We were relocated once again, so we had six people for the second week running. Since we are still meeting in private houses, splitting into two games of three was not really an option due to restricted table space, and this limited what we could play somewhat. For this reason, we started out with one of our old favourites that we’ve played before, Bohnanza. This is a fairly simple trading game, where players exchange and plant beans to maximise their harvest. The game was very tight, ending with joint winners on twelve and third and fourth places on eleven and ten respectively.
Our youngest player left, leaving us with five players for our Feature Game, Hanabi. “Hanabi” is the Japanese word for “fireworks” (consisting of the ideograms “Flower” and “Fire”) and given the date we felt it was entirely appropriate. Last time we played, we used the original card version of the game, however, this time we used the new tile version that was released at Essen a couple of weeks ago. The idea of the game is very simple: as a group, players must try to lay a total of twenty-five tiles, in number order within their colour suits, thus the red “one”, must be played before the red “two”, and so on. The snag is that everyone turns their hand back to front so they can see everyone elses tiles, but not their own. So, on their turn, players can do one of three things: play a card, give a clue to another player or discard a tile. If the wrong tile is played, the team lose one of their three lives and there are only eight clues available; although each discarded tile is also worth an extra clue some tiles don’t have any duplicates…
We enjoyed the first game so much that we ended up playing it twice. The first time a lot of “ones” came out on the first deal, so we had to decide how to guide people to play the correct tiles. We finished up with three completed fireworks and a total of twenty points. Any hope that we could improve on our score quickly evaporated when the second game started with no “ones” at all and it took us ages to get started by which time we had run out of clues. One player was left with the choice of playing or discarding and chose the wrong option and that really set the tone for the rest of the game. All things considered, it was a bit of a miracle that we finished two fireworks successfully and the game ended with a total of eighteen – not quite as bad as it had looked earlier.
Learning Outcome: Sometimes “feelings” can be very misleading and you can be doing much better (or worse) than you thought.