Balderdash Rules: How To Play Balderdash The Game

Much like the old wine in a new bottle, Balderdash rules are a refurbished version of the old parlor game Dictionary with some new spins added to it. 

This mass-market classic party game is ideal for a Scrabble fan who is intrigued by wordplay. Unlike guessing games like Hedbanz, in Balderdash, you don’t stop at guessing the real answer; fooling and bluffing your friends simultaneously brings you more points. 

To find out the complete set of Balderdash rules, you can have a look at this fun guide where we have covered the A to Z of Balderdash. 

What is Balderdash?

Balderdash is essentially a trivia game blended with equal parts of bluffing, creativity, and laughter. The cards comprise five unbelievable but shockingly true categories of questions that you are not supposed to be familiar with. While writing down your definition, go as wacky or thoughtful as you want, hoping that your friends don’t call your bluff. 

A swirl of laughter begins when the Dasher reads out all the phony responses. Now every player votes. You will earn points if you manage to fool your friends into voting your bluff and guess the real answer. 

Number of Players: 2 – 6 (best with 5-6)

Ages: 12+

Length: 60 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Similar To: Hedbanz, Scattergories, Letter Jam, Dixit

Main Objective: Bluff other players with your made-up answers. Collect points for every vote to your bluff, also for guessing the real answer. 

Why We Love It: Want to see how creative you can get at bluffing? Play a round of Balderdash. The questions cover a range from weird words to initials to laughable laws. It sure tickles your funny bone to guess and put down the cooked-up answers, but you also end up learning something. 

balderdash rules playing image

What You Need to Play Balderdash

This Balderdash game set published by Mattle is all you need to set up the game quickly. Make sure you find these items when you unbox:

  • 1 Game board
  • 280 Game cards
  • 1 Answer sheet pad
  • 6 Movers
  • 1 Die
  • 1 Balderdash rules and instruction sheet

If you want to include more than six players, grab a piece of paper to keep scores. Keep the little movers away from toddlers to avoid choking hazards. 

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Game Setup

Layout the game board on a flat surface. 

Each player picks up their pen or pencil and bluffing sheets for writing answers from the pad in the kit. 

Everyone places their individual colored movers on the starting point of the board.

Once the setup is done, all the players will roll the die once. The highest roll is selected as the Dasher for that round, who will read the cards.

Balderdash Rules and Gameplay

Choosing Question Category:

There are two optional plays to choose a category of question. 

  1. The dasher rolls the die and picks the category corresponding to the number he rolled. As there are 5 categories on each card, for a 6, the Dasher can choose anyone. 
  2. If all the players agree, the Dasher gets the power to pick whichever one of the 5 categories he likes. 

5 Categories and the Relevant Questions:

Weird words – What does this word mean?

Peculiar people – How do you know this person?

Incredible initials – What does this stand for?

Marvelous movies – How does the storyline go?

Laughable laws – What is this law?

Playing the Game:

Now the Dasher declares which category he has chosen and reads aloud the question to other players from the blue side of the card. Try to hide the real answer written on the back of the card. 

Everyone writes it down on the Question section of their bluffing sheet.

Now all the players, except Dasher, write down a made-up answer to bluff other players in the answer section.

Remember, your motif is to fool everyone else and go as loopy and ridiculous as you want with the answers. Just keep it readable and write secretly so that no one can peek into your sheet. 

Meanwhile, the Dasher looks at the real answer on the orange side of the card and writes it down on his bluffing sheet. He then puts the card back at the end of the box. 

Players sign their initials in the Name box at the bottom of their sheet and hand these over to the Dasher.

The Dasher checks if all the answers are legible, add the one with the real answer, and arranges them in random order. Then he reads all the answers with a straight face to disguise the real one.

The players are not allowed to disclose their own answers. I mean, laugh all you want at the silly responses, but remember to keep your mouth shut; don’t nudge, wink or grunt when your answer is being read. 

Guessing the Real Answer:

Moving clockwise from the Dasher, every player gets a turn to make a guess which response is the real one. As the players guess, the Dasher writes the player’s initial on the Score box of the corresponding bluffing sheet.

And finally, the Dasher reveals the right answer and tallies up the scores.

Moving the Game Pieces:

Each player moves their individual colored game pieces X no of spaces on the board (X being their score in that round), in a clockwise rotation starting from the Dasher. 

As the game continues, the player to the Dasher’s left becomes the new Dasher for the next round.

Rules for 2 Players:

Both players become the Dasher in alternate terms. The game begins following the usual Balderdash rules, but the Dasher writes a made-up answer before looking into the real answer on the back of the card.

Now in a similar fashion, the Dasher copies the real answer and reads them aloud to the guessing player.

If your opponent votes for the bluff answer, you move your game piece 3 spaces; if the guesser votes for the real answer, they move their game piece 2 spaces. Continue this way until you reach the finishing point.

Balderdash Scoring 

  • 1 Point – A player scores 1 for every vote given to their response. 
  • 2 Points – A player scores 2 for correctly guessing the real answer.
  • 3 Points – The dasher scores 3 when every player fails to guess the real answer.
  • 3 Points – Any player can score 3 if they write an answer that closely resembles the real answer.

If any answer from the players closely resembles the real answer, the Dasher puts that aside and only reads out the real answer. And this player won’t participate in guessing or voting for this round. 

If multiple players give this kind of close answer, then the round is canceled. The Dasher draws a new card and these players earn 3 points each. 

How To Win at Balderdash

The first player to reach the finish segment of the board wins Balderdash!

How to Play Balderdash – Video Tutorial 

Frequently Asked Questions About Balderdash

Where do we get more score sheets for Balderdash once all out?

Keep one sheet intact and you can xerox or scan it or make handmade copies. 

Is Balderdash suitable for children?

This is more of an adult game but you can always take out the cards inappropriate for children and have a fun family game time. 

Can we play Balderdash with more than 6 people?

Balderdash rules for 6+ players remain the same. As the kit comes with only 6 movers, you can keep score on paper rather than using the board. 

Alternative Games You Might Like 

Guessing games can be addictive, right? To continue the trail of Balderdash, you should definitely try Hedbanz or Guess Who.

Scattergories, Letter Jam, or good old Scrabble are perfect choices for more wordplay and less bluffing. 

You can also check out our guide to Beat the Parents, a simple kids vs. adults trivia game for your family.

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