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Hold Your Hat

Time's Up! (R&R Games) has become a perennial favourite party game with our local games group. It's obviously proved popular with others too: it's spawned a couple of dozen expansions and variants since it first appeared in 1999. Tho' it's become a proprietary title, it's essentially a reworking of the traditional public domain party game Celebrities. A deck of cards is compiled, each containing a word or book or movie title or character, and a player has 30 seconds to convey to their teammate(s) as many of the words etc. as they can before the timer runs out. The team scores the cards for the clues they guess successfully, and the remaining pile is passed to a player from another team to do the same.



Nastola Games' Hold Your Hat is a similar reworking of Celebrities - as was CMYK's Monikers. The fun in Hold Your Hat, Time's Up! and Monikers stems from the fact that each of the three rounds of game play use the same cards as in the previous round but with different rules for how you give the clues. In the first round, you can offer as many clues as you like for the word on a card. For the second round, you can only give a single word clue, and for the third round you cannot speak at all - you have to convey the word through mime. Of course, by the third round players will all have previously seen or heard the words on the cards so mimes can usually be quite simple as you're really just reminding your team mate(s) of the word. Also, experienced players will have mimed in previous rounds while giving their verbal clues. Because it's competitive with an up-against-the-clock urgency, and because you'll almost certainly come up with some wacky or risqué word association, there's usually much hilarity.



In his design for Hold Your Hat, Miroslav Garigov has added in a few features that distinguish it from other Celebrities variants. Turns in this game are 60 seconds, and the game comes with a 60-second sand timer. Each of the 150 or so clue cards has six words or phrases delineated by colour (and symbol for anyone with colour blindness) and at the start of each game you choose which colour you'll all use. Some of the phrases have been given a scoring value of 2 points rather than 1. Teams also get to take a 'special card' at the end of each turn. These give your team a single-use power: looking at the top five cards and rearranging them, claiming extra time, allowing your team to skip a word or trying to guess words on another team's turn. These add further variety to an otherwise very familiar game, tho' none are major game changers. The cards that let your team compete on another team's turn are particularly powerful, to the extent that it risks skewing the game if one team happens to draw all of those cards. For that reason, rather than drawing a special card at the end of each turn, we've preferred in our Board's Eye View plays to give each team a set of special cards at the start of each game for them to deploy whenever they choose to do so. In Time's Up!, players in the single-word and mime rounds are only allowed a single guess. The English rules for Hold Your Hat don't specify this but we've assumed that a similar rule applies.


If you have Time's Up! or Monikers then Hold Your Hat is mainly more of the same with this game's word cards adding a welcome alternative to those in your other Celebrities games.


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