Thursday, February 18, 2016

Hanabi: A card game where everyone but you can see your cards

Troy Retter, another graduate student in my department, wrote a paper on the card game Hanabi (Amazon affiliate link here) as part of the Rocky Mountain-Great Plains Graduate Research Workshop in Combinatorics (GRWC):
One of many traditional social festivities at GRWC is game night, where we played a cooperative card game known as Hanabi. A few games and strategic conversations later, Hanabi became its own research project. In Hanabi, a player can not see the cards in her hand, and must rely on the actions of the other players to gain information about her cards. Based on ideas used in hat guessing games, we developed two strategies for Hanabi which performed well in computer simulations.
Hanabi works with 2 - 5 players and is aimed at ages 8 and up.  I own it and have played it a few times.  Troy is planning on doing a math circle based on the game, and when that happens I'll include a link to his handout so that you can get a better sense of the mathematics.  Until then, play the game, talk about strategies afterwards, and use it as in introduction to hat guessing games.

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