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How To Play The Hat Game

The Hat Game is a brilliant, hilarious game for four or more players aged 8+.

The Aim of the Game

The Hat Game is a classic parlour game in which two teams battle to identify all of the items written on slips of paper pulled from a hat. The team with the most correct guesses after three rounds wins!


Before you start, organise yourselves into two (or more) teams. You need a minimum of two players per team. Distribute the paper pads and pens between the teams.

Unfold the Bag

There wasn’t space for a hat inside the box, so we created the ‘Hat Game Bag’ which serves the same purpose. Gently push the bottom of the bag out to form a flat bottom so that the bag stands up on a table.

Fill the Bag

Players from both teams need to write some things to guess on slips of paper from the two pads–see “Good Things To Guess” below for suggestions. Fold the slips in half and put them in the bag. All the slips from both teams go in the same bag.

About 25 slips makes for a good game, more if you want to play for longer or have big teams. Keep to an odd number of slips to avoid a tie.

Playing the Game

One player takes the bag and has one minute to communicate what’s written on as many slips of paper to their team as they can. Paper slips that are guessed by their team correctly stay out of the bag, any that can’t be guessed go back in.

After the minute is up, the bag is handed over to the other team for their turn.

This process continues with all players taking turns until the bag is empty, at which point the teams count all their slips and record their score for that round. All the slips from both teams then go back in the bag for the next round.

Three Rounds

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.

The Winning Team

The team with the highest total score after three rounds wins!

Team Names

We recommend that before starting, teams choose team names that reflect their ambition and skill level in order to suitably intimidate the other team.

Ground Rules

Sometimes it’s good to establish some additional ground rules if you’re up against a particularly enthusiastic team. Feel free to adapt these rules as you need to, but it’s best to agree on that before you start playing.

  • Sound effects are allowed, even in the ‘No Words’ round.
  • Pointing is allowed.
  • Saying “I’ve started so I’ll finish” if the timer runs out when you’re half-way through is not allowed.

Good Things to Guess

You want to put in a combination of things or people 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”.


Another way to play is to agree a theme such as Movie Titles, Band Names or Song Lyrics. All of the suggestions written on the paper slips should then follow this theme.

Low Tech Entertainment From Spinning Poodle Games!

The Hat Game is the perfect low-tech entertainment for groups and families.

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