Hedbanz is a funny, but definitely challenging guessing game for up to 6 players.

Each player wears a plastic, adjustable, well, headband. Each headband includes a card-holding slot. The cards it holds display colorful images, each with a text description helping other players to identify the image. Note the emphasis on other. This emphasis emphasizes that the person who is wearing that particular card on his head does not (and definitely should not) know what’s on the card. For some, especially the younger some, this is a grave challenge of moral and ethical fortitude. For others (most people who are 7 or older), it’s this very ethico-moral challenge that makes the game so interesting. Just knowing that everything you need to know about your current identity is right there, on your very head, and yet, though it would be everso easy to take a quick or longer look at the card, you really aren’t supposed to, and aren’t going to, either… Ah, there, in deed, is the rub.

The only way you can find out about who you are (what’s on your card) is to ask other people. And the only answers they can give are “yes” or “no” or maybe “could be” or “I don’t know.” So, in order to master the game, you need to exercise: 1) the art of asking questions, 2) the art of deductive reasoning, 3) the art of compassion – the last frequently proving to be the most crucial to maintaining playful relationships with friends and family. Why compassion? Because everyone is wearing a Hedbanz, and everyone, as much as you, wants to figure out what’s on their card. And everyone looks just a little bit silly wearing a picture on their head – which should remind people that the purpose of the game is really and only for fun, despite the fact that some really have trouble exercising 4) the art of patience, and 5) the art of self-restraint.

Hedbanz is very easy to learn. The more people play it, the better they get at all 5 of the abovementioned arts. Headbanz is fun.  It’s fun, in a good, silly way, to think of yourself as if you were a bicycle or an ice cream cone. Because the rules are so few and so familiar (to anyone who has played 20, or even “Plenty” Questions (there are more variations here), the game is easy to adapt to players of different abilities (add a “hint” rule and people as young as 5 can play, too). It can be played almost anywhere (almost – it’s not water-proof). You can keep score, but you don’t have to. You can set time limits for each player’s turn (which explains the timer), but you don’t have to give everyone the same limit, and you can play without the timer and still have fun.

Headbanz was designed by Cathy McFadden and is published by Spin Master.

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