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View Full Version : THE classic Nintendo game - Hanafuda and Koi Koi!


Paul le Fou
11-05-2011, 08:12 PM
Hey look everyone, it's a classic Nintendo game.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-6XUMJW16v_A/Tn8dG64bw1I/AAAAAAAAADs/6zS3d-y6klE/s640/11%252520-%2525201.jpg

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-n8F-ktKQCsM/Tn8dGxhr1hI/AAAAAAAAADw/YO2fTZLdSHc/s640/11%252520-%2525202.jpg

As you know, Nintendo used to make "playing cards." What I didn't realize as a youngster was that we weren't talking about the ace of spades here, but Hanafuda (花札), or Flower Cards, traditional Japanese playing cards. Like those! Oooooooohhhhhhh.

Instead of 4 suits of 13 cards, a Hanafuda deck has 12 suits of 4 cards each. The suits each represent a month of the year by way of a flower/plant that blooms (around) that month. The month doesn't have a lot to do with actual play, but the flowers do.

Pine - Matsu - 松 - January
Plum Blossom - Ume - 梅 - February
Cherry Blossom - Sakura - 桜 - March
Wisteria - Fuji - 藤 - April
Iris - Ayame - 菖蒲 - May
Peony - Botan - 牡丹 - June
Clover - Hagi - 萩 - July
Chinese Silver Grass - Susuki - 薄 - August
Chrysanthemum - Kiku - 菊 - September
Maple - Momiji - 紅葉 - October
Willow - Yanagi - 柳 - November
Paulownia - Kiri - 桐 - December

http://simisang.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/hanafuda1.jpg the full deck, with suits laid out in order.

There are four kinds of cards.

Kasu - plain. They're... plain.
Tanzaku - poetry ribbons. There are three kinds: normal ribbons, blue ribbons, and red ribbons (which refer only to the ones with writing on them).
Tane - animals. The Chrysanthemum-sake cup and the Water-Iris-Bridge are also tane though they're not actually, like, animals.
Kou - brights. The highest point value card. The crane on pine, the phoenix on Paulownia, the Moon over susuki, the curtain on sakura, and the rainy man.



HOW2PLAY

Deal is determined by each drawing a card. The earlier month gets the deal. Dealer plays first.

You deal out 8 cards each to your opponent, the table (face up in the middle), and yourself. (2 at a time in that order.) The rest of the deck goes next to the table cards.

The idea is to match cards of the same suit from your hand and the table. So, there's a cherry blossom on the table and one in your hand. You put the one from your hand on the one from the table. Then you take both!

After playing from your hand, you turn up the top card on the deck and play it as though it were from your hand. So if there's a maple leaf down and you turn a maple leaf card, you get those too.

~If you don't have a match in your hand, you discard a card to the table. Same goes for if you turn up a deck card without a match.
~If there are multiples of a suit on the table (e.g. two irises and you have one in your hand) you can choose which to play on.
~If there is a match from the deck card, you have to play it and take the cards. You can't discard a card to the table if that card makes a match with a table card. There is almost no situation you would not want to take cards, though, so.

This is one round of play. The game generally lasts a set number of rounds or until a set point total. The standard rule is 12 rounds of play, and whoever has the most points at the end wins.




The idea of collecting cards is to make Yaku, or hands, worth points. There are a number of yaku worth various points.

Basic yaku:
Kasu - plains - collect 10 plain cards. This is worth 1 point. For each card beyond 10 you collect, you get 1 extra point. So, 10 kasu = 1 point, 11 kassu = 2 points, 12 kasu = 3 points, etc.
Tanzaku - Poetry ribbons - collect 5 ribbons (any kind) for one point. Each card beyond 5 is an extra point.
Tane - animals - collect 5 animals for 1 point, each animal beyond 5 is an extra point.

Special yaku:
Blue ribbons - collect all 3 blue ribbons. 6 points.
Red ribbons - collect all 3 red ribbons (with writing on them). 6 points.
Ino-shika-cho - collect the wild boar, the deer, and the butterfly. 6 points.

Bright yaku:
~Sankou - 3 brights. 6 points. The rainy man does not count towards Sankou. If you have the rainy man and 2 other brights, you have nothing.
~Ameshikou - 4 brights, including the rainy man. 8 points.
~Shikou - 4 brights, not including the rainy man. 10 points.
~Gokou - all 5 brights. 15 points, and license to do a victory dance.

Other yaku:
Hanami de ippai - flower viewing - the sake cup plus the curtain-on-sakura Bright card. 5 points.
Tsukimi de ippai - moon viewing - the sake cup plus the moon-over-susuki bright card.

I have also seen a variation where instead of the sake cup yaku, each round has a chosen Month suit set aside. For example, ume (February). If you get all 4 cards from that suit, it is a 5-point yaku.'



SO.
As above, you play and win cards (hand, deck, opponent hand, opponent deck, repeat), trying to form yaku with your won cards.
If a player completes a yaku, they have a choice to make. They can either end the round then and there, and take their points. Or, they can say "Koi koi!" and continue the round, hoping to make more yaku for more points.

If play continues, it goes until another yaku is made. You can't cut and run.

His opponent can, of course, still make yaku. If he does, he then makes the same choice. If you end play after making a yaku, only you recieve points for your yaku - your opponent gets nothing, regardless of what cards he has won.

When the round ends, you total up all your yaku and get that many points.

SO:
I make a blue ribbon yaku worth 6 points. I continue play.
My opponent makes a plain yaku worth 1 point. He ends play. He gets 1 point, I get nothing.


IF:
I get blue ribbons. 6. Koi koi.
He gets plain. 1. koi koi.
I get tanzaku (5 ribbons). 1 point. koi koi.
He gets ino-shika-cho, 6 points. koi koi.
I get 3 brights. 6 points. End play. I get 13 points - blue ribbons, ribbons, and 3 bright. He gets nothing.


Then deal and play again!

~If you both play all your cards and no one gets a yaku, the round ends. In some variations, the dealer gets 6 points for this. In others, nothing happens.

~In some variations, the round MUST end on a yaku. So if you get Animals, and continue, but the last cards are played and another yaku is not made, nobody gets any points. In other variations, the last player to make a yaku gets his points as normal.

~The winner of the last round typically deals the next. If play ends without a yaku, re-draw a card like at the beginning and earlier month deals.



Look over this site (http://www.gamedesign.jp/flash/hanafuda/rule_e.html) as well. It has a table of the cards, and a pretty nice flash version of the game which is how I taught myself. Just beware that it uses a strange one-player point system, and not a normal 2-player one. There are also free apps for Android and, I imagine, iOS that you can dink around with and play (including a Summer Wars-themed one that I play on).

Once you get past identifying the different cards, it's a pretty simple and fun game!




Oh, and Koi Koi is just one of many games you can play with Hanafuda. If you have more, talk about them here!

Lion Yamato
11-05-2011, 08:25 PM
I'd just like to say that this was a pretty rad and surprisingly easy-to-follow explanation of a game that befuddled me during the entirety of my three-year stay in Japan.

So, thanks!

Lucas
11-05-2011, 08:36 PM
Remember that the storm in November is a kasu, not anything special! (Though in Billy vs. Snakeman Koi Koi it can be used for several yaku.)

Also, three of the paulownia cards are plain as well - the writing and the yellow are just maker's marks, like the writing that's usually on the ace of spades in a poker deck.

I'm not nitpicking on purpose, those just confused me quite a bit when I started playing.

Mazian
11-05-2011, 08:38 PM
Is that Napoleon on the box?

I haven't played a game in, oh, ten or more years. I think I can afford the zero dollars and twenty MB to pick up a smartphone version right now.

Mogri
11-05-2011, 08:42 PM
This game is on Clubhouse Games for the DS and it makes no sense at all. My eyes glossed over as I read your description. It seems like I basically understood the game, but there are just so many little things there to remember.

Clubhouse Games is a pretty nice package, though! I recommend it!

Paul le Fou
11-05-2011, 08:47 PM
Remember that the storm in November is a kasu, not anything special! (Though in Billy vs. Snakeman Koi Koi it can be used for several yaku.)

Also, three of the paulownia cards are plain as well - the writing and the yellow are just maker's marks, like the writing that's usually on the ace of spades in a poker deck.

I'm not nitpicking on purpose, those just confused me quite a bit when I started playing.

Ah yes! Sorry, I meant to mention these as well under "The hard part of this game is figuring out which cards are what". The storm willow card (the all-dark one with the red streak) is a plain willow. There are some games where it's special, but not in koi koi.

And the Paulownia, December, is the only suit with 3 plains (and a bright for its fourth). This includes the yellow one!

Is that Napoleon on the box?

Those three pictures are three different kinds of deck you can get, I think. The Napoleon(?) one is the Presidential deck, which I think is just a higher quality of the same deck and comes in a nicer plastic box. You can also get it with red card backing/borders instead of black. It's more than double the price of the standard one I got.

Googleshng
11-05-2011, 08:51 PM
When the round ends, you total up all your yaku and get that many points.

SO:
I make a blue ribbon yaku worth 6 points. I continue play.
My opponent makes a plain yaku worth 1 point. He ends play. He gets 1 point, I get nothing.


IF:
I get blue ribbons. 6. Koi koi.
He gets plain. 1. koi koi.
I get tanzaku (5 ribbons). 1 point. koi koi.
He gets ino-shika-cho, 6 points. koi koi.
I get 3 brights. 6 points. End play. I get 13 points - blue ribbons, ribbons, and 3 bright. He gets nothing.

The version I'm familiar with has somewhat more complicated scoring (and all those things worth 6 are just worth 5), which I think keeps it more interesting:

Complex score rule #1- Having cards in excess of victory requirements gives extra points per, but you still only get the chance to koi koi/call when you first meet the requirement. i.e. I get 10 plains (1 point) and koi koi. I get 2 more plains (I can't do anything special). I get 5 ribbons (1 point) and call. My total score is 4 (plains, ribbons, 1 each from my 2 extra plains).

Complex score rule #2- Double points if you've got 7 points worth of cards. So, 3 dry brights (5)+10 plains (1)+5 ribbons (1)=7, which then turns into 14.

Complex score rule #3- If the other player has koi koied and then I win, double points. So, last example, if I'd koi koied off, say, 5 animals at some point somewhere in the process of you amassing all that? 28 points.

Complex score rule #4- After every 10 rounds, all points are doubled, because if you're going that long, clearly you're just being low value hand taking wimps and need to hurry things up.

This stuff makes koi koi-ing a way more viable thing to do. I mean, even with it, you're usually going to want to call as soon as possible because unless your opponent just had a GARBAGE hand, they're way way more likely to meet the first scoring condition they've been shooting for before you manage a second, but taking the risk can pay off disgustingly well.

Oh and if everyone runs out of cards and you were the last to koi koi, you win. Which should kinda go without saying.

Also- Since it needs clarifying, the mutant cards are as follows:
Jan. Crane I look like an animal, but I'm really a bright!

May Bridge I look like a bright, or maybe a plain, but I'm really an animal! There's carp in the water see.

Sept. Cup I look like a plain... and I am! I am, however, also an animal!

Nov. Lightning I totally, absolutely, look so freaking much like a bright, but I'm just a plain with style.



The version I play (because it's in that weird browser game I'm kind of obsessed with) house rules in 2 more 5 pointers:
Aug. Sun + May Bridge
and
Aug. Sun + Nov. Lightning

... because dagnabit, they look special and should do something!

Also because it makes koi koi a slightly riskier move, and giving you something to do with one of the brights besides go for the rest. Side effect, clear best card to have, but it's still a net gain for strategy.

Paul le Fou
11-05-2011, 09:10 PM
None of those image links work.


I have heard of the double points for making a yaku off someone else's yaku, but haven't played it myself. I think that happened in Summer Wars or something, though. It's also in my instruction booklet.

And looking at the instructions that came with my deck, the point values can change too. Red or Blue Ribbons, ino-shika-cho, or 3 brights are 5 points, 4 brights is 8 points, and 5 brights is 10 points. This probably is because if points are going to go around getting doubled you want them at a lower base value, but if they stay as-is you'd want them a little higher.

Nothing about doubling points after ten rounds, since the standard game is played for 12 rounds.



There are more special rules you can mess around with too. Like if you get all four cards of a single suit in your hand, you get 6 points. If you have 4 suited pairs in your hand, you get 6 points. In both cases, you just win the round and go on to the next.

There's also a rule where if no one makes a hand the dealer just switches instead of drawing again.

Basically there are endless variations. Experiment and have fun!

Violentvixen
11-05-2011, 11:22 PM
We got the Club Nintendo ones a while ago and Lumber taught me the game, it's not the easiest thing to learn but it's so low-key I enjoyed it quite a lot.

shivam
11-06-2011, 12:33 AM
i gotta say, these cards are incredibly beautiful and high quality.

Googleshng
11-06-2011, 02:15 AM
If you enjoy crazy complicated scoring rules from weird old Japanese games, there's a variant of mahjong worth a look too.

Paul le Fou
11-06-2011, 06:05 AM
That's the moon over Susuki in the August bright, not the sun. That's why it pairs with the sake cup.


Also, right now is susuki season and it is EVERYWHERE along my drive to work. I never really noticed it before. Hanafuda are deepening my appreciation of nature!