Publisher: Asmodee Editions
Year Made: 2010
Platforms: Tabletop - Card Game
Content Areas: English, Modern Language
Suggested Age Level: Middle School, High School
Play Length: 20-30 minutes
Number of Players: 2-5
Difficulty Rating: Medium
Who doesn’t love fireworks? As beautiful as they are though, when you’re in charge of a firework spectacular and it’s too dark to see the fireworks you dropped, it’s suddenly a race to help the other firework makers put the show back together. In Hanabi, you are in that very situation. Every player has a set of cards all containing fireworks of a different color and number, but the catch is that you don’t see what cards you have: the other players do. You have to rely on the other players to accurately communicate and collaborate to put the fireworks show back together before time runs out.
The challenge with Hanabi is that it is a pretty difficult game if you follow all the rules. Students might experience frustration with teammates and trying to communicate. While that’s part of the game, if players start to feel like they want to quit, the house rules could be edited to possibly allow two pieces of information per turn, especially if the players are not native speakers of the language they play the game in. In one of my favorite playthroughs, my friend and I actually created our own code words that helped us get information across more. Technically, it was completely against the rules, but it was a blast to create our own codes.
This game is excellent for an English class where students need to be precise in their language and clear in how they communicate with groupmates. It can also help students practice deciding what information is the most important for their purpose. Students could also use the game to practice nonverbal communication as well. Hanabi also provides good practice at different colors and numbers and asking questions in any modern language, especially because it does not require extensive knowledge of any specific language to play.
Hanabi is a cooperative game that relies on clear communication with partners and accurate evaluation of what matters most. When played well, Hanabi itself lights up a room like a firework.
Educational Rating: 6/8
(Classroom Tech Friendly, Motivation, Concrete Learning, Additional Skills, Feedback, Difficulty, Accessibility, Extension)
Overall Rating: 7/8
(Immersion, Environment, Storyline, Replayability, Entertainment, Gameplay, Originality, User Control)