Hintaro was a dice game for at least two players. It was played with chance cubes that were traditionally marked with the symbols "Tukar" and "Kulro," as well as a single unique die known as the hintaro, which had the symbols "Hin" and "Taro" on it. During each round of the game, the players would each roll a pair of dice, one of which they could reroll. After each player had rolled, a special player called the hintaron would roll the hintaro. The result of that die modified the rolls of all the players, after which the winner of the round was determined.
The planets Chazwa and Corsin both claimed to be the birthplace of hintaro, although the existence of a single origin point for the game was unlikely. Between 1 ABY and 3 ABY, hintaro was played at the cantina Four-and-a-Half on the planet Bespin's Cloud City. The Chiss hunter Kres'keth'errylu once played hintaro against an assassin droid at a smuggler's hideaway.
Prerequisites and variations
Hintaro was a gambling game for at least two players that was played with six-sided chance cubes. A proper hintaro game was played with special dice that had unique symbols on their faces. A single, unique die known as the hintaro had multiple symbols named "Hin" and "Taro" on its faces, while each other die was marked with the same combination of the symbols "Tukar" and "Kulro." To play a game of hintaro, the players needed one hintaro die plus two of the regular dice per player. Simplified variants of the game substituted standard chance cubes for the unique hintaro dice.
Despite the existence of regional variations of hintaro, a set of standard rules for the game was generally abided by spaceports and other communities that experienced a frequent flow of travelers. Additionally, differences existed between hintaro rules in casino and non-organized play.
Antes, rolls, and wagers
Each hintaro game was comprised of several rounds, each of which consisted of six steps. In the first step, the players designated a special player known as the hintaron, the role of which was similar to that of a dealer in card games. The hintaron was almost always the hintaro dealer in casino gambling. In contrast, the role of hintaron usually changed each round in non-organized gaming, with the duty typically passing to the person to the left of the previous hintaron.
In the second step of a hintaro round, each player, beginning with the player to the left of the hintaron, paid the ante to the pot to initiate the round. The ante from each player was collected by the hintaron. Each player threw two of the regular chance cubes in the third step of the game. The house rolled the cubes of each player in casino gaming, but the players usually threw the dice on their own in recreational play.
Beginning at the hintaron's right, each player could wager an additional amount in the fourth step. The next player had to either meet the new bet or drop out of the game. Finally, the hintaron made a decision to either meet the new wagers or raise, after which all the other players had to either meet or drop out. In the wager step, each player thus added his new bet, collected by the hintaron, to the pot.
Rerolls and the hintaro
In the penultimate step of a hintaro game round, the hintaron, starting with the player to his left, asked each player in turn whether he, having examined the other players' rolls, would reroll one of his own chance cubes. If the player did reroll at that point, he had to accept the new result no matter what. The goal of the reroll was to help the player obtain at least one pair of matching "Tukar" or "Kulro" symbols on his dice.
The hintaron threw the special hintaro die in the sixth and final step of the round. The result of the hintaro modified the rolls of all players, with each "Hin" and "Taro" symbol on the special chance cube canceling out each "Tukar" and "Kulro" symbol on the players' dice.
Determining the winner
Finally, the rank, if any, of the players' modified rolls was compared, allowing the round's winner to be determined. A result consisting of two "Tukar" and two "Kulro" symbols held the highest rank and was known as "Tukar to Kulro." The second-highest rank was held by a roll of four "Kulro" symbols, known as a "Quad Kulro." The third and fourth ranks were held by "Tukar Tukar" and "Kulro Kulro," which were held by a single pair of "Tukar" and "Kulro," respectively. Any other result rolled had no rank and could not win.
The player who had the roll with the highest rank won the match and the entire pot. The winnings were split in the case of a tie, and the pot remained in place for the next round if no one won.
Although both Chazwa, an Inner Rim planet, and Corsin, a world in the Expansion Region, claimed they were the birthplace of hintaro, the game eventually became popular on many worlds, and it was more likely that the game evolved out of several similar games with different points of origin. Hintaro was among the games and other forms of entertainment available at the Four-and-a-Half, an illegal cantina located in the Port Town district of the Cloud City settlement on the Outer Rim Territories planet Bespin, at some point between 1 ABY and 3 ABY.
The Chiss big-game hunter Kres'keth'errylu, known as Keth, once played hintaro at an establishment that served as a smuggler's hideaway. The hunter's opponent was an old-model assassin droid, and the game was played with a set of red dice. Both players had large stacks of gaming chips in front of them and had set their weapons down on the table they were playing at—a blaster rifle in Keth's case and a vibro-ax lodged into the table's surface on the droid's side. Both the Chiss and the droid were standing up while playing the game, with an astromech droid carrying beverage glasses on its dome-shaped head also present at the table. At one point during the game, the droid playing against Keth rolled dice on the table, with the hunter watching the throw intently.
Behind the scenes
Hintaro was introduced in The Jewel of Yavin, a 2014 adventure supplement for Fantasy Flight Games' Star Wars: Edge of the Empire roleplaying game system. The 2015 sourcebook Fly Casual provided rules for playing a game of hintaro in Edge of the Empire. To maintain for the players a sense of immersion in the roleplaying game, the rules established a direct correspondence between several of the dice generally used in Edge of the Empire to resolve various situations and the in-universe chance cubes utilized by the player-characters in hintaro.
An apparent contradiction exists regarding an illustration by Jeff Lee Johnson titled "Not Addicted If You're Winning" that was included in the section of Fly Casual describing the rules of hintaro. Contrary to the rules contained in the section, which specify that each hintaro player rolls at most two dice at a time, one of the hintaro players depicted in the illustration appears to be rolling a set of five dice at the same time. The illustration was later reused for a card in the 2016 Redemption and Return expansion set of Fantasy Flight Games' Star Wars: The Card Game.
- The Jewel of Yavin (First appearance)
- Fly Casual (First pictured)
- Star Wars: The Card Game – Redemption and Return (Card: Smuggler's Hideaway) (backup link) (Picture only)
Notes and references
- Fly Casual
- The Jewel of Yavin
- Chazwa system and Corsin system — Based on corresponding data for
- The Essential Atlas
- The Jewel of Yavin is set during Lando Calrissian's tenure as Baron Administrator of Cloud City and before the Galactic Empire's occupation of that settlement. "Lady Luck" — Star Wars Tales 3, which depicts Calrissian winning the title of Baron Administrator in a game of sabacc, is set a year after the Battle of Yavin, which corresponds to 1 ABY, according to The New Essential Chronology. Since the latter source also dates the occupation of Cloud City to 3 ABY, the events of The Jewel of Yavin must be set at some point between those two dates.
- Enter the Unknown
- Star Wars: The Card Game – Redemption and Return (Card: Smuggler's Hideaway) (backup link)
- Fly Casual, which is set during the Galactic Civil War, depicts Kres'keth'errylu playing hintaro against a droid, the type of which Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic identifies as an assassin droid. The New Essential Chronology dates the war to between 2 BBY and 19 ABY, while The Essential Atlas places the events of Knights of the Old Republic in 3956 BBY.