Hues and Cues is the party game that’ll make you question your color knowledge


Colorful cone shaped board game pieces sit on grid with a colorful gradient of greens, blues, purples, and pinks. A cardboard square with numbers on it encompasses nine squares on the grid, with some cones inside it and some outside.
Image: Polygon

Are colors even real?

Many boardgames in the party game genre like to test the players knowledge with trivia or social deduction. It’s all in good fun, but there are objectively correct answers. That immediately makes Hues and Cues a different experience, because this game is all about the subjective task of describing a color.

What specific shade of yellow is a school bus? Does oat milk have a particular color? Which is the more royal hue: Blue or purple? These are the sorts of questions you’ll be contending with in Hues and Cues, which we played in the latest episode of Overboard with special guests Mattie Lubchansky and Jaya Saxena.

In Hues and Cues, the cue giver selects a color from four choices on a card before giving their first cue. There are only a few rules that the cue giver must follow: The cue must be one word, and it can’t include a basic color, like red or green, though fancy colors like vermillion and chartreuse are legal. They also can’t use a specific object in the room, a cue that’s already been used, or a letter or number that could point to its location on the board.

Once every player has made a color selection in clockwise order, the cue giver can give a second cue. This time it can be two words, but they must avoid using words that directly indicate it’s position relative to the player’s guesses, like “darker” or “south.” After all the players have made their second guess (this time in counter-clockwise order), the cue giver places the score box around their hue.

Points are awarded based on how close players get to the correct hue, while the cue giver gets points for every guess inside the score box. After every player has been cue giver twice, the game ends and the player with the highest score wins. The game can be made easier for beginning players by letting cue givers select their color from the entire board, or harder by limiting the cues to specific categories like comic book characters or Pokémon. Either way, it’s an immensely fun party game that’s sure to provoke strange discussion about just what colors even are.

If you enjoyed our “Let’s Play” of Hues and Cues, be sure to check out the rest of the series on our YouTube channel!

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