Level 7 - End-Game

  • Level 7 strategies should only be learned if you have 100+ games of experience with the group.

Conventions#


End-Game Threshold#

  • Towards the end of the game, the strategy of the team will change. In most games, you stop becoming concerned with efficiency and become more concerned with tempo - every card needs to play right now before the game ends!
  • Thus, since clues can mean different things depending on whether you are in the Mid-Game or the End-Game, you need to be able to keep track of when the End-Game has arrived.
  • Pace is used to determine End-Game status. If pace is less than the number of players, the End-Game has arrived.
    • On Hanab Live, pace will turn yellow when this occurs.
  • If pace is less than the number of players / 2, you should be very careful with discarding. It might still be the best thing to do, but if there are enough clues in the bank, it is usually better to Burn a clue (meaning to deliberately waste a clue).
  • If pace is 0, no more discards can happen in order to get the maximum score.
  • If pace is below 0, it is impossible to get the maximum score.

Special Moves#


The Positional Discard (Indicating a Play with a Discard)#

  • Near the end of the game, if you have no clues left and no cards to play, you can transmit information based on which card you discard.
  • Thus, you can discard the slot in your hand that matches the slot in someone else's hand that they are supposed to play.
  • Usually, players will only do this if they can see all of the remaining useful cards. Since they see everything, they know that they cannot be discarding anything important.

The Positional Misplay (Indicating a Play with a Misplay)#

  • On the final round of the game, if a player has no cards in their hand to play, a Positional Discard from any slot will work, because it is globally known that every card is visible.
  • However, sometimes Positional Discards are done before the final round while there are still some cards left in the deck. In this situation, if a player discarded their chop card as a Positional Discard, this would not work, because discarding chop is the normal action that the rest of the team is expecting.
  • Thus, in order to more strongly communicate the "play this slot" message, they can instead misplay their chop card. Since the rest of the team can see that the card misplayed for "no reason", they can deduce that it was a Positional Misplay.

The Double Positional Misplay (Indicating Two Plays with a Misplay)#

  • Normally, the Positional Misplay is only used as a last-resort when a Positional Discard would not work. But what if a player does a Positional Misplay when a normal Positional Discard would have gotten the job done?
  • Positional Discards and Positional Misplays promise that only one card in the specified slot is playable. So, if there are two people with a play on the same slot, then it will be ambiguous, because each of them will think that the other person is supposed to play.
  • Thus, a Positional Misplay that is unnecessary transforms into a Double Positional Misplay, indicating to the team that two cards on that exact slot are playable.

The Distribution Clue#

  • In the End-Game, when a player has many playable cards, there is the risk that they will not be able to play all cards before the end of the game.
  • Thus, it might make sense to spend a clue to duplicate one of their playable cards in someone else's hand. This would violate Good Touch Principle, but it would relieve the player with the loaded hand from some of the card-playing burden.
  • Since it distributes plays more evenly throughout the team, this is called a Distribution Clue. Distribution Clues better satisfy Team Distribution Principle.

General Principles#


Team Distribution Principle#

  • In general, it is better for useful cards to be distributed evenly throughout the team. This is especially important in 5-player games.
  • Thus, if one of your teammates has 3 out of 4 cards clued, it may be better for them to be the one giving the clues, and you to be the one discarding - even if their chop is known trash.
  • There are multiple reasons for this. First, you don't want them to get a Locked Hand, which is generally bad. Second, if they continue to draw playable cards, the game may end before they get a chance to play them all.

The Pace +1 Rule#

  • Players can use Pace to determine if it is safe to discard. In general, a group can discard down to pace 0 and still get a perfect score.
  • However, as a rule, if pace is +1 and one of the players on your team does not have any playable cards, then you cannot discard - you must let them perform the final discard.
  • If both you and another player do not have any playable cards, then you can do the final discard - the team won't be able to get a perfect score anyway. But if you could have an unknown playable card in your hand, then you should be very careful about discarding, because it could ruin a perfect score.

Burning (End-Game Stalling)#

  • In the End-Game, often times there are still a lot of cards yet to be played. Thus, you need to be very careful when discarding, since by drawing a card you can make the game end before everyone has a chance to play all of the cards.
  • If there are enough of clues available, you can choose to stall, by giving a low-value clue (or even a completely useless clue). This is referred to as Burning a clue.
  • The best way to give a useless clue is to re-clue cards which are already known to be playable.
  • Give a Burn Clue if:
    • There is a possibility that the game can be completed without anyone discarding from now on.
    • You have two or more useful cards in your hand, and you want to follow Team Distribution Principle.
  • Do not give a Burn Clue if:
    • The end-game has not started yet (see the End-Game Threshold).
    • You know that someone else will have to discard in the future.

End-Game Strategy#

  • The previous three sections introduce the End-Game at a high-level. When the End-Game arrives, you should probably be changing the way you play.
  • However, giving specific advice for the End-Game is very difficult - things vary widely based on the deal and there are a lot of different things to consider.
  • So, you will need to think through each End-Game yourself, one step at a time. Ask questions like:
    • Which cards are left in the deck that we need?
    • What is the probability of drawing those cards?
    • Who should be drawing those cards?
    • Does stalling produce a line that is better than playing?