(2-5 players; 25 minutes; ages 8+)
Hanabi is both the top deductive and co-operative game. It’s best with 3-4 players and is the only game that I’ve played where my real objective is to win without cheating too much. Players work together against the game, so a subtle grimace here or a sudden intake of breath there gives a much needed, but strictly forbidden clue to your team mates! I’m sure you will try to play more ethically than me 😉
Hanabi is MathPickle’s 2013 Game of the Year. Perhaps more importantly, it is the first small game that has won gaming’s most prestigious game design award: the Spiel des Jahres. For $15 you can’t go wrong.
I like mathematics because it is not human and has nothing particular to do with this planet or with the whole accidental universe – because, like Spinoza’s God, it won’t love us in return.
Runnerup Game of the Year
Jon Perry's Air Land & Sea impressed me immediately with its inspired rule that allows players to withdraw from a battle at any time. The game improves with play as the first games will be slowed down because each card has critical text... however there are only 18 cards in total. This game is a gem for those with a limited budget.
Game of the Year
Elizabeth Hargrave's Wingspan does not have the most innovative mechanisms, but it is infused with natural beauty like no other game I've played. Unlike all previous winners, the game did not "wow" me on the first play, but over many plays, I came to love the anticipation of each new bird entering play. It is a sumptuous game.