A word to describe any statement that is considered to be a lie, or at least stretching the truth. Also a board game, where players must make up meanings for obscure words, points being scored for choosing the correct meaning, and also bluffing other players into choosing your made-up definition.

Balderdash
A hilarious Board Game.

Produced by: Mattel
Recommended age: 10 and up
Game style: Creative word / party game
Time to play: 75 minutes

Objective:
Advance your piece to the finish line by creating a phony definition for a given word so that other players might mistake your definition for the true one while correctly identifying the true definition of the given word.

How this is done:
Before the game starts, each player is to select a unique colored player piece to mark his or her progress from start to finish in the game as well as several small, uniformed sheets of paper and a writing instrument. Once everyone is prepared to play the game, the die is to be rolled by each player. The highest rolling player is to be the "dasher" (current round's leader).
  1. The dasher removes a card from the side of the box containing the cards labeled "DRAW FROM HERE" while hiding the text on each side of the card with his or her hand.

  2. The dasher rolls the die to determine the word for the round. A die roll of 1 means the first word is chosen, a die roll of 2 means the second, and so on. Since there are only five words per card, a roll of 6 allows the dasher to choose the word he or she wishes.

  3. The dasher reads the chosen word, spells it, then reads it again (similar to the way one would in a spelling bee). The other players write the word on the top of their paper.

  4. Each player fabricates a definition for the word in play, signs the bottom with their initials, folds the paper in half, then passes it to the dasher. During this time the dasher is to copy the correct definition to his or her own paper, mark it as correct, fold it, and give it to him or herself. The card can be replaced to the opposite end of the box.

  5. Once all slips of paper have been turned in, the dasher is to read each slip to himself to make sure that he or she can correctly say each one. This time can also be used by the dasher to get into a position where he or she can be able to say all definitions straight faced as many are simply funny (I'm talking about both the correct and fake answers). Also, if any player submits a correct answer, the slip is removed and that player gets to move forward.

  6. After the dasher has composed himself and prepared the slips, he or she reads each aloud. The dasher may use his or her voice to bluff at certain answers, but a bad bluffer can give the right answer away. If a player wants a definition to be read again, the dash may do so up to three times.

  7. In clockwise order the dasher asks each player what definition for the defintion that they think is correct and marks their initials on the card they have guessed. This can be used by players to formulate their guesses (as a player is not likely to vote on their own card).

  8. After each player makes their guess the dasher says the real definition, people laugh, and the scores are calculated as defined elsewhere. The player counterclockwise to the current dasher becomes the new dasher and play continues at step 1.
Scoring:
1 point is awarded for each guess to the player who created that definition.
2 points are awarded to each player who guesses the true definition.
3 points are awarded to the dasher if the true definition is not guessed. 4 points are awarded to each player that writes the correct definition.

Each point awarded to a player advances their player piece forward one space.

Example Card:
 ________________________
|                        |
| 1) Anorthoclase        |
| 2) Ambary              |
| 3) Meridonally         | FRONT
| 4) Remittor            |
| 5) Petard              |
|________________________|

 ________________________
|                        |
| 1) Anorthoclase's Def. |
| 2) Ambary's Def.       |
| 3) Meridonally's Def.  | BACK
| 4) Remittor's Def.     |
| 5) Petard's Def.       |
|________________________|

Winning:
A player wins the game by being the first to cross the finish line. The official rules say you get to move your pieces in clockwise order to eliminate ties, but everyone is in such a playful mood by this time that no one seems to mind endings with ties. Feel free to resolve them how you wish.

Drinking game:
Take a shot for each time you guess an incorrect definition. As dasher, if the correct answer is not guessed by any player, you may assign a shot to another player. Party fouls disqualify a player from the game.

There are differences in the game of Balderdash that I learned to play - perhaps because the game is called "Absolute" Balderdash, perhaps because it's an Australian edition, who knows. But anyway, here are the small, but significant, differences.

Instead of just trying to find definitions for obscure words, there are four additional bluffing topics: Dates (something famous happened on this date in history; what was it?), People (what was this person famous, infamous, or just well-known for?), Initials (what do these initials stand for?) and Movies (what was the plot of this movie?). I still remember one time when Deejah wrote that one Person (can't remember the name) is famous for "inventing jeans for your penis".

When my family play the game we never worry about scoring, so we never use the game board. We are all winners when we come out of it because we've all had a good laugh, we've all made people laugh, and generally just had a great time. Apparently, this is a very widely-known variation. Everything else is pretty much the same: scoring system, the concept of "dasher", the ability of the game to turn a social evening into uproarious chaos...

Bal"der*dash (?), n. [Of uncertain origin: cf. Dan. balder noise, clatter, and E. dash; hence, perhaps, unmeaning noise, then hodgepodge, mixture; or W. baldorduss a prattling, baldordd, baldorddi, to prattle.]

1.

A worthless mixture, especially of liquors.

Indeed beer, by a mixture of wine, hath lost both name and nature, and is called balderdash.
Taylor (Drink and Welcome).

2.

Senseless jargon; ribaldry; nonsense; trash.

 

© Webster 1913.


Bal"der*dash (?), v. t.

To mix or adulterate, as liquors.

The wine merchants of Nice brew and balderdash, and even
mix it with pigeon's dung and quicklime.
Smollett.

 

© Webster 1913.

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