The Vault №19

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The Vault

StaceyGThe theme of The Vault this week is replay. There are so many games here at Jay is Games that we often get caught up in playing the latest, greatest, newest game. But some games get their own special place in our bookmarks or game folder and have us coming back to play again and again, year after year. Okay, well... maybe the theme should be obsession... ?

  • HanafudaHanafuda from Taro Ito's GameDesign, is an online version of the lovely Japanese card game. The deck consists of 12 suits representing the months of the year, with 4 cards in each suit. By capturing sets of cards and special combinations, you try for the highest score and strategize how to prevent your opponent from capturing their sets. Click on your cards on the bottom row to match with the cards in the center. If you win, you have the option to call "Koi Koi" to continue the game and try for more points. The game has been updated since we first reviewed it with an English version! Hanafuda is the ultimate replay game, a relaxing game with just enough strategy to keep you coming back over and over.
  • Flip Out!Flip Out! is a reflex game that's simple and addictive. The most impressive thing about this game is that it was made in just five days by Kyle Gray as part of Carnegie Mellon's Experimental Gameplay Project. Move your mouse over the white tiles to flip each one so it disappears within the time limit. On later levels the tiles not only get smaller, but some of them take multiple flips to disappear, and there are other obstacles to keep things interesting. Using your reflexes can be a little stressful, but in a get-your-mind-off-actual-stress kind of way. It's a great game to revisit every so often to see how your speedy eye-hand coordination is doing.
  • Puzzle PiratesPuzzle Pirates created by 3 Rings Design, is a massively multiplayer game where various piratey activities are represented by puzzles! It can be played online with Java or downloaded. The games revolve around Skills o' Piracy like sailing, Crafting puzzles like blacksmithing, and Carousing challenges like sword fighting. You can also play several card games including Spades and Poker. The mechanics range from the familiar match-3 type games, to some unique puzzles that have fantastic replay value. The more pirate booty you pillage, the more you can customize your avatar and living quarters, own ships, shops and maybe even an Island. You have flexibility in your involvement level or social interactions. You can join a crew or go it alone. Puzzle Pirates is great fun... and did we mention there's poker?

While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!


Oh wow, Puzzle Pirates. I forgot about that one. It was great fun while playing the demo. I never paid for it though.


Kirkpad: There's no need to pay for the game. Both styles of server, subscription or micropayment, allow for lots of gameplay without having to fork over a dime.


Man, I had completely forgotten about the awesomeness that is Hanafuda!


I forgot about PeePee (Puzzle Pirates), because we've got more annoying lame flash ads of mmo games.
Hah, this is so fun I'll come back and comment everything everyday!


Wow, it's amazing how ridiculously horrible that Hanafuda game is. There are several flaws which skew the odds to the computer's favor and make it needlessly impossible to win.

#1: I don't know if anyone else has experienced this, but in my games the computer a distinct 2:1 advantage in matching cards. That is, for every one card the player matches, the computer seems to match two. That gives the computer many more opportunities to create scoring combinations.

#2: The scoring is lopsided. The player starts with 10 points and needs 50 to win. The computer needs only 10 points to send the player down to 0 points and win. Why does the player need to score 40 (4 times the points) to win a game that is essentially an even playing field? Why not start at 25?

Review: Great for masochists. For everyone else, play a card game that's more fair.


Thanks for posting Hanafuda. Brings back a lot of great memories playing a slightly different version of this card game with my grandmother. She passed away almost a year ago now, and it was nice to relive some of the special moments with her playing this game.


Puzzle Pirates is, by far, NOT a casual game. It sucks you in and drowns you. I've been almost 5 years trying dig out!

hikari no sakura December 1, 2010 5:57 AM

Hanafuda is quite fun. I haven't memorised all the sets yet, but a rule i tend to go with is "match the more elaborate cards first". You'll find out about the rules as you go along.

I find that my scores usually rise steadily around the 15-25 range, sometimes shooting 40. (Ok, I played a lot of rounds) Then a losing streak (Losers go second in the next game. That sucks.) will drag me down to single digits.



After you 'beat' Hanafuda by getting 50 points total for the game, you 'unlock' what is called "Hanafuda REVERSE". Wherein you get to see your opponent's hand AND the next card from the draw pile that will be put down after the player plays a card.

It's like beating a game on hard mode and not even realizing that you were on hard mode and have been unexpectedly dropped to an easier level. "Hanafuda REVERSE" really changes the challenge.


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