Looking At Hanabi

Hanabi is a simple but challenging set collection game. Every player has a handful of cards, and each card will have a colour and a number on it. The aim of the game is to make a pile of the cards of the same colour, going from 1 to 5. So you just put the red 1 down, then the red 2, red 3, red 4, red 5. Really easy stuff.

Oh but you aren’t allowed to see what cards you are holding. You hold them facing away from you. This isn’t just a set collection game it’s a co-operative set collection game. The other players can see what you’ve got and its up to them to help you figure it out. As well as the cards there are a selection of tokens, a blue countdown pile, which when its empty the show starts and you score the cards you’ve got out, and 4 fuse tokens, which when they are all in the middle of the table the show is a catastrophic failure and the game ends in a loss!

On your turn you have 3 actions you can do. You can give a clue to someone else, discard a card or play a card. When you give a clue you remove a blue token from the pile, then you tell another player either a number or a colour they are holding. You then point to the cards. If they have more than 1 of the colour or the number you need to point to all of the cards that match that colour or number.

Discarding a card lets you put a blue token you have back into the pile and draw a card (remember when you draw a card you aren’t allowed to see it!) The discarded card gets placed face up by the deck.

Playing a card is where you place a card down. If it is the next in the sequence or if its a 1 for a colour that isn’t already out it gets played (you have 5 different coloured sets of fireworks going at once). If you manage to complete a set of fireworks 1-5 then a blue token can be returned to the pile for free. If it doesn’t match anything then it gets discarded and you place a fuse token in the middle of the table. Whatever happens the player than draws a card.

The game can be a lot of fun and leads to many laughs with people.

Image courtesy of Freepik

Questions to explore character:
1) How easy is it to keep track of the clues you have been given?
2) How does it feel when you pick the right card? How about the wrong one?
3) Have you ever felt these ways in your life? What triggered those feelings?
4) Do you find it easy to pick up on the subtle hints people give you in conversations – to ‘read between the lines’?
5) What big life choices can you think of that you feel you would benefit from having clues for beforehand? Is it always possible to get those clues?

image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures

Links to Scripture
The Bible is amazing, it contains God’s Word to us, helps us to know Him better and holds relevance to every aspect of our lives. But it is complicated, and full of layers upon layers of meaning. Just having the Bible is enough to start to know about God and Jesus, but it is easy to get lost, to make assumptions and to have grave misunderstandings. We need help interpreting what it contains, we need to work together to make sense of it.

Now whilst we can’t know exactly what God intended through each author, through each book and individual passage because God’s will is hard to comprehend. we do have theologians, teachers and ministers. These are people who study God’s Word, and work together using the writings of those who came before, as well as their deep understanding of scripture to give us clues to what God is telling us. (It is important to note that they don’t always agree either, which is part of why we have so many denominations, but that’s another topic for another time)

In Acts we see an example of this:

26 An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip. “Go south to the desert road,” he said. “It’s the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So Philip started out. On his way he met an Ethiopian official. The man had an important position in charge of all the wealth of the Kandake. Kandake means queen of Ethiopia. This official had gone to Jerusalem to worship. 28 On his way home he was sitting in his chariot. He was reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Holy Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot. Stay near it.”
30 So Philip ran up to the chariot. He heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you’re reading?” Philip asked.
31 “How can I?” he said. “I need someone to explain it to me.” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32 Here is the part of Scripture the official was reading. It says,
“He was led like a sheep to be killed.
    Just as lambs are silent while their wool is being cut off,
    he did not open his mouth.
33 When he was treated badly, he was refused a fair trial.
    Who can say anything about his children?
    His life was cut off from the earth.” (Isaiah 53:7,8)
34 The official said to Philip, “Tell me, please. Who is the prophet talking about? Himself, or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that same part of Scripture. He told him the good news about Jesus.
36-37 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water. The official said, “Look! Here is water! What can stop me from being baptized?” 38 He gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the official went down into the water. Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away. The official did not see him again. He went on his way full of joy. 40 Philip was seen next at Azotus. From there he traveled all around. He preached the good news in all the towns. Finally he arrived in Caesarea.

Acts 8:26-40 NIRV

Phillip helped the Ethiopian, who only had part of the information, see the full truth of the Good News, to the point the Ethiopian wanted to become a Christian then and there.

In Hanabi the other players help us figure out what the cards we are holding are, they fill in the gaps for us in our knowledge so hopefully we can play the right cards. Other Christians, particularly the theologians, teachers and ministers, help us to understand the Good News, to understand what it means for us, and guide us to find our own personal connection with God. This is why it is important that if you are a Christian you meet with other Christians regularly to discuss these things.

Links to buy

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Game images taken from the Amazon page linked above.