If you haven’t played Hanabi yet, do check out my review and give the game ago before reading the below. If you have played and want some thoughts on maximising your score, here’s my best ideas;
During the Game:
1; Getting the ones out early is important – it will allow colours to be played and other one cards to be discarded. Given how many ones are in the deck this is a vital resource for discards. Also, watch out for players telling you about ones when there are four down – do they want you to discard or play?!
5; There is only one of each 5 so be aware that a player who may be about to discard might get rid of the only 5 in the deck! If you want a perfect score you are going to have to fight to keep these. However, if you are going to lose something then sometimes the fives are a safe bet – as nothing else is effected! Are you playing for perfect or close?!
Discard Pile; Watch the discard – if a yellow two has gone, then the other is precious (only one left). It’s worth keeping an eye on what’s gone to know what’s important and to think about why players might tell you certain clues. If they tell you that you have a yellow – perhaps that’s cause the state of the game shows only one yellow three and you have it… all sorts of tactics are available if you are watching the discard pile!
Why would someone tell him that?; Sometimes you will wonder why a player told them something and not you! However, keep in mind that sometimes people are telling the other player because they think you either know enough to play or know enough to discard. I try to think about all the players when I give my clues and sometimes a well placed clue tells two players two different things!
What you know that you don’t know; Try to remember that when you get told you have two reds – the others are not red. Harder with colours but just doing this with ones or fives will make a big impact to your future games!
Advice first; Start with a lot of advice – just because you can play doesn’t mean you should. You need to think about what your team mates will do on their turn and not just leave them telling you what to play.
Be Consistent; If you behave in a consistent manner about playing cards that might be playable, or about which card you are discarding then players can identify the pattern and take more deliberate steps to allow it or break it as they see fit. Always discarding from the same place is a codification – but one you can achieve in game.
Breaking Runs; I have said it before, but I will say it again, keeping a run going at the expense of a 5 is well worth it. Better to get a lot of 4s than only one 5!
Be Brave; You have two fails before the game stops – this important because it means that sometimes you should take the risk and play even if you aren’t certain. If it won’t end the game then it might be worth the risk.