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Hanabi» Forums » Rules

Subject: Asking for a player's chop card? rss

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Joonas
Finland
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Hanabi is new to everyone in our group. So far we've played about 10 games, usually scoring around 20-22 and now 25-28 with rainbow (matching all colors) cards included.

It seems, that to play an effective game it is imperative to be able to forecast which card a player will most likely discard. Most of the time everyone discards the oldest card with no solid clues. However, everyone seems to have their own way in organizing their hand (right-to-left, left-to-right, keep clued cards separate, turn clued cards sideways, keep chop cards separate...etc) and often one can not be sure what the most likely "chop card" will be.

Do you allow questions like:
a) What is your chop card?
b) Which do you think is your newest/oldest card?
c) Do you keep your cards in order by age and what do you think (remember) the order is right now?

I almost feel like "a" should just be allowed to make the game less random. It is hard enough already.
 
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Scott Hill
United Kingdom
Cambridge
Cambridgeshire
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The game rules allow some flexibility in communication, if your game group so wishes.

However, if you were to play by the strictest definition of the communication rules then none of these questions would be allowed.
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Janet Welch
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Morton in Marsh
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We only allow the question; what do you know about your hand?

Part of this people will respond, this is a discard, when they think they have a discard but we don't allow asking what the next card to be thrown would be. Everyone I play with has a system, some always move cards across their hand and discard the oldest, some discard at random and you have to give them clues early or face losing a card. Discard at random is a system, not a good one but some people I play with have hyperactive personalities so can't remember clues and which card is the oldest at the same time.

My partner has a great habit of discarding stuff he knows about if it is a safe discard so telling him he has three 4's early in the game before they are needed will guarantee all three being in the discard pile, unless you tell him two are the same colour. It is frustrating to the point of distraction sometime but other times if everyone starts with high cards you just have to discard to get low ones and this more controlled discard works great. If you plan on copying this idea don't tell anyone because I can guarantee the outrage at the table will be worth the effort. The look of horror on other players faces who have not yet seen this game play in action is well worth it when 3's and 4's start hitting the discard pile so that we can find 1's and 2's. Now I have played with him several times I see the logic to the madness and I also know to keep my mouth shut if I want him to keep a card, and only saving the card when the need arises.
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Travis Cooper
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Salt Lake City
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Knowing what somebody is about to discard can be very critical. If they throw away the second white 2 that would be a huge deal. As you pointed out knowing this is helpful in deciding what you should do on your turn. As such, you'll find that a lot of people will discard their oldest card. This is the card you've had the most opportunities to tell me about, so if I have to discard, I'm safest to discard that one. Obviously in some situations that could be the absolute worst card in my hand to discard at the time, but if I have no other information, that is the best I can do (aside from discarding a known bad card, like if I'm told about some 1s but all the colors have already been started).

This is where you start getting into some controversial territory. A lot of groups will just have a convention that makes it easy on everybody. Hey, if the oldest card is the best choice I have to discard, what if I always hold my hand in a way that you can easily tell what my oldest card is, and the one I'll discard next time I decide to do so? A lot of people will employ a left-to-right, or right-to-left ordering of their cards, so one end is my new card and the other end is my oldest card. People have varying ways to handle cards you have been clued about. Do I leave those in place? Do I place them on the other end of my newest card? But that is for a different discussion. The main point, for your question, is that everybody at the table, can always easily see what each player considers their next discard. Some people see this as going against the intent of the game, but I personally feel it is something that just makes sense.

Now, if everybody is doing this, you can even go further. If I'm discarding at random, and I've got a critical card I need to save, how do you communicate that to me? Basically you have to spend two clues to tell me color and number so I know not to play it. That seems like a bit wasteful, and sometimes you don't even have enough clues to do it. Imagine if all players discard at random, now all you do is spend time saving cards. But if everybody knows what my discard is, and I'm clued on that card, that becomes a good way for me to stop and think if maybe I was being clued because that card needs to be saved. In our group, if the clue I'm given has any potential to be a save, then I'm going to save it. Sure, sometimes this causes a problem because they really wanted me to play it, but it is better to make them clue me again than to risk getting a strike on our last copy of that card.

Again, some people here frown on conventions, but I see this as one that just naturally flows from sound logic.
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Joonas
Finland
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Thanks for your comprehensive answers.

Having thought about this a bit more...
nicidemas wrote:
We only allow the question; what do you know about your hand?

...I think this should be the only question that can be asked. And the player is only allowed to tell what he knows about his hand based on clues he has received (i.e. he can't say anything based on what he sees in other players' hands) and the age of the cards (eg. "I know this my oldest card and this my latest card" etc).
 
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Robb Effinger
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Bothell
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Most of the groups I play with handle the age of cards by holding all their cards in the same order. eg: Explicitly order cards with the oldest at the right. We also all turned clued cards sideways.

But really, do whatever works for you to make the game fun.

 
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Robb Effinger
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zune wrote:
Thanks for your comprehensive answers.

Having thought about this a bit more...
nicidemas wrote:
We only allow the question; what do you know about your hand?

...I think this should be the only question that can be asked. And the player is only allowed to tell what he knows about his hand based on clues he has received (i.e. he can't say anything based on what he sees in other players' hands) and the age of the cards (eg. "I know this my oldest card and this my latest card" etc).


Eh.. I think a reasonable question is "What was I told about my cards?". If you have three cards turned sideways, and you know that two of them are 3s, and two of them are Blue, you should be able to play the Blue 3 (or the non-blue 3, or the non-3 blue).. the memory aspect isn't very interesting there.

I actually don't like "What do you know about your hand?" as much as "What clues have you been given?", as it reminds the player answering what information they're allowed to give. It also allows players to confirm information before giving it.. eg: I can point to my cards and say "I think I was told the rank of these two cards, and the color of these two cards".. and if others at the table agree with that recollection, give the actual rank and color, 3s and blue. If everyone isn't holding their hand the same way, then asking "How are you arranging your cards?" also seems fine.
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Stephen Sparks
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I've debated this question.

Asking 'what do you know about your hand?' is bad because it leads to extra information. I can deduce non-clued information by looking at other player's hands. If I say out loud that I know this, they can now deduce extra information about their own hands, thus giving out extra information that was not otherwise available.

I've thought of allowing 'what was I told?' It is helpful when there are kids running around being a distraction or causing gameplay breaks. I've set my cards down before and picked them back up in the opposite order which messed everything up. But I also think that the memory aspect is part of the game. You have cards leaving and coming in to your hand. You were originally told you had 3 blues and 2 3s. That may still be true but you now have a 135 in blue instead of 114 and one of your 3s is now blue because you played the other and drew another, or the simple fact that you were told you have 3 blues and now you only have 2 blues. It's a good mental exercise.

'How are you arranging your cards' can be a good one because it does not ask 'which card will you discard next', but does allude to it if they always put their oldest card, or non-clued cards, a certain place.
 
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Joonas
Finland
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I agree with you both.

The better question is: "What clues have you been given?"

and

The other allowed question could be: "How are you arranging your cards?" or "What do you know about the age of your cards?". I probably prefer the latter - it is strictly based on information that has been openly available without looking at anyone else's cards.
 
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Travis Cooper
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I actually hate it when I have to ask somebody what they've been told. I see the need for it, and we use that in our group, but it usually results in more information being given than should be. I wish there was an easy way to see what everybody knows, so you don't have to ask. I think this is one thing that playing online really helps with. I always know what everybody has been told, so I never have to ask. That means they won't let slip something else they know based on what they see in my hand.

Actually, my biggest problem with the question, is that sometimes people will ask the current player. If somebody is sitting there considering what they should do, and you ask them what they've been told, that is almost always an indicator that you think they should know enough to play a card. I've tried to convince my group that you should never ask the current player what they've been told, and we do better at it, but sometimes it still happens.

As for a somewhat official answer on asking what people know, R&R has answered that they feel like it is acceptable:
Re: Asking information
 
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Kirk Bauer
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Smyrna
Georgia
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I see no way that you can do well at this game without a discard convention. I always play my hand like a "queue". I hold the cards vertically so the bottom card is the oldest card I haven't had a reason to keep (next to discard) and the top card is the card I most recently drew. If I get a clue about a card that I want to keep I rotate it to normal orientation outside of this "queue". This way you never have to ask.
 
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