- In Hanabi, the beginning of the game can be stressful - there can be a lot of important cards on chop. For this reason, it is nice if players can be certain that their teammates will give a clue instead of discarding.
- We formalize this concept as The Early Game. The Early Game is defined as the period of time before someone discards for the first time. When they do, they initiate the Mid-Game.
- Everyone agrees that they must "extinguish" all of the available Play Clues and Save Clues before initiating the Mid-Game. (There are no cards in the discard pile yet, but Save Clues still need to be given to all of the 5's on chop and all of the 2's on chop that are not present in someone else's hand.)
- Furthermore, in the Early Game, you can do a special move called a 5 Stall; see below.
The 5 Stall (Cluing Off Chop 5's)
- Normally, you are only allowed to give a Save Clue to a 5 if it is on chop. So if you use number 5 to clue a 5 that is not on chop, then it will typically look like a Play Clue on that 5 (or some other advanced strategy).
- As a special exception, in the Early Game, you are allowed to clue number 5 as a Save Clue to off chop 5's. Doing this is just interpreted as a "stall" clue and that you are trying to extend the Early Game for a little bit longer.
- However, you are only allowed to do this if there is nothing else to do, meaning that all of the "normal" Play Clues and Save Clues have been extinguished.
- Normally, 5 Stalls are only performed in the Early Game. However, you might see someone do a 5 Stall in the Mid-Game if they are in a special situation where they are not allowed to discard.