Level 17 - 5 Tech

  • Level 17 strategies should only be learned if you have 300+ games of experience with the group.

Conventions#


The Low Score Phase and the Normal Score Phase#

  • At this point, you should already know that we split up the game of Hanabi into the Early Game and the Mid-Game (based on when someone discards).
  • In a similar way, we also split up the game of Hanabi into the Low Score Phase and the Normal Score Phase:
    • The Low Score Phase is defined as when the score is below 2 x number of suits. (e.g. 10 points in a no variant game, 6 points in a 3-suit game, etc.)
    • The Normal Score Phase is defined as when the score is equal to or past this threshold.
  • Some special moves using a number 5 clue can only be performed in the Low Score Phase of the game.
  • On Hanab Live, the score will be colored cyan when the Low Score Phase is active.

No Play Clues with a Number 5 Clue in the Low Score Phase#

  • Normally, if a player uses a number 5 clue to clue a 5 that is two-or-more-away-from-chop, and that player is not a stalling situation, then it would be a Play Clue on the 5.
  • However, all number 5 clues in the Low Score Phase are never to be interpreted as a direct Play Clue.
  • They are instead interpreted as a more advanced move. (See the 5 Pull section below.)
  • This means that if players need to give a Play Clue to a playable 5, and the score is less than 2 points per stack, then they must use a color clue, or wait until later.

Special Moves#


The Early 5's Chop Move#

  • First, see the section on the 5 Stall.
  • In the Early Game, players are only allowed to perform a 5 Stall if there is nothing left to do. (Or, as a special exception, if there is only one Play Clue to give and that card is on Finesse Position.)
  • Thus, if someone clues a 5 and there is something else to do, they must be trying to send an additional message.
  • If the 5 is one-away from chop, they intend for an Early 5's Chop Move. This functions in the exact same way a normal 5's Chop Move does (except it was done in the Early Game, which is not normally possible).

The 5 Pull#

  • This convention only applies in the Low Score Phase.
  • Players are only allowed to perform a 5 Stall in certain situations. If a player performs a 5 Stall when it would otherwise be illegal, then it is not a 5 Stall at all, and would instead be:
    • a 5's Chop Move if the 5 is one-away-from-chop
    • a Play Clue if the 5 is two-or-more-away-from-chop
  • However, since Play Clues with number 5 clues are "turned off" in the Low Score Phase, then the cluing player must be intending something else: a 5 Pull.
  • A 5 Pull causes the player to blind-play the card to the right of the 5. The clued 5 is not actually related to the blind-play. This is why it is called a Pull instead of a Finesse or a Bluff.
  • 5 Pulls are typically done to 5's that are on slot 1. But, for example, you can also clue a 5 in slot 2 in order to get a blind-play on slot 3.
  • 5 Pulls take precedence over Finesses and Bluffs, because a number 5 clue is never considered to be Play Clue.
  • For example in a 3-player game:
    • It is the Early Game and the Low Score Phase.
    • Red 3 is played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues Cathy number 5, touching a red 5 on slot 1. (There are other Play Clues for Alice to give, so this cannot be a 5 Stall.)
    • Normally, Bob would think that this is a Finesse and that he should blind-play his Finesse Position card as the red 4.
    • However, Bob knows that Play Clues with a number 5 clue are "turned off" in the Low Score Phase, which means that Alice is not indicating that the red 5 is playable.
    • Bob can see that there is a playable blue 1 to the right of the 5, so Alice must be intending a 5 Pull. When it gets to Cathy's turn, Cathy will blind-play that card.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobCathy5Blue 1low score
  • Since 5 Pulls are never Play Clues on the 5, it is possible to 5 Pull a 4 without promising that the 5 is the same suit.
  • Confusingly, 5 Pulls work differently from Finesses. Even though they involve playing a blind card, a 5 Pull should be treated as a Delayed Play Clue (or a potential Prompt). This means that the blind card could play through any existing touched cards.
  • When a player is Finessed or Bluffed, they are allowed to defer playing the blind card in order to do a Finesse or Bluff of their own. However, if they could be Bluffed, they are not allowed to initiate a 5 Pull. (Players are still allowed to defer playing into a Finesse in order to initiate a 5 Pull.)
  • In the rare case where a 5 Pull is performed in a 3-player game by touching two 5's in slot 1 and slot 3, then the 5 Pulled card is slot 2.
  • Remember that a number 5 clue is always a 5 Stall instead of a 5 Pull if the only card ignored is a 2 on chop.

A Flowchart for Cluing 5's#

  • Differentiating between a 5 Stall and a 5 Pull can sometimes be confusing. Here is a flowchart that steps you through how you can tell the difference.

The 5 Pull Prompt & The 5 Pull Finesse#

  • 5 Pulls are also allowed to initiate a Prompt or Finesse.
  • For example, in a 4-player game:
    • It is the first turn of the game and nothing is played on the stacks.
    • Cathy's hand is as follows, from newest to oldest: blue 4, blue 5, red 2, red 2
    • Donald's hand is as follows, from newest to oldest: yellow 4, green 1, yellow 3, yellow 3
    • Alice clues number 5 to Cathy, touching the blue 5 on slot 3.
    • Bob knows that since the team is the Early Game, Alice's clue might be a 5 Stall.
    • However, Bob also knows that you are only allowed to perform a 5 Stall if there are no normal Save Clues or Play Clues to give. Bob sees that Donald has a green 1 that could be Play Clued. Thus, Bob knows that Alice's clue cannot not be a 5 Stall, which makes it a 5 Pull instead (since it is two-or-more-away from the chop).
    • Bob knows that if this was a 5 Pull, it would be pulling the red 2. If Bob does nothing, Cathy might go on to misplay the red 2 as some playable 1.
    • Thus, this must be a 5 Pull Finesse, so Bob blind-plays his Finesse Position. It is a red 1 and it successfully plays.
    • Cathy knows that the only reason that Bob would blind-play a card is it this was a 5 Pull Finesse. Cathy blind-plays her slot 4 card. It is a red 2 and it successfully plays.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobCathy5Donaldfirst turn
  • Unlike other types of Finesses, 5 Pull Finesses must be demonstrated with a blind-play between when the 5 Pull is given and the 5 Pulled player's next turn (e.g. a Forward Finesse).
  • Subsequently, 5 Pulls are not allowed to initiate a Reverse Finesse. (This is because we don't want the person with the pulled card to have to entertain too many possibilities.)
  • Remember that during a 5 Pull Finesse, the pulled card always connects to the blind-play. In other words, it not possible to perform a 5 Pull Bluff.

The 5 Pull Double Finesse#

  • First, see the section on the 5 Pull Finesse.
  • As you would expect, it is also possible to perform a 5 Pull Double Finesse in the exact same way that you can 5 Pull Finesse.
  • The "pulled" card will always connect to the final blind-play.
  • For example in a 4-player game:
    • It is the first turn of the game and nothing is played on the stacks.
    • Donald's hand is as follows, from newest to oldest: blue 4, blue 5, red 3, blue 2
    • Alice clues number 5 to Donald, touching the blue 5 on slot 3.
    • Bob blind-plays the red 1 (because he knows that it cannot be a 5 Stall).
    • Cathy blind-plays the red 2 (because she knows that she needs to play into the Double Finesse).
    • Donald knows that the 5 Pulled card is the red 3 (connecting to the red 1 and the red 2).
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobCathyDonald5first turn
  • Previously, we said that 5 Pull Finesse must be a Forward Finesse. However, 5 Pulled players do have to respect that a 5 Pull Finesse can be a 5 Pull Double Finesse with the second blind-play as a Reverse Finesse. (Specifically, we refer to this as a Finesse with a Reverse Finesse component.)
  • More examples of a 5 Pull Double Finesse can be found here.

The 5 Pull Clandestine Finesse#

  • First, see the section on the 5 Pull Finesse.
  • A 5 Pull Finesse must be a Forward Finesse.
  • However, 5 Pulled players do have to respect that the Finesse can be Clandestine.
  • For example in a 3-player game:
    • It is the first turn of the game and nothing is played on the stacks.
    • Bob's hand is as follows, from newest to oldest: red 1, green 1, green 4, green 4, green 5
    • Cathy's hand is as follows, from newest to oldest: blue 4, blue 4, blue 5, green 2, blue 2
    • Alice clues number 5 to Cathy, touching the blue 5 on slot 3.
    • Bob blind-plays the red 1 (because he knows that it cannot be a 5 Stall).
    • Normally, Cathy would think that Alice performed a 5 Pull Finesse, and she would blind-play her slot 4 card as the red 2 (which would connect to the red 1).
    • However, Cathy also sees that at the time of the clue, Bob had a playable green 1 behind the red 1. Thus, it is possible that Alice might be performing a 5 Pull Clandestine Finesse.
    • Cathy performs an unrelated action.
    • Alice performs an unrelated action.
    • Bob blind-plays the green 1 from slot 2.
    • Cathy now knows that this was indeed a 5 Pull Clandestine Finesse and that she has the green 2 on her slot 4.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobCathy5first turn

The 5 Pull Promise (A Play Clue After a 5 Pull)#

  • Normally, 5 Pulls have to be treated as Delayed Play Clues. This means that sometimes, it can take a long time for the pulled card to blind-play.
  • From the perspective of the player who is 5 Pulled, if a follow up Play Clue is given to a currently unplayable card, then they can disregard the Delayed Play Clue interpretation - the 5 Pulled player is promised the card that makes the unplayable card playable.
  • For example, in a 4-player game:
    • Alice has two clued 1's in her hand - red 1 and blue 1.
    • Bob does a 5 Pull on Donald. Donald knows that the 5 Pulled card could be either red 2 or blue 2 (if it is a Delayed Play Clue).
    • Cathy clues Alice about a red 3. Now, Donald knows that he is promised the red 2 as his 5 Pulled card (and he no longer has to wait for the blue 1 to come down before blind-playing).
AliceRed 1Blue 13Red 3BobCathyClue GiverClue GiverDonaldRed 2

Finesses While 5 Pulled are Certain Finesses#

  • Sometimes, a 5 Pulled player may not play their pulled card right away. Maybe they have to wait for existing cards to play first, or maybe they want to capitalize on a Finesse while it is still available.
  • Any Finesse that a 5 Pulled player performs is to be treated as a Certain Finesse.
  • Any Certain Discard that is performed in response to a Finesse that a 5 Pulled player did applies to the 5 Pulled card.

The 5 Pull Skip#

  • If a player is already Finessed, it is possible to Finesse them again and get them to play their Second Finesse Position card.
  • Similarly, if a 5 Pull is performed, and the card immediately to the right of a 5 is already clued or already "gotten", then the 5 Pull skips over that card and gets the next card after that.

5 Number Discharge (5ND)#

  • This convention only applies in the Low Score Phase.
  • Players are only allowed to perform a 5 Stall in certain situations. If a player performs a 5 Stall when it would otherwise be illegal, then it is not a 5 Stall at all, and would instead be:
    • a 5's Chop Move if the 5 is one-away-from-chop
    • a 5 Pull if the 5 is two-or-more-away-from-chop and the card to the right of it is playable
    • a 5 Pull Finesse if the 5 is two-or-more-away-from-chop and the card to the right of it is one-away-from-playable
  • However, what if the 5 is two-or-more-away-from-chop and the card to the right of it is two-or-more-away-from-playable or trash? This would be quite strange.
  • We agree that this signals a Discharge and that the next player should play their Third Finesse Position.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • It is the first turn and nothing is played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues number 5 to Cathy, touching a 5 on slot 1.
    • Cathy hand is, from newest to oldest: red 5, red 3, green 2, green 1, green 2
    • Bob thinks about what Alice's 5 clue could mean:
      • The clue cannot be a 5 Stall, because there is a green 1 to Play Clue.
      • The clue cannot be a 5 Pull, because the red 3 is not playable.
      • The clue cannot be a 5 Pull Finesse, because the red 3 is two-away-from-playable.
    • Since Bob would have to blind-play two cards into the Finesse (the same rule as in 5 Color Ejections), Bob knows that he should instead treat this as a 5 Number Discharge. Bob blind-plays his slot 3 card and it successfully plays as the red 1.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobRed 1Cathy5Red 5Red 33,4Green 2Green 1Green 2first turn
  • After a 5 Number Discharge, the card next to the 5 should be marked accordingly. For example, if a 5 Number Discharge happens on the first turn of the game, then the team should mark the "pulled" card as a 3 or a 4.
  • More examples of a 5 Number Discharge can be found here.

5 Number Discharge Finesse Position Skips#

  • First, see the section on the 5 Number Discharge.
  • After a 5 Number Discharge occurs, it is common for the card next to the 5 to be marked as a 3 or a 4.
  • If the 5 was on slot 1, then the marked card is now on Finesse Position. For most intents and purposes, this "marking" from a 5 Number Discharge does not change the player's Finesse Position - their Finesse Position is still the card marked as a 3 or a 4.
  • However, if that player is Finessed for a 1 or a 2, then it is fairly obvious that they should not play the card that is marked as a 3 or a 4. In this case, the player should skip over their Finesse Position card and instead play their Second Finesse Position.

General Principles#


Interaction Between 2 Saves & 5 Stalls#

  • Normally, players are only allowed to 5 Stall if there is nothing else to do. If there is something else to do, then the number 5 clue signals a more advanced move.
  • Sometimes, a player can receive a 5 Stall clue when:
    1. A 2 Save still needs to be done to another player
    2. That 2 Save is the only clue left
  • In this situation, players should assume the least complicated thing: a 5 Stall. Because of the Visible Rule, the player who gave the 5 Stall clue was not allowed to perform the 2 Save because the other copy was visible.
  • In this situation, the player who received the 5 Stall should write Elimination Notes on their hand for the other copy of the 2. Furthermore, they are not allowed to 2 Save the other copy of the 2, so they must give some other clue or discard.
  • For example, in a 4-player game:
    • It is the first turn and nothing is played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues number 5 to Bob, touching a 5 on slot 1.
    • From Bob's perspective, he does not see any other Play Clues or Save Clues that Alice could have given, with the exception of a 2 Save on a red 2 on Cathy's chop.
    • Thus, Alice's number 5 clue could be either a 5 Pull or a 5 Stall, depending on whether or not Bob has the other copy of the red 2 in his hand.
    • Bob knows that in this situation, 5 Stalls take precedence over 5 Pulls, so he marks his hand for the other copy of red 2 and discards.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBob5r2?r2?CathyRed 2Donaldfirst turn