The Umbrella Game (Rules and Instructions)

The Umbrella Game is an easy-to-play listening game that uses a secret clue to trick your friends. See if you can figure out the catch when it comes to playing this clever game!

Like Snaps, The Umbrella Game is most enjoyable when played with a large group or at a party. You can stump your guests as they try to figure out the point of this hilarious word game. 

Continue reading to learn how to play The Umbrella Game!

The Umbrella Game guide will cover the following:

  • What is The Umbrella Game?
  • What you’ll need to play the Umbrella Game
  • The Umbrella Game rules
  • FAQs

What is The Umbrella Game?

Umbrella Game Info image

The Umbrella Game is simply a guessing game for two or more players. 

The initial player starts the game by inviting friends to a party. Each player names an item they want to bring, and the “host” approves or disapproves of the item in question. 

Players try to figure out why some items are acceptable, and some are not: What’s the catch? 

Number of Players: 2 or more

Ages: All ages 

Difficulty: Easy 

Length of Play: 10-15 minutes

Category: Party games, word games

Similar to: Paper Telephone, Heads Up Seven Up, G-H-O-S-T

Main Objective: Players listen to opponents as they offer to “bring” specific items to the party. Try to figure out the secret behind what is and isn’t allowed at the party. 

Why We Love It: PlayThe Umbrella Game anywhere! It requires only a few players and the ability to listen and look for specific hints from others. Play The Umbrella Game on a road trip, at a party, or while hanging around with friends. 

What You’ll Need to Play The Umbrella Game

All you need to play with are a few friends! The Umbrella Game would also make a fantastic icebreaker game for gatherings, business meetings, or team-building challenges. 

Area of Play

While there are no materials required to play The Umbrella Game, some players use this game as entertainment or trickery for the guests at their party. 

The leader of the game knows the secret behind the rules. Keep reading to find out how you can fool the guests at your next event!

The Umbrella Game Rules

To begin the game, the host, or initial player, starts by announcing the game as The Umbrella Game. Continue by telling guests that in this game, you are going to bring items to a party. 

The host continues by going first. Here is an example:

“I am going to a party, and I am going to bring, um… some balloons.” 

Then, the host asks another player, “What are you going to bring to the party, Jake?”

Players try to figure out the rule behind this game when the starting player approves or denies the objects guests choose to bring to the party. 

In some games, the host may choose to give a nonexample as well. Using the example above, the starting player could say, “I am going to a party, and I am going to bring, um… some balloons, but I cannot bring pizza.” 

Adding a nonexample provides a layer of complexity that will throw your friends for a loop!

The Catch

Players must say “Um…” before choosing their items! Hence the name, The UM-brella Game.

Players will eventually catch on, some faster than others. If you don’t know the hidden reasoning behind the game, you may struggle to figure out what the secret is!

If a player says, “Um…” before stating the object, then the host approves their choice by responding, “Yes, you can bring that!” 

If a player does not understand the hidden rule or says “Um..” when responding, the host will say, “No, you cannot bring that.” 


Host: “I am going to bring, um, apples to the party. What are you going to bring, Max?” 

Max: “I am going to bring bananas to the party.” 

Host: “No, you cannot bring bananas. Sarah, what are you going to bring to the party?”

Sarah: “I am going to bring, um, pancakes to the party.” 

Host: “Sure, you can bring pancakes!”


A variation to this game is that in place of “going to a party,” players select items that can go “under my umbrella.” There are also other variations which include, “Bring to a picnic.”

This twist might add more excitement (and confusion!) to the game when some players can bring an elephant under the umbrella, but others cannot bring a bag or smaller item. 

However, it also clarifies the name of the game: The Umbrella Game, hiding the underlying clue in a play on words. 

How to Keep Score in The Umbrella Game

This game has no specific scoring rules, but don’t let that stop you from playing! You can get creative and determine a point system for how many guesses it takes each player before figuring out the trick behind The Umbrella Game. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why is The Umbrella Game called The Umbrella Game? 

To begin, players have no idea why the game is called The Umbrella Game. You may try to guess if items must be selected in a specific order, such as alphabetical, or based on a category by color, number of syllables, and so on. 

In reality, there is no rhyme or reason to the actual items selected. The Umbrella Game is named the secret word, “Um…” which must be used before saying what thing you will bring to the party.

What is the Answer to the Umbrella Riddle? 

The initial player begins by giving an example of something they are bringing to a party, or picnic depending on how you choose to play the game. 

The game’s premise is to see if your friends can pick up on the fact that players must say, “Um…” before naming an item to bring for it to be approved by the host. 

Other Games Similar to The Umbrella Game (Our Guides)

After playing The Umbrella Game, be sure to check out some of these other similar games:

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