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Black Hat - hacker-themed board game

Variable game board with special actions

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Hack the system and steal the data before anyone knows you’re there! 

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, RussianPortuguegeSpanish & Dutch)  will be permanently available for download as PDF via BGG. Dropbox links will be temporary.


After close to three years of meticulous game development & testing, Black Hat is ready to conquer your living rooms but needs physical form first. The materials are in a very mature state and require only a relatively small amount of work prior to printing.

We need your help to cover the fine tuning the art, printing & logistical costs.

IMPORTANT & UPDATED: We are USA and EU friendly as we'll deliver US games from US storage and similarly EU deliveries from within EU.

So, for all US & EU backers there will be fast deliveries and no customs hassle. 

Shipping options are all listed for each goal level. Basically shipping costs will be an additional cost determined by the shipping location. We tried to make this as simple as possible, while charging no additional costs from you.

We've heard rumours that it was assumed by some that due to EURO based campaign, ALL games will be shipped from EU, that absolutely not true and has never been true. We have always intended and informed to best of our capability that we'll divide the games to two shipments, one US and one to EU. Let's hope this helps!

We've play tested this game for the last two years with over 300 players, around out the globe. 

Please find some of the reviews below: 

If you are interested of reviewing Black Hat, do contact us!

We have designed the stretch goals to increase the re-playability value for both Kickstarters and people who buy later from retail. 

10000€: Celebrity Status Cards

Instead of everyone aiming for the same goal, to have least amount of points, Celebrity Status Cards will give each player their own (secret) goal.

We have had a couple of questions on stretch goals and existing post-Kickstarter pre-orders.

We are still gathering pre-orders which are all working towards the Celebrity Status Cards, which we believe to be the coolest additional item which was left unfunded at the initial Kickstarter campaign.

The Black Hat is built based on familiar concept of trick taking, with a few twists. For a full game play, please check the videos and/or the rulebook. Below is just bits & pieces explained. 

The active player, called the ”lead”, may play one or more cards. When playing multiple cards, all must be the same rank. The other players, in clockwise order, then must also play cards to the trick. They can play one card or the same number of cards as the lead, their choice. After each player has played, the trick ends, and the player who played the same number of cards as the lead with the highest rank wins the round. If there is a tie for the winner, the tied player who played last will win the trick. The winner leads the next trick.

Cards played to the trick are taken out of the game (except in Blackhat rounds). The winner of a trick is the most competent hacker and must either:

a) advance one of their pawns on the board
b) advance one opponent pawn which is in a host with negative value
c) in case neither a) nor b) are possible, draw a single card from the deck.

This, in practise, leads to a game which is situational: Player A might want to get a trick that Player B clearly doesn't want to take. This, along with a few other twists, makes Black Hat unique game in the category of trick taking games.

A very good overview of the game by Rodney Smith @ WatchItPlayed is currently under works, but a passable explanation of 'twists' of Black Hat by Timo Multamäki (below) should get you deeply in to the world of Black Hat.

Team and Story

We're an international team with a lot of gaming related experience. 

  • Timo Multamäki aka "Multis" - a game designer with strong convictions and vivid imagination. Created the Arctic Union, a co-operative of Finnish game designers, five years ago. Long history of RPG and LARP, including a few noteworthy items (Dragonbane,Wanderer Saga).  Published a few board games (ZanziarPhantom League + 2 expansions) and a book "The Legacy of Dragonbane". An active member of the BGG community with a known tendency to be blunt to a level that some would consider rude - it's never intentional, but just practical Finnish way of resolving things.
  • Thomas Klausner from Austria has been playing board games for all his life. A few years ago he started getting active in developing games and editing rules. He co-edited the rulebooks for Phantom League - Mostly Harmless and was main editor and co-designer for Black Hat, as well as for the upcoming Abyss - Perdition's Mouth. Apart from that, he has developed a web application for organizing tournaments which was used for example inAgricola World Championship and Settlers of Catan European Championship tournaments.
  • Bert Menting is a Dutch IT-specialist, who builds applications and keeps large databases running. Furthermore, he is a developer of games ranging from children's games, agility games and games for people who like to use their brains. In 2014 he had a successful Kickstarter campaign with his game Puerto Diablo ( Black Hat teams Dutch-liason.
  • Scott Everts has been in the computer entertainment industry over 20 years with credits including Star Trek: 25th Anniversary, Planescape: Torment, The Icewind Dale series, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2, Fallout 1, Fallout 2, & Fallout: New Vegas.  A USA based avid board game hobbyist, he has turned his passion to board game graphic designs and play aids.  Some of his work includes the official army references for Neuroshima Hex!, graphic design and game boards for Forlorn: Hope, and the popular graphic redesign of Dune.
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