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How To Play The Hat Game For Free

The Hat Game is a great game for families and groups of four or more players aged 8+. But don’t take our word for it – here are all the instructions you need to play this brilliant game for free!

What You Need

  • A hat or some other similarly sized container.
  • A few sheets of paper.
  • Some pens or pencils.
  • A stopwatch or phone app that can time for a minute.

1. Cut up the paper

First, cut up the paper into small slips – if you start with an A4 sheet, fold it in half four times and cut along the folds and you will end up with 16 little pieces approximately 5cm x 7.5cm (A8 size). These are about the right size.

If you do two sheets of A4 you’ll have plenty of pieces for a good game.

2. Get into teams

You need to organise yourselves into at least two teams. The game works with three or more teams but we find two teams works best. Each team needs at least two players, but it doesn’t really matter how big the teams get. It’s not a problem if the teams have different numbers of players.

3. Write some suggestions on the paper

Distribute the paper and pens between your teams and ask everyone to write some things to guess on the slips of paper, fold them and put them into the hat. About 25 slips is enough, more if you have bigger teams or want to play for longer.

All the suggestions from both teams go into the same hat.

You want to put in a combination of things that will be easy to guess, along with a few more obscure suggestions, or things that would be entertaining to mime. Examples could be people you know – e.g. “Uncle Bob”, objects such as “Teapot” and more obscure things such as “Next door’s cat”.

4. Start playing

When you have a hat full of paper slips, it’s time to start playing the game!

Teams take it in turns to take control of the hat, with one player trying to communicate to their team what’s written on as many slips of paper as they can, in one minute. The team that doesn’t have control of the hat uses the timer to time when the minute is up.

Correct guesses stay out of the hat, incorrect guesses go back in the hat.

The genius of the game is that you have one set of things to guess but three different rounds in which to guess them.

Round 1: Unlimited Words

In the first round, there are no restrictions on how the player communicates what is written on the slip of paper to the rest of their team, except they may not use any of the words written on the paper.

Round 2: Only Three Words

In the second round, players may only use three words to describe what’s on the slip of paper to the rest of their team. None of those three words may be words written on the paper.

Round 3: No Words At All

In the final round, each player may only use mime to communicate what’s on the slip of paper to the rest of their team.

Rinse and Repeat

For each round, teams take it in turns to guess as many items correctly as they can before the time runs out. Correct guesses stay out of the hat, incorrect guesses go back in the hat.

This process repeats until all the slips have been guessed correctly and the hat is empty. Both teams then count up how many slips they have and record their score for that round.

All the slips then go back in the hat and you move on to the next round.

The Winning Team

The team with the highest score after three rounds are the winners!

The Perfect Game to Beat Those Lockdown Blues!

We love playing this game so much that we put together a set containing everything you need. This lovely little box contains a specially designed black bag to use as a hat, two mini pads which are much easier than cutting up paper, four ballpoint pens, a one minute sand timer and full instructions.

The box is small enough to make it easy to post or fit in a stocking – it makes a great gift!

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