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Subject: Preventing a double discard rss

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Travis Cooper
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Disclaimer: We use finesse and reverse-finesse plays in our group, which kind of complicates this problem. Also, we don't have a specific convention for knowing if a clue to the chop card means play or save. I know that some people view a number clue vs a color clue differently on their chop card. For us, no matter what the clue is, if the chop card potentially is a save, you should play it safe and save the card.

With that out of the way, here is the situation; two players have the same card as their chop card. This is usually a bigger deal when they are sitting next to each other, but sometimes we've had people trying to prevent the problem even if there is a player in between them. The risk here is that both players might decide to discard on their turns. This would leave us with that color capped out, so I would like to try and stop it from happening if possible. I'm curious how others have tried to handle this situation. I'll tell you the ways we've tried to handle it, and sometimes it works, but other times it doesn't.

You might think that a clue to the discard would make the person try and save the card. And usually that is the case, but because we use finesse clues (and even reverse finesse clues on occasion), sometimes another player who can clearly see we don't need to save that card, thinks it is a clue for them to play. This kind of finesse is given and expected quite a bit, so it is hard to work around the situation when you are really just trying to prevent the double discard.

My personal opinion is that somebody should clue the first person in the pair to their card. Sometimes this isn't the most optimal clue, because you might not have a color or number clue to single out that one card. It might mean they hold on to a useless card in the process. Because of that, sometimes people try to clue the second player. The reason I think cluing the first player is the safest, is because reverse finesses don't come up as often (at least that is my perception) and they are definitely missed more often than a finesse. So, to me that would make it less likely that the second player would try to play it as a reverse finesse. As for the other player(s) not involved, I really expect them to read my clue as a save. They should clearly see that both players have the same card, and that my clue is more likely to be a save rather than an advanced clue. While I feel that this is the safest way to try and handle the situation, we have had the other player with the same card read it as a reverse finesse, and we have had other times where the player(s) not involved didn't notice the double discard was there so they tried to play. Also, not everybody really agrees with me, so sometimes they just don't try to handle it, or they handle it in a different way.

Another option would be to clue the second person in the pair. I really don't like this, because then the first player doesn't have enough information to know that it isn't a finesse. Really that is the same problem as the above solution, the second player doesn't have enough information to know it isn't a reverse finesse either. However, like I said, finesses are more easily spotted (at least for our group). I've seen this happen though, because sometimes the clue to them is just better for other reasons. There isn't a casualty card in the clue, or maybe it gives them more information about other cards they've been clued on.

One I have tried a few times is to steal a clue from the first person in the pair. This kind of goes along with the suggestion above, but instead of cluing the second person on their discard, I clue them on a playable card. I've tried to convince my group that stealing clues isn't good. I feel like if somebody else can give a clue, I should let them. There are a couple of reasons for this, they might see a way to finesse it out by using my hand. Also, if I've got nothing good, then I need to discard so I can get a new card. If I ever skip over you and steal your clue, and especially if I jump all the way around the table and clue the player to my right, there is a reason for that. Usually it means I really, really, really want you to discard to make your hand easier to clue. I still haven't been able to convince my group to stop stealing clues. Now, this doesn't mean that if I clue the second player to my left that I'm stealing your clue, there might be a clue in the next hand that can also be given, so really I'm just helping get a couple of clues out. But this is probably a topic for another strategy thread. Anyway, if I can clue the second player and give them a play, and it was obviously just stealing your clue, then hopefully you'll discard, and then they'll play. This makes it easy for us to save it in your hand the next time around. The problem with this, is it can only work in some situations. If I didn't steal the only good clue, then the next player might just clue instead of discard and then next time around the table we have the same dilemma.

Another thing that has been proposed, is that we should just avoid discarding if the player to my right just discarded. You can be smarter about this of course, if they just discarded a card we've already played, then you know you aren't in danger of a double discard. However, if they just discarded the only copy that you can see of card, then you shouldn't discard on that turn. This gives you quite a bit of leeway, because you might see the other copy in another player's hand. The reason I don't like this, is because sometimes I don't have a good clue to give. If I'm forced to give a clue (presumably I don't have a play or I would have just played) and there isn't a good one to give, then I might cause more harm. And it is likely that my discard is safe anyway. If I clue a card that isn't playable yet, I'll probably kick off a strike when somebody reads that as a finesse. Sure, most of the time there is a good clue somewhere I could give, but that isn't always the case.

The last option would be to just ignore the problem and hope for the best. Sometimes I think, well he might discard, but that other player should give that obvious clue. The problem with that is, I don't see the problem in my hand that they then try to fix by both discarding. This is one of the strategies that is tried quite a bit, sometimes on purpose and other times because it just isn't noticed. A lot of times it works, one will discard the other will play or clue, but we've had enough times where it didn't work that it caused us to try and find a way around it. This is probably my least favorite option.

I guess another option is that we should just stop trying to read a finesse off a clue to the discard. That is a hard one for me to give up though, because we use it so often. That probably helps us in more often than the double discard scenario pops up. So I don't really want to give that up if I can help it. In fact, we'd probably decide in our group that we can live with having a double discard sometimes.

I have seen people try and solve this when the double discard isn't two players in a row as well. I think this adds even more confusion. I see the reason for it. Sometimes the player in between has an obvious card to play, and they get over excited, and have already planned in their head to play it. So, the first person discards, they hurry and slap their card on the table, then the player after them discards and we all cry. I've done it, I've seen others do it, it is just hard to slow down sometimes. I don't think I'd suggest this as a good option though.

So, what have you done to try and prevent the double discard? Of the options I described, what do you like and hate about them?
 
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Pierre Beri
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monkeyboy157 wrote:
You might think that a clue to the discard would make the person try and save the card. And usually that is the case, but because we use finesse clues (and even reverse finesse clues on occasion), sometimes another player who can clearly see we don't need to save that card, thinks it is a clue for them to play. This kind of finesse is given and expected quite a bit, so it is hard to work around the situation when you are really just trying to prevent the double discard.
I haven’t read further because the solution appears quite clearly to me already: the player who assumes finesse and plays and bombs should just think twice and not be such a daredevil putting the whole group in danger. If they do this, so be it and blame them for not considering a very likely situation. Be patient and keep being efficient, they will get tired of causing the group to lose despite you making the best decision.

Every single player has their responsibility for the own group here.

This way, if you are A and B&C have that same dreaded discard, you can freely and optimizedly decide which of them you should give the clue to, based on how efficient it will be in both cases. Otherwise, you may find yourself forced to give an unefficient or a dangerous clue every time.
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Travis Cooper
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beri2 wrote:
monkeyboy157 wrote:
You might think that a clue to the discard would make the person try and save the card. And usually that is the case, but because we use finesse clues (and even reverse finesse clues on occasion), sometimes another player who can clearly see we don't need to save that card, thinks it is a clue for them to play. This kind of finesse is given and expected quite a bit, so it is hard to work around the situation when you are really just trying to prevent the double discard.
I haven’t read further because the solution appears quite clearly to me already: the player who assumes finesse and plays and bombs should just think twice and not be such a daredevil putting the whole group in danger. If they do this, so be it and blame them for not considering a very likely situation. Be patient and keep being efficient, they will get tired of causing the group to lose despite you making the best decision.

Every single player has their responsibility for the own group here.

This way, if you are A and B&C have that same dreaded discard, you can freely and optimizedly decide which of them you should give the clue to, based on how efficient it will be in both cases. Otherwise, you may find yourself forced to give an unefficient or a dangerous clue every time.


So, if I understand you correctly, you're advocating that we should never read finesse when a clue is give to a chop card. I figured some people would feel this way, especially since some people frown on advanced clues. I was hoping to find other options though, I don't want to have to give this up.

In our games today, I was paying close attention to this situation since I had just written up the post. We had 1 double discard situation (which turned out to be pretty easy to handle) and we had 3 times we finessed out of the discard. Obviously that isn't a big sample size, but I do generally feel like double discard comes up less often. I really don't want to stifle the finesse option. It does two things, first it gets a card out without being clued, and second it tells the person who thought they were saving a card, that instead they can play it.
 
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Robb Effinger
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monkeyboy157 wrote:
One I have tried a few times is to steal a clue from the first person in the pair. This kind of goes along with the suggestion above, but instead of cluing the second person on their discard, I clue them on a playable card. I've tried to convince my group that stealing clues isn't good. I feel like if somebody else can give a clue, I should let them.


I'm guessing the issue lies in here, with the concept of "Clue Stealing".

Personally, cluing a discard is often a last-resort for me to stop a player from discarding in the mid-game. In the early game, if someone has a 5 in their discard position, sure, I'm going to have to clue that 5 eventually to stop it from being discarded, might as well do it now. But generally during the mid-game the table can prevent a player from discarding by always making sure that they have something else to do on their turn.. be that give a clue, or play a card. Certainly, after a couple rounds of the player in front of me discarding instead of giving the same clue that I would give I'm going to start assuming that my hand contains something valuable, but not yet playable.

So ya, perhaps you're thinking of "Clue Stealing" differently than I have. Figuring out who should give a clue is an important part of the game - if two or three players can all see the clue that needs to be given, they get to negotiate who actually gives it, and that negotiation is useful for exchanging information about the relative value of their hands.
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Matt Albritton
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I think you have to anticipate the situation as early as possible.

If you realize early that a card might be in double danger, then look for ways you can clue the card as a bluff. Just because a proper finesse is available, doesn't mean you have to use it.

Example:

You are Player 1. It is early in the game, nothing has been played.

Player 2 has: 1R, 3Y, 5W, 2W

Player 3 has: 3W, 2R, 4B, 1B

Player 4 has: 3G, 3B, 2W, 4Y

You might consider cluing Player 4 "White", instead of cluing Player 3.

We have had situations where double discards have come up, but thanks to BGA playback, we were able to see earlier in the game where we missed a good bluff opportunity.
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Clive Jones

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I seem to advocate a more hardcore view concerning clues against discards than some of the people I play with.

My principle is: if a clue references a player's discard candidate and could be a clue against discarding, it is a clue against discarding. No ifs, no buts. And I interpret "could" very liberally: the only exceptions are if the card is definitely playable at once, or if it's definitely never playable.

That limits the ability give certain clues, but not as much as you'd think. And normally, you can clue against discarding and then later clue to play. The upside is that it gives you licence to warn against two people discarding the same thing, and to give "discretionary" clues against discarding things which, though not absolutely unsafe, it would be a crying shame to lose.
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Travis Cooper
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Robb wrote:
monkeyboy157 wrote:
One I have tried a few times is to steal a clue from the first person in the pair. This kind of goes along with the suggestion above, but instead of cluing the second person on their discard, I clue them on a playable card. I've tried to convince my group that stealing clues isn't good. I feel like if somebody else can give a clue, I should let them.


I'm guessing the issue lies in here, with the concept of "Clue Stealing".

Personally, cluing a discard is often a last-resort for me to stop a player from discarding in the mid-game. In the early game, if someone has a 5 in their discard position, sure, I'm going to have to clue that 5 eventually to stop it from being discarded, might as well do it now. But generally during the mid-game the table can prevent a player from discarding by always making sure that they have something else to do on their turn.. be that give a clue, or play a card. Certainly, after a couple rounds of the player in front of me discarding instead of giving the same clue that I would give I'm going to start assuming that my hand contains something valuable, but not yet playable.

So ya, perhaps you're thinking of "Clue Stealing" differently than I have. Figuring out who should give a clue is an important part of the game - if two or three players can all see the clue that needs to be given, they get to negotiate who actually gives it, and that negotiation is useful for exchanging information about the relative value of their hands.


I think in some ways we are seeing it the same. I definitely agree with you that who gives the clue can tell something about the value of your hand. If I steal your clue, and there is nothing else really worth giving, I'm basically telling you that your discard is worthless. If it is an upcoming important card, then by discarding I'm telling you that I'd rather you clue instead of throwing it away.

The part where we see differently is in saving discards early. And to be frank, a lot of my group doesn't seem to be as worried as I am. I've just seen too many times where you think you can save it later, then things just keep getting worse and then you can't work yourself out of it. I definitely review the situation, if I can't see any upcoming problems, I'll try and get you to play first. I definitely tend to save discards more often than other people though.

I really think this is a topic all its own though. How do you see this helping/hurting the double discard situation?
 
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Travis Cooper
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Kubigaruma wrote:
I think you have to anticipate the situation as early as possible.

If you realize early that a card might be in double danger, then look for ways you can clue the card as a bluff. Just because a proper finesse is available, doesn't mean you have to use it.

Example:

You are Player 1. It is early in the game, nothing has been played.

Player 2 has: 1R, 3Y, 5W, 2W

Player 3 has: 3W, 2R, 4B, 1B

Player 4 has: 3G, 3B, 2W, 4Y

You might consider cluing Player 4 "White", instead of cluing Player 3.

We have had situations where double discards have come up, but thanks to BGA playback, we were able to see earlier in the game where we missed a good bluff opportunity.


I agree, preventing it from becoming a problem is very helpful. I definitely try to do that when I can. I probably don't use a bluff as often as I could to prevent it though. That is a good thought.
 
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Travis Cooper
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clivej wrote:
I seem to advocate a more hardcore view concerning clues against discards than some of the people I play with.

My principle is: if a clue references a player's discard candidate and could be a clue against discarding, it is a clue against discarding. No ifs, no buts. And I interpret "could" very liberally: the only exceptions are if the card is definitely playable at once, or if it's definitely never playable.

That limits the ability give certain clues, but not as much as you'd think. And normally, you can clue against discarding and then later clue to play. The upside is that it gives you licence to warn against two people discarding the same thing, and to give "discretionary" clues against discarding things which, though not absolutely unsafe, it would be a crying shame to lose.


I definitely see what you're saying. But again, this just negates the ability to finesse a card when cluing on the chop card. I still feel like that comes up more often than a double discard situation.

I'm really starting to feel like if I want to keep a finesse option available, that the don't discard after the player to your right discarded might be the best way to keep it in play.
 
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Robb Effinger
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monkeyboy157 wrote:
Robb wrote:
monkeyboy157 wrote:
One I have tried a few times is to steal a clue from the first person in the pair. This kind of goes along with the suggestion above, but instead of cluing the second person on their discard, I clue them on a playable card. I've tried to convince my group that stealing clues isn't good. I feel like if somebody else can give a clue, I should let them.


I'm guessing the issue lies in here, with the concept of "Clue Stealing".

Personally, cluing a discard is often a last-resort for me to stop a player from discarding in the mid-game. In the early game, if someone has a 5 in their discard position, sure, I'm going to have to clue that 5 eventually to stop it from being discarded, might as well do it now. But generally during the mid-game the table can prevent a player from discarding by always making sure that they have something else to do on their turn.. be that give a clue, or play a card. Certainly, after a couple rounds of the player in front of me discarding instead of giving the same clue that I would give I'm going to start assuming that my hand contains something valuable, but not yet playable.

So ya, perhaps you're thinking of "Clue Stealing" differently than I have. Figuring out who should give a clue is an important part of the game - if two or three players can all see the clue that needs to be given, they get to negotiate who actually gives it, and that negotiation is useful for exchanging information about the relative value of their hands.


I think in some ways we are seeing it the same. I definitely agree with you that who gives the clue can tell something about the value of your hand. If I steal your clue, and there is nothing else really worth giving, I'm basically telling you that your discard is worthless. If it is an upcoming important card, then by discarding I'm telling you that I'd rather you clue instead of throwing it away.

The part where we see differently is in saving discards early. And to be frank, a lot of my group doesn't seem to be as worried as I am. I've just seen too many times where you think you can save it later, then things just keep getting worse and then you can't work yourself out of it. I definitely review the situation, if I can't see any upcoming problems, I'll try and get you to play first. I definitely tend to save discards more often than other people though.

I really think this is a topic all its own though. How do you see this helping/hurting the double discard situation?


Double-discard the same card is only ever going to be a problem if both players think that their best move is to discard, one after another. So other players can make sure that their best move isn't to discard.

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Malachi Brown
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Disclaimer: I will discard at any time.

The double discard situation is difficult and, for me, one of the main unsolved problems in Hanabi. It is challenging because there are many scenarios to consider when looking at the permutations.

Before I get into that, though, I want to challenge the "solution" of not discarding if the player to the right discarded. For me this is not really workable because a) as has already been discussed, I may not have a worthwhile clue to give and, generally, being forced to give a clue means that the other players have to reevaluate the meaning of that clue but also because b) if you ever get down to 0 clues on the table, there is no real way to recover.

The hardest double discard situations I have experienced have been when both players have an endangered card immediately behind the double discard card or when both of the players have an endangered card in their newest slot and there is a chance they could read the clue to the other player as a finesse of some sort.

The "solution", in my experience, is very situational. In some cases the best option is to clue something that will seem like a play but lead to a strike. In others, I just clue it and hope they read it as a save, or that the second player rethinks discarding because of the "error".

At one point there was some dispute over treating it as a save if there were no discarded cards that overlapped with the clue. i.e. it was obviously not an endangered card (yet). I personally favor looking at the other hands and seeing if the clue overlaps with any other soon-to-be-discarded card but others in the group feel that limits possible clues too much and strongly prefer to assume a clue means play/finesse if the clued chop card is not obviously already discarded.

One of the things that can also complicate these situations is the fact that the cards in my own hand may allow one or both of the players to come to some other conclusion about the clue as given, since I may have card(s) that let them deduce information about the clued cards, but there is not much to be done for that.
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Pierre Beri
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I think waaaaaay too much importance is placed upon finesse. This topic shows it: finesse (which is not, by far, a basic) may make some vital, basic moves impossible in some groups.

I suggest that your group plays without finesse for a few games. You will certainly discover a number of interesting things and moves.
 
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Travis Cooper
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Robb wrote:


Double-discard the same card is only ever going to be a problem if both players think that their best move is to discard, one after another. So other players can make sure that their best move isn't to discard.



You can't always make sure that the best move for two players is to not discard. Especially with 3 or 4 players. With 3 players, I'm the only other person they could clue, and I have no idea if there is anything useful in my hand, if neither of them having anything playable at the moment (which happens all the time), how can I make sure that they both have something better to do than discard?
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Malachi Brown
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beri2 wrote:
I think waaaaaay too much importance is placed upon finesse. This topic shows it: finesse (which is not, by far, a basic) may make some vital, basic moves impossible in some groups.

I suggest that your group plays without finesse for a few games. You will certainly discover a number of interesting things and moves.

My experience is that the finesse is not really the root of the problem, but people (esp. new players or players inexperienced with finesse) can tend to rush to judgement about something being a finesse/bluff without properly thinking through every possible reason for a given clue.

And that is actually the same problem as the double discard, where players don't consider that a clue might be a save clue not just because the card is currently endangered but because the card will become endangered if either player discards.
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Pierre Beri
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Malachi wrote:
My experience is that the finesse is not really the root of the problem, but people (esp. new players or players inexperienced with finesse) can tend to rush to judgement about something being a finesse/bluff without properly thinking through every possible reason for a given clue.
Exactly, but this is partly due to the fact that they were introduced to finesse too early and it totally screws up the learning process.

This is why a "finesse truce" can never be bad.
 
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ben small
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People assume finesse way too much, especially in 3 player games. And especially with '5' clues before the chop. Should always be looking for the worst case scenario of how the clue might be the only way to save something. Especially color clues that include the chop.
 
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