Clubhouse Games Koi-Koi Guide - v1.00 - 22 Apr 2010 - by Barticle at hotmail.com
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 01 INTRODUCTION         04 SCORING COMBINATIONS    07 DISPLAY    10 AFTERWORD
 02 THE HANAFUDA DECK    05 AUTOMATIC WINS          08 STRATEGY      o Contact
 03 RULES OF PLAY        06 MODES AND SETTINGS      09 TRIVIA        o Thanks

------< INTRODUCTION >-------------------------------------------- [Section 01]

This is a guide to the card game of Koi-Koi - played with traditional Japanese
Hanafuda* (flower cards) - specifically the Koi-Koi game in the 2006 Nintendo DS
compendium Clubhouse Games, also known as 42 All-Time Classics (here in the UK),
originally released in Japan in 2005 as Daredemo Asobi Taizen (which translates
loosely as "everybody game encyclopaedia") and subsequently re-released in 2007
in Japan as WiFi Taiou: Sekai no Daredemo Asobi Taizen.

My introduction to the captivating Hanafuda deck (and the game of Koi-Koi) was
through the minigame in "Ryuu ga Gotoku: Kenzan!" - the samurai-era spin-off
from Sega's Yakuza series on the Playstation 3. I subsequently wrote game guides
for both the game of Koi-Koi in Kenzan and for the two Hanafuda games (Koi-Koi
and Oicho-Kabu) in Ryuu ga Gotoku 3 (now available in the west as Yakuza 3).

I decided to write this guide because I'm interested in Hanafuda and I like
writing game guides, because Koi-Koi is one of the few omissions in Tom Ingram's
Clubhouse Games guide here and because I've already written guides for Koi-Koi
in the past so I can copy a lot of the text across with little adaptation. ;)

This guide is designed to be viewed using a monospaced (non-proportional or
fixed-width) font, preferably Courier New. Some sections of the document will
display incorrectly if you are using a proportional font like Times New Roman.

*In the in-game instructions Koi-Koi is described as a "version of the Japanese
card game Hanafuda" but more correctly Koi-Koi is the name of the game and the
term Hanafuda is used to refer to the cards themselves.

------< THE HANAFUDA DECK >--------------------------------------- [Section 02]

A full set of Hanafuda consists of 48 cards, broken down into twelve suits with
four cards in each. The "flower cards" really live up to their name as the cards
of each suit are marked with a different flower (or plant/tree at least), and
each of the twelve suits is also associated with a month of the year.

The cards are smaller than Western playing-cards but significantly thicker. For
example the cards in my set are only 3.5cm by 5.5cm (i.e. just over a couple of
inches tall) and almost one millimetre thick.

There are four different types of card, which I'll describe here using the terms
used in the game. Each type of card has a nominal points value attached to it -
these are not used in Koi-Koi but you'll often see them in Hanafuda guides (and
indeed in the in-game rules pages).

o Basics - these are cards which just show the suit's flower/plant; these make
           up the majority of the deck; they are sometimes called "normals",
           "plains", "dregs" or "junk cards" [1 point]

o Scrolls - these cards have a scroll on top of the flower/plant; this will
            either be a red scroll, a red poetry scroll (with writing on it) or
            a purple scroll; sometimes called "ribbons" or "slips" [5 points]

o Earths - these cards show the flower/plant of the suit plus an animal, a bird
           or - in a couple of cases - an object; they are also known as "seeds"
           and I just generalise and refer to them "animals" [10 points]

o Lights - these cards feature a special item or character shown with the suit
           flower/plant; there are only five of these cards; they are also known
           as "specials" or "brights" cards [20 points]

Although there are several exceptions, generally each suit has two Basic cards,
one Scroll card and one Earth or Light.

When I first encountered Hanafuda it was in a Japanese video-game which had no
English text and I have to say it confused the heck out of me - I think that was
part of the appeal, to be honest! In Clubhouse Games though you have the benefit
of a pretty handy help file (it's in English and everything!) so be sure to tap
the Rules tab at the bottom of the screen and familiarise yourself with both the
various cards and the permitted scoring combinations (see Section 04).

The remainder of this section of my guide describes each of the cards in turn.
I've listed them in the same order as the listings in the in-game help pages so
you can cross-reference my words with their pics. After opening the Rules pages
in the game, tap "Go To", "The Cards" then "Months and Plants" and scroll down.

Don't worry if it all looks a bit daunting at first, the game will always show
you which cards match as suit pairs.

 .-----------------. .------------------. .-----------------------------------.
 | Suit number: 1  | | Month: January   | | Flower/Plant: Pine tree           |
 '-----------------' '------------------' '-----------------------------------'

  1 Light card - a tall white crane (the bird!), red sun and pine trees

  1 Red Poetry Scroll card - pine trees plus red scroll with writing

  2 Basic cards - these are quite abstract, with pine trees of different sizes
                  shown in silhouette against (as most cards) a pale sky

 .-----------------. .------------------. .-----------------------------------.
 | Suit number: 2  | | Month: February  | | Flower/Plant: Plum blossom        |
 '-----------------' '------------------' '-----------------------------------'

  1 Earth - a bush warbler (green and yellow bird) in a plum tree

  1 Red Poetry Scroll - plum flowers on a branch plus a red scroll with writing

  2 Basics - these show plum flowers with yellow centres and red petals

 .-----------------. .------------------. .-----------------------------------.
 | Suit number: 3  | | Month: March     | | Flower/Plant: Cherry blossom      |
 '-----------------' '------------------' '-----------------------------------'

  1 Light - cherry blossom with a thick red band curving across the bottom of
            the card; also known as the "Sakura Banner" or "Camp Curtain" card

  1 Red Poetry Scroll - pink cherry blossom plus a red scroll with writing

  2 Basics - equal numbers of red and pink cherry blossom ("sakura" in Japanese)

 .-----------------. .------------------. .-----------------------------------.
 | Suit number: 4  | | Month: April     | | Flower/Plant: Wisteria            |
 '-----------------' '------------------' '-----------------------------------'

  1 Earth - an orange cuckoo in flight over wisteria and a red crescent moon

  1 Red Scroll - wisteria plus plain red scroll

  2 Basics - small strands of (purple-ish) wisteria flowers hanging down

 .-----------------. .------------------. .-----------------------------------.
 | Suit number: 5  | | Month: May       | | Flower/Plant: Iris                |
 '-----------------' '------------------' '-----------------------------------'

  1 Earth - purple iris flowers with a yellow plank bridge at the bottom, there
            is also a red blob at the top

  1 Red Scroll - purple iris plus plain red scroll

  2 Basics - large purple iris bloom

 .-----------------. .------------------. .-----------------------------------.
 | Suit number: 6  | | Month: June      | | Flower/Plant: Peony               |
 '-----------------' '------------------' '-----------------------------------'

  1 Earth - two yellow butterflies over a large red peony flower

  1 Purple Scroll - red peony flowers plus purple scroll hanging between them

  2 Basics - a large red bloom with a smaller one above it

 .-----------------. .------------------. .-----------------------------------.
 | Suit number: 7  | | Month: July      | | Flower/Plant: Bush clover         |
 '-----------------' '------------------' '-----------------------------------'

  1 Earth - an orange boar amongst clover plants, red band at the top-left

  1 Red Scroll - clover plants plus plain red scroll

  2 Basics - clover stems of small pale brownish flowers and small leaves

 .-----------------. .------------------. .-----------------------------------.
 | Suit number: 8  | | Month: August    | | Flower/Plant: Silver/Pampus grass |
 '-----------------' '------------------' '-----------------------------------'

  1 Light - a white full moon against a red sky over a dark circle filling the
            lower half of the card - it's another abstract design but I guess
            it's supposed to be a grassy hill at the bottom

  1 Earth - orange geese flying over the hill

  2 Basics - these just show the hill; it doesn't take much imagination to see
             the origin of the "bald head" nickname :)

 .-----------------. .------------------. .-----------------------------------.
 | Suit number: 9  | | Month: September | | Flower/Plant: Chrysanthemum       |
 '-----------------' '------------------' '-----------------------------------'

  1 Earth - two big yellow/orange chrysanthemum flowers with a red sake (rice
            wine) cup/dish on the right and a red patch in the top-right corner;
            if you play with the two "Viewing" combos allowed (see Section 04)
            then this becomes the most important card in the whole deck; it is
            also unique in that it can be counted as an Earth or a Basic card;
            I'll refer to this as the Sake Cup card

  1 Purple Scroll - two yellow/orange flowers plus a purple scroll between them

  2 Basics - two large yellow/orange chrysanthemum blooms

 .-----------------. .------------------. .-----------------------------------.
 | Suit number: 10 | | Month: October   | | Flower/Plant: Maple               |
 '-----------------' '------------------' '-----------------------------------'

  1 Earth - an orange deer with maple leaves in autumnal colours at the top of
            the card - in case you were wondering, yes all the animals in Japan
            are coloured orange (apparently)!

  1 Purple Scroll - maple leaves plus a purple scroll

  2 Basics - a collection of leaves in autumn colours: yellow, red and brown

 .-----------------. .------------------. .-----------------------------------.
 | Suit number: 11 | | Month: November  | | Flower/Plant: Willow              |
 '-----------------' '------------------' '-----------------------------------'

  1 Light - this is called the "rainman" card; even on my supersized DSi XL
            screens it's not that clear but there's a man dressed in red under
            an umbrella, there's also an orange frog in the bottom-left corner
            and willow leaves in the top-left

  1 Earth - a yellow swallow with an orange tail flying under willow leaves

  1 Red Scroll - dark fringes of willow leaves hanging down plus a red scroll

  1 Basic - another very abstract one, this is called the "lightning" card but
            it looks like two black boxes on a red background, sort of like an
            inverted close-up image of a brick wall; in the Hanafuda game Mushi
            this is a very powerful wildcard but in Koi-Koi it just counts as a
            normal Basic card

 .-----------------. .------------------. .-----------------------------------.
 | Suit number: 12 | | Month: December  | | Flower/Plant: Paulownia           |
 '-----------------' '------------------' '-----------------------------------'

  1 Light - this is the Chinese Phoenix, another busy design that's hard to
            interpret; there are red and purple bits at the top (the red shape
            is its head) and a dark section at the bottom with a golden edge
            along the bottom of the cards

  3 Basics - each has maybe a dozen small purple buds; the three cards look
             quite similar except that one has a yellow band along the bottom,
             all three are equal and equivalent though

This last part of this section summarises the distribution of the four types of
cards across the deck. Again these are listed in the order in which they are
shown on the in-game Rules pages, which you can jump to under "The Cards" then
"Types of Cards".

There are five Light cards...

 January/Crane, March/Sakura Banner, August/Full Moon, November/Rainman and
 December/Chinese Phoenix

There are nine Earth cards...

 February/Warbler, April/Cuckoo, May/Bridge, June/Butterflies, July/Boar,
 August/Geese, September/Sake Cup, October/Deer and November/Swallow

There are ten Scroll cards...

 January/Pine, February/Plum, March/Cherry Blossom, April/Wisteria, May/Iris,
 June/Peony, July/Clover, September/Chrysanthemum, October/Maple and November/
 Willow - three are Red Poetry Scrolls (the first three actually), three are
 Purple Scrolls and the other four are plain Red Scrolls

(And therefore the remaining half of the deck (24 cards) are all Basics.)

If you want further guides to the different types of card in the Hanafuda deck
then check out some of these links for pics...

--> http://hanafubuki.org/cards.html

--> http://japanese-games-shop.com/miyako.html

--> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanafuda#Cards

--> http://www.pagat.com/class/flower.html

------< RULES OF PLAY >------------------------------------------- [Section 03]

The basic concept of Koi-Koi is to make matching pairs of same-suit cards and
then to collect these to form scoring combinations.

Before the first round begins you are asked to pick one card from an array of
twelve (one from each suit I assume), all presented face-down, and your opponent
picks one too. Both cards are then revealed at the top of the touchscreen and
the game shows the suit (month) of each card. The player with the earlier month
has the advantage of being the dealer in the first round of play.

(In the game the dealer is labelled as "parent" which is a direct translation of
the term "Oya" in the original Japanese game but across various card games (and
also in Japanese Mahjong for that matter) this word is taken to mean "dealer"
when writing in English.)

In each round of play the dealer gets to go first and therefore gets the first
pick of the cards on the table. The player that wins a round will be the dealer
in the following round. If a round ends in a draw then the deal does not pass -
the current dealer will be the dealer again in the next round.

The cards are then dealt - you and your opponent each receive a hand of eight
cards and yours are displayed along the bottom of the touchscreen (you can't see
his and vice versa). At the same time a further eight cards are dealt onto the
virtual table in a 2x4 array shown in the top half of the touchscreen; I'll call
these the Table Cards. The remainder of the deck becomes a draw pile which is
placed to the left of the Table Cards.

There are two possible situations in which an Automatic Win occurs (see Section
05) but if neither happens the game continues. Also if there are three cards
from the same suit among the Table Cards then these will be stacked together.

The first player now takes their turn. There are two phases to each turn.

In the first phase the player must select one of their cards to play from their
hand. If this matches one of the Table Cards (i.e. if it's from the same suit)
then the two cards form a "meld" and are placed face-up on the table - in the
game these are shown in the player's half of the top screen. If the card played
doesn't match any of the Table Cards it joins them on the table.

Any of the cards in your hand that match one (or more) of the Table Cards will
be flashing red. When you press and hold one of these cards the game will show
you which of the Table Cards it matches (they flash red too). In order to play a
pair, press and slide the card from your hand onto the Table Card you want to
meld. If you have no matches (or don't want to play them) then drag a card onto
the slot to the right of the Table Cards.

In the second phase of the player's turn the top card is taken from the draw
pile and, as before, if it matches a Table Card the two cards are melded and if
it doesn't then it's placed on the table. If the card from the draw pile matches
more than one of the Table Cards then you have to pick which one to take and
slide it over. If there's only one match it'll happen automatically.

If there are three suit cards stacked together from the original deal you can
capture them all at once using the one remaining card of the same suit.

The aim of the game is to form scoring combinations (or "sets") with your melded
cards - there are thirteen different combos and each is worth a certain number
of points (these are explained in Section 04 below).

Okay, now here's the catch! Whenever you form a combo and score points you can
choose either "Call" to end the round and take the points or "Koi-Koi" (which
means something like "come on!") to keep playing and risk losing them.

If you chose "Koi-Koi" to continue the game and you make another combo then your
new points are added to the previous ones and the round ends (in contrast to
some versions of the game, you can only use Koi-Koi once per round). If however
you choose to continue and your opponent makes a combo then they score double
points for their combo(s) and your points are lost! If you Koi-Koi and neither
player makes a combo afterwards then you get to keep your points (again, this is
in contrast to other games I've played).

Both players start with an arbitrary total of 50 points each, although the game
continues if someone's total (hopefully not yours!) goes negative. When a player
scores points these are taken from the other player's total. Also if you have
combos totalling 7 points or more then the points awarded will be doubled, and
this effect is cumulative with the double you get for making a combo after your
opponent has said Koi-Koi - so it's possible to get quadruple points on a hand!

To quit out during a game press the Start button then tap Quit. You can also use
the Select button to access the instructions.

------< SCORING COMBINATIONS >------------------------------------ [Section 04]

Points are scored for making scoring combinations from the cards that are melded
during a game. These combinations are also known as "yaku" - the same term used
in Japanese Mahjong to refer to the permitted scoring elements - or simply as
"sets" in Clubhouse Games.

There are thirteen different scoring combinations in the game of Koi-Koi which
I've listed here with a description and notes, including the original Japanese
names for them and the number of points awarded for each.

o Five Lights (10 points)

  This is awarded for melding all five Lights cards.

  The Japanese name for this combo is Gokou. Go is the Japanese word for "five"
  and the kanji Kou means "light" or "lights", hence Gokou is "five lights".

o Four Lights (8 points)

  This is awarded for four melded Lights cards, but you cannot include the
  Rainman (the Lights card from the November/Willow suit). Given the absence of
  the rain, this can be referred to as "Dry Four Lights".

  If you have four Lights including the Rainman you can claim the Rainy Four
  Lights combo (below) instead.

  If you meld the fifth Lights card (Rainman) later in the round then you
  claim Five Lights instead of Four Lights, you don't get both.

  The Japanese name is Shikou. Shi is the Japanese word for "four" - or one of
  them at least!

o Rainy Four Lights (7 points)

  This is a variation on the above combo - four Lights including the Rainman,
  but worth seven points instead of eight.

  If you meld the fifth Light card later in the round then you claim Five Lights
  instead of Rainy Four Lights, you don't get both.

  The Japanese name is Ame-Shikou. Ame means "rain".

o Three Lights (5 points)

  Awarded for melding three Lights cards, but again you cannot include the
  Rainman card so this is also called "Dry Three Lights".

  If you meld a fourth Lights card later in the round then you claim Four Lights
  (Dry or Rainy as appropriate) instead of Three Lights, you don't get both.

  The Japanese name is Sankou. San means "three".

o Blossom Viewing (5 points)

  Awarded when you have both the Sake Cup and the Sakura Banner melded.

  The Japanese name is Hanami-Zake. Hana means "flower" (the same kanji appears
  in the word Hanafuda), Mi(ru) is the verb "to view" and Zake is "sake" (rice
  wine) so Hanami-Zake is sake for Hanami - the Japanese springtime celebration
  of flowers, primarily the plum and cherry blossoms seen on the February and
  March cards in the Hanafuda deck.

o Moon Viewing (5 points)

  Awarded when you have both the Sake Cup and the Full Moon melded.

  The two "Viewing" combos can be turned off in the options. (see Section 06)

  The Japanese name is Tsukimi-Zake. Tsuki means "moon", so Tsukimi-Zake is sake
  for Tsukimi - the traditional annual moon-viewing events held around the time
  of the mid-autumn full moon.

o Boar, Deer & Butterflies (5 points*)

  Awarded for the combination of melded Boar, Deer and Butterflies cards.

  The Japanese name is Ino-Shika-Chou. Ino(shishi) means "boar", Shika means
  "deer" and you can probably guess what the kanji Chou means!

  *Scores one additional point for each further Earth card thereafter.

o Earth Cards (1 point*)

  Awarded for five melded Earth cards.

  The Japanese name is Tane.

  *Scores one additional point for each further Earth card thereafter.

o Red Scrolls (5 points*)

  The name used in the game is a little confusing here - this is awarded for
  melding all three Red _Poetry_ Scrolls (the ones with writing on). It also
  says you get an extra point for each additional one you meld but there are
  only three of them in the deck! In fact you get an extra point for adding any
  type of Scroll card.

  The Japanese name is Akatan. Aka means "red" and I think the Tan bit is short
  for Tanzaku which are long, thin pieces of paper used for poetry; the shape is
  designed to be mounted on an interior pillar in a traditional Japanese house.

  *Scores one additional point for each further Scroll card thereafter.

o Blue Scrolls (5 points*)

  The name of this combo is also a bit confusing, although this time it's the
  Japanese policy for naming colours which is to blame. This is awarded for
  melding all three Purple Scrolls cards.

  The Japanese name is Aotan. Ao means "blue", or sometimes "green". Confused?
  You will be!

  *Scores one additional point for each further Scroll card thereafter.

o Red and Blue Scrolls (10 points)

  The in-game help pages list this separately but it's not really a combo in its
  own right, it's just the previous two combined: three Red Poetry Scrolls and
  three Purple Scrolls.

o Scroll Bonus (1 point*)

  Awarded for five melded Scroll cards (any type).

  The Japanese name is Tan.

  *Scores one additional point for each further Scroll card thereafter.  

o Basic Card Bonus (1 point*)

  Awarded for ten melded Basic cards.

  The Japanese name is Kasu which means "dregs".

  *Scores one additional point for each further Basic card thereafter.

------< AUTOMATIC WINS >------------------------------------------ [Section 05]

Although they are fairly rare, there are two situations where the game will
declare an automatic win immediately after the initial deal.

o Four of a Kind (6 points)

  This occurs when a player holds all four cards of one suit in their hand.

  The Japanese name is Teshi. Te means "hand" (as in Karate which means "empty
  hand") and Shi still means "four", so this is literally "four hand".

o Paired Months (6 points)

  This occurs when a player is dealt four suit pairs.

  The Japanese name is Kuttsuki. The name is composed of two kanji, Ku and Tsuki
  (but a different Tsuki to the one that means "moon" in Tsukimi-Zake). I'm not
  sure what Kuttsuki is meant to mean - it translates as "food-attach" or maybe
  something about biting?!

In either situation the round ends, the player receives six points, the cards
are dealt again and the next round begins.

------< MODES AND SETTINGS >-------------------------------------- [Section 06]

You can play Koi-Koi in all three single-player modes in Clubhouse Games.

In Free Play mode the game is available in the sixth category, "variety games".
Before you begin you can tap the Settings button on the screen which gives you
three options:

o Players - the game is always played with two players (you versus the computer)
            but you can adjust the difficulty: Easy/Normal/Hard

o Rules - you can decide whether the game recognises the Blossom Viewing and
          Moon Viewing combos (listed as "Cherry Blossom" and "Full Moon" here)
          and whether each game lasts for three, six, nine or twelve rounds

o Design - the default design is "Spring" but you can unlock Summer, Fall and
           Winter settings by winning the game five, ten or fifteen times

(After starting the game you can also use the Options tab at the bottom of the
touchscreen to set some config options. If you set Auto Sort to "On" then your
cards will always be displayed in the standard order (January to December from
left to right, and high to low cards within that). If you set it to "Off" then
you are free to move the cards in your hand and put them in any order, although
pressing the L or R shoulder buttons will put them into the standard order.)

In Stamp mode you play Koi-Koi in Level 5-3 - the third game in Level 5. As with
the other games, you receive three stamps for winning and one stamp for coming
third or fourth or last (last in this case) so you'll never have to play more
than three games of Koi-Koi to complete it in Stamp mode.

In Mission mode you can access Koi-Koi in the fourth group, as number 19. Your
target for completion is to finish a game with 150 points or more. To do this
you'll need to be pretty familiar with the game and even then you'll need Luck
on your side too - it took me several attempts. As a reward for beating this
challenge the game unlocks a stag-beetle player icon. (whoop!)

In both Stamp and Mission modes the settings are fixed - both "Viewing" combos
are permitted and the game is played over the maximum/standard duration which is
twelve rounds (representing the twelve months of the calendar, I guess).

The first time I played Stamp mode I got really lucky and scored 260 points. Too
bad I wasn't in Mission mode then!

------< DISPLAY >------------------------------------------------- [Section 07]

The diagram below shows the general layout of the two screens during play.

               .-----------------------------------------------.
               | |/ _ .   |/ _ .                               |
               | |\(_)| - |\(_)|    difficulty --> Easy  18:54 | <-- clock time
               | ___ __________________  ________  ___________ |
opponent's --> ||   |CPU1______________||_Parent_||_Points_50_|| <-- opponent's
icon and name  ||___|  ___    ___                              |     score
               |      |   |  |   |                             |
 ("Parent" is the     |  _|_ |  _|_<-- opponent's melded cards (non-Basics)
  dealer indicator)   |_|   ||_|   |                           |
               |        |   |  |   | <-- opponent's melded cards (Basics)
               |        |___|  |___|                           |
               | ___ __________________            ___________ |
 your icon --> ||   |Barticle__________|          |_Points_50_|| <-- your score
 and name      ||___|  ___    ___    ___                       |
               |      |   |  |   |  |   |                      |
               |      |  _|_ |  _|_ |  _|_<-- your melded cards (non-Basics)
               |      |_|   ||_|   ||_|   |                    |
               |        |   |  |   |  |   | <-- your melded cards (Basics)
               |        |___|  |___|  |___|                    |
               |-----------------------------------------------|
               |                   1/12 games    <-- round counter
               '-----------------------------------------------'
               .-----------------------------------------------.
               |         .------------------------------------.|
               |         |   ___   ___   ___   ___            ||
               |         |  |   | |   | |   | |   |           ||
               |   ___   |  |   | |   | |   | |   |           ||
               |  |   |  |  |___| |___| |___| |___|           ||
    draw pile --> |   |  |   ___   ___   ___   ___  <-- table cards
               |  |___|  |  |   | |   | |   | |   |           ||
               |         |  |   | |   | |   | |   |           ||
               |         |  |___| |___| |___| |___|           ||
               |         |                                    ||
               |         '------------------------------------'|
               |                                               |
               | ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___ |
               ||   | |   | |   | |   | |   | |   | |   | |   ||
               ||   | |   | |   | |   | |   | |   | |   | |   || <-- your hand
               ||___| |___| |___| |___| |___| |___| |___| |___||
               |   | .-------------. .----------. .-----------.|
               |   | | [=] Options | | [/] Chat | | [?] Rules || <-- option tabs
               '-----------------------------------------------'

The bottom screen shows the layout at the beginning of a round, where you have
all eight cards you were dealt and all eight Table Cards are in their starting
positions. The top screen shows a situation during a round, where your opponent
has made two melded pairs and you've made three.

One nice feature in the game is the system of text-boxes which appear under the
melded cards on the top screen to indicate when a player is one card away from
completing a combo (shown in grey) or if they've already completed it (in gold).

The following abbreviated names are used in the boxes...

  Combination       | Abbreviation     Combination              | Abbreviation
 -------------------+--------------   --------------------------+--------------
  Five Lights       | Five Lights      Boar, Deer & Butterflies | B.D.B.
  Dry Four Lights   | Four Lights      Earth Cards              | Earth
  Rainy Four Lights | Rainy Four       Red (Poetry) Scrolls     | Red Scroll
  Three Lights      | 3 Lights         Blue (Purple) Scrolls    | Blue Scroll
  Blossom Viewing   | Blossom          Scroll Bonus             | Scroll
  Moon Viewing      | Moon             Basic Card Bonus         | Basic

------< STRATEGY >------------------------------------------------ [Section 08]

In general you should, of course, meld (capture) as many cards as possible and
aim for the ones that give a better score. So for example you'd normally chose
to capture a Light card with a Scroll card (thereby melding both) instead of
melding two Basic cards, although there might be exceptions.

I would rank the cards in order of importance like this, starting with the most
powerful card.

1) Sake Cup

   If you're playing with the Moon Viewing and Blossom Viewing combos allowed
   then you can use this card to make the two five-point combos, each composed
   of only two cards. Kewl!

2) Full Moon and Sakura Banner

   These two Lights are the other half of the Viewing pairs and you can also use
   them in Three Lights / Four Lights / Five Lights.

3) Chinese Phoenix and Crane

   The other two Lights that can score Three/Four/Five Lights for big points.

4) Rainman

   The fifth Light card, but not quite as useful as the others as it's not
   allowed in the Three Lights or Dry Four Lights scoring combinations.

5) Boar, Deer and Butterflies / three Red Poetry Scrolls / three Purple Scrolls

   These can make five-point triplets in their respective groupings.

6) the other Earth and Scroll cards

   Five of either gives you a one-point combo.

7) the Basic cards

   Ten of these give a one-point combo.

Koi-Koi is as much as game of defence as it is offence. Not only should you try
to get the best cards and combinations but you should also try to stop your
opponent from getting them.

For example if they've melded both the Full Moon and Sakura Banner cards then
you should capture the Sake Cup immediately if you get the chance. You won't get
the big scores for it but you'll stop the other player making twenty points (ten
points for the two five-point combos, doubled for scoring 7+).

Although I've listed the Basic, Earth and Scroll cards at the bottom of my
ranking above, they can still be useful in capturing cards higher up the chart.
If you've melded the Full Moon card, for example, you should retain a Basic or
Scroll card from the Chrysanthemum suit which would let you meld the Sake Cup
card when (or if) it appears.

(Remember that not all 48 cards enter play in each round, some will stay in the
draw pile so you can't count on them making an appearance. You might have your
melded Full Moon and a Chrysanth in hand ready for a Sake Cup that never comes.)

You should also keep cards in order to make "blocking" moves, e.g. if your rival
has melded the Boar and the Deer cards then you could hang onto a Peony card
which would let you take the Butterflies and therefore prevent them making the
scoring combination with the three (sometimes you might even discard onto the
table rather than make a meld with a card you want to keep until later).

Another possibility in the above example is that the other player is holding the
Butterflies card in his hand so again it's a good idea to keep your Peony cards,
since a discard to the table would let him play the Butterflies and score.

Conversely if you've melded the Boar and your opponent has melded the Deer then
there's no point chasing the Butterflies. You should keep an eye on which cards
have been played and make your decisions accordingly.

Often you will have the option of making one of several different melds. In this
case you should consider the ranking above, also bearing in mind which cards
have been captured already. Also if you have the choice of melding, for example,
either the Crane (Pine Light) from the Table Cards with a Pine Basic from your
hand or a Paulownia Basic from the table with the Chinese Phoenix (Paulownia
Light) in your hand then I'd choose the first option - melding the Light card
off the table to stop the other player potentially taking it on their turn and
hopefully getting to play the other Light from my hand later.

If you can see all four cards from one suit - among the Table Cards, your hand
and the melds - then you know that you can safely save any in your hand for
later and make other melds first.

When you have two cards of the same suit in your hand but the other two suit
cards have not yet been played then you might have to take a risk. Say you've
already melded the Sake Cup and you have the Sakura Banner Light and a Sakura
Basic in your hand then of course you want to meld the Light to make the Blossom
Viewing combo. You could discard the Basic onto the table but it might get
melded, either in the "second phase" of your turn (with a stray Sakura card from
the draw pile) or in either phase of your opponent's turn. Is it worth the risk?

Finally, to koi or not to koi? The rules add a very interesting tactical element
in that you can choose to keep playing for extra points but at the risk of your
opponent going out with double points (and the points for your combo(s) being
lost). In deciding whether to continue you should consider a number of factors -
how many cards are left in your hand? how many combos are available? how many
rounds are left in the game? are you ahead or behind on points? is the other
player close to scoring? (that last one is probably the most important)

You might've made five points and chosen to continue but if your opponent gets a
quick win with even a cheap one-point combo they can choose to end the round and
not only take that point but deny you five! Sometimes though, you can do that to
them. :) If your rival makes a big score but "koi's" then any combo you can make
will let you end the round and force them to lose their points from that round -
even a one-point combo of ten humble Basic cards could do it.

------< TRIVIA >-------------------------------------------------- [Section 09]

Gambling games with playing-cards have been popular in Japan for many centuries
but the Hanafuda deck only dates back to the 19th century. Although Hanafuda
originated in Japan, similar cards are also very popular in Korea and Hawaii.

The Koi-Koi scoring combination Ino-Shika-Chou gave its name to a team of three
ninja in the manga Naruto. The original three members of the team were INOichi
Yamanaka, SHIKAku Nara and CHOUza Akimichi.

Ino-Shika-Chou also appears in the anime Dragon Ball where it's the name of a
monster - a chimera composed of elements of a boar, a deer and a butterfly!

The playable character Genjuro in the Samurai Shodown fighting games has several
animations which feature Hanafuda, including the ever-popular Ino-Shika-Chou
combo. Also his special stage is based on the design of the August/Pampus cards.

The lowest scoring hand in the Hanafuda game Oicho-Kabu is 8-9-3 (which gives a
total of zero). This is called "ya ku sa" and is the origin of the word Yakuza.

A company that was set up to make Hanafuda in 1889 is still operating and doing
quite well for itself - it's called Nintendo! Yup, a whole century before they
launched the Gameboy; they still make Hanafuda too.

If you want to read more about Hanafuda you might like to know that there's a
book available in English. It's called 'Hanafuda: The Flower Card Game' and it
gives the rules of five different games including Koi-Koi and Oicho-Kabu. At the
time of writing (Spring 2010) the paperback edition is available new from Amazon
(specifically their American site) - you can search by the title as there's no
author given on the book's cover.

If, like me, you enjoy the art of the Hanafuda deck and fancy getting a set for
yourself then I can heartily recommend David H's online shop which also sells
Mahjong sets, Shogi sets and loads of other Japanese goodies.

---> http://japanese-games-shop.com/hanafuda.html

------< AFTERWORD >----------------------------------------------- [Section 10]

= Contact =

I welcome feedback, corrections, contributions and questions about Koi-Koi.

You can email me at barticle at hotmail.com - obviously changing the "at" to an
@ symbol and removing the spaces. It would be helpful if you include "Hanafuda"
or "Koi-Koi" in the subject line or something to get my attention!

= Thanks =

I would like to thank the following:-

o Sega for introducing me to Hanafuda in their PS3 Ryuu ga Gotoku games

o Tom Sloper for the heads-up on the book

o Boomon and BWallis for the Samurai Shodown info

o Aussie2B for reassurance that I'm not the only Hanafuda obsessive on GameFAQs!

I will be happy to give credit and thanks to anyone who makes a contribution.

--
Clubhouse Games Koi-Koi Guide
Copyright 2010 James R. Barton
Initial version 1.00 completed 22 April 2010

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