The object of the game is to create hands through 2 matches per turn (a planned match and a random match) the score points. The rounds end when one of the players has created a scoring hand, however if they feel they can make another scoring hand before the other player makes one, they can choose to “Koi-Koi” instead of taking the points and ending the round. (It’s super easy and I’ll break it down below). When researching how to play I’ve realized that there is a heavy blur across the sources between actual rules and house rules that have become standard. So what I present below is the most standard I could finagle and I’ll include common house rules at the end. Some may argue that some of these are house rules here as well, so play as you see fit. I learned from Clubhouse games, Nintendo’s rule sheet and Habafuki.org, I’ve played so much that most of this is from my memory so please let us know if something is wrong!
You can play the game with starting points that you “steal” from each other (this game was a gambling game) or the way I tend to play is just adding points up as I go, starting from a base zero. Also I’m not a stickler for how I deal but I’ve included Nintendo’s dealing method (even though I don’t utilize it haha).
A lot of Koi-Koi is random and luck, but with practice you’ll develop your own strategies and know what cards to try and get. You have to think quickly and change plans on the fly if and when your wanted card is claimed by your opponent!
Game Style: Matching
Length of Play: 6 or 12 rounds (months)
Number of Decks: One full deck, no jokers
Hands (Yaku): 14 and 2 dealt
Goal: Be the first to make a scoring hand and claim points, and get more points than the opponent. In Koi-Koi matches are made between same month cards only. So June matches June and August matches August
Choosing the dealer: Each player draws a card randomly, the player with the earliest month is now the Dealer (or Oya, Parent)
The basic set up is 8 cards face down to each player, and 8 cards face up to create a “Field of Play”. Nintendo rules have you deal two cards at a time (2 to opponent, 2 to field, 2 to self, repeated until each has 8). The deck is placed next to the field of play, face down.
BEFORE YOU START PLAYING: Players need to look for “Instant Wins”
First check the field
2.The player now reveals the top card of the deck and one of the following happens:
4. Play Continues to the next player.
Play in a round continues until either a player scores Yaku, or the deck is exhausted. The month (round) is then ended and the field and hands are re-dealt. The player with the Highest score is the new Oya.
SCORING THE YAKU
Koi Koi has only 14 hands which make it easy to remember after some practice. Some basic knowlage of Hanafuda generic scoring can help you learn them but aren’t needed as the generic point values aren’t used. I’ve attached a reference sheet for the hands as well as the general Hanafuda scoring (at the bottom). Below is a quick reference for play and the scoring. It’s a ‘in progress” as it’s the card I’ve been working on for my Kickstarter.
If a player’s Yaku is worth more than 7 points at the end of a round they get double points. (This is in the official Nintendo rules, and I’ve seen it a lot of other places, but honestly my house rule is NOT to do this)
END OF GAME
The game ends when you’ve either completed 6 or 12 months. The person with the highest score wins!
Set-Up: Field Multipliers:
So there is some strategy to the game, even though it’s also a lot of luck. As you play you’ll learn what cards and combo’s to go for and how to think quickly. Here are some tips:
What variants or strategies do you have? To practice play online against others and maybe me head on over to BoardGameArena my Username is MissKLC!
Thanks everyone and see you next time!