Got a good memory? Great with visual recall and fast plays? Well be prepared to question everything, because in this quick little card game, you’ll need to be able to do more than remember what cards have been played. That’s Not a Hat is a madcap memory game from Ravensburger where, bluffing is a necessity and confidence is key!
I’m always on the lookout for a game that all of our family (all 5 of us!) can get involved with and I picked up this cute little box on a whim. I love a tiny game in a tiny box and the simplicity of the artwork spoke to me – I mean for a start that’s not a hat on the front it’s a traffic cone!
It’s Better To Give Than To Receive… Maybe…
Quite simply put that’s not a hat is a game about passing items or ‘gifts’ to another player and remembering who has what. Each player starts with one card face up in front of them. Each card has a line drawing on of various things, anything from ducks and safety pins to paperclips and bananas (seriously whose giving these as gifts!) On the reverse of each card is an arrow to denote which direction the ‘gift’ is to be passed.
The starting player in That's Not A Hat takes a new card from the draw pile showing everyone the image, then places it facedown above their old card. Then they turn over their old card and slide it over to the player at the side of them in whichever direction (right or left) is indicated. At this time the rules prompt you to say #I have a nice ___ for you” It is then that players turn and they do the same, this card becomes their new gift and they turn their old gift face down and pass on accordingly. Gameplay continues and eventually all cards are face down and your trying to remember not only what other have but what you have too!
And That’s When The Deception Creeps In
Very quickly you forget what’s been passed around, and that’s when you need to step up your bluff! You know an eggs on the table, so you say it’s an egg but you have no clue. The player opposite you passes a broom to his left… but wasn’t the broom going right? And by the time that card gets to you it’s passed on as a taco!! I once passed on an umbrella for three turns straight before anyone got suspicious.
And then suddenly your mind goes blank, all the cards are face down and you can’t even remember what a single one was, so you pluck an item out of thin air and pass on a toaster, even though you know there was never a toaster pulled out the deck… or was there…
Hesitate too long and you could be rumbled, or you could be double bluffing your opponents by pretending you don’t know what’s on the card, when actually you’re certain – tactics!
Everyone is looking at each other raised eyebrows of suspicion and you’re questioning how much you truly know these people around the table. When I tell you this game transforms my 7 year old son into the most convincing hustler ever, I’m not joking!
At this point it almost descends into a game of cheat, but you’re not even sure if you’re telling the truth or not, never mind anyone else!
How To Win Or More Like How To Lose!
So during a game of That's Not A Hat when you’re passed a ‘gift’ you can either choose to accept it by saying ‘thankyou’ (politeness costs nothing after all!) or call out the player by saying ‘that’s not a ___’ The player who was wrong keeps the card face up and takes another from the draw pile and the game resumes. First to 3 face up cards loses.
There is a couple of extra suggestions in the rule book to make the game even more difficult, but I’m too middle aged with not enough brain cells left after kids to ever need to utilise that. Any more difficulty might just explode my mind tank!
This game is quick and easy to learn, great for a variety of ages and a lot of fun. It is somewhat of a party style game, but can also make it to the table when you need a little time filler with the kids.
I really like the simplicity of it, it’s a great little icebreaker to start off a family games night, especially if you’re playing with new people and warming up the night with a bit of silliness. It’s not a game for all night, it’s a game where you play two or three rounds have a good laugh and then think, that’s enough let’s put it away for another day and there is nothing wrong with that! The game can be played with between 3-8 players, although there are plenty of cards and we have played with 9 people (rebelliously flouting the rules) however we found it can drag a little with maximum players as some players are sat for a minute or two not involved, which can seem like an eternity in a quick play game. Plays best between 4 and 6 people in our humble opinion.
Not the most technical or cunningly clever game you’ll ever play but definitely one you should have in your arsenal, for its ease of play and the silliness that ensues.