WinHanafuda is an excellent Windows version of Hanafuda, a traditional Japanese card game. Hanafuda cards are often known as 'flower cards' because each suit is depicted by a different flower. The game has many variants but this game (fortunately) follows a simpler but no less enjoyable ruleset. |
For the uninitiated, Hanafuda or Hanakaruta (karuta, from Portuguese "Carta") is a gambling card game that has no equivalent that I know of in Western card games (please let me know if this is inaccurate). The game uses a 48-card deck, which is divided into twelve-card suits, each representing the twelve months of the year. There are three types of cards: cards depicting animals and other specials are worth 10 or 20 points each. Cards depicting a Tanzaku (A strip of poem writing paper) come in three styles – red strip with poem, normal red strip, and normal blue strip. All are worth 5 points. Cards depicting plants with no other objects, called "Kasu" or "Trash" cards, are worth 1 point.
The object of the game is to score as many points as possible by winning point cards and forming combinations. Point cards have a graphic in addition to a flower or plant design, and are won by matching that flower or plant design. For example, the Cactus by itself is a zero-point card, but the Cactus with Stork is worth 20 points. If the Cactus Stork is in the center-pile, you can throw any Cactus card from your hand to match and win it.
This freeware computer version features authentic cards, decent computer AI, and good on-line help that explains the basic rules. Overall, WinHanafuda is a faithful reproduction of a fascinating Japanese pastime that more people should know about, even though it will take a while to familiarize yourself with the cards. The latest version includes neat card animations and sound effects, and allows you to play head-to-head with friends over the Internet in the registered version. Try out the 30-day free trial today. Two thumbs up, way up!
Reviewed by: Underdogs