Absolute Balderdash Game Rules

Object of the Game

One player reads out a question to the others. They each write down a made-up, but believable answer and hand it to the person who read the question. This person then reads out the REAL answer and all the made-up answers, in random order. The others must guess which is actually correct. You score moves on the board for each player who is conned into believing that your made-up answer is the real one, as well as for choosing the real and often unbelievable answer. It sounds simple… and it is!

In its day, Absolute Balderdash was mightily popular with those who like to create a bit of a hectic, party atmosphere around board game nights. If that strikes a chord, then you’ll probably like:

  • Articulate and Articulate Phrases – the original fast-talking description game, and its quirky younger brother.
  • Logo 2 – the brand new update of the nostalgia-and-now smash hit. Trivia about the stuff all around us: classic TV ads; packaging; jingles; slogans and loads more!
  • Rapidough – guess too slow and you lose some dough! You might well be a terrible clay sculptor, but if your brain works in the right way…

Preparing to Play

Each player requires a pen or pencil and a Bluffing Sheet (from the pad in the box). Each player writes their name at the top of their Bluffing Sheet. Lay out the board and assemble the spinner through the hole in the centre. Each player chooses a playing piece and puts it on the START segment on the board. Select the first person to read a card entry (known as The Dasher) by common consent.

Playing the Game

For the very first turn of the game the Dasher takes the first question card from the card box and chooses one of the five categories on the dark green question side. He states which category he has chosen and reads the relevant question to the other players who then write it on their Bluffing Sheet. (Make sure no-one can read the answer on the back of the card.)

Each player, except the Dasher, then makes up an answer to the question that he thinks will bluff the other players and writes it on his Bluffing Sheet. The answer can be as wacky or as serious as you want.

Depending on which category the Dasher has chosen the kinds of answers required are as follows:

  • WORDS - what is the definition of this word?
  • PEOPLE - what is this person known for?
  • INITIALS - what do they stand for?
  • MOVIES - what is the basic story line?
  • LAWS - complete the law!

While the other players are writing their answers, the Dasher writes the real answer (found on the light green answer side) in his own words on his Bluffing Sheet, so as to disguise it when he reads it out with the made up answers. He then returns the card to the rear of the card box.

The players hand their completed Bluffing Sheets to the Dasher. The Dasher makes sure that the answers can be read clearly, arranges them with the real one in random order, then reads each one aloud. He can reread the answers as required. The other players CAN collapse in fits of laughter but MUST NOT give away which is THEIR answer in any way - no shouting "that's mine", no nudging, winking or grunting!

Moving left from the Dasher, each player in turn decides which answer is the real one. As each player chooses an answer the Dasher writes this player's initials in the score segment on the corresponding Bluffing Sheet. After each player has guessed, the Dasher reveals the right answer and awards points as follows:


    a player scores one point for every vote their answer receives.
    a player scores one point for guessing the correct answer.
    a player scores two points if their Bluff closely resembles the correct answer (this doesn't apply to the Dasher of course).
    the Dasher is awarded two points if none of the players choose the correct Absolute Balderdash answer.

The Dasher tallies up each player's score.


The players move their pieces round the board by the number of segments equal to their score. Players ALWAYS move in strict order. First the Dasher, if he has scored points that turn, next the player to his left, followed by the player to their left and so on until all players have moved.


If you land on a segment that has a small white arrow beside it (a Spinner Segment), spin the spinner immediately and move the number of spaces indicated (+ =forward, - =back ). If this move lands you on another segment with an arrow ignore it and play the next turn as normal.


After everyone has moved their playing piece and spun the spinner if necessary the player to the Dasher's left becomes the new Dasher. He takes the next card in the box. The Category to be read is determined by which segment the leading player's (or players') playing piece is sitting on at the start of this new turn.

If the leading piece is on a ? segment, the Dasher can choose which of the 5 categories will be used that turn.

Now play the turn as described above. Use the same procedure for each subsequent turn.


The first player to land on or pass the START/FINISH segment on the board wins. Although two players may have scored enough to win in the same turn, the player who moves onto or past the START/FINISH segment first, according to the order stated in "MOVING" above, wins. There are no ties.


ONE CORRECT ANSWER: If the Dasher receives a player's answer that closely resembles the correct answer he must put it aside and not read it out during the turn.
He IMMEDIATELY awards the relevant player TWO points which the player moves BEFORE the other answers are read out. If after moving the playing piece lands on a Spinner Segment, he spins the spinner and moves the number of spaces indicated. (See CENTRAL SPINNER above). The player then sits out the rest of that turn.

MORE THAN ONE CORRECT ANSWER: If the Dasher receives more than one answer that closely resembles the correct answer, the round is cancelled.
Each player who submitted a close answer scores 2 points and moves their playing piece forward immediately. If a player's playing piece lands on a Spinner Segment, he spins the spinner and moves the number of spaces indicated.(See CENTRAL SPINNER).

The Dasher then begins the turn again, choosing a new card and reading the same category on the new card to the players.

THREE / FOUR PLAYER OPTION: When playing with four people or less, one variation of the game is to have the Dasher submit a bluff answer in addition to the real answer. This gives the Dasher a chance to bluff and score more, as well as creating more answers to choose from.

TWO PLAYER OPTION: One player becomes the Dasher, takes three cards from the deck and picks a category to play.

The Dasher reads one of the questions aloud from the category chosen. The three answers from that category are then read aloud from each of the three cards in a random order. The other player must choose which answer he believes to be the right one.

If correct the player scores 2 points. If the guess is incorrect, the Dasher scores 1 point.

NB: The Initials category cannot be played with only two people, another must be selected at random by the Dasher.