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Put on your game cap for a frenzied round of hat matching mania. Hold three hat cards in your hand and balance one on top of your head. Be the first to match the center hat card and collect the pair. But don't drop your hat or else someone can yell "Hats Off!" and steal a card! Win the most cards and crown yourself the top hat.
There are lots of card games but never before one that involves balancing a card on top of your head. As you try holding onto your hat while quickly making matches, you'll be improving hand-eye coordination as well memory skills. And to top it off, this game is also a great way to improve your posture! So sit up straight, put on your hat, and get ready for fun!
- 56 cards
- rules of play (English, Spanish)
Average Rating: 1.5 in 1 review
I love to wear hats, whether they be the typical baseball cap or something odd, much to my wife's chagrin. Cowboy hats, bowlers, a fez – whatever I can get my hands on, I love it! Sadly, much of this is foiled by living in a country where I apparently have the largest head in the world, so my hat collection is limited. Hats Off (Gamewright Games, 2007 – Wendy Harris, Garrett Donner, and Michael Steer) is a game about hats – both in pictures and in the game's actions, as players are attempting to balance cards on their heads. A game marketed to children, Hats Off is meant to be an action game of matching hats while keeping your head straight.
And it's here that I think the game breaks down. The game itself can be a lot of fun, as players are trying to match hats – and my kids loved matching the hats together. But when mixed with balancing a card on your head, the game becomes too hard for younger kids or even older ones who simply have a hard time being still. The thought of balancing the card on your head overpowers much of the fun of the game. Hats Off is unique and interesting but sounds better in theory than in practice.
A deck of hat cards is shuffled – seven cards of eight types (fireman hat, coonskin cap, jester's hat, sombrero, top hat, Viking helmet, fruit hat, and fancy dress hat). Each player is dealt four cards, one of which they decide to place on top of their heads, where they must balance it. The rest of the cards are shuffled and placed on the table. The player with the longest hair goes first and flips the top card of the deck.
This continues around the table, with the top card from the deck being flipped. If at any time the card that is flipped matches a card in a player's hand (or on their head), they place the card on top of the flipped card. The first player to do this wins all the cards in the middle and places them in a face down pile in front of themselves. They then draw a new card for their hand/head.
At the same time, it's quite likely that cards will fall off player's heads. If this happens, the first player (not the person who had the card on their head) who shouts out "Hats Off!" wins the card. The same thing can be done if a player plays a card incorrectly. The player who had a card "stolen" in this manner draws one to take its place. The game continues on until the last card has been drawn from the deck – at which point the player with the most won cards is the winner!
Some comments on the game...
- Components: The game comes in the
easy-to-hang-in-display-but-not-so-useful-for-game-shelves box. The
cards are fairly durable, with minimalistic art on them – simply
portraying the hats, which do look quite a bit different from one
another. The game has only a few components (cards and box) so is
- Rules: The rules are only one page – mostly because they are
simple. I can explain the whole thing in a minute or less; and
everyone, even young children, can pick it up quickly. The game box
says ages six or higher, but I imagine that's only because of the card
balancing part rather than understanding.
- Hats On: The whole point, indeed – gimmick, of the game is the
fact that you are balancing a card on your head while playing. This
seems like it might be funny and entertaining, but not on a continual
basis. Some people's heads simply aren't as built for balancing as
others, and young children and fidgety people will be driven nuts. I
still could understand the reasoning behind adding this part to the
game, however, if it wasn't for the fact that the game was also one
which included a lot of hand slamming and speed. Speed is funny,
balancing things on your head is funny – the combination may seem
funny to those watching it, but is more like an exercise in
frustration. Kids will be unhappy as they finally get a match; then
as they excitedly throw a card down, have the card tumble off their
head. In fact, a player can simply sit still and calmly yell out
"Hats Off" and have a good chance, as cards come falling down like a
flock of birds. I just think that the combination is too annoying for
the game to be that good. Any fun that some players would have is
simply at the expense of other players. In a game marketed towards
kids, I'm not sure that I find that acceptable.
I guess I don't have as much to say about this game as I normally do, just because the game is one big concept, and it's not a concept I enjoy. I wanted to love Hats Off, because I thought the concept of maintaining a card on my head would be funny, and one that kids would love. But it's not, and it's more exasperating than anything else.
"Real men play board games"