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Subject: Balderdash Review by a GANONGAF rss

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Jonathan Er
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a common theme in all my reviews is that I am doing it from a GANONGAF perspective.
GANONGAF – Gamer with NON-Gamer Friends

Reason being, I often look for games to buy for my group of friends and myself to enjoy, but its often hard to find a review for such a group.

The bunch of friends I board game with are basically non-gamers
In short, they would choose a night of drinking, or a night of poker, or a nice big dinner over a night of board games. How unfortunate. *sigh*

Regardless, let me begin


Gist of the Game

You write an answer based on a question on one of the given categories
( Word Definition, Person, Acronyms, Movies, Laughable Laws )
The Dasher ( leader, appointed person, chosen one, etc ) of the round will read out all the answers written by everyone else along with the correct answer
After which everyone else ( excluding Dasher ) will vote on which they think is the correct answer.
You score points based on the number of votes you received for your answers and whenever you manage to figure out which is the correct answer.
Dasher changes each round in a pre-determined fashion till game end
( when a person has accumulated a certain number of points )


Components

Overall the components of Balderdash are very basic.
They provide you with the standard player chits, the game board, and a whole lot of cards that you use to play the game. A paper pad is also provided for writing down the answers.

Now, I have nothing against a game providing you the very basics required for a game. Its ok really, I don’t insist on extra pieces or extremely pretty parts ( though that would be nice ).
But what I dislike is when a game comes in a box that is too oversized for no good reason.

And Balderdash is like that. It comes in a big box, but fills it with nothing much.
Its even unbalanced in weight ( heavier at the bottom half ) for those who want to know.
I honestly felt it could have done with a box half the size of what it originally comes in.
Oversized ( and useless ) big boxes are no good for many reasons. Transportation, shipping, storing, etc. So that’s a down side of this game components wise.

Rating: 7.4/10


Complexity of Game

The rules for Balderdash are very simple. All you need to be able to do is read and write.
It can be explained in 5 mins flat ( or less ). But I do recommend to just do a test round.
That’s how I normally teach the game. It’s so much faster that way.

One thing you might want to explain to them before you play ( which is not stated in the rule book ). That when the Dasher collects the answers, he/she should read through them first to make sure that he/she is able to read all the words and that he/she is able to do so without laughing. That will help A LOT. Trust me.

Rating: 10 / 10


Playing Experience / Fun Factor

Alright, my friends LOVE Balderdash. It makes them laugh, it makes them excited, and it’s what they normally request to play when they come over. I have 3 different groups of Non-gamer friends and all 3 groups love Balderdash.
Why they love it ? It makes them laugh. Simple as that. It’s nothing to do with the winning, or the mechanics ( which is none ), it’s just pure Fun for them. We can play it 3 times in a row and they still love it.

The only downside of Balderdash is:
1) when they get tired and can no longer think of ingenious ideas / answers
2) there are those who just don’t have the ability to conjure convincing enough answers

For example, there was this time when the “Movies” category came up. We wrote everything down, gave it to the Dasher. And the round went like this

Dasher:
Movies, The Prince’s Balls ( not real title but was a title that sounded dirty )
First Answer: blah blah blah ( synopsis )
Second Answer: blah blah blah ( synopsis )
Third Answer: A Porn Flick

( Moment of awkward silence… then everyone erupts into laughter )

Me: WTH was that ?
Anton: that’s sooooooo not the correct answer
Fester: dear me, now, should I vote for that ? ( with sarcasm )

So that’s the kind of scenario you get when you have a player who, for the love of him/her, is unable to think of an appropriate answer. Then you have a poor person who isn’t having so much fun.
Apart from this, nothing should really stop you or anyone from having a good laugh.

Rating: 8.2 / 10


Replayability

I personally feel that Balderdash is a game that almost everyone can and will enjoy. It’s only how much they enjoy it. For me, I’m not all that into it but I will still suggest it every now and then.
Balderdash will hit the table time and time again as long as everyone is not too tired and are willing to put some of their brain power at work.

But if your gaming group is into games with some form of action ( besides constant writing ), then this wont sit well with them.
If you play it enough, some answers will pop out from previous plays and that gives the person who remembers it an advantage, but there are a lot of questions to keep you playing for a really long time.

Rating: 7.9 / 10


Variants

N/A.

Overall Rating (not an average of above scores but an overall grade): 7.5 / 10
* I do not score based on an average of the above scores because it may result in a boring game with great components outscoring a pretty average game with average components but one which my friends and I enjoyed a whole lot more.

edits: amended rating for game. after multiple plays, it doesnt hold up as well as alot of other games. old rating: 7.7
 
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King of the Dead
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I've got to say, I don't really like this as a gamer game. It is fun in a party style setting though.

I applaud you for writing the review for something that doesn't get much attention here.
 
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Nick Case
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Nazhuret wrote:
I've got to say, I don't really like this as a gamer game. It is fun in a party style setting though.


Ditto. For me it's an after dinner special when you've had froends over and drunk loads. Sober, its a Christmas game we played for years before Balderdash came out and we called it the dictionary game. One person flicks through the dictionary to find an obscure word, announces the word and then everyone writes their definition.

Apart from the set up cost of a dictionary, this version is free but has a thousand times more unique replayability and takes up zil space on the games shelf. So I struggle to call Balderdash a board game and consider it a clever marketing exercise making people pay for something that could produce themselves for nothing.
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King of the Dead
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Big Bad Lex wrote:
For me it's an after dinner special when you've had froends over and drunk loads. Sober, its a Christmas game we played for years before Balderdash came out and we called it the dictionary game. One person flicks through the dictionary to find an obscure word, announces the word and then everyone writes their definition.

Apart from the set up cost of a dictionary, this version is free but has a thousand times more unique replayability and takes up zil space on the games shelf. So I struggle to call Balderdash a board game and consider it a clever marketing exercise making people pay for something that could produce themselves for nothing.


Ditto back to you.

I also feel the same about Time's Up! and Pictionary. There's more than a few like this out there.
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Jonathan Er
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ditto back to both of you

i do agree that with the dictionary or just a catalog of movie names and stuff we could be playing the same game.

and thats why as a gamer i wouldnt put Balderdash on my list of must play games.

i would rather be playing something else. but to non-gamers like my friends, this is the fun stuff. like, something they will never tire of (though i hope one day they will. haha)
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This is a game that we used to play a lot, in my home and in my church's youth group when I was that age. But as an adult I have a major complaint about Balderdash.

Namely: it cheats. How does it cheat? Well, the game relies on presenting dozens of valid words that you have never heard of, because the game would be easily winnable (not to mention unfunny) if someone truly had a big enough vocabulary to know the real definition each round. The way the game cheats is by covertly using many non-English words that haven't actually been imported into common English usage.

Players are told the tale that there are many words in the English language that are so obscure no one uses them. But instead they often end up guessing the meanings of words from other languages. Ignorance of this is bliss, but adult players who start studying other languages may start to become annoyed by this game.

Sorry to go on a long rant here. I'd write my own review but it's been too long since I've played this game; I couldn't do a proper review of all the game elements.


Jion wrote:
i do agree that with the dictionary or just a catalog of movie names and stuff we could be playing the same game.


Could this be another game that people used to play with pencil and paper, that got packaged into something that can be sold to the masses, much like Battleship?
 
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