* Prices may differ from that shown
in our house we play a lot of board games quite regularly. i saw absolute balderdash in asda just before christmas on offer at £12. 00 ( its full price was £15 ). all the board games we have got are usually around £20- £30 , so money being tight at the moment i thought this would be good to wrap up as a present from santa to all of us lol. i have to say this has got to be the best game we have ever played,and the best value for money.
the game is for 4 or more players and for ages 12 to adult. this is not a game where you have to play in teams which suits my family perfectly.a good imagination is useful as you basically lie through your teeth,and you can win even if you never guess the correct answer.it takes us anything up to 2 1/2 hours to finish a game. we have had lots of fun playing this game and i would recommend it to anyone.
Absolute Balderdash, by Drumond Park, is another colourful and entertaining game to enhance a social gathering ,of two to twenty players, and is suitable for players aged twelve and upwards.
It's so easy to set this up. Lay the board on the table. There are eight playing pieces available. The circular path, on the board, has different symbols on to represent different categories and this very much resembles Pictionary which is explained in my last review.
The game play is instructed by the following categories:
Each player will take a turn at being the 'dasher' and they read the questions from the appropriate category cards. There are four hundred and ninety-five cards and well over two thousand possible questions so you're not likely to run out any time soon. I bet you won't remember all the words and their meanings even immediately after game play.
Inevitably, the word on the card will be an obscure word, which you probably haven't ever heard in a sentence, unless a genius, such as Stephen Fry, well I think he is) has uttered it in your hearing.
The dasher will pick a category, read the word from the card, and write down the correct meaning of the word. Everyone must secretly write down, on the provided paper, a made up but convincing definition. In most cases you really do have to bluff about the definition because you'll be clueless as to the real meaning.
This is a good time to work out which relatives and friends are the most devious. Those talented in the art of lying are rewarded! Who can lie so successfully that they win the game? Just for the record, I personally, have never won a game of Absolute Balderdash!
The definitions, submitted by players, are all muddled up together with the real answer and all are read aloud by the dasher of the round. Those who have fibbed but are thought to be telling the truth are allowed to move along one on the board. If you guess the correct answer your score increases too. The most creative and witty people shine in this game.
The definitions provided can be hilarious. We've been doubled over with laughter with the false answers and even more, sometimes, by the correct definitions. The answers you write can be anything you like. We've also been amused at trying to decipher handwriting - we've discovered that doctors are invariably the worst at writing clearly!
Just like with the game of Pictionary, the more players, the merrier the game turns out. Your group of players needs to consist of creative thinkers and witty people. I really believe only children with fantastical imaginations would truly enjoy this game. Also you might not want to encourage lying and falsehood in your home in which case, steer well clear. Having said that, it is has always been obvious to our game players that it's just a game and a good way to let lose our darker sides!
A side note - those who work in law, tend to do very well.
This game is also very good for tipsy and drunk people though somewhat chaotic. I think anyone who enjoys watching television programmes which involve Stephen Fry, who has a real talent for words, will really enjoy the play with language and the humour that can be drawn from Absolute Balderdash.
To purchase this you'll need to be spending around £25 and that's absolutely true!
******Scene 1 - Christmas dinner finished - family gather in living room, bloated and sleepy and reluctant to move much other than the effort needed to reach for the remote control.....********
Granny : The Sound of Music, how lovely...*begins to sing along.....* "The hiiills are aliiiiive with the sound of muuusiiiiic...!"
Dad: *groans inwardly itching to grab the remote and turn to Sky Sports*
Brother: *Hopefully pitches in with...* 'How about watching one of these new DVD's I got for Chrimbo...'Saw 7' looks like an entertaining watch!'
12 year old: 'Yeah that's a great idea Uncle Pete!'
Me: 'How about playing a board game? I could get Balderdash out?'
Great Uncle (visiting from Newcastle): 'What keind of game is tha ? '
Me: 'Well, basically each round has a question to which each player writes their answer. The answer is a made up one which has to sound as believable as possible. The answers are all passed to the reader (Dasher) for that round, who reads all the answers anonymously along with the REAL answer in a random order. Then everyone guesses which the correct answer is. You get points for: guessing the correct answer and conning others into believing YOUR answer is correct. You then advance around the board and the first to the end wins! It's very simple really...
Great Uncle from Newcastle: 'Ah divvent knaa tha Ah can move tha much...I'm reet comfortable weor Ahm...'
Me: Don't worry, you can stay exactly where you are....all you need is a pencil and one of these little pads of paper included in the game. I'll give you a book to lean on and we can use this little table here by the sofa to put the board with the spinner on (depending where you land you get the chance to spin this little arrow and possibly gain (or lose) more points.
G.U. : 'So hoo dee Ah play the game exactly?'
PLAYING THE GAME
Me: 'Ok, so we choose the first person to be the 'Dasher'. That person takes a card from the box and chooses a category. He tells everyone what the category is and reads the question. The rest of us write the answer down on our little paper (Bluffing Sheet) without anyone seeing what we are writing of course! The answer can be as ridiculous or as serious as you like....quite often the real answer is even wackier than the imagined ones! The Dasher looks at the true answer on the back of the card and writes that down on the one of the sheets. He collects all the players answers and shuffles them before reading them out impartially.
There are 5 categories:
WORDS: The word category basically asks for a definition of a certain word. Let me see if I have any old papers here....ah yes, for example 'KAMALAYKA' ....someone suggested it was 'a waterproof shirt made from walrus intestines' and another said 'a Himalayan woodwind instrument used at birthing rituals...means 'blessed-one''......well, I can't remember if either of those is the right answer, but they sound both ridiculous and plausible at the same time!
G.U. 'Aye, they dee!'
Me: PEOPLE: This category gives you a name of a real person and you have to write down what they are famous for.....
INITIALS: 'You're given a set of initials and you have to write what they stand for...for example, S.F.C - does it mean 'Social Fun Club', 'Society For Chips', 'Shoe Fighting Club', Shoe Fan Club' or 'Scottish Football Club'?
I can actually reveal that the real answer is 'Shoe Fan Club'. Anyway, you get the idea....
MOVIES: 'This is a great one; you are given the title of a movie and you have to write the basic plot....hilarious!
LAWS: 'In this category you have to complete the law...for example, 'In London, England, you are not allowed to drive an....'
The answer to that one is '.......automobile without sitting in the front seat.' See how even the real answer sounds daft!?'
G.U.: 'It sounds leik a funn game....how many points dee Ah get if Ah git it reet?
Me: ' If you guess the correct answer, you get one point. You also get one point for every vote that your answer gets. If your answer is very close to the real answer you get two points, and the Dasher gets two points if none of the players chose the correct Balderdash answer. You move your playing piece along and if you land on a place with an arrow, you get to spin the arrow in the centre of the board which can give you extra points, take them away, or leave your score as it was.
When we've all moved our pieces the person to the left of the Dasher becomes the new Dasher and reads out the next card. The category this time is determined by which segment of the board the winning player is on.
G.U.: 'So hoo many of weh can play?'
Me: 'Oh we can all play ...the game is for 2 to 8 players and for ages 12 and up!' There are different variations for 3 to 4 players as well as a 2 player option which is great.
G.U.: 'Sounds leik a canny good game lass...might see aboot getting mesel one te tyek hyem wi me'
WHERE TO BUY AND HOW MUCH TO PAY
Me: 'It's great for a laugh! I know you're gonna love it! I bought mine on Amazon for about 23 pounds but I'm sure you could get it from any decent toy shop or even on eBay.
G.U.: 'Well let's play shall we...I'm looking forward te beating yee aal!'
**looks around room....kids have gone upstairs and everyone else is asleep...gran is snoring loudly....***
'looks leik we'll be using those two player options hinny...'
Me: 'Oh well......they do say the biggest cause of all arguments over Christmas are board games .... might be a blessing in disguise...:)
Thanks for reading! And a Happy New Year to all that did!
Absolute Balderdash is a board game which is disarmingly simple in its set up but is absolutely brilliant to play because it requires the player to have a bit of imagination and creativity.
The game is set up on a cardboard board in which the player's pieces go around a circular track; the track is laid out in colourful squares all with different symbols on. The symbols refer to different genre of questions; they are initials, film titles, laws, words and people. The questions are all on little cards with a question and on the back is the real answer. Very simply, each player takes it in turn to be the dasher; the dasher asks the question and knows the answer. The dasher asks the question and each player writes down an answer to the question. He or she then passes the answers to the dasher who along with their own answer then reads out the answers, you then go around the players and ask them which they think is the true answer.
Scoring is very simple - You get to move one square along the board if you guess the correct answer.
You get to move one square along for any other player picks your answer as the real answer.
You get to move two squares if by some miracle you actually guess the real answer.
The dasher gets to move two squares if no one guesses the right answer.
There is also along the way on some of squares, a little black arrow and the game has a spinner in the middle which if when spun lands on a +1, +2 or +3 allows the player to move that number of squares along. The spinner makes the game shorter so can be used or not depending on the wish of the players.
So the key to the game is to make your answers slightly odd but not too outlandish because the answers to the questions is always a bit strange but aren't totally weird. That is except for the film title round, the films are all rather obscure B movies in which the title can be taken in almost any direction and often the most outlandish is the real answer.
For me, this is a game where laughter and fun are built in, the answers to some of the questions are well perfect for humour and a game which can start seriously usually turns on one of the players putting in a funny or rude answer. This tends to spark off the rest of the players creative juice, and things tend to descend into a bit of cheeky humour. The game is perfect for playing whilst drinking and having fun, it's brilliant for winter's nights but one of my favourite memories is playing it outside in a Welsh pub with some strange glances from the fellow drinkers.
Absolutely balderdash is a great game and can be bought for around £20 and is well worth the expense. You do need to have little pieces of paper around because the game does come with a few pads but they soon run out and a decent handwriting style also helps as the dasher has to read out your answers with a straight face becuase hesitation on his part rather gives it away for the other players.
There are a few versions of this game available, and although I played an older style at a party recently, the 20th Anniversary version is currently selling for £25.99 (instead of £29.99) which is probably a better buy.
This is described as the 'hilarious bluffing game' for 'wild wacky fun'. The game is for 4+ playeers, aged 12 to adult. I hadn't heard of it until recently, but the reviews for this game are very good - I would agree, and add that it's definitely unique and original.
Included in the box is the game board with 8 playing pieces, one for each player. 1 rules leaflet, 1 definition pad and 500 cards. There are 2500 questions in total on these cards, 5 questions/answers each, spanning 5 categories: events, words, laws, initials and people.
Each player takes it in turns to be quizmaster - this person takes a card and reads out one word from it (from a choice of 5). That person can turn the card over and see the corresponding answer, which will be the word's answer/definition. The task of the other players is to write down a definition/answer they think may be correct for that word, signs the paper with their initial, and gives it to the quizmaster. The quizmaster will then read aloud each players answers, as well as the correct one from the back of the card. Each player then must decide which is the correct answer; points go to anyone who chooses the correct one from the actual game card, or to the person who's answer is chosen by someone else.
The bluffing comes in here because to get points you want to create a believable answer/definition. But, if you want to have some fun, then you can do what we did - make up ridiculous and stupid answers so everyone can have a chuckle! You don't want to give the game away though when the quizmaster reads the potential answers out, otherwise everyone will know which one was yours.
Players who earn a point then move around the board, and it's the first to the finish that wins. This could take some time depending on how seriously you take the game and how many people you have playing, because devising your answers can sometimes be very challenging! The majority of words, no, all in fact, were ones I had never heard of before, so it was complete guess work. Sometimes I would choose a serious-sounding answer to fool people, other times I would write nonsense and everyone would be in hysterics for 5 minutes (hence the game could last a while...)
All in all, this game is great fun! It took me a few goes to get into it, to understand how it worked and to get some creative juices flowing, but after that it's very enjoyable. Providing you have 4 or more players, this is a great party game - lighthearted, or serious for the more serious players of course, and very interactive.
I've given it 4 stars rather than 5 because of the price (often around £30, depending on the version) and because it's not a game for everyone. The premise, however, is unique and great fun when you get into it.
Definitely glad I tried this game, and hopefully it wont be long before playing it again! Admittedly it seems a bit pricey as you're mainly paying for the cards, which is the only real downside to this. I guess another downside would be if you're not playing with like-minded people who don't want to be imaginative, so be prepared for some silliness and challenging answers.
If you want a fantastic Christmas present that the whole family can enjoy and play together then absolute Balderdash is the game for you. The idea of the game is to come up with wild and extravegent meanings of words that are given to you and then someone reads out all the descriptions including the real one and the rest of the players have to guess which description is true and which is the false one. We have had hours of fun playing this game and with 5 categories to choose from you can play this again and again and not get bored. It is also very stimulating in regards to thinking about things. The more wild and wacky the descriptions you come up with the better, plus all the words are words that you would not come across every day in the English language. If you are looking for a relatively cheap game to buy for the whole family I would definately recommened this and you will not get bored too easily either
Think of youself as a bit of a wordsmith? How about a budding linguist or convincing fibber? Balderdash is a fun game which truly exceeds it's simple format to make fun board-based hilarity for all the family!
The rules and set up are quite simple, but the game will work better with more players! The basic summary is that you are given a word by the 'dasher'. This will undoubtedly be a word you have never heard of, but the challenge is that you have to write a short, succinct and convincing definition of the word! This definition is then read aloud by the dasher, along with the definitions made by the other players, and you have to guess which one is right!
Points are alloted if you guess the right definition, if someone else thinks your one sounds right, or if no-one guesses the right one (in which case the dasher benefits from the points!). Let the bragging and mickey-taking begin!
The first one around the board wins, simple!
Now I know this sounds a little bland, right? That is what I thought but when played you realise how much fun it can be, especially when you can pin-point when a certain player has done their definition by their style and content! For example, my Mum will invariably tell you that every word is some kind of flower....
Absolute Balderdash is one of my favourite boardgames of all time. The idea is this: there are different categories; definitions, acronyms, people, laws, special days. If it's your go and you're on the definitions square, you have to read out the word on the card, and write down (secretly) on a square of paper (provided) the correct definition of this word, which is on the card. Everyone else, meanwhile, must invent their own definition for this word, and write it down on their squares of paper. I should point out that these words are completely obscure and there is an extremely low chance that you will have ever heard it before. Then everyone gives their pieces of paper to you, and you shuffle them, including the correct definition. You then read them out one at a time, and then go around the table asking everyone which they think the correct definition is. People score points for other people thinking their definition was the real one, for guessing correctly which one was real, and for writing a definition which was similar to the correct one (this hardly ever happens).
With acronyms, instead of a word it's an acronym (initials), and you have to make up what it could stand for.
With people, it's a person's name and you have to make up their accomplishment (e.g. they were the first person to x).
With laws, you have to finish the sentence given which is something like: In Ontario, it is illegal to carry/eat/dance/insert verb here...
With dates, you have to make up why that day is special, like, it's national something day, or it was the day when something first somethinged.
In older versions of Balderdash, instead of dates we have films, which in my opinion is the best category ever, but was perhaps removed because it is so hard. You get given the title of a film (a real film, but never one anyone has heard of), and you have to make up and write down a brief summary of the plot. If children are playing, I can imagine this being quite hard, but with a group of adults it can be hilarious.
This game is amazing because you really have to be creative, but often when the things you make up are absolutely awful and obviously made up, it can be even funnier! What's also great, is that you learn loads of random facts and you gain a whole new crazy vocabulary.
I've played this game many times with two different families and it always involves much laughter. It doesn't get too competitive, so definitely no board-tipping tantrums, which makes a change for me!
If you want to buy one board game to take with you on your summer holiday, make it this one!
Updating my old reviews, as my first few reviews were awful!
Absolute Balderdash is a Board game with a difference. We discovered this game whilst staying with friends and we had so much fun playing this game, that we put it on our christmas wish list and now own our very own copy! Absolute Balderdash is a game best played as a group and it is great as a party or a drinking game. This is a game from Drumond Park and is an adult game or for those over 12.
How to play
The number of players needed for this game is 4-20, and the more players playing the harder the game can get.
Generally this game is fairly easy, so it doesnt require a huge amout of brain power, and the beauty of this game is you can lie through your teeth, or be as silly as you wish!
The game is quite simple and it can be compared to the old game show call my bluff.
The way the game works is someone picks a card (the dasher) and reads their question aloud to the group, and everyone then has to write an answer. The person who reads the question writes the correct answer, he then collects all the answers from the group and reads them all out, including his correct answer. Each person then has to guess which answer is the right one.
Sometimes the correct answer can be as baffleing as the groups answers so it can be hard to spot, but its fun.
As you score points for correct answers and for people guessing your answer, you move around the board, racing you team mates to the finish line.
The questions asked depend on where you are on the board, but questions are characterised by:
A typical question might be, what do the letters B.L.E stand for.... its up to those in the group to hazard a guess. The answers do not have to be right, just something other group members might believe.
We all loved playing this game and got slightly addicted to playing at one point. Its lots of fun, easy to play, and good for a laugh.
Even if you dont like board games that much, you will be sure to like this game. It doesnt really require any great skill, just the skill to make up complete nonsense but believable answers.
The more players you have the more fun it is. It really is the ultimate party game.
The game itself comes complete with the scoring paper, the counters for the board, instructions and everything you should need to play.
I honestly think this game would appeal to most people. Its easy to play, the instructions are easy to understand, and it really is lots of fun. You find yourself playing detective and trying to decide who would say what.
So if you are looking for a party game l would highly recommend Absolute Balderdash.
This game costs around £25
For more information visit
A fairly simple game involving a little imagination and a lot of fun;espcially if you have at least four people. Great game to play anywhere really even in a shared tent!
Sometimes it does involve a bit of skill as well because you need to decieve people to either pick or not to pick your answer. It's always fun trying to decieve people. Remember make you answers funny or beliveable or both if you can because it makes the game hilariously funny. (see below on tips)
Each player has a different coloured piece (red,green, blue, pink, orange, gold, white) and they move around the board and landing on catagories (see below for more detail on these) also each round is played by questions of cards releating to the catagories you land on. You must decive other players; i.e one perosn will write down the real answer and the other players will right down what they think it means.
The points are fairly easy to understand, if the person who wrote down the answer is found out everyone who picked thier answer will get 1 point, and if they ar't found out by anyone then the person who wrote the right anser will get 2 points, also any answer that is picked will recieve 1 point each time it's chosen (see below for some examples of some funny answers)
Unfortunatly I don't know what the spinner does but i presume that whatever number it lands on then you either move foreward or backwards or gain that many points.
Words- Your are given a word and you come up with a definition for this word
Initials or (ABC)-you are given a set of initials and you have to come up with a description that is a bit silly (the answers are usually something silly anyway)
Law- your are given a snetence whihc is something like "In *insert place name here* you can/cannot...." you just have to fiill in a law; remeber they are really silly, but still actual laws
Film-You are given a movie title and you come up with the story
People-your are given a great feat that someone has done and you just have to come up with a name.
Have fun; it's all about having fun!
use your imagination you never know whether it could be the right answer
watch the other players; they will give away if its not the right answer (they probably giggle a bit and ifeveryones laughing then they will laugh the loudest)
try not to laugh at your own answer because it will givve it away, also try not touching your face (if you can try a poker face; if not just act natural)
If you play this just before you got ot bed you'll find you may be able to answer questions with a little more imagination because your brain is most imaginitive just before you go to bed
**Examples (please note these arn't actual answers*
Frantling-"it's fondling but faster"(words)
gobang-"a phrase to be coupled with "your mum" if used in an offensive situation
"In California you can't go trout fishing if it's a wednesday and your are wearing blue overalls"
E.M.A-Ear Migration Air
(maybe these may inspire you)
I think it's obvious what my opinion is, but it wouldnt' hurt to emphaisise it. I love this game because its great mix of imagination and deception and even if your not very good at one of these then you can pick it up as you go along and because you'll proably laugh so much you may just write non sense which coould get oyu points. It is espcially great to play at night as i've said but play it during the day as it may go on for a while. The only drawback with this game i would say is that you do need quite a few people to make it interesting so not the best game to play if your just with one other person
I stumbled across Absolute Balderdash when I was looking for a game to play at a family get-together - emblazoned on the box were the words "Wild, Wacky Hilarious fun" so I thought I'd give it a go.
Never before have I laughed so much at a board game (actually I was laughing at some of the very strange answers that my family came up with, and that was without alcohol consumption), and would have to agree with the advertisers that it is a game of incredible fun!
The Basic Idea:
One player (the dasher) reads out a question to the others. They each write down a made up, but believable answer and hand it to the person who read the question. This person then reads out the real answer, and all the made up answers, in random order. The others must guess which is actually correct.
You score moves on the board for each player who is conned into believing that your made up answer is the real one, as well as for choosing the real answer.
Playing the Game:
For the first turn of the game the Dasher takes a question card from the card box and chooses one of the 5 categories. They state which category they have chosen and reads the relevant question to the other players who each makes up an answer and writes it on the sheet provided - the answer can be as stupid or as serious as they want.
Depending on which category the Dasher has chosen the kinds of answers required are as follows:
Words - what is the definition of the word?
People - what is this person known for?
Initials - what do they stand for?
Movies - what is the basic story line?
Laws - complete the law.
While the other players are writing their answers, the Dasher writes the real answer (found on the reverse of the question card) on their sheet, so as to disguise it when they read it out with the made up answers.
The players hand their completed sheets to the Dasher, who arranges them in random order and reads them out loud. Each player decides which answer is the correct one, then the Dasher reveals the right answer and awards points.
The players move their pieces round the board by the number of segments equal to their score. After everyone has moved, the player to the Dasher's left becomes the new Dasher, and play begins again.
Winning the Game:
The first player to land on or pass the Finish segment on the board wins.
Hopefully my instructions haven't bored (no pun intended) you into thinking that this game is dull - I would highly recommend it for any social gathering.
This suggested age for this game is 12 - Adult, and while I haven't played it with kids, it would probably still be fun.
It is for 2 - 20+ players, however I've discovered that it is best played by at least four players, and the more people playing - the better.
1 Playing Board
8 Playing Pieces
1 Rules Leaflet
1 Definition Pad
Each Christmas I try to buy a different board game, as it seems to be the one time of the year that we all get time to sit down and play board games.
This year I chose Balderdash, having read positive reviews about it. I paid £25 in Debenhams for it.
It is one of those excellent games that you can play instantly rather than spend hours trying to work out the rules. If you have watched "call my bluff" you understand the rules instantly.
You get a game board, counters, a pad, box of cards and a spinny thing.
Basically you put your counter at the start, and can one space if you correctly guess the answer, fool someone else into believing your answer, or you are calling out the question and no one guesses correctly you can move two spaces. You can also spin the spinny thing and move extra spaces sometimes, but we didn't use that, as it seemed a bit pointless.
If you are calling out the question, you take the box of cards, take one out of the front, and call out the question, these are coloured so you call out the colour of the question you have currently landed on. Occasionally you are land on a square that allows you to choose which question category. With 2340 questions you won't run out for a while!
Sometimes you are just given a persons name, and have to guess what they are famous for, sometime given initials, or a long sounding word. Once the question is read out, each person writes down a fake answer, plus the caller writes out the real answer, so they all look the same, handwritten on the sheets from the pad.
The caller then reads out all the answers, and other players have to guess the correct answer.
We found the game hilarious, with each of us coming up with really daft answers, but often the real answers were just as daft! On several occasions we could not continue until people had stopped laughing as tears poured down our cheeks!
Probably best for people from age 12 up, as it might be a bit daunting for younger children. We found the Grandpa's loved this one as much as the teenagers!
So I thoroughly recommend this for good, family fun.
I first came across Balderdash as it was then about 6 years ago when the game was just an adaptation of the TV quiz show 'Call My Bluff' in which you had to come up with a definition of a word and convince the rest of the players that yours was the accurate definition. This was a good game but it got a bit repetitive.
Then the makers came up with a new concept - Why just stick to words when there are hundreds of other categories that you could ty and fool your mates on?! and so Absolute Balderdash was born.
The concept is exactly the same. You get points for guessing the right definition and points if someone picks your fabricated spiel. But in the newer version, there are now 5 categories:
Movie - You are given the title to a movie and players have to give a brief description of what happens
Person - A person's name is read out and you have to explain what feat they achieved or why they are famous
Law - The opening line to an obscure law somewhere in the world is read out and you have to finish the sentence
Initials - You are given the initials to an organisation or club and must state what these stand for.
Word - As before in the original Balderdash
My personal favourite is the movie category a it leaves you so much scope to use your imagination. The titles are usually vague and ambiguous, so you can turn it into any kind of film you want! The laws also provide a high level of amusement as they are typically those that have been made in a remote area somwhere in the world that have never been abolished e.g. did you know that in Hartford, Connecticut, its is still illegal for your dog to receive an education!
The one down side this game has is that you really need at least 4 players to make it a good game. This means that there will be 4 definitions to choose from, any less and it gets a little bit too easy. It is the ideal game to play at a party or a family get-together and has provided me and my family with hours of fun. I highly recommend it!
There is a trend amongst games manufacturers, that once the original version of a game has been well-played and well-purchased, out comes the deluxe, extreme or other superlative version. Absolute Balderdash Ultimate Version is no exception.
I remember playing the original Balderdash game at a Christmas family gathering when I was about 11 years old. Relegated to the back room with the cousins so the adults could get on with having a good time without being disturbed, we decided to play Balderdash. Now, being somewhat of an afterthought in the family, I was at a distinct disadvantage, being between 5 and 12 years younger than the rest of the players. My counter failed to move beyond the Start square and the whole experience was thoroughly humiliating and miserable (not that Im a bad loser, mind you).
Several years on with the Balderdash experience all but forgotten, last night I was out enjoying a Thanksgiving celebration meal (2 days late) in honour of an American friend. Reaching the coffee and After Eights stage of the evening when you move from the dinner table to the comfy chairs, someone pulled out Absolute Balderdash and the general consensus was that it would be a good idea to play it. Excited at the prospect? I wasnt particularly. But when we were all in fits of laughter after the first round (and my counter had advanced 3 spaces already) things started to look up, and got better and better as the evening progressed.
Now for those that arent familiar with the game, the original Balderdash game follows the Call My Bluff formula except theres a board and counters thrown into the bargain. Players take it in turns to be the Dasher who reads out an unheard of word from a card. Everyone else then thinks up a definition for the word, writes it down, then the Dasher reads out all the definitions including the real one. You then get to vote on which you think is the true meaning. You score points and therefore move forward on the board if you guess the correct answer, or if other people are fooled into voting for your bogus definition.
With the absolute version, there are additional categories included in the game (more on those later), the board has been jazzed up to include different category squares, and you get one of those cheap plastic spinners, so that if you land on a square with an arrow by it you get the added bonus of spinning the spinner. This action either earns you the right to move forward a square or two, or you get sent back a couple of squares, or the spinner ends up in no-mans land between 2 options, and then Im not quite sure what youre supposed to do. We decided not to bother getting the rules back out to find out, but pursued the option of repeated spins until it pointed to a proper option. One word of caution about the spinner: it should be treated at all times with gentleness and respect. Aggressive or over-excited spinning sends it shooting across the board, scattering all players counters in its path (note: this may be a useful tactic for subtly rearranging counters to a more advantageous position, particularly if you are an 11 year old at an age disadvantage).
There are 5 categories on each card; the one you play is determined by the square currently occupied by the leading counter on the board. The categories are as follows:
Words this is the same as the original balderdash. Decide what such a word as caruncle means. And no, its not an abbreviation for can I borrow the car, Uncle?
Abbreviations in this category youre given a set of initials and you have to decide what they stand for. For example, M.O.O. We had Masters of Oriental Origami and we also had Miniature Oriental Origami and Middlesex Origami Organisation (I guess theres a limit to the number of words beginning with O). The real answer which I wont give away was the funniest of the lot, and would you believe, had nothing at all to do with origami.
Films in this round youre given the name of a film, and you have to write a short synopsis of what the film is about. Lobster for Breakfast a disillusioned banker retrains as a chef in the south of France with hilarious consequences or maybe a destitute fishermans luck changes when he discovers a priceless gem concealed in a lobsters claw but definitely not a big, fat, Portuguese man finds love in an unexpected place. (Little tip here: if you write words like big, fat, stupid, jerk, people tend to know its not the answer written on the card). This round generated some fantastic ideas for future film blockbusters so watch this space for Lobster for Breakfast Regurgitated coming soon to a cinema near you.
Names here youre given someones name and you have to decide what they are famous for. Now, to digress slightly, whatever game you play, theres always one person whos still deliberating over what to do, way beyond the accepted normal time, way beyond when everyone else has finished, with the result that youre all sitting there waiting .and waiting .and still waiting. With this game, the best thing to do with that slowcoach is put the pressure on and youre guaranteed a much funnier answer as they rush to finish their sentence with the first thing that enters their head. So thats how last night E. Vincent-Wright came to be famous for writing the book 101 things to do ..in a swimsuit.
Laws this category is all about stupid laws around the world. Youre given the first part of a law, for example, In California its against the law to eat and you get to finish it with something suitably plausible like crisps in a morgue. Simple.
? at certain points on the board you land on a question mark. When we first encountered this, we had no idea what it meant and had absolutely no intention (again) of going through the tedious process of searching through the rules to find out. So, we decided the Dasher could choose the most amusing category on the card. Apart from when the Dasher chose a category that we didnt really feel like playing at that particular moment in time. And then it went to democratic vote to decide. The possibilities are endless when you cast aside the rules.
So, thats the basic game, and what a hilarious game it turned out to be. I havent laughed so much in one evening in ages. Huge improvement on the original (and of course that has nothing to do with the fact that I won, no really, I would have enjoyed it if Id lost, honestly). Psychoanalysts would have a field day with this game; you could do all sorts of analysis such as figuring out why certain people always tend to vote for the same persons answer without realising it.
The drawbacks this isnt ideal to play with children, had I been 11 again last night I probably wouldnt have had the same experience, even with the addition of the new, improved board and the naff spinner. You need to pick a good bunch of people to play with we played with 8 which was an ideal number (and the maximum number of counters supplied with the game). Play with the wrong people and it could turn into more of a dull creative writing exercise. As with all games, watch out for the over-competitive type and the over-intelligent dictionary-reading buff who already knows all the correct answers anyway so spoils the game. Playability is limited to the number of cards in the box, although I noticed that I cannot remember any of the real answers anyway, which means that any educational value I could have gained from learning lots of new words and knowledge has sadly been lost.
The game is currently retailing at £24.99 on Amazon. I reckon its worth it for the laughs, or better still, get a friend to buy it then go round their house to play. Its an ideal time to buy now as were coming up to Christmas, and on that note, may your Christmas turkey be free from caruncles!
I'm not a great fan of board games, since my boyfriend is a complete control freak and can't stand losing. He therefore takes them far too seriously. However, having played this game at a friend's house i decided to buy it as I had such a good time playing it. If you read the rest of the review you'll find out why... What's in the box? -------------------- 1 Board 1 spinny thing 1 Set cards lots of paper for writing answers on counters instruction leaflet Gameplay: ------------- Players take it in turns to be the 'reader' who has the card with the questions and definitions on it. He/she then reads out the question (which isn't really a question, but a word/title/abbreviation) according to which category their counter is on (this couldbe a film tile, word, obscure law, famous person or abbreviation) and the other players then write down what they think the answer is. For example, if the category is films, the reader might read out "The attack of Mad Fat Sheila 2" (not a title from the game, but one very similar to the one we had whilst playing the other night!). The other players write down a quick synopsis of the plot and give their answers to the reader. The reader writes down the correct answer and then reads out that and the 'bluffs' in random order, so as to conceal who has written what answer. The other players then must try to guess which is the correct answer. Players get one point if another player thinks their bluff was the correct answer, two points if they correctly spot the right answer, and the reader gets two points if no one identifies the right one. Players then move around the board and the first one to get to the end wins. There is also a rule about some sort of spinner which moves you back or forwards, but I didn't really understand that rule so we played it without and the game seemed to work quite well without this e
lement of luck. It will probably take about 2 hours to play with a decent number of people (between 5 and eight is ideal), so plan ahead. Is it fun? ----------- Actually, despite the rules being rather complicated and thus difficult to get the hang of, once it gets going the game is great. The secret is that all that has been provided are the tools of the game, how funny, rude or skillful you want to be depends on the players. You get the boring people who always try to imitate the right answer, the comedians who try to be funniest, and then people who just write rude words to be funny. The trick of the game is to account for this and thus the actual right answers are a real mixed bag. This means that picking the correct answer is more a skillful psychological deduction dependent on how well you know your friends than an attempt to 'figure out' the game. Conclusion: --------------- There isn't really a great deal more to say, other than that this a a really fun game. Its suitable for ages 13 and upwards in my opinion, due to the slightly adult nature of some of the definitions, and the complex rules. It can also be good as an ice breaker at a party as it makes for lots of laughs. So all in all I'd definitely recommend this one for christmas parties (although I know it's a bit late for that now) and other get-togethers. Hope everyone has a great christmas, and a wonderful new year, whatever you are up to!