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Hanabi Two Player Review

Important Note:

All board game reviews and ratings from “A Pair of Meeples” are entirely based on the game at two players. You can learn more about our rating system by clicking below.


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What does Hanabi mean?  Hanabi is the Japanese word for fireworks and the name of the unique cooperative card game designed by Antoine Bauza.  If you’re a pyromaniac and your family and friends keep the lighters far away from you, you can grab a copy of Hanabi and regain their trust by working together to put on the best firework show.

Hanabi Card Game Review

7.5 out of 10
Hanabi Game Review

Is it Good For Two Players? : Yes

Hanabi is a perfect quick and easy filler game that offers an excellent co-op experience in a very compact package. It’s so simple to teach and learn but hard to master especially with more players.  Its unique card-holding mechanism makes it a blast to teach to new players and it’s a joy to watch as rounds progress and players get better at giving and understanding clues.

Theme: 2/10
Replayability: 6/10
Components: 5/10
Conflict: 0/10
Fun: 5/10

Husband’s Rating
8 out of 10
Wife’s Rating
7 out of 10

Pros

Extremely Portable

Quick and Easy to Teach

Friendly and Fun

Unique Game Mechansim

Cons

Theme is lacking

Gameplay Experience:

Hanabi is such an intriguing little card game.  The concept is very simple but so unique that it’s hard to understand at first if you haven’t played another game like it.  The unique feature of Hanabi is that you can see all your teammate’s cards but can’t see your own. 

Make sure everybody is at the table and the rules are explained before dealing out cards otherwise people will instinctively pick up their cards the wrong way.  During the first few games, players might still do this even if they know the instructions.

Hanabi Card Holding
Hanabi Card Holding

So after a few redeals(since we accidentally looked at our own cards), we were ready to play Hanabi.  It’s a little odd holding your entire hand backward, but it’s definitely a fun game mechanism.  

In Hanabi, you have to give clues to each other to lay cards in the correct order.  In the beginning, my wife and I weren’t great at understanding each other’s clues and ultimately put on a pretty sad firework show.  

After our next game, we started to realize that Hanabi is all about learning how your teammates give clues. Slowly but surely we both got better at giving and understanding each other’s clues and laying our cards better and with fewer mistakes.  

Within thirty minutes we had learned the game, played a few rounds, and gotten better at it.  There are not many cooperative games that can be learned and played that quickly.  And even though we were getting better, each game was still a challenge and there is always that perfect score to strive for.

Hanabi was a pleasure to play for us and we were surprised by how this little game was so accessible, quick, and satisfying to play, especially considering it is co-op. 

Hanabi Rules Summary:

Hanabi is straightforward but as we said earlier, its unique game mechanism can confuse some players in the beginning.  Players are dealt a certain number of cards based on how many are playing.  Players pick up their cards so their teammates can see them but they cannot.

Time Tokens are placed where players can reach them and the fuse tokens are stacked with the explosion on the bottom.  The time tokens are used each time players give a clue but can be earned back by discarding cards.  The fuse tokens are taken away if players try to play a card they cannot play, and if the explosion fuse token is reached players lose. 

After setup, players can use a time token to give other players clues about their cards but the clues can only reference how many they have of a certain color, or how many they have of a certain number, nothing else.  If time tokens are all used up players can’t give any more clues and will have to discard cards to regain tokens back.

Once a player feels they have enough information, they can attempt to play a card from their hand.  There are five different colors of cards with values from 1 to 5 in the deck. Cards that are played have to match in color and have to be played in order from lowest to highest.  Again if the card a player chooses cannot be played, a fuse token is removed and players are that much closer to losing.

Hanabi Card Game Review

After the deck has run out players tally up the score of the firework show they put on.  Each colored set scores its highest value and is added to the others.  Players can achieve a maximum score of 25 or a perfect game

The game also comes with an extra set of rainbow-colored cards which can be used for a few different variants in the game.

Hanabi Rainbow Cards
Hanabi Rainbow Cards

Conclusion:

Hanabi is a great card game and a great co-op game.  It’s so simple and easy to learn but hard to master especially with more players.  Its unique card holding mechanism makes it a blast to teach to new players and it’s a joy to watch as rounds progress and players get better at giving and understanding clues.  

Hanabi is a great quick filler game, and even though it is pretty simple it is still highly replayable.  This is because every time you bring the game to the table you sort of have to rewarm up with your teammates each time.  You do get better at the game but it will still take countless rounds to get a perfect game and honestly you might never get one.

Quick, fast, and easy-to-play co-op games are in our opinion one of the best filler games cause they are usually more fun and lighthearted, Hanabi checks all of these boxes.

Is Hanabi Good For Two Players?:

Hanabi is quite good with only two players.  It may be a bit easier but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  With only two players both will learn how to better understand and give clues quicker than in a game with more players.    

As a result, two-player games will go faster and scores will likely be higher, at least if you and your teammate are compatible and not fighting over who gets to light the fireworks.  Hanabi is a perfect quick and easy filler game that offers an excellent co-op experience in a very compact package.

Pros

  • Extremely Portable
  • Quick and Easy to Teach
  • Friendly and Fun
  • Unique Game Mechansim

Cons

  • Theme is lacking

R&R Games Hanabi Strategy Game
R&R Games Hanabi Strategy Game
R&R Games Hanabi Strategy Game

We hope this Hanabi two player review has helped you.

Our reviews are not paid reviews, but some games are given to us, we do not let this affect our opinions in any way. This post may contain affiliate links so we might receive compensation if you sign up for or purchase products linked to. As an Amazon Associate, we can earn from qualifying purchases. This helps cover our site's costs and allows us to continue reviewing games.


Hanabi vs Hanabi Deluxe Edition

R&R Games Hanabi Deluxe II Master Artisan Expansion Pack, Family Card Game, Card Game for Adults and Kids
R&R Games Hanabi Deluxe II Master Artisan Expansion Pack, Family Card Game, Card Game for Adults and Kids
R&R Games Hanabi Deluxe II Master Artisan Expansion Pack, Family Card Game, Card Game for Adults and Kids

The version of Hanabi we reviewed is the regular edition you will likely find in stores near you.  There is also a Hanabi Deluxe edition available which replaces the deck of cards with Mah Jhong-style tiles.  This is nice but probably only good for collectors because it removes the ultra-portability of the original edition.  

The deluxe version also comes with the master artisan expansion.


Hanabi Extra

There is also a Hanabi Extra version that has larger cards than the original and card holders, which is good when playing with more players. This version will make it easier for your teammates to see your cards but makes the game less portable.  

Hanabi Expansions

Hanabi Master Artisan Expansion: 

This master artisan expansion adds six bonus tokens that provide players with extra benefits when they complete a set of colors.

Black Powder Expansion:

The Hanabi Black Powder Expansion adds a seventh suit to the game, making the game harder.  The new black powder cards cannot be part of color clues and must be played in order from 5 to 1 instead of 1 to 5.


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