder that the challenge of the game comes from not cheating.
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Space Trucker
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theory wrote:
We have "shame tokens", awarded freely whenever you think there is a "dubious moment". At the end of the game, we record our score as, say, "24 with two shame tokens thanks to Chad". They mean nothing, but are a friendly reminder that the challenge of the game comes from not cheating.

That sounds like a cute idea.


Our first game was relativly strict and fair, waitining for color and numbers of the cards, focussing on opportunities to give information about more than one cards at once.

Example: There's only a red '1' on the board, the player would wait for the information to have a red '2' before her paces it.
A: 'These 3 cards are red!'
B: 'this is a '2'.
C: 'Cool. I can safely playce this card!').


Our second game was not exactly full of cheating, but I'd say some kind of metagame evolved. Without much talking it became common 'agreement' that it would be best to focus on cards one is able to play.

Example: There's only a red '1' on the board.
A: 'This is a '2'.
C: 'Oh cool. Probably this is red as I wouldn't need to know about cards I can't place on the table away....'


Unfortunally the 2nd way is both less interesting and less demanding... But it's hard to prevent this because you can't forbid to play cards with a bit of risk (or you wouldn't need the tokens for failure)
 
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Ben G
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SpaceTrucker wrote:
Unfortunally the 2nd way is both less interesting and less demanding...


I always thought it was more interesting because you aren't 100% sure the card plays.
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Space Trucker
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OlympicCough wrote:
I always thought it was more interesting because you aren't 100% sure the card plays.
In fact players were always sure they could play the card when they were given a hint that only concerned one card. In this case you could effectivly also say "play this card" - which is pretty boring...
 
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Ben G
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For me, ya'll are taking this too seriously. I think most of everything mentioned here isn't technically "cheating". That's part of the fun of Hanabi, developing ways to communicate what is needed while staying within the confines of the rules. The rules don't mention anything about putting emphasis here and less emphasis there. I'll allow it.

The most cheating thing I've seen is when a player announces they are going to discard and card and fingers through their hand looking for feedback from the rest of the players.
 
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Chris Rhodes
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SpaceTrucker wrote:
Our second game was not exactly full of cheating, but I'd say some kind of metagame evolved. Without much talking it became common 'agreement' that it would be best to focus on cards one is able to play.

Example: There's only a red '1' on the board.
A: 'This is a '2'.
C: 'Oh cool. Probably this is red as I wouldn't need to know about cards I can't place on the table away....'

Err, pretty sure that's entirely how the game is meant to be played. Someone says to you "This is a red card.", and then you have to determine from context what that means for you. There's nothing in the rules that says or even hints that players should wait for one color hint and one number hint before playing a card (and I'm not sure it would even be possible to win if you played it that way).
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James Rousselle
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Ben, I can't say that I agree with you. In fact, I STRONGLY disagree with you. If you were to give a clue such as "this is a 1 and THIS IS A 1", I would take the 2 cards (tiles) and shuffle them.

You can play the game any way you like, but the rules seem to be pretty clear to me. A player can give a number or color clue. In other words, the clue should identify all the cards that meet the color or number criterion. Your method of play introduces another element--one that is not specified in the rules.
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Robb Effinger
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SpaceTrucker wrote:
theory wrote:
We have "shame tokens", awarded freely whenever you think there is a "dubious moment". At the end of the game, we record our score as, say, "24 with two shame tokens thanks to Chad". They mean nothing, but are a friendly reminder that the challenge of the game comes from not cheating.

That sounds like a cute idea.


Our first game was relativly strict and fair, waitining for color and numbers of the cards, focussing on opportunities to give information about more than one cards at once.

Example: There's only a red '1' on the board, the player would wait for the information to have a red '2' before her paces it.
A: 'These 3 cards are red!'
B: 'this is a '2'.
C: 'Cool. I can safely playce this card!').


Our second game was not exactly full of cheating, but I'd say some kind of metagame evolved. Without much talking it became common 'agreement' that it would be best to focus on cards one is able to play.

Example: There's only a red '1' on the board.
A: 'This is a '2'.
C: 'Oh cool. Probably this is red as I wouldn't need to know about cards I can't place on the table away....'


Unfortunally the 2nd way is both less interesting and less demanding... But it's hard to prevent this because you can't forbid to play cards with a bit of risk (or you wouldn't need the tokens for failure)



I can't disagree with this more . For me, the joy of Hanabi comes exactly from these types of situations.

If we play the game where we only play cards when you've been explicitly told both their color and rank, that isn't a very interesting game. Sure, we can try to optimize for "tell people the most information at all times", but that's the most you can do in terms of optimization. Also, the game is basically impossible to get a perfect score on.

Instead, you can play Hanabi where you examine the intent of the clue-given. Then, you can look at every Hanabi clue as containing a lot more information then "Which of my cards are 3s". You can also look at the information of "Why did they choose to tell me about these 3s NOW - not last turn, or next turn", or "Why did Bob tell me about my 3s, not Alice, or Carol?". Even the information of "Why did Bob use the last clue token to tell me about my 3s?". And when you start to answer (or try to answer) these questions, you can start getting into some really interesting and fun situations.

To me, Hanabi is a game about communication. You're given a really limited channel (you can tell one player about all cards of one rank or suit), and you have to convey as much information as possible over that channel. It's amazing, when you really dig into it, how much information you can convey, not just with the message itself, but by inferring why THIS message was chosen over THAT similar message, or about the timing of the message, or the sender, or the recipient. If you're only ever going to look at the contents of the message, you're going to miss the charm of Hanabi, the reason it really shines.
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Robb Effinger
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This is also the reason why I don't enjoy playing with emphasis on clues (this is a 3 and THIS is a 3).. it makes the communication channel too wide, it lets you convey too much information, and it trivializes the game.

I also disagree with the second method being less demanding. It is much more demanding to try to guess the intentions of the clue-giver (and to give clues such that people can guess your intentions, or at least, come to the conclusions you want them to come to), then it is to just remember some facts you were told about some cards
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Ben G
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JGRno5 wrote:
Ben, I can't say that I agree with you. In fact, I STRONGLY disagree with you. If you were to give a clue such as "this is a 1 and THIS IS A 1", I would take the 2 cards (tiles) and shuffle them.

You can play the game any way you like, but the rules seem to be pretty clear to me. A player can give a number or color clue. In other words, the clue should identify all the cards that meet the color or number criterion. Your method of play introduces another element--one that is not specified in the rules.


I guess I was referring more to "THIS is a TWO" when it is the only two in their hand and it is playable, but not the only playable two in the whole game. I would agree that "this is a 1 and THIS IS A 1" isn't in the spirit of the rules.
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Travis Cooper
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SpaceTrucker wrote:
theory wrote:
We have "shame tokens", awarded freely whenever you think there is a "dubious moment". At the end of the game, we record our score as, say, "24 with two shame tokens thanks to Chad". They mean nothing, but are a friendly reminder that the challenge of the game comes from not cheating.

That sounds like a cute idea.


Our first game was relativly strict and fair, waitining for color and numbers of the cards, focussing on opportunities to give information about more than one cards at once.

Example: There's only a red '1' on the board, the player would wait for the information to have a red '2' before her paces it.
A: 'These 3 cards are red!'
B: 'this is a '2'.
C: 'Cool. I can safely playce this card!').


Our second game was not exactly full of cheating, but I'd say some kind of metagame evolved. Without much talking it became common 'agreement' that it would be best to focus on cards one is able to play.

Example: There's only a red '1' on the board.
A: 'This is a '2'.
C: 'Oh cool. Probably this is red as I wouldn't need to know about cards I can't place on the table away....'


Unfortunally the 2nd way is both less interesting and less demanding... But it's hard to prevent this because you can't forbid to play cards with a bit of risk (or you wouldn't need the tokens for failure)


I'm pretty sure if you waited to play each card until you knew both the color and the number it would be impossible to get a perfect score. This tells me that the intent of the game is to read more into the clues given. I agree with most of the people here, giving emphasis on a card when you are cluing about multiple cards is pretty lame, but I definitely assume if you tell me about a single card I should be playing it. I can think of exceptions to that rule, but for the most part I expect you to only be telling me about cards that are actually relevant right now.
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Travis Cooper
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pvtparts wrote:
My parents won't stop making not-so-subtle faces at each other! But it's no fun to directly tell people "stop doing that", instead I was trying to think of catch-all rule(s) to combat this. So far I'm considering:

1. When giving clues to another player you must look only at their cards (no eye contact allowed!)

Another issue is people over emphasizing a particular card when giving clues (typically, a card which should be played immediately). Not sure how to elegantly combat this one.

So, which rule(s) do you use? Are these rules even necessary?


For us it isn't usually emphasizing a card, but somebody forgetting to tell you about the rest of them. Then they catch it and tell you about the rest. In this case, the first one they mentioned is obviously the one they cared about, so we just shuffle the cards in that case. You still gave me the clue, but now I don't know which one you wanted me to care about.

As for cheating in general, I tell people that they shouldn't do it. After a game where there was a lot of it I'll sometimes say, let's try to do it again with less talking this time, or something along those lines. It is very hard to be strict about cheating, only talking on your turn is hard to do. So, as long as people are having fun I don't worry too much about it.
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Andy Latto
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DAAAN wrote:

Hanabi is prone to differing player expectations. I play mostly in a very social group where people will ask one another "If I don't give you a clue, what will you do" and based on their answer they will act.

Suppose A knows a card is either a red 3 or a blue 3, and the red 3 plays and the blue 3 doesn't. But A actually knows he has the red 3, because he can see the last blue 3 in B's hand. If he couldn't see it, he would do something else. So if B asks A "If I don't give a clue, what will you do?". then A's answer is implicitly A telling B something about B's hand, which seems to go against the spirit of the game.

I don't like the memory aspect of the game, so I'm comfortable with people asking "what do you know about your hand?", as long as the answer involves only what they have been told, not what they can infer from what they can see. But asking and answering questions that reveal additional information about hands seems to defeat the "limited information channel" aspect of the game.
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Robb wrote:
SpaceTrucker wrote:
Our first game was relativly strict and fair, waitining for color and numbers of the cards, focussing on opportunities to give information about more than one cards at once.

Example: There's only a red '1' on the board, the player would wait for the information to have a red '2' before her paces it.
A: 'These 3 cards are red!'
B: 'this is a '2'.
C: 'Cool. I can safely playce this card!').


Our second game was not exactly full of cheating, but I'd say some kind of metagame evolved. Without much talking it became common 'agreement' that it would be best to focus on cards one is able to play.

Example: There's only a red '1' on the board.
A: 'This is a '2'.
C: 'Oh cool. Probably this is red as I wouldn't need to know about cards I can't place on the table away....'


Unfortunally the 2nd way is both less interesting and less demanding... But it's hard to prevent this because you can't forbid to play cards with a bit of risk (or you wouldn't need the tokens for failure)



I can't disagree with this more . For me, the joy of Hanabi comes exactly from these types of situations.

If we play the game where we only play cards when you've been explicitly told both their color and rank, that isn't a very interesting game. Sure, we can try to optimize for "tell people the most information at all times", but that's the most you can do in terms of optimization. Also, the game is basically impossible to get a perfect score on.

A perfect score would not be nessesary for me to have fun with the game. As I said before I didn't consider this play cheating, it just felt really flat that people where effectivly only saying "play this card!" - the other way to play (giving most efficient hints) was more interesting.
 
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Daniel B-G
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andylatto wrote:
DAAAN wrote:

Hanabi is prone to differing player expectations. I play mostly in a very social group where people will ask one another "If I don't give you a clue, what will you do" and based on their answer they will act.

Suppose A knows a card is either a red 3 or a blue 3, and the red 3 plays and the blue 3 doesn't. But A actually knows he has the red 3, because he can see the last blue 3 in B's hand. If he couldn't see it, he would do something else. So if B asks A "If I don't give a clue, what will you do?". then A's answer is implicitly A telling B something about B's hand, which seems to go against the spirit of the game.

I don't like the memory aspect of the game, so I'm comfortable with people asking "what do you know about your hand?", as long as the answer involves only what they have been told, not what they can infer from what they can see. But asking and answering questions that reveal additional information about hands seems to defeat the "limited information channel" aspect of the game.


There's still room for interpretation and uncertainty though and it hasn't ruined the game for us. For us, cheating would be unambiguous, intentional and bordering on explicit. Not saying anybody else needs to play this way, but it's how my group does it.
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Travis Cooper
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SpaceTrucker wrote:
Robb wrote:
SpaceTrucker wrote:
Our first game was relativly strict and fair, waitining for color and numbers of the cards, focussing on opportunities to give information about more than one cards at once.

Example: There's only a red '1' on the board, the player would wait for the information to have a red '2' before her paces it.
A: 'These 3 cards are red!'
B: 'this is a '2'.
C: 'Cool. I can safely playce this card!').


Our second game was not exactly full of cheating, but I'd say some kind of metagame evolved. Without much talking it became common 'agreement' that it would be best to focus on cards one is able to play.

Example: There's only a red '1' on the board.
A: 'This is a '2'.
C: 'Oh cool. Probably this is red as I wouldn't need to know about cards I can't place on the table away....'


Unfortunally the 2nd way is both less interesting and less demanding... But it's hard to prevent this because you can't forbid to play cards with a bit of risk (or you wouldn't need the tokens for failure)



I can't disagree with this more . For me, the joy of Hanabi comes exactly from these types of situations.

If we play the game where we only play cards when you've been explicitly told both their color and rank, that isn't a very interesting game. Sure, we can try to optimize for "tell people the most information at all times", but that's the most you can do in terms of optimization. Also, the game is basically impossible to get a perfect score on.

A perfect score would not be nessesary for me to have fun with the game. As I said before I didn't consider this play cheating, it just felt really flat that people where effectivly only saying "play this card!" - the other way to play (giving most efficient hints) was more interesting.


I still have fun even when we don't have a perfect score, but it you're playing in such a way that a perfect score isn't even possible, then I'm guessing that the designer expected things to evolve past the point you are currently at.

Don't get me wrong, we used to play this way, only play a card when you know for sure. But we quickly moved on to just trusting that people would only tell me about a card that mattered. Which quickly means I can play it in most instances.

I feel like this game is intended to have an evolution. When I teach new people the game, I don't tell them all the things my normal group does. I like for them to get a chance to see how the game can evolve too.
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Travis Cooper
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DAAAN wrote:
andylatto wrote:
DAAAN wrote:

Hanabi is prone to differing player expectations. I play mostly in a very social group where people will ask one another "If I don't give you a clue, what will you do" and based on their answer they will act.

Suppose A knows a card is either a red 3 or a blue 3, and the red 3 plays and the blue 3 doesn't. But A actually knows he has the red 3, because he can see the last blue 3 in B's hand. If he couldn't see it, he would do something else. So if B asks A "If I don't give a clue, what will you do?". then A's answer is implicitly A telling B something about B's hand, which seems to go against the spirit of the game.

I don't like the memory aspect of the game, so I'm comfortable with people asking "what do you know about your hand?", as long as the answer involves only what they have been told, not what they can infer from what they can see. But asking and answering questions that reveal additional information about hands seems to defeat the "limited information channel" aspect of the game.


There's still room for interpretation and uncertainty though and it hasn't ruined the game for us. For us, cheating would be unambiguous, intentional and bordering on explicit. Not saying anybody else needs to play this way, but it's how my group does it.


Yeah, a lot of this game is up for interpretation. So, really just play how your group enjoys the game. On this point, I agree with the initial post though, asking somebody what they will do on their turn greatly affects what I will do. If they say they will clue, I don't have to worry about them throwing away that critical card, if they say they are going to try to play a card, I know I have to hurry and warn them about it, etc. So, our group enjoys it more when we have to try and think it through. Sometimes we have mistakes, but that is part of the game. We play that it is okay to ask somebody what they know though. We never correct them, but this does sometimes lead us to knowing we need to clue them because they don't have everything remembered correctly, which I don't always like, but I'll take that over me also having to remember what everybody should know.

On the flip side, one helpful hint I give everybody when teaching the game is to always orient their cards one direction, looking at the pattern on the back. Then when they get a clue, turn that card upside down. This way they have a very visual way to know they should know something. This can also be seen by us on the front of the card, so it should help you to know which cards people have been clued on. Not many people think to look at that though, so we do still allow asking people what they know.
 
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