Hanabi – A Cooperative Game with Parameters

This week I played a card game called Hanabi, which was very different from anything else I’ve ever played!  It’s a cooperative game, so everyone is working towards the same goal, but what made this different from other cooperative games I’ve played is that there were parameters on how much you can help your teammates.  The main mechanic of the game is that you are trying to make stacks of 1-5 of different colors, but you hold the cards in your hand backwards so that all of the other players can see your cards but you can’t.  Your teammates can use their turn to give you small hints at what you have in your hand, but other than that you can’t freely help each other know what to do or play.  I play a lot of cooperative games with my family, and I like being able to discuss what I should do on my turn with the other players, so the hardest part of this game for me was not being able to get advice from my teammates.  One of the main themes of this game is weighing your options and having to make a decision, which is a translatable leadership skill.  On your turn, you can either give one of your teammates a clue about what they have in their hand, play a card from your hand and hope based on what your teammates have told you that it will go on top of one of the colored stacks you have been building, or discard a card from your hand and trust that it isn’t important or else your teammates would have told you about it.  So on each turn, you have to decide if anyone else absolutely needs to know something about their hand, or if you should play/discard to keep the game moving forward.  This decision is not always an easy one, and it involves thinking ahead and anticipating what other players will be doing on their turn without being able to ask them.  One of the students I was playing with whose name is Brennan was a great leader and took time to explain to me the big picture concepts of the game and helped me to think through the strategies at different points, which was very supportive and really helped me to be the best player and teammate I could be.  I think my brother would enjoy playing this game with his friends because they like cerebral games that require lots of strategy and thought.