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  • Writer's pictureJared Neal

Hanabi - Go Out With A Bang

Retail Price: $11

Player Count: 2-5 (best at 3-4)

Age Range: 8+ (consistent with our experience)

Play Time: 25 mins. (can vary greatly, but usually not more than 20 mins)

Complexity: 3.5 out of 10 (we would put the complexity slightly lower, maybe 3)

Mechanisms: Cooperative Game, Hand Management, Limited Communication, Set Collection

Designer: Antoine Bauza

Artist: Antoine Bauza, Gerald Guerlais, Albertine Ralenti

Publisher: R & R Games

Educational Value:

  • Strategic Thinking

  • Pattern Recognition

  • Future Planning

  • Deduction

Flavor Text:

Hanabi—named for the Japanese word for fireworks”


In Hanabi, you are trying to form stacks of each color of cards, in ascending order from 1 to 5, but you can’t see your own cards. Other players must give either numerical or color hints about the cards in your hand, to help guide you on which cards to play when and where.


  • Shuffle the deck, and deal each player 5 cards in a 2 or 3 player game, or 4 cards in a 4 or 5 player game

  • Hold your cards facing outwards, so that you can’t see what is in your hand, but all other players can.

  • Place 8 clock tokens in your team bank

  • Place 3 fuse tokens in the middle of the table


Each player on their turn may choose from one of three action:

  • Give a hint - costs you one clock token

    • You can either tell another player all the cards in their had that are a certain color (ie - you have blue cards here and here), or all the cards that are a certain number (ie - you have a 3 here and here).

  • Discard a card and hen draw a card- earn a clock token

    • This card is now out of play, and won’t be able to be used again. This can be problematic if it was the last of one of the cards you needed.

  • Play a card and then draw a card - if you correctly play a 5 card earn a clock token

    • Cards must be placed in ascending order from 1 to 5 by color.

      • In the game there are (3) 1’s, (2), 2’s, (2) 3’s, (2) 4’s, and (1) 5 of each color

    • If you play a card that can’t currently be placed, then it is discarded and you take a fuse token.

The game ends when one of the following happens:

  • All 5 color stacks are arranged in ascending order from 1 to 5

  • All 3 fuse tokens have been taken

  • The last card of the deck is drawn, after which each player gets one more turn

Scoring is done by adding together the highest value card of each color that was correctly placed.

  • 0-5 - Horrible!

  • 6-10 - Poor!

  • 11-15 - Ok!

  • 16-20 - Good!

  • 21-24 - Great!

  • 25 - Legendary!


There is a little bit of luck in Hanabi, in that the order the cards come out in, and who draws them, can affect your ability to play the cards you need when you need to. However, this game has quite a lot of strategy to it, and if you are in sync with your fellow players on how and when you are giving clues, luck usually won’t throw you off too much.


The artwork is very simplistic, but it fits the theme of the game well.


There isn’t really any theme in the gameplay itself, this is really almost an abstract card game.

Replayability/Fun Factor:

Hanabi is infinitely replayable, because it is going to be varied every game, by the order the cards come out. In our experience, it is a game we play over and over until we beat it, each time we pull it out. It is a fun challenge, and even when you lose, you always feel like you were so close to winning. There are almost certainly going to be moments in the game, where a player plays the wrong card, and you are like “but I told you this”, and they are like “oh, that’s what you meant”. For our family this is a blast, and leads to lots of laughs, but this game isn’t great if you easily get frustrated with people who might not always catch your hints.


I won’t say this game is for everybody, because if you struggle to be in sync with your fellow players, or you get easily frustrated when someone else makes a bad play, you probably aren’t going to like this game. This is a game, where if someone messes up a clue, it can completely wreck your game, but if you are playing with more than 2 players, it is also a game that is great because you can kind of help younger players give their clues. I would highly recommend this game to any family, and would say it is definitely going to be one that any school age child can learn and understand.

+ Easy to learn

+ Quick to play

+ High replayability

+ Fun interaction

- An incorrect clue can throw everything off

- Can be frustrating if other players misinterpret your clues

Final Score:

Jared - 7

Abigail - 7

Other Games You Might Like:

Buy the Vote!, Diamant, Love Letter: Infinity Gauntlet, No Thanks!,

This game was purchased from my friendly local game store, and is available here. This isn't an affiliate link, but just my way of trying to support my FLGS, who carry great games at even better prices.

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