Stats at a glance
Ages: 12 +
Balderdash is a classic board game based on an even older parlor game, Dictionary. While that sentence might have you imagining a dusty room and a game so boring only people whose only alternative was watching paint dry would play, you’d be wrong!
Balderdash is a great party game to get your guests laughing and thinking. I mean what does ‘progger’ mean? Let’s get into our Balderdash review so you can decide if it is right for your next game night.
Brief Overview of Balderdash
On the surface Balderdash is a game about definitions. An unusual word (or another prompt from other categories we will cover later) is presented each turn and players create definitions (or even movie plots!). This isn’t the SAT Verbal though so don’t stress about your vocabulary knowledge. Balderdash is for fun, not education. Tell your cousin Ned that when he is bragging about knowing the meaning of ‘wadmiltilt’.
In each round of Balderdash a very uncommon word, or other prompt, will be presented. Odds are good you won’t know it. Everyone creates their own meaning which is where things get fun. These player-generated ideas can really get people thinking or laughing.
Balderdash has been expanded beyond just vocabulary definitions to include creating explanations of people, movies, laws, and acronyms. This has really helped the game stay relevant and fun.
Balderdash has gone through many iterations but the current edition of Balderdash includes:
- Answer Sheets
- Six Player Pieces
- A Die
- A Gameboard
- 280 Double Sided Cards
Balderdash is primarily a creative game so there isn’t much to its physical pieces. Balderdash has had a graphics update, however, which gives everything a more steampunk look as opposed to the previous brightly colored editions.
The player pieces remain in a classic pawn shape in bright primary colors. The cards are the most essential piece of Balderdash equipment and are luckily printed on sturdy cardstock.
How to Play Balderdash
While Balderdash can move in a lot of directions based on who is playing it, there is a structure to each turn. A player, called the ‘Dasher’, picks a card and rolls the die. The number they roll indicates which category their turn will be in. They then present the prompt to the other players.
From there, players write their answers and hand them to the Dasher. The Dasher writes the correct answer to mix in with the player-generated answers. The Dasher then reads all of the answers and the other players vote on which answer they believe is correct.
For every vote a player’s made-up answer receives they move a space forward on the gameboard. As a player, if you vote for the correct answer written by the Dasher you also advance one space. The first player to reach the finish line on the game board is the winner.
The categories available in Balderdash’s current version are the real difference from the classic. In creating it they have essentially turned classic Balderdash into Beyond Balderdash. In addition to the classic category of “Dasher says weird words and players write possible definitions” you also have:
- Peculiar People – In this category players guess why an obscure person is famous.
- Incredible Initials – Players are presented with an acronym and present possible meanings.
- Marvelous Movies – Players receive the prompt of a movie title and suggest possible plots.
- Laughable Laws – There are a lot of wacky laws on the books and in this category, you will have to figure out exactly what frozen item is banned in Missouri between the hours of 2PM and 10PM.
When you are writing your answers don’t worry about being correct. Worry about tricking the other players into thinking you are right. You don’t want them saying “balderdash!” to your answer.
Or maybe you do. A funny answer or two keeps the game fun for everyone.
Pros & Cons
- Great for nostalgia
- Keeps things funny
- Lets players get creative
Balderdash has been around a while and you probably have some fond memories of playing it in the past. Playing it again is sure to bring up some good feelings. It is a classic that has really stood the test of time.
Balderdash’s gameplay requires its players to make most of the game content through their answers. It truly lets its players get creative.
Your answer for what ‘bleb’ means could range from an aquatic submarine piloted by a unicorn, to a broken paperclip. The sky is the limit with every round generating unique answers. This opens up a lot of possibilities to get creative and silly keeping gameplay fresh and entertaining.
- Can become repetitive
- Good answers require originality
Both of these come down to the fact that Balderdash requires players to create answers. It is the entire premise of the game, in fact. Depending on the players, the idea bank of creative answers might run out quickly. Additionally, some people aren’t creative at all. I know I wouldn’t want to play with my Aunt Gertrude.
These cons are easily addressed by choosing the right people to play with. Save this game for your friends that are always quick with one-liners. This will keep the creative answers flowing and make sure gameplay stays fresh and fun. Nobody wants stale gameplay.
Balderdash still holds up as a great party game after all of these years. They’ve kept the game fresh and relevant by adding additional categories like movies and acronyms. There is plenty of content to keep you entertained.
Playing this game with a group of clever people will keep the laughs flowing. Sometimes the made-up answers might even seem more plausible than the real ones. Maybe your friends come up with stuff so funny that isn’t the case. Either way, Balderdash is sure to entertain at your next dinner party or games night.
We hope you enjoyed our Balderdash review! Have you tried Balderdash with your most creative friend group? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this classic word game! Drop a comment below and let us know what you think!