Instant Game Night Reviews: Hues and Cues
“Is Hues and Cues a good game to bring to game night?”
Hues and Cues
Year Published 2020
Designer Scott Brady
Publisher The Op
Age Range 8+
Playing Time 30 Minutes
Hues and Cues is a clue-giving party board game where players attempt to place their player pieces on the specific hue of color that the clue giver is describing. These “cues” consist of one or two words describing the color. Players earn points based on how close their player pieces were to the actual hue the player was describing.
Below you will find a brief summary of the game play along with our thoughts on whether or not Hues and Cues is a good game to bring to your next game night get-together.
Please note: We do not intend this review to be a thorough explanation of the rules of a game or how to play. Rather, our reviews are aimed to provide you a basic overview of the game play along with our thoughts on how suitable a particular game is to bring to a game night with family or friends. If this is your first time reading an Instant Game Night review, please click here to read about our review format and rating system.
At the beginning of the game, the cue giver will draw a color card from the top of the deck. Each color card consists of 4 different hues of colors along with their coordinates on the game board. The cue giver will choose one of the four colors and give the other players a one word cue. The cue can be anything with only a few exceptions:
The cue cannot be a color (such as red, yellow, or orange) but it may be an abstract color (chartreuse or champagne, for instance)
The cue cannot describe where the color is in relation to the board
The cue cannot be an object in the room
The cue cannot be a repeat of a previous cue
Once the cue has been given, players will take turns placing their first player marker onto the board in the square they suspect is the color being described. There can only be one player piece per square. Once all players have placed their first piece, the cue giver can then deliver a second, 1-2 word cue. This is an opportunity for the cue giver to adjust if players were not close to the mark the first time around. The cue giver can also choose not to give a second cue, but it is rare that this would be advantageous.
Following the second cue, players will place their second player marker as they did the first. Once all players have placed their two player pieces, the cue giver reveals the coordinates of the color and places the scoring frame so that the color is in the center of the frame.
Players will then score points depending upon how close their player markers are to the frame. If they have guessed the color exactly, they will receive 3 points. If the player's marker is inside the frame but not exactly in the center, they are awarded 2 points. Finally, if a player's marker is touching the outside edge of the frame, including the corners, they are awarded 1 point.
The cue giver also receives points based on the number of player markers that are inside the frame. In a 4+ player game, the cue giver will score 1 point per marker within the frame. In a 3 player game, the cue givers scored 2 points per marker within the frame.
After scoring markers have been adjusted, the player to the left of the cue giver now becomes the new cue giver and the next round begins.
Play continues until a player has been the cue giver two times (in a 3-6 player game) or one time if playing with 7+ players. Quite simply, once the end of the game is triggers, the player with the most points is the winner. Once all players have had an equal number of turns, all Players add up the point total of their built Gizmos along with any other collected victory points. The player with the highest score is the winner.
In the event of a tie, players will continue playing additional rounds (with the tied players skipping their turn as cue giver) until one of the tied players takes the lead and is declared the winner.
Hues and Cues is an eye catching party game with a unique feel. The simplicity of the mechanism makes this game one that would be easily learned and played by anyone, including board game newbies. Still, the freedom cue givers have to be creative is equally appealing to us as experienced gamers. Colors can be harder to describe than you realize, and it is a fun task to try and get players thinking of the same color as you see on your card. This will inevitably lead to playful ribbing among players (“what do you mean you don't know what chartreuse is?!?”) and we find this interaction to be highly enjoyable.
In summary, we recommend Hues and Cues as a high player count, light-weight and interactive addition to a game night with family, friends, or even experienced gamers.
Our rating system:
G rabs your attention
E asy to play & teach
N ewbie friendly
G ood rulebook
H olds attention
! our experience
Hues and Cues Rating Breakdown
Grabs Your Attention
The Hues and Cues board is probably one of the most eye-catching game boards we have come across. It is hard to walk by without stopping to soak it all in. Be careful though, you might just become mesmerized if you stare for too long!
Hues and Cues is a very agile game in terms of set up, tear down, and rules explanation. The concepts in the game are so intuitive that you could set up and begin a game of Hues and Cues within 5 minutes. Turns can take a bit longer for someone who has difficulty thinking up cues, but even the most AP-prone player should be able to think of a cue relatively quickly.
Again we come back to the game board. It is hard to forget. The core game play in Hues and Cues isn't necessarily novel or memorable by itself, but there is something about the complete package that makes this game one you are sure to remember long after playing.
Easy to Teach and Play
There aren't many games out there than are simpler to teach and play than Hues and Cues. The idea of giving a cue and then choosing where to place your marker is very straightforward and we have yet to have any issues teaching this game to anyone.
For the reasons mentioned above, we give Hues and Cues a full point for being very newbie friendly and a game that even parents and grandparents can learn quickly and thoroughly enjoy.
Because Hues and Cues is so straightforward and doesn't require much thinking or planning on the players' part, it naturally becomes a very interactive game. Players will second guess other players' placement, express feigned disgust with a cue giver's cue, or even begin side discussions with each other based off of a particular color (remember that time in Jamaica, the water was literally THIS blue).
We find this aspect of the game particularly enjoyable. In some games players are so invested in planning their strategy that there is scarce a side discussion throughout an entire game. Hues and Cues is very much the opposite, and gives players a chance to enjoy human interactions and side conversations while still being aware of what's occurring in the game.
Good Rule Book
The rule book for Hues and Cues is only two pages long and in those two pages it does a great job of thoroughly describing the game play rules as well as scoring. As we have discussed already, the mechanics of a round are very simple, and the rule book does a good job of “getting out of the way” and not over complicating the game.
Personally, we find that Hues and Cues holds our attention very well. The rounds are so quick and short that it is difficult to let your mind drift too far away of the game. We actually think the biggest attention risk is getting to distracted with side conversations and/or tangents with other players. But we also find this a major benefit of the game. It doesn't take itself too seriously and allows players to enjoy each other's company and converse while still engaging with the game.
The only knock of Hues and Cues as a game for us is a lack of theme. As a light party game, it is very difficult to inject a ton of theme into the game, and we understand that completely. We also understand that not everyone needs to get immersed in a theme to enjoy a gaming experience. But we really would have appreciated some attempt to link a theme to the mechanics of this game. As it is, it is a great color guessing game. But we can't help but think it would have benefited the game overall to present players with some type of story or theme to the game play.
Finally it's time to tell you about our personal experiences with Hues and Cues. The biggest takeaways from our playing experiences is that the more players you have, the better the experience is. We would go as far as to say that we don't recommend playing Hues and Cues with 3 players. We found the game length to be incredibly short and also the interaction and communication in the game just didn't feel as enjoyable as it did with 5+ players.
Because of this, we mainly would recommend Hues and Cues for larger game nights where you might be spending most of the evening split into two groups. This is a great game to begin or end the night by bringing everyone together to share a fun, interactive experience. With this in mind, we thoroughly enjoyed our playthroughs of Hues and Cues and it is one that we will keep in the “party game” section of our collection for a long time to come!