Hanabi board game 2010 cover

Hanabi card game review

Look at every player cards, but not yours. Superb game!

Hanabi board game 2010 cover
Release date
Family, Card game, Deduction, Memory
25 min.
R&R Games
Our Score
Your rating4 Votes
Great brain melt

Everyone can see your cards. Except you! And that is the same for everyone. No players can see their hand of cards. Players give clues to one another about their cards. And for what reason? To come up with the greatest fireworks Japan has ever seen!

Hanabi card game is a cooperative game for 2-5 players, where everyone aims to collectively construct the piles of cards of separate colors numbered in a specific order before making too many mistakes and losing the game. What a game!! What a game! I love it. It is pretty difficult to win, but it is playable with anyone – from children to elderly, from beginners to experts.

Lets get on with our review.

Review details

The review will be covered in the following structure:

  1. Fun
  2. Replay value
  3. Art & parts
  4. Game price

Feel free to read the review details, or just scroll down to the review summary.


Incredibly fun game. This is one of the best small cooperative card games. It is surprisingly difficult, but so much entertaining. There is lots of actions, lots of details to remember, and especially, lots of thinking. The clues the players provide each can be either about the 1 color, or 1 number.

I.e. “These two cards are blue” (and point to the cards) or “These cards are all threes” (again pointing to the specific cards). You cannot say this card is green, and its number is 2, or this card is white and this one is blue.

It is so fun, due to intensity and all the little communication details that are shared from person to person. It would be easy if you could share these details as many times as you can. But every time you share a detail, you use one blue token, and turn it to its dark side, to note that it has been used. And there are only 8 tokens out there!

It is possible to flip those tokens back, but to do that, you must discard a card from your hand. And given the fact, that there are limited number of identical cards in the deck, this can become dangerous – as your team may be left empty-handed and not finish those card piles.

Finally, once you are pretty sure about a particular cards and a moment to play it, you can place in onto the tabletop. Cards are placed from number 1, to number 5, into piles according colors. If you try to place a card that cannot be placed correctly at the moment, this counts as a foul play. And committing 3 foul plays means the game is lost.

For example, the first card to be placed on tabletop must be number 1, to properly initiate the color pile placement. Placing a card number 2, while here is no same color card numbered 1 is a foul play. Similarly, you can place “Blue 3” card only onto Blue card pile, where the top card is number 2. The game finishes once all the cards are drawn from the deck, or after third foul play. If the game is not lost, players calculate their victory points based on firework piles constructed.

To conclude, this is such a fun “mind melter”! Most of the fun is however very sensitive to the rules of communication limitations in relation to clues provision. With children, it is likely that you can ease off with some of the communication rules, such as allow minimal communication when it is not players turn, for example, phrases like “I still do not know anything about my hand” or “I already told you about the color of these cards”.

Honestly, you can set your communication rules the way you want, it is really flexible. You get it. But due to that, it could be less fun if you are playing it super strict a little too early, meaning you would need more practice or the opposite, loose communication results in too-easy gameplay.

Replay value

The replay value of the game is surprisingly good. The reason for that is varying difficulty of play, as well as potential 6th color inclusion in the game for expert gameplay.

So the levels of difficulty are mainly described by the level of communication allowed. At the expert levels, you can choose to not talk at all (besides correct clues provision according to rules). But to get to that level, this will require lots of replays. LOTS. I am not over exaggerating on that.

Moreover, you can simply add the 6th color cards to the game, by adding firework cards – which actually can represent any color. To make your life miserable, you can include only 1 card per number value. The interesting part about these firework cards is that once you give clues about them, you must refer to other color cards.

For example, if a person has “blue 2” and “Firework 2” cards, a clue about color would be “you have two blue cards”. You cannot disclose that it is a firework type card while giving a clue. In such a case a person would only understand that one of the cards is a firework card, is when the given clue overlaps with another clue.

To sum up about the replay value – it is vast. You would not expect that for a very small card game.

Art & parts

The quality of the cards could be a little bit better. The art is minimal, I would want that the cards would be a little brighter, but never the less – they look okay. The tokens are nice and I really like them.

What I really enjoyed about the game is that every card type/color is also signed by a specific symbol, meaning that it is a perfect game for players with color deficiency. They are signed with squares, triangles, and so on, so it is really, really easy to distinguish the types of cards by symbols on them.

Hanabi card game colorblindness rating: A (Very good)


The price is excellent. It costs exactly the way you would expect – just like a small card game. I honestly think that the value is insane for the price, mainly due to the game itself. It is just a wonderful card game. I could not recommend it more. You can check out the price of the Hanabi card game down below.

Hanabi card game review
Final remark
Hanabi is one of the best small cooperative card games. You do not see the cards you hold but listen for clues from other players about them. Once you are ready, start placing the cards onto the tabletop from your hand to create the best fireworks. Varying difficulty levels & just generally good game feel makes it an outstanding game, which is also a very budget-friendly.
Replay Value
Art & Parts
Your rating4 Votes
Spiel des Jahres 2013 award winner
Fits all kinds of groups (children, elderly as well)
Surprisingly good replay value
Will melt your memory to the point it will increase
Very easy to cheat, if you play it clean - very difficult to win
The quality of cards could be better
Great brain melt

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