Get The Party Started With Blank SlateFebruary 18, 2019
As an omnigamer (someone who plays all types of games), I love the unique experience that each game brings to the table. Whether it’s the epic all-day spare opera Twilight Imperium or the throwback fun of Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar, I’m always down for a good time at the tabletop.
When I first opened the box to Blank Slate I wasn’t sure what to expect. It had plenty of dry-erase boards and markers, as well as a score tracker. It also had a small box filled with clue cards. That’s it. But once my friends and I started playing it, we couldn’t stop ourselves. Blank Slate was a hit!
Published by USAopoly, Blank Slate is a party game for 3-8 players. Mention the phrase “party game” to most hobby gamers and you’ll often see a furrowed brow or an eye roll as you start to describe the game’s rules. They’ve probably had more than their fair share of experiences with charades or Cards Against Humanity knockoffs that has kept them away from party games for years.
Thankfully, Blank Slate is the type of game that can show hardcore gamers that tabletops aren’t just for pushing cubes or building the most efficient engine with your deck of cards. Here, you’re trying to match another person’s answer to the selected clue, but it goes beyond just a mere guessing game.
Each round is quick and simple. One player draws a random clue card and reads it to everybody. Each card contains exactly one word and one blank line. All players then secretly write their answer on their board. When everybody’s done, they reveal their words simultaneously.
This is where the fun begins: finding out who’s matched with whom. If you and exactly one other player have written down the same word, you each score 3 points. Nice job! However, if more than two people have the same word then they each score 1 point. If you’re the only one with a word, you score nothing.
So, the clue could be “Board [blank].” Of course, I think of “game” when I hear board, but “board game” almost seems too obvious. Would everybody at the table write that? We’d all score one point, which is fine, but you really want those three points to get in the lead. What if I wrote “walk” instead? Is there one other Coasters fan that I could match with?
The beauty of Blank Slate lies in this scoring system. It reminded me of Dixit’s scoring, in which you want to match with only one person. If your answer is the same as two or more players, you all still get one point, but you’re really trying to find that one person who you’re in sync with so you can score three points. The first person to 25 points wins the game, so those three-point answers are crucial in your race to the end.
During every game I’ve played, groans and laughter were heard whenever the answers were revealed. It’s a blast trying to match your answer with exactly one other player. You’d think that couples would have an advantage here, but in my experience, they don’t; unless they’re thinking super-specific inside jokes, most of the time everyone has a fair shot at winning.
Blank Slate is a superb party game, one that takes only a minute or two to teach and takes about 20 minutes to play. It plays well with non-gamers and more hardcore gamers, and it’s been a delightful addition to my board game library.