Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de

White Hat

[White Hat]

Ren Multamäki,
Thomas Klausner

Dragon Dawn Production

No. of Players:



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Some years ago, G@mebox author Eike Lang wrote a review for the trick tacking game Black Hat. The game turned out to be quite enjoyable and even deep for this kind of game as far as victory point optimization is concerned. But the rules were confusing and, as a result, it was difficult to learn the game. Although it was possible to download an updated rulebook (make sure that you have at least the version 1.3.2 for that game), Black Hat had the flaw that a lot of players didn’t check for these rules and thus were disappointed or even frustrated. The result are totally mixed ratings in the internet.

Six years after that, DRAGON DAWN PRODUCTIONS now publishes a revised version of the game. And, to make sure that everything is better this time, they changed the name. It’s now White Hat instead of Black Hat. The name is wisely chosen, because in contrast to a Black Hat, a White Hat is a good guy, a constructive hacker who uncovers weak spots in a computer program. And indeed, White Hat has all the new rules that now can easily be read and learnt.

[White Hat]

Click on image to enlarge!

I played the prototype and can confirm that it’s still Black Hat, but with the new, optimized rules and slightly changed game components. Apart from that, everything remains the same except of the name of the special joker card, which was simply renamed too. So, before I now go in details of the rules again, you can read all about the game and our thoughts about it in our older review of Black Hat. Just make sure that you ignore the negative comments about the rules while reading!

But there is still one thing to say about the new version White Hat. So, you might want to come back after you read the review of Black Hat: the revised version has additional solo rules. Probably this is the result of the long COVID-19 pandemic with all of those contact restrictions. I will not repeat all the rules for this solo variant, so if you want to understand the following sections, you really should read our review for Black Hat first….

Let's now have a closer look at it: in the solo variant you must play with the optional rule of a tracer that starts its journey on a small tracer card. The token will move in two ways, either at setup, when a joker is revealed, or at the end of every round. Once this tracer has reached the last field on the tracer card, it is placed on the one and another tracer token on the other starting space on the main board. From now on, both tracers are moved one step further at the end of every round. Every hat occupying the same field as a tracer is taken out of the game.

Speaking about the starting fields of the main board leads us to the other hats. In the solo variant, the starting spaces are equipped with a black, white, orange and blue hat each at set-up. All these hats belong to the player and are moved depending on the result of a trick.

[White Hat]

Click on image to enlarge!

The solo player plays “against” an automatic row of five face-up cards. The solo player always starts the trick by playing one or more cards of the same rank from their hand. And the row tries to beat this by playing as few cards with the lowest numbers as possible. As in the multiplayer variant you win a trick by playing the higest rank with the same number of cards as the lead. In this solo variant, the white hat card severs only as a normal joker that changes hand after it was used.

If the solo player wins the trick they can move a pawn of their choice one step further and interacts with the board, if the field demands this. If however the row wins, the colour of the card that was used to win the trick determines the colour of the hat the player has to move one step further. After each trick the row fills up the cards to five again and the next trick is played. As in the multiplayer variant, a round ends after the player runs out of card. Then it’s time to score all different coloured hats. The position of each hat on the board simply determines the number the corresponding pawn advances on the score track (now this track is on the edge of the board and not on an additional board as in Black hat).

When the game ends, the colour with the lowest score determines the player`s score.

I found the solo variant of White Hat to be a nice add-on. It is also quite helpful to learn the game before teaching the rules to other players. But what is really important to my mind is the fact that this interesting trick-taking game Black Hat will finally be back as White Hat for purchase. There will be a Gamefound campaign soon (launch is 22nd January 2022), so if you like trick-taking games you perhaps should set yourself a reminder just to be sure to get the game.

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Copyright © 2021 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany