On a recent trip my friends and I played a little bit of Math Flux and I was finally able to try out Hanabi. I had picked up a copy on clearance at a store a few months back. I just never got a chance to try out the 2013 Spiel des Jahres (German for GAME OF THE YEAR) award winner. Luckily some of my friends had already played it so it was easy to get started.
In the game you and the other players work together to build an epic firework display. Sounds easy enough. But unlike most other card based games you don't get to see your own cards. Honestly it is almost impossible at first not to peek at your own cards. Its what we have been trained to do. You get dealt cards, you look at them. I guess unless a magician specifically tells you not to. But without the mystery its just team solitaire.
As you go around the table, starting with the most flamboyantly dressed player, you have three options. Play a card. Give a hint. Or discard a card. Asa team you work together giving clues based on the number of the card or the color. And when you run out of cards, or you have played three cards that are out of sequence the game is over and you count up your points. Your team gets ranked by your final score. Playing with a few very experienced gamers, really helped keep our score near the top. We finished our second game with, missing out on a perfect score by one card.
PRO TIP - Never discard a 5
I tried to explain the game to my kids and they were not getting the idea of a total cooperative game. They wanted to know who you were trying to beat, and the idea that you are trying to beat the game was just not clicking. But I'm guessing a few slow rounds with them and they will be totally on board.
It was really fun to play, would have been easier with better light. But for the few hours we played no one picked up their phones, we were all in the moment and our soundtrack was the crackling of a nearby camp fire.