How to Play Balderdash

By James Holloway

In life, there are times when you're going to find that you don't know what you're talking about. When this happens, some people catch themselves and stop, while other people just keep talking. If you're the latter kind of person, you might have the skills to win at Balderdash, a game of bluffing, misdirection and competitive ignorance.

Setting Up

Before the game begins, set up the board; each player should place a piece on the first space. Shuffle the game's cards and give each player some answer sheets and something to write with. Have each player roll the die; whoever rolls the highest number is the first dasher.

Taking a Turn

The first dasher draws a card. She either rolls randomly to see which category to use or selects a category. The dasher reads out the question for that category to the group. Each player comes up with a fake answer to the question; the answer can be anything at all, the goal being to fool the other players into believing it. The dasher collects all the answers and reads them out together with the real answer. A player receives one point for each player who chooses her answer. A player who chooses the correct answer receives two points. Any player whose submitted answer is actually correct receives three points, but the dasher doesn't read the answer out. Finally, if no one guesses the correct answer, the dasher gets three points.

Winning the Game

Once every player has guessed, the dasher tallies up the points. Each player moves their piece a number of spaces along the board equal to the number of points he received. The player to the immediate left of the dasher is up next to roll and read the cards. The first player to reach the Finish square wins.

About the Author

Dr James Holloway has been writing about games, geek culture and whisky since 1995. A former editor of "Archaeological Review from Cambridge," he has also written for Fortean Times, Fantasy Flight Games and The Unspeakable Oath. A graduate of Cambridge University, Holloway runs the blog Gonzo History Gaming.