Some of the greatest party games of all time have been word based. In most, players with hints, illustrations, or key words struggle to get teammates to say a password. In Blurble from Bernard Games, it is every man, woman, or child for him or herself as their brains struggle to identify words that should be so obvious. All a player has to do is match a first letter, yet the stress of racing someone else is enough to scramble some brain-eggs and lead to plenty of laughter.
The rules for Blurble are simple. A player is chosen to be the first “Blurbler” that takes on the player to his or her left in a “Face-off” challenge. A card is drawn with an image such as a Tomato or Duck, and players race to say an English word of more than two letters that shares the first letter as the image, such as “taco” or “dump truck.” Words cannot be repeated within the same game, making it more challenging as the rounds go. The winner keeps the card and plays another Face-off with the next player to the left. First player to collect the predetermined number of cards is the overall champion.
The art from Erin Koehler is inviting without being cartoony, keeping the image clear without risk of confusion. There may be certain images that have different words, such as the Visor card possibly being called a “hat.” In an interview, Grant Bernard described hours upon hours of play-testing, weeding out any really confusing cards. For any others, rules outline a Challenge phase where a player may defend calling a Tambourine an “instrument” and saying “igloo.” This gives room for interpretation yet keeps people from shouting just any random word as quickly as possible.
With such a simple deck, Blurble proves versatile with several sets of variation rules such as moving the Blurbler instead of the challenger to ensure everyone plays everyone, each player specifically playing one another round-robin, shedding cards instead of collecting them, or having everyone play the Face-off at the same time for maximum madness. More challenging rules make players think of words beginning with the second letter of the image or limit them to single parts of speech like nouns or verbs. On the Blurble website, a page dedicated to kids contains rules for younger players, turning Blurble into an educational game about grammar, image recognition, organizational skills in creating like groups of images, or creative storytelling.
Blurble is a game for two to twelve players aged six and up. Games are approximately 30 minutes in length, and the rules recommend having more cards for fewer players and fewer cards for large groups to keep it fast-paced. Players will go nuts as their brains freeze up or their guts burst laughing at the effectiveness of shouting out “poo!” for a Pirate card. The original Blurble comes with 250 cards with the 500-card Blurble Deluxe edition out soon.
Five out of five starsPowered by Sidelines