The Hat Game

Players don’t need to know each other so it’s a good icebreaker on occasions when there are strangers in your midst. Each player thinks of two things – book or film titles, film stars, pop stars, authors, proverbs – and writes them on two scraps of paper which are folded and thrown into a hat. The players then pair off, and one from each pair picks out a piece of paper from the hat and describes to his or her partner what is written on it, without using a single word that appears on the paper.

The object is to keep talking, to give your partner clues as quickly as possible, and to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to questions which he or she fires at you. The quicker your partner guesses the answer, the better, as you then get to pick another piece of paper, and so on until your time limit of one minute is up. If the minute is up before the phrase has been guessed, that piece of paper is thrown back into the hat again, and the next pair then takes its turn. If there are any pieces of paper left in the hat when all the pairs have had their minute, the first pair starts again but reverses roles. The pair with the most pieces of paper guessed wins.

This is a fast-moving, exhilarating game, and an excellent exercise in precise and succinct description. A version of it is played on the UK TV show “They think its all over.” at the end when teams have to guess the sporting personality from the description being given.

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