A FAMILY VERSION OF THE STANDARD GAME, FOR 2 OR 3 PLAYERS
COMPOSITION OF THE DECK
The 48 cards are divided into twelve families (or suits), each of which is related to a month of the year. The symbol of each family, though, is a flower or a plant, whence the name of the deck, meaning "flower cards".
Each family has four cards, two of which are "plain", featuring no other element but the flower itself: they are called kasu (trash), and do not score points. The other two cards, instead, also have distinctive elements: some have a vertical ribbon (tan or tanzaku, meaning "short poem"), either blank or with a text. Some others have an animal (a bird, a deer, a boar, etc.), called tane cards.
Five cards have even more eye-catching elements, or a different background, and are known as kô ("light") cards, belonging to the following suits: Matsu (Pine), Sakura (Cherry), Susuki (Eulalia), Yanagi (Willow) and Kiri (Paulownia).
family (suit) Kô Tane Tan Kasu Kasu
All cards with subjects (kô, tane, tan) score points, see also standard score.
Only Yanagi (Willow) family has all three types of scoring cards: a kô, a tane and a tan; its kô card shows a man with an umbrella and a frog: the featured character is Ono no Toufuu, a famous calligraphist in mediaeval Japan, and the card is sometimes popularly called Gazi.
Popular names are also given to some of the families, according to their kô or tane cards, so the Susuki family is also referred to as Bôzu ("moon"), the Yanagi family is also called Ame ("rain"), etc.
GENERAL RULES FOR HANAFUDA GAMES
Hanafuda games are best played with only two players, though versions exist in which players may be three or more.
The dealer is called oya ("leader" or "parent"): he shuffles the cards, deals them to his opponent (or opponents) and to himself, and lays face up on the table a given number of cards, usually eight. The other player, or the player on oya's right, is asked to "cut" the pack before the cards are dealt.
The undealt cards are grouped face down into a pile, and used by players according to the rules of each variety of the game.
In the following game played, the winner becomes the new oya; only in the case of a draw, the dealer does not change.
Hanafuda cards are held in hand by players in "fan" position, as any other western type of cards.
Most Hanafuda games are based on a simple principle: each player in turn tries to match one of his cards with any of the ones on the table, thus capturing the two. The match is made according to the twelve families (or suits), so Pine matches Pine, Plum will match Plum, and so on.
Each of the cards has a given value, which may differ according to the different rules, though the highest cards are often the five kô ("lights"), while all non scoring kasu ("trash") cards are always worthless.
At the end of each game, the players count their score by summing the individual points of the captured cards, and then add any further point obtained by forming special combinations, called yaku.
Since the game is so popular in Japan, many different varieties of Hanafuda exist, and some of them are a family tradition. What mainly differs between these versions are the yaku (special combinations), whose composition may often change, as well as the number of points they are worth.
~~ RULES FOR MAYUMI-NO HANAFUDA ~~
THE OPENING DEAL
Each player randomly picks a card, and who has the one belonging to the earliest month of the year becomes oya (the dealer) for that game.
The winner will become the dealer in the following game, unless the one in progress ends with a draw or with a tegarasu sanjuu (see drawn game), in which case oya does not change.
· 2 players ·Oya shuffles the cards face down, and collects them again in hand, asking the opponent to cut the pack. He then deals four cards to him, then four to himself, and finally places four cards face up in the center. He repeats this twice, so that both players start with eight cards each in hand, and eight on the table.
All the remaining cards (24) are gathered face down in a pile, which is placed more or less between the players.
· 3 players ·Oya shuffles the cards face down, and collects them again in hand, asking the player on his right to cut them. oya then deals four cards to each player, starting with the one on his left (i.e. in clockwise direction), and places three cards on the table. He repeats this operation, giving other three cards to the players and placing three more on the table. So each player starts with seven cards in hand, and six on the table.
The remaining cards (21) are gathered face down in a pile.
RECEIVING THREE OR FOUR CARDS OF THE SAME FAMILYShould any player receive three cards belonging to the same family, oya can be asked to pick out one of these three, and to randomly put it back into the card pile, which will be cut again; the top card of the pile will be given to the player, as a replacement.
If the player has all four cards of a family, he can ask a replacement for two of them.
Should oya be the one asking for the replacement, the player on his right will perform these operations.
THE GAME IN PROGRESS
Oya plays first, trying to match any of the cards he holds with the ones on the table.
If he can make a match, he places his card over the upturned one, and captures the couple.
If the player has no matching card, he simply has to discard one.
In any of the above-mentioned cases, the player then turns face up the top card of the pile, and tries again to make a match with any of the cards on the table: if he succeeds in doing so, he captures these two, as well, otherwise he leaves the mismatched card on the table.
Therefore, according to these rules, during his turn a player may be able to capture a maximum of four cards, or two, or none. There is only one exception to this rule, which will be explained below.
The next player then takes his turn. If players are three, the one sitting left to oya will take his turn next.
Two particular situations occur when among the first eight cards turned on the table by oya, there are two or three cards of the same family.
Both situations may only occur during the players' first turn, because all cards played during the game which match a card on the table will make a capture.
- If two cards of the same family are on the table, the player making a capture is free to choose which one he will take, but he must overlap his card over the right one: should he overlap the wrong one by mistake, he is forced to capture that card, and he will not be allowed to change it.
- If three cards of a same family are on the table, the player who holds the fourth one (any of the four) takes them all with one capture. Should this player also make a match with the card turned from the pile, he would capture a total of six: this is the only exception to a maximum capture of four cards per turn, discussed above.
Curiously, many Hanafuda players actually slam down their card over the one they capture. The following quotation is from a comment made by an experienced Japanese player:« We slap the card to the card on the table. Since Hanafuda cards are so hard, they make a good slapping sound. (...) I thought it's so cool to make a loud slapping sound like my dad, and I even practiced. »Traditionally, the game is played over a flat square pillow called zabuton, which also prevents the cards from rebounding after being slammed down.
The player who captures cards must store them in front of himself, face up so that any other player knows which ones they are. It is useful to arrange them by values: kô cards, then tane and tan (same value), then kasu.
If no cards are left on the table, the next player in turn can only make a discard, without capturing.
The kô card of Yanagi (Willow) family, also known as Gazi, can be used as a "joker", i.e. it may capture any scoring card on the table; but during the very first round it may only be used for capturing a card of the same Yanagi (Willow) family.
In the same way, if Gazi is on the table from the beginning, players can capture it only by using another Yanagi (Willow) card during the very first round, and with any other scoring card during the rest of the game, but never with kasu cards belonging to other families.
THE END OF THE GAME
· 2 players ·The game ends when the pile is left with eight uncovered cards, no matter how many are still face up on the table, uncaptured. Therefore, each player will be able to draw a total of eight cards from the pile, before the game ends. · 3 players ·The game ends when all cards of the pile have been taken: each of the players will have drawn a total of seven cards from it.
In this case, no card should be left on the table (all matching couples should have been captured), unless a player has used Gazi card as a "joker", to capture a scoring card of some other family: in this case, two mismatched cards (one of which belonging to Gazi's family, Yanagi, the other one a kasu card belonging to another family) should still be left on the table.
Then every player counts his score: at first, single cards are calculated (see table of single card scores below), then yaku are formed according to the cards each player has.
The same card may be used to form more than one yaku.
The total of single card points plus yaku points will give the player's final score.
Points are referred to as ken (although in most other Hanafuda versions they are called ten).
Players also settle their dues before starting a new game: they do so as if each player is gambling against oya (i.e. if three players take part, each of them separately counts his score against oya's).
The sum due is the difference between the player's own points and the other's.EXAMPLEat the end of the game, the situation is as follows:
player B receives from A (oya) 550 - 420 = 130 ken player C will pay A (oya) 420 - 170 = 250 ken
Since B is the winner, he becomes the new oya in the next game.
TABLE OF SINGLE CARD SCORES
family (suit) 50 ken 10 ken 10 ken non scoring non
family (suit) 50 ken 10 ken 10 ken non scoring non
When a player collects all four cards of a family, one of the kasu cards is worth a bonus score of 50 ken, i.e. the whole Kiri (Paulownia) family would give 50 + 10 + 50 (bonus) = 110 ken.
This rule does not apply to Yanagi (Willow) family, whose only kasu card remains worthless.
Matsu-kiri-bôzu ........ 300 ken
(crane · paulownia · bald head)
Oozan ........ 300 ken
|Akatan ........ 200 ken
|Aotan ........ 200 ken
|Kozan ........ 200 ken
Ino-shika-cho ........ 300 ken
(boar · deer · butterfly)
Teppo ........ 300 ken
|Nizoro ........ 300 ken
|Hanami ippai ........ 100 ken
(flower-watching · one cup)
|Tsukimi ippai ........ 100 ken
(moon-watching · one cup)
|Nana tan (any seven ribbons) .........
Hatchi tan (any eight ribbons) ........
Kyuu tan (any nine ribbons) ...........
At the end of the game, if a player holds any of the cards shown above plus 30 ken, he can claim a draw, called tegarasu sanjuu ("empty hand thirty"). In this case, the game is considered as an actual draw, and played again, without counting points.
It is not compulsory to claim this rule: it is useful to call tegarasu sanjuu only when the opponent has many more points. If the draw is not called, points are counted as usual.
Also in case of tegarasu sanjuu, oya (the dealer) remains the same for the next game.
ENJOY THE GAME !
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