Card types are a way of grouping specific cards across different suits in the hanafuda deck. If the 12 suits in a hanafuda deck are analogous to the 13 values in a Western deck, the 4 hanafuda card types can be said to be analogous to the Western deck’s 4 suits. However, each card type contains a different number of cards and is distributed differently across the suits.
In almost all fishing games, cards of a given type are more likely to form yaku with one another.
There are generally considered to be 4 distinct card types for the purpose of most hanafuda games. The way to which these are referred varies widely, but their groupings tend to be the same, with occasional exceptions. They are often referred to by their values in the game of Hachi-Hachi, especially in Japanese.
These cards are usually the most important cards in games, with the highest value. For instance, in 88, they are each worth 20 points.
These cards are often the second most important cards in games, with the second highest value. In 88, they are each worth 10 points.
These cards are usually the third most important cards in games. In 88, they are each worth 5 points.
These cards are the least valuable cards in most games. In 88, they are worth 1 point each.
While the above is considered the standard grouping of card types and is applicable to many of the most popular games like 88 and Koi-Koi, many games group the cards in a different manner.