Humans sure have a fascination with flinging projectiles through the air at one another. From the historical catapults to the modern-era spitball, it just seems to be in our genes. It’s no wonder that a board game that allowed such behavior would find its way into the hearts of people everywhere. Now, granted, you really weren’t supposed to fling the game pieces at each other. But for most that played Kohner’s Hat’s Off board game (introduced in the late 60s) – once you looked across the dining room table and saw the potential target of your sister’s exposed forehead … well, let’s just say the temptation was often just a bit too strong to resist.
Played by the rules, Hat’s Off was innocent enough. Take your individual launching apparatus and fire little hats (similar to coneheads) at the playing area as fast as you could, trying desperately to be the first at the table to get all of your hats into the slots that matched the specific color of your hats. It seems like a simple concept but winning was harder than it looked. In fact, it could be downright frustrating. And after a while, that frustration needed an outlet. And if no authority figures happened to be watching, the game inevitably turned into “How many cones can I pelt my adversaries with” – a variation that wasn’t mentioned anywhere on the box. As if it needed to be.
Luckily, those little plastic spring-loaded catapults didn’t fire with all that much force and to date, there have been no legends of the lost eye as a result of Hat’s Off. Still, it was the type of game that, if produced today, would probably make the cones out of foam and have a big warning on the front of the box. But back in the day, box tops were warning-free, choosing instead to offer a portrait of a Rockwell-esque family, merrily engaged in some good ol’ game-playing togetherness. It was a sweet ideal, but it only lasted until the parents were out of site (and out of mind). Then the projectiles flew, as they have through the course of time, and you realized that you were on your own. Good times, those were.
If you remember playing this projectile-flinging board game, we hope you’ll share your Hats Off memories in our comments section, as we tip our hats to a memorable morsel of our childhood.
(Editor’s note: Although we always try to include video in our articles, we are sad to report that there were no surviving commercials that we could find for the Hat’s Off board game.)