Kusuri-gui (薬食い, lit. “Medicine-eating”) is a Hanafuda game for 2 players. The name was based on the act of eating animal meat under the guise of eating “medicine” in a time and culture where eating meat is frowned upon.
The game has a unique setup; instead of having several cards face-up on the field like in Hana-Awase, there is only one discard pile on the field, and the player who matches the top card takes all cards on the pile.
The game uses 44 cards from a standard Hanafuda deck. Remove two Bush Clover and two Maple Chaffs before playing.
Next, prepare two plates for each player, each containing 100 chips. These will be used for score calculation.
A decision must be made as to how long the game will last - either 12 rounds or 6 rounds is traditional.
Players then choose who will become the dealer - 親 [おや, oya].
There is no required method for selecting who is the first dealer, though a typical method in hanafuda games is to shuffle the deck and have both players draw one card each. The player who drew a suit for the earliest month becomes the dealer. If both players drew from the same suit, the player drawing the higher point card becomes the dealer. In cases where there is a tie, this process can be repeated.
The winner of each round becomes the dealer for the next round.
Dealer shuffles the cards and deals them in the following manner:
First, deal 2 cards to the other player (face-down),
then 2 cards to yourself (face-down),
then 3 cards on the field (face-down),
then 2 cards to the other player (face-down),
then 2 cards to yourself (face-down),
and finally 1 card on the field (face-up).
In other words, there are 3 face-down cards and 1 face-up card on the field, and 4 cards in each player’s hand.
The face-up card will become the discard pile during gameplay. The other 3 face-down cards will not be used during the round.
If the card face-up is Willow , flip the face-down cards on the field one by one until a non-Willow card appears. Set aside all Willow cards that appeared on the table during the deal; these will not be used during the round.
If all cards on the field are Willow , a misdeal is declared. The dealer takes all cards, re-shuffles, and re-deals.
Each round, the dealer is the first to play. Turn to play alternates.
Play 1 card from your hand by either matching it with the topmost face-up card on the discard pile or discarding it, then the turn goes to the other player.
If you play a card of the same month as the topmost face-up card on the discard pile, you capture all cards in the discard pile (including the card you just played). Place all captured cards face-up near you so the other player can see what you have captured.
If you play a card of a different month than the topmost face-up card on the discard pile, you cannot do any capture; instead, you must discard your card on the discard pile.
Both players keep playing until they run out of cards in hand. The dealer then deals four new cards to each player’s hands (deal 2 cards to each player at a time until both players have 4 cards in hand). Play then continues.
In every round during gameplay, after the initial deal, the dealer re-deals 4 cards to each player 4 times. After that, the deck will run out of cards.
Don’t forget to remove the two Bush Clover and two Maple Chaffs before playing; Otherwise it will not be uniformly 4 cards during every re-deal!
In Kusuri-gui, all Willow cards are considered as wild cards called Oni-fuda - 鬼札 [おにふだ, lit. ‘Demon Cards’].
If you have one in your hand, you can use it to capture all cards in the discard pile, regardless of the month of the top card on the pile.
However, if you play it while the discard pile is empty, you cannot use it to capture; it becomes discarded into the pile, and it can only be matched with another Willow card while it’s on the pile.
If a player captures a card that was discarded by the opponent after the discard pile has been emptied, it is known as Kusuri-gui, and the opponent immediately pays 1 or 2 chips to the player.(decide first the value before playing).
After payment is done, the round continues as normal.
If the card discarded by the opponent was an Onifuda , capturing it does not count as Kusuri-gui, and you will not be paid chips for capturing it.
Kusuri-gui can occur in succession, and is considered the most exciting part of this game.
The round ends when both players’ hands run out of cards, and all cards on the deck have run out. Any cards left on the discard pile cannot be captured.
Players check if there are Dekiyaku in their captured cards. The player with a higher total dekiyaku score wins the round and receives chips equal to the score difference from the loser of the round. The winner of the round becomes the dealer for the next round.
Players must decide first if the Dekiyaku are going to be mutually exclusive, or can stack. If mutually exclusive, players only get points from their highest-scoring Dekiyaku. If it is decided that they stack, Dekiyaku that are part of a bigger Dekiyaku are not counted if the bigger Dekiyaku is formed.
Also for Dekiyaku with multiple values, decide first the value of each Dekiyaku before playing.
¶ Bright Yaku
|8 to 10||Five Brights
五光 [ごこう, gokō]
|4||Four Brights (Dry 4)
四光 [しこう, shikō]
|3||Three Brights (Dry 3)
三光 [さんこう, sankō]
|Any 3 of:
|2||Rainy Three Brights
雨三光 [あめさんこう, amesankō]
| plus 2 of:
¶ Animal Yaku
|3 to 4||Hot-pot
鍋 [なべ, nabe]
This yaku is the same as Inoshikacho in Koi-koi.
|2 to 3||Hand Cannon
鉄砲 [てっぽう, teppō]
タネ [たね, tane]
|Any 5 Animal cards.
This yaku is worth 1 extra chip for each additional Animal card.
¶ Ribbon Yaku
赤短 [あかたん, akatan]
青短 [あおたん, aotan]
草短 [くさたん, kusatan]
|The three Plain Ribbons, excluding the Willow Ribbon:
短冊 [たんざく, tanzaku]
|Any 5 Ribbon cards.
This yaku is worth 1 extra chip for each additional Ribbon card.
¶ Chaff Yaku
カス [かす, kasu]
|Any 10 Chaff cards.
This yaku is worth 1 extra chip for each additional Chaff card.