The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits


Kobayakawa is a minimalist betting tactical game. The Pico of Poker (as it was described to me). The game antes one coin, and then deals each player a card, plus flips a card face up.

Going (once) around the table you can either:

  • Draw a card, then keep one card (hidden) and reveal the other (discarding it).
  • Replace the face up card in the center (you flip up the top one and replace, no choice).

After this, there’s one round of betting. You can bet or fold. After everyone bets, you reveal. The lowest revealed card gets to add the center card to theirs. Highest value wins. (Under the gun winning ties). That’s it.

Another clever micro game. Not sure how deep this is but worth playing a few times. I don’t think there’s really much bluffing in this, but I only played it once. It’s tactical. And, yes, a card game. Getting hand after hand of middle cards is not the way to win.

I think you could be a great poker variant with this idea. (Imagine hold em where the worst revealed hand got to add the previously visible 8th card to their hand….)

Rating — Suggest (due to Novelty, we’ll see).


Written by taogaming

January 27, 2015 at 4:28 pm

Posted in Reviews

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3 Responses

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  1. This is a game of the nuts. As such it gets less interesting the more you play I think.

    Fred Bush

    January 27, 2015 at 9:34 pm

  2. Things I’ve figured out (I think):

    1. If you are first, you should only bet the nuts (15, and the “low nut” (15 – the number in the middle). And maybe half of your 14s as a “bluff”. If the nut cards are exposed then you can bet 14 for value and 13 for bluff (?)

    2. If you are second-to-last, and no one else is in, you should bet a lot, probably 2/3 of the time or more.

    3. If you are last, and are only up against one opponent, you should always play if your number + the number in the middle is higher than the “low nut”. That way you will either be able to beat someone who is high or is low and thus should have a 50/50-ish chance of winning, which given 2:1 pot odds is fine.

    Fred Bush

    January 28, 2015 at 2:07 pm

  3. Playercount is important here. With three players its not that interesting, because lowest hands normally wins (not always though). Maximum is also not the best number, because to much cards are known.
    4-5 is the best no imho.

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