Tuesday, November 28, 2023

‘That’s Not A Hat’ Combines Memory & Bluffing

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That’s Not a Hat is a memory bluffing card game for 3-8 players that takes only 15 minutes or so to play and rewards players who can memorize changing cards and or bluffing without being caught. The game is designed by Kasper Lapp and published by Ravensburger, which has published some great games like Disney Villainous and Scotland Yard. I enjoyed That’s Not a Hat and hope to continue to show you some newer titles Ravensburger is bringing to the market.

What’s in the Box?

– 110 Item Cards

– 1 Rulebook

That's Not A Hat box art

How’s it Play?

Players give gifts out consisting of items shown on cards. Throughout gameplay, they will be trying to remember who gave what and which gift they have in front of them as cards change placements. If a player can’t remember, they have to bluff to avoid a penalty point. Whoever has the lowest score at the end of the game, wins.

Each player starts with a random card from the deck, this card is placed face up in front of them. The draw pile is placed face up in the middle of the table forming the gift shop. Players need to memorize what cards are in front of each player. 

That's Not A Hat beginning setup

The player who last received a gift begins the game. That player draws a new card from the top of the deck, shows it to everyone, and places it face down in front of them. The card card back has an arrow that indicates the direction the player must pass a gift to. This will be either to the right or to the left. As that player passes their other face up card (which might later in the game be flipped face down) to the player indicated, they says something like “I have a nice ______ for you.” 

That's Not A Hat new gift

The player who is receiving the gift now has two options. They can accept the gift or refuse it. If they believe the player actually correctly identified the gift, they should accept the gift. The player would in this case say “thank you” and placed their new card face down above their original gift. Since that player now has 2 gifts, they then give a gift. However, its rude to regift a new gift, so they gift their old gift. If this is the first time they give a gift in the game, they need to flip their old gift card over so it’s face down before gifting it. They then obey the arrow indicated on the back of the card to give a gift to that player. The player who receives the gift then has the choice to accept or refuse the gift, following the same pattern. Play continues until a player refuses a gift.

When a player receives a gift that they believe was not correctly identified by the giver, they should refuse the gift saying “That’s not a ________.” The player flips the card over to reveal the gift, whichever player is wrong takes the card and places it face up in their personal discard pile as a penalty point.

The player who receives a penalty point then draws a new gift from the gift shop, shows it to everyone, then gives it to the appropriate player following the arrow on the back of the card. The game continues. Gifts are never bought for yourself, so new gifts drawn from the gift shop are always gifted immediately. 

That's Not A Hat cards

The game ends when one player reaches 3 penalty points. At this time, players count their penalty points and whoever has the lowest score wins the game.

Just remember, if you forget what gift you have in front of you, don’t let it show, think of a random item and try to bluff your way through it. If you are sure you know the item on your gift card, pretend you are unsure and try to get the other players to refuse the gift so they get a penalty point when it turns out to be the right item. Also, if you’re not sure what’s under the gift card, use a double bluff: pretend you’re just trying to sound uncertain to confuse everyone else. 

The Verdict

That’s Not a Hat is a memory game that I can actually enjoy, because of the bluffing required when you don’t remember what is listed on your card. I also appreciate how simple the gameplay is, yet how much strategy and confusion can be involved as players don’t know if people are bluffing, pretending to bluff by acting like they don’t know what it is but really just trying to get the other player to call them on their bluff, or if everyone is equally clueless and just having fun playing the game. As the game continues, cards get flipped over and people are trying to bluff or call a bluff or memorize what cards are what with increasing uncertainty due to how much time has elapsed and how many cards have been played. 

The fact that the art is black and white also contributes to the ease with which you can forget your card and have to bluff. After a while, you may figure out who is a good liar and who is a horrible liar, or who is really good at pretending to be a bad liar.

That's Not A Hat memory and bluffing

That’s Not a Hat is a great game for kids and for getting to know people. I like bringing it out after dinner when we have guests over. It’s fast to play, and doesn’t take too long until a player has 3 cards and the game ends. The game also gets better with time, although there may be a tipping point where enough of the same bluffing tricks have been performed that doing more won’t bring as much entertainment, and it’s time for the next game. But, there is nothing wrong with a game that does what it does.

Images via Ravensburger

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  • Brody Sheard

    Brody is a huge board game fan who loves games both simple and complex and he loves how they tickle the brain like nothing else does. Brody works as a cardiac travel nurse, soon to be nurse practitioner and enjoys being healthy, active, knowledgable, and a fan of many topics.

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