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What is the game of hues and cues?

The game of hues and cues is a fun strategy game that tests players’ color recognition and memory. It can be played with 2 or more players and involves using color cards and clue cards to track down secret colored items. Let’s take a closer look at how to play this exciting game!


The goal of hues and cues is to be the first player to correctly guess your opponents’ secret colored items based on color clues. Players take turns giving one-word color clues and trying to track down each other’s hidden colors.


To set up hues and cues, you’ll need:

  • A deck of color cards – Make these by writing the names of colors (red, blue, green, etc.) on index cards, with multiples of each color.
  • Clue cards – Small cards or pieces of paper to write down one-word clues.
  • Paper and pen for keeping track.
  • A way to hide colored items – Small objects like beads or balls that can be hidden in players’ hands or behind screens.

Each player chooses 3-5 color cards, making sure to have multiples of some colors. Keep your colors hidden from other players. Players also take several clue cards to write down clues on.


To start, players take turns in a set order. On a turn, a player secretly selects one of their color cards and passes a clue about it to the player on their left. Clues can only be one word and must relate to the color in some way. For example:

  • Red card – “stop” or “fire”
  • Blue card – “water” or “sky”
  • Green card – “frog” or “grass”

The player receiving the clue writes it down on a clue card along with the turn number. They take a guess at which color card it might match based on the clue and any previous clues from that player. This continues around the circle until a player thinks they know all of the colors for one opponent. At that point, they can make an accusation to try to identify that player’s color cards.

If correct, that player is out of the game. If incorrect, the accusing player loses one of their own color cards (returned to the deck) and play continues. The first player to successfully accuse all other players wins!

Strategy Tips

Doing well at hues and cues requires sharp deductive reasoning and memory skills. Here are some tips to improve your strategy:

  • Pay close attention to clues – listen for word associations and patterns.
  • Use logic to deduce possibilities – e.g. “If ‘frog’ was green, ‘grass’ likely was too.”
  • Mentally map clue connections and eliminate improbable colors.
  • Remember previous rounds – look for contradictions or confirmations.
  • Bluff if needed – give vague or misleading clues if you need to throw others off.


For added variety, try these fun ways to change up the hues and cues gameplay:

  • Hidden items – Instead of using color cards, have players hide small colored objects in their hands or behind a screen. Clues relate to the hidden object’s color.
  • Teams – Play in 2 teams, with teammates combining clues and making accusations together.
  • Charades style – Give clues through charades, gestures or drawing instead of words.
  • Speed round – Use a timer to limit how long players can give and process each clue.

Benefits of Hues and Cues

While a fun game for all ages, hues and cues also brings some great benefits, including:

  • Enhanced memory – Recalling previous clue patterns strengthens memorization capacity.
  • Improved logic – Deductive reasoning skills get a workout during game play.
  • Color recognition – Identifying subtle color shades and links between colors is built up.
  • Vocabulary expansion – Coming up with creative color clues boosts descriptive word knowledge.
  • Concentration – Hyper-focusing during fast paced play enhances mental concentration.

Fun for All Ages

Hues and cues is an engaging game that can be played by children as young as 5 years old all the way up through adulthood. The basic color clue concept is simple enough for kids to grasp, while still offering challenging strategy elements for older players. Adults may have to restrain themselves from using overly complex clues at first when playing with younger children. But soon kids will catch on and likely surprise you with their clue deducing skills! The game is also very flexible – you can adjust the difficulty and pace by modifying factors like the number of colors per player, types of clues allowed, and addition of speed or charades elements.

Game Night Fun

Next time you host a family game night or get together with friends, bring out hues and cues for hours of enjoyment. It’s perfect for 3-8 players and great for breaking the ice with guests who don’t know each other well. A few rounds also make for lively pre-dinner entertainment or an after dinner activity. Recommended for ages 5 and up, it can include younger children who know their colors and old enough to grasp the taking-turns concept. There’s also no reading required, just color memory and verbal comprehension. So gather your color cards and clue cards and get your deductive reasoning warmed up for hilarious, head-scratching fun! Just be prepared for lots of “Wait, what color was that again?!” as you collaboratively track the elusive hues and cues.

Tips for Playing with Young Children

Hues and cues is a wonderful game for kids as young as 5, as long as a few tips are kept in mind:

  • Use basic color cards that they know well – red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple.
  • Limit to 3 colors per player.
  • Give clues that directly relate to the color – “fire” for red, “grass” for green.
  • Don’t eliminate players who guess wrong – just remove a color card.
  • Consider having an adult helper provide clues first.
  • Keep game moving at a kid-friendly pace.
  • Give high fives for good guesses and clues!

It may take a round or two for younger kids to grasp the concept, so have patience. Soon they’ll be coming up with creative clues and impressing you with their emerging color deduction skills. Make sure to celebrate their efforts throughout, not just wins. And you may need to gently steer them if clues get too silly or complex. With a few adjustments like these, hues and cues delivers minutes of learning disguised as colorful fun for little ones!


How many players can play hues and cues?

Hues and cues works best with 3 to 8 players. It can be played with just 2 but gets more interesting with more colors and clues in the mix.

What’s the age range for hues and cues?

Recommended ages are 5 and up. Younger children can play with some adjustments like limiting colors and simplifying clues. It can be enjoyed by all ages including adults.

How long does a game of hues and cues last?

The typical playing time is around 15-30 minutes. This varies based on number of players and how many rounds it takes to deduce colors. More players and more colors extends the gameplay.

Is hues and cues good for kids?

Yes, hues and cues is an excellent game for kids 5 and up. It builds memory, color recognition, vocabulary and logic skills all while having silly fun.

What materials do you need to play hues and cues?

You’ll need color cards, clue cards or paper, and colored items to hide like beads or balls. Pencils for keeping track of clues is also helpful.

In Closing

The game of hues and cues is sure to get your deductive reasoning and laughter muscles moving! It only takes a few basic supplies and 3-8 ready players. Just be prepared for lots of hilarious head scratching as you collectively track down elusive colors based only on one-word verbal clues. It’s casual fun for family game nights, kid parties or adults looking to shake up their usual board game routine. A few rounds also makes for lively pre-dinner entertainment or an after dinner activity. Recommended for ages 5 and up since the color clue concept is simple enough for kids to grasp. But it still offers plenty of challenge for older players. Next time your gang gets together, unleash the creative clues and see who can master the perplexing patterns in this strategic color deduction game!