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Balderdash

Balderdash

Publisher: Mattel
Price: $19.99

How outrageous (or inappropriate) this game gets is entirely dependent on who you're playing with.

The words on the cards are all real, and all of them have legitimate definitions. Words like bloviate, canoodle, collywobbles, wabbit, smellfungus, and hoosegow are all in the dictionary (at least, the good dictionaries have them. Yes, even wabbit and hoosegow. Balderdash has hundreds such words--the goal is to provide definitions for each of them.

Play goes down like this. When it's your turn, you draw a card. On one side are five words that appear to be in an alien dialect, and on the other are definitions of each word. These are all words in the English language. You'll pick one, read it out loud, and secretly write the real definition on a piece of paper. Everyone else writes whatever they feel like. Then you read everyone's definitions, and they vote on the one they think is the correct definition. Points are scored for guessing the correct answer or having your answer chosen by another player.

A boffo variation allows players to simply vote on their favorite definitions. Points are immaterial in this version.

Balderdash is (or ought to be) every English major's favorite game. I know a few English professors who put Balderdash higher on their list of favorite things than some of the great classics of Western literature.

Many of the words are sesquipedal. Oftentimes, proffered definitions bring to light players' mumpsimuses, and then everyone can chaff them for being cockeyed and deranged. 'Tis great fun.

The best fun, in fact. I played a game of Balderdash once that got so out of hand I ended up sick from laughing. Literally, physically ill. I'll spare you the particulars, but let that be a remonstrance to buy this game at once and play it with the funniest people you know. You'll not be disappointed.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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Customer Reviews
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  One Scottish Pant Leg
Sincerelyornot of Oregon, 11/29/2011
Balderdash is almost an inversion of scrabble. Instead of trying to spell words that you remember (and in the process having to explain to everyone that, yes, "monstrosity" is a word and it does indeed mean "big"), you start with the word and try to define it.

Many of the words are amazingly funny. In our version, if no one got the actual definition, before learning the real one, we vote on our favorite. The words range from the mundane to the manically funny, such as the word for "one Scottish pant leg." For family reunion weekends, there is no better combination than Balderdash in the morning and scrabble at night.