This is mostly review with 2 little variants, and session report that do not stand on their own, thrown in.
Friends who love words have always surrounded me, love to read them, write them. Balderdash was always a favorite in college when we wanted a fun, light, night of gaming. A few months back our game organizer handed me a copy of (1987 version) Blarney for free and my wife insisted we keep it.
I'm glad we did.
Blarney is a game of word deception like Balderdash, with low, production values. It's the older, poorer stepchild to its more popular word play favorite.
The game comes with 10 white stones, or Blarney stones, to be used to signify the passing of the 10 rounds. The game also comes with a very large stack of cards, each of which has five obscure words and definitions on it. Also included are a number of Blarney cards, or made up words, you can choose to use instead of the "real words". We decided to ignore the Blarney words during our play, but they would make for an interesting mix to the game.
A player reads the word out loud, and all the players write down a fake definition, while the original player writes down the correct definition, the active player reads all the definitions and players choose which one they believe is correct.
You score 3 PTs if someone guesses your fake definition, and 10 if you are the Active "Blarney Master" and no one guesses the correct answer. You score 5 if you guess the correct answer.
A game lasts 10 rounds, or words, and then you tally up the points.
It's pretty simple.
Three Player Variant
The game is better with 4 or more, but both plays have been with 3 people and we enjoyed ourselves. Ample servings of wine help the "creative" definitions flow. After our first game we decided the Blarney Master should also write down a fake definition as well as the correct one. This increased the fun and strategy even more. The extra definition could be quite difficult, or it could be downright hilarious.
We also flirt with a variant that allows people to vote for the most creative definition, which receives 1 PT.
No matter how many times I play a game like this there are always people who go for serious definitions and those who go for laughs. I oscillate between the two, opting for sillier and dirtier definitions as more wine is consumed.
All in all this has been an unexpected discovery in my own game collection that has given us quite a number of hours of fun. I advise 2-4 rounds depending on the number of players and amounts of wine/beer served. Finally, it's a game that always surprises and impresses me at how creative and clever my friends and family really are.