Where's Bob's Hat?
English language edition
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Over several hands, players bid to take the most cards in one or more of the three suits, each a different kind of hat. Players who feel they will take few, if any, tricks may bid to take the fewest cards in tricks played during each hand. Players score points for making their bids and lose points for missing their bids. Several cards picture Bob's Hat in addition to the hat of their suit. The dealer decides each round whether Bob's Hat is worth 10 points or minus 10 points. Each time a player wins a suit containing a card with Bob's Hat on it, the player takes a special Bob's Hat card (worth plus or minus 10 points). The player with the card at the end of the hand adds (or subtracts) 10 points to his score. The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.
This is a great game. Rules are simple. The ability to upset your neighbor is high. What else is there to say. Yes there are a lot of trick taking games, but that is because they are so good. However, in this game you have the ability to what type of hat you might win during the course of the game. It could be a 10 point or a negitive hat. The best part is that there are only three colors. That is why you can make your neighbor SO happy.
I will personally guarantee that you will get more enjoyment from Where's Bob's Hat than you would from the beer.
I would estimate that I've logged a couple of hundred hours playing Wer Hat Mehr, the aesthetically challenged (and very rare) ancestor of WBH. The rules are dirt simple. Reading them may leave you wondering 'and.......?' Don't let this fool you. The bidding and scoring system, while simple, lead to a fabulously balanced and exciting game. It is best for three, and it is by far my favorite three player card game.
Alan is famous for refusing to play his own games. WBH is the exception. Ted Nugent claims that the only one of his songs that he ever listens to is Cat Scratch Fever. If Alan Moon is game design's Ted Nugent, then Where's Bob's Hat is his Cat Scratch Fever.
For those of you who find yourself slightly hung over and vainly attempting to entertain yourself and your friends with six bottle caps and some little balls of foil, moaning imwardly 'I could have bought Where's Bob's Hat...', please don't blame me.
When sophisticated game lovers think of Alan Moon games they probably think of Elfenland, Union Pacific, or Santa Fe. Real Moon afficianados might mention Get the Goods, Fishy, Mush, or more recent releases such as Wongar and Andromeda. Alan's most ardent fans (known amongst themselves as Moonbeams) will drag out such under appreciated classics as UFOs, Rainbows, Tricks, Elfengold and Black Spy. Notwithstanding the wonderful scope of fun and challenge collectively offered by the above mentioned games, it is my firm opinion that Alan's finest work to date is Wer Hat Mehr.
I can't imagine more fun being packed into 60 tastelessly illustrated cards and 16 flimsy plastic disks.
Wer Hat Mehr is a trick taking game for three (best) or four players. There is a simple bidding scheme, and the play of the cards follows the classic rules of the genre. What makes the game uniquely fabulous is the beautiful balance between the bidding and scoring systems. There is rarely a boring hand and there are inevitably many lead changes. There's enough give to the system to allow some bluffing in the bidding. This makes Wer Hat Mehr a terrific mind game.
The high price for this game reflects, I assume, a very limited quantity so I urge anyone who loves to play cards to get a copy before they're gone.
Where's Bob's Hat?: This new English release of an older German release of Alan Moon's that falls in the trick taking card game category. The rules are quite simple. There are 3 suits of cards to the 60-card deck, each color has one of each of cards from 1 through 20. On the # 14 & 15 of each color (red, black & blue) there is a multi-colored baseball cap that is Bob's Hat (for a total of 6).
Included in the box are bidding cards for each players (up to 5 players can play, though 3-4 is the listed optimum) and 2 cards that show Bob's hat being worth +10 or 10 points.
The dealer starts by dealing 5 cards to each player (youngest player starts). The deal rotates left after each hand and the amount of cards dealt increases by 1 until you get to the ending amount, which depends on amount of players. Four players are , by the rulebook, 10 cards, but we played to 12 because it made more sense to end on a multiple of 4.
Four bidding cards are set aside and one is randomly chosen every round to signify trump for that round. The gray bidding card is used by the players to show least amount of cards, but if cut for trump it signifies no trump. The dealer looks at his/her hand and chooses whether Bob's hat is worth +10 or 10 points and pushes the appropriate card to the center of the table. The dealer then has to bid. You have 4 bidding choices every round ,but can combine choices. You can go for most in any of the 3 colors, singly or combined, or you can bid that you will take the least amount of cards compared to the rest of the players. Bidding goes around the table in order. When bidding is done, the dealer leads the first hand. Usual trump taking rules run the game from there. You must follow suit when able, highest card takes trick unless it has been trumped, then highest trump wins the trick. Any time a 14 or 15 is in a trick (Bob's Hat), the winner of the trick slides the Bob's Hat card in front of him/her. The last one to take a trick with a Bob's Hat will score the points on the scoring card (+ or 10 depending on what the dealer chose). There is a lot to consider when you bid. Sometimes your hand will be bad, but have one or two cards that will take tricks, so you can't bid least. You must the try for most in one color. Points are scored by making your bid and lost by failing. If you make your bid for most in a color, you receive 5 points for making the bid and 1 point for each card of that color in your pile. (Ties in card amounts do not count as most, you both lose!) If you fail to have the most, you lose 5 points. If you bid for least amount of cards and succeed, you gain 1 point for each card dealt that round. Failure is the loss of the same amount of points.
The game moved quick enough and I enjoyed the hard choices the cards left me at bidding on some hands. I also enjoyed coming from behind on the last deal and winning my first game with 31 points on the last hand! This is a great trick taking card game!
The current dealer decides the Hat's value: +10 or -10 points. There are numbered cards in three suits. Players examine their hands and before the trick-taking round, declare in turn if they will: (a) win the most cards in specific suits; or (b) take fewest total cards. Successful declarations earn points, and failure means losing points, depending on the number of cards dealt. Hands increase each round, increasing the potential rewards or penalties, not to mention the tension level. Whoever wins a trick containing a 14 or 15 gets the floating Hat--its ultimate owner gains or loses its value in points. Most points after the last round wins. Hats off to Alan Moon for another splendid game!