Black Hat

Golden Bell Presents Golden Games

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KEY FEATURES: Black Hat is a hacker themed board game for 2-6 players, including cool features such as:

  • a random/evolving game board
  • progress through winning rounds that helps but doesn't ensure that the first player to finish wins
  • elements from climbing games
  • language independent game

In the game play trick-taking is the main mechanic, but you can win the game by winning just a few tricks, if you win just the ones that makes the most for your game. 

FOR WIDE AUDIENCE: Black Hat has been tested with a very wide variety of players, ranging from 7 years old to 70+ years old. It works equally well with hardline gamers, families, social occasions and so on. We want to stress the point that despite age suggestion of 8+, this is not luck based childrens game, but a game which also children can learn and enjoy using the same rules as adults. Black Hat allows wide variety of game play strategies to be applied, none of them clearly superior over another, as you have to adapt to situation, unlike in usual trick taking games.

SHORT GAMEPLAY: Games take about 45 minutes, allowing several games per night.

THEMATIC: Information wants to be free, but you charge by the hour...

In the world of network security, a Black Hat is a hacker who defeats computer systems for personal gain. These rogue data jockeys pit themselves against the most secure systems in the world for the thrill of it (and maybe to make a little money on the side). However, the most skilled hackers know it’s not about getting there first, it’s about ghosting in and out of the system without leaving a trace.

"Black Hat is something I haven't seen before - a trick-taking board game. Your strategy changes based on your board position. It's a very novel, fun concept." -- Kevin Wilson

Black comes in a box of 10" x 10" x 1.5" and includes high quality components listed below:

  • 97 Cards
  • 1 Game board
  • 12 Hacker pawns (top hat shaped, wooden)
  • 6 Scoring pawns (wooden discs)
  • 6 Two-sided block tiles (each with 4 locations)
  • 2 Reference cards
  • Rulebook (English)
The game itself is language independent, depending only on icons and color on the board and cards (no text). While the printed rulebook included in the box is in English, other languages (at least Finnish, German, ItalianNorwegian, Russian, PortuguegeSpanish & Dutch)  will be permanently available for download.

6 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews

  • 4
    old school board game with a modern theme

    Posted by John T on Nov 26th 2018

    The basic game could be built around many themes, but this one brings the modern world of computer hacking into your home. While some people worry what evil a Ouija board might attract, I'm a little worried about this attracting the real world hackers into our home. Oh, never mind, they are probably here already ....

  • 4
    Gather up your fellow geeks and tech nerds and have fun hacking the planet!

    Posted by Shaun on Nov 26th 2018

    My kids and I enjoy this game. Out of the gate, I felt like there was a bit of a learning curve, but once you get it down, it's a lot of a fun. It's a good choice for a game night, especially if your friends and family is made up of a bunch of geeks and tech nerds.

  • 4
    Challenging and requires strategy

    Posted by Terry on Nov 26th 2018

    Black Hat: The Hacker Board Game by Golden Bell Studios is a trick-taking game that also requires strategic thinking because things can change in an instant. It features a board that can change so it's always fresh and challenging. In the game, you are a Black Hat, a malicious hacker. You work your way around the board, taking tricks. However, because of the board, it's not always advantageous to take every trick. The makers say that positioning is everything and they are right. You really need to have a long-range strategy to win but you also have to be ready to change your strategy quickly, especially when the Black Hat card is played. This is for 2-6 players and takes about an hour. The rules are fairly simple but it takes longer to figure out the strategy aspect. The makers say it's for players age 8 and up but I think it would be an unusual 8 year old who would find it interesting. I would say teens and up will find this game most appealing.

  • 4
    a good addition for trick taking games

    Posted by super 2018 on Nov 26th 2018

    This is a trick-taking game. . . GAMEPLAY: 4/5 Overall basic trick taking mechanisms, as you play single cards or multiple cards to empty your hand and hopefully win the hand. As you win the hand, you can move your pawn forward. You can never be on the same spot as another player. The board lets you sometimes pick more than one spot to move the pawn to. Depending on where you move on the board there is an element of "Take That!" and you can mess with other players pretty hard. There are additional tiles provided to randomize your board. The Black Hat card is negative points if you get stuck with it at the end, but it gives you powers, such as playing the weakest hand and thus win that round. But whoever wins must take the Black Hat card back in their hand, in addition to choosing to collect other played cards into their hand. Once any one player is out of cards, that game ends and you score on the score track. The goal is NOT to have points. After a certain number of rounds (getting to the last place on the board), then scores are resolved and the player with the fewest points is the declared winner. NOTE: You'll need to play 3-5 full games before you start figuring out what you want to do each game and strategies to attempt and apply. This is a positive, but I call it out that those that play once and base their opinion on this game after one play, may be doing themselves a disservice. THEME: 0/5 -- Most trick-taking games have no theme, which is expected, but the hacker theme really doesn't help here at all. > The colors of the cards don't matter at all (no suits in this game) and gives nothing to the theme. TRICK TAKING: 5/5 + You can use multiple cards to combo a trick + The board allows for landing on positive (+) and/or negative (-) points toward your ending hand that round. + There is a way to use alternative rules in the game to force points onto other players. This adds a good variety + The Black Hat attempts to add a little something to trick-taking games, which is appreciated in its attempt to mix things up further. COMPONENTS: 3/5 > The board doesn't really matter but is a mechanism to give or take away points. But the board doesn't have to be the same every time (thanks to the additional board tiles), so that helps make up for the fact the board has no other purpose. + I like the hacker-themed artwork. Yes, again, the art doesn't have any impact on gameplay and thus doesn't help the theme, but it is something to look at while holding your cards. PLAYER COUNT: 5/5 + This is a 2 to 6 player game. I really like games that can scale with the number of players and can support a "party" by letting you play above 4 players. OVERALL: 4/5 It is a pretty good trick-taking game. Not earth-shattering awesome, but adds a new flavor (especially with the Black Hat) to those that like trick-taking games. This is maybe not the most friendly game to introduce to players who don't know how to play trick-taking games..

  • 5
    a fun game with clever mechanics

    Posted by Just trying to Help on Nov 26th 2018

    This is a fun game that’s not too hard to pick up. The strategy is pretty easy to grasp if you are used to playing trick taking card games. While this game is unique and unlike other games, I will compare the mechanics of it to games that you already know. First Off it’s a trick taking card game where you are trying to earn the least amount of points, high has a similar concept to hearts. These undesirable points are gained in two ways: the value of cards left over in your hand and by your position on the board. Similar to poker, you win tricks by playing card values and the higher the pair of cards the more likely you will win. There is a joker and and black hat card which each play different roles. The black hat card reminded me in mechanics of a combination of the bear and bull cards in “pit” as it has both good and bad connotations. Like many better games there is a basic version and an advanced version. The game board as I said affects how many points you get, and depending on your taking of tricks you advance slower or quicker. Like most games with a board, spaces on the board have different effects on you, which is fun and doesn’t complicate things. I hope I’ve explained this simply enough by using some comparisons of mechanics from other card games. This game is unique in its combination of those game mechanics. It’s not too complicated. I played it with my wife and three daughters aged 22,16 and 14 and we agreed we would play it again. The hacker theme is cute but is just a theme to revolve concepts around. You don’t have to be technical to understand the game.

  • 4
    The Black Hat Card is a unique twist to Trick Taking Games

    Posted by wutanglen on Nov 26th 2018

    I had never heard of this game prior to getting this review copy. We are big fans of trick taking games like Fox in the Forrest and Diamonds. We were very interested in trying a trick taking game with a board. One thing I would suggest they do is make an instruction book that is more clear to follow or get Watch it Played to put out a tutorial video. The instruction book left something to be desired and luckily we were able to piece together some things from the few short reviews out there and the one video we found of someone doing a demo of the game. Once we did that, the instructions made more sense. The game has a really neat take on trick taking especially with the Black Hat card. That card really gives the game a unique twist and changes things up quite a bit from most trick taking games. We also liked how the numbers were the suits and you can use tricks with multiple cards of the same number. But again, the use of the Black Hat card where the minimum or lowest wins the trick is very unique. We also like that the game has quite a bit that you can use to really increase the replayability. The additional game board titles and the use of the 'tracer' can change up the game quite a bit from game to game. I really suggest watching videos on line before playing and rereading the directions after watching. It takes a few rounds, but once you get going, the game makes way more sense. My only real critique is that the card quality is not that great. Is it a better trick taking game than Diamonds or Fox and the Forrest, no it is not. Diamonds is still the best trick taking game out there, and Fox is the best two player trick taking game. However, this game has enough unique twists on the theme to get it to the table, but it won't be replacing Diamonds. It has an interesting theme but once you start playing the theme does not really have much impact. The game is certainly original and kudos to the creators for attempting to change things up a bit.