The Balderdash board game
by Pam Goodwin, Cleveland, TN, USA
Board game manufacturer:
Game box indicates 2 or more, I say 3 or more
Balderdash is a classic. Its concept, of the players creating their own definitions of words in the attempt to get their answer picked, was the basis of the long-running BBC TV quiz show Call My Bluff.
The game and gameplay
Players take turns to be the Dasher, the person who collates and reads out all the answers. The dasher picks a card and reads the question.
Other players write down what they think the answer is, whether serious, funny or just plain dumb, trying to make it believable. The object is to be the best con and fool people into picking your definition.
When everyone is finished players try to guess the correct answer. The name ‘The Balderdash board game’ defines the game. In a bright purple and blue box are the contents that will expand your knowledge of meaningless, useless words you’ll likely never use or remember to use in a sentence again, but then who knows.
All players are provided with scrap paper, pencil and a pawn to advance on the board when points are earned. A normal game will last about an hour depending on the number of players.A roll of the dice decides the first dasher. The dasher selects a card and reveals the word, (spelling and the exact pronunciation is provided) and also writes the correct definition as players write theirs. (Don’t forget to put your name at the top.)
The dasher mixes the answers up, along with the correct one and reads them aloud in random order. This is where a good poker face comes into play for the dasher. No matter how ridiculous, funny or just plain dumb, the dasher must maintain composure so as not to give any clues away.
Players write down their choice and one a time reveal their answer. Then the dasher reads the correct definition. On the tally sheet provided, the dasher keeps the players score for that round. You advance the pawn one space on the board for every point earned in the round.
There will be times players will spin a spinner in the center of the board, sometimes you will be directed to go back spaces or advance forward.
If you guess the correct definition: you earn one point. If a player picks your definition: you earn one point. If your bluff resembles the correct answer very closely: you earn two points. If no player guesses correctly: the dasher earns three points.
Pros and cons
There are no pros and everyone must be a con!
Obviously, writing skills are paramount in this game, and I don’t mean handwriting. You need to be a creative type. A shrewd eye for detail helps a lot in picking the correct answer.
People who don’t enjoy words, reading and making up definitions probably won’t enjoy the Balderdash board game.
Balderdash is unique and in the right company, a very funny game. It won’t be to everybody’s taste and it can be frustrating if people have awful handwriting or have trouble reading out loud.