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Hanabi is a fun cooperative game about making fireworks. In the normal version, there are 5 different colors of cards, each numbered 1 through 5. The goal is to play cards in the correct order (1–5) until you make all 5 piles. To achieve this, you are allowed to give clues(hints). You can only give a clue of the form "These cards are x" where x is either a color or a number, for example, (points to two cards in a particular player's hand) "These cards are 4s". When you give a clue, you must point to all cards that satisfy the clue; so if you are giving a clue of the form "These cards are blue" and the player you're cluing has 3 blue cards, you have to point to all 3. You can't deliberately omit one. After making such a hint, you flip over a hint token. If there are no more hint tokens to flip over, you cannot give a hint. However, at any time, you can discard a card to flip back over a hint token. This game is played with certain conventions in order to ensure that this game is possible to fully complete (sometimes). Namely:

  • Do not change the order of cards after the first play unless required
  • Discard from the left side of your hand (back)
  • When you draw, draw to the right side of your hand (front)
  • When hinted cards, you should play all of them, in order, unless you know that the card is not playable

There are certain other strategies that can be derived from these conventions, such as finesses (on-color and off-color)

Confused? The best way to learn is to play :)


Hanabi also has rainbow-colored cards, which you can include after you feel skilled enough. When played, rainbow cards form their own suit, but when clued, the color "rainbow" cannot be explicitly clued and rainbows must be included in every color-based clue.

Whites & Fives

Another fun variant, for the truly brave, is called Whites & Fives. This game is played like normal Hanabi, except whites and fives cannot be explicitly clued. Instead, whenever you clue a color, you also have to clue the whites, and whenever you clue the number, you have to clue the fives as well. So if you say "These cards are red" you have to point to all red and all white cards, and if you say "These cards are 3s" you have to point to all 3s and all 5s. There is an extra convention:

  • When someone discards their second to last discardable card, it means play your last card.