Blurble is a party game, designed by Grant Bernard, in which players try to quickly identify an image, and shout out a word using the first letter of the of what the image is. The trick is, that it cannot be a two-letter answer, proper noun, or a word that has already been used this game! Did I mention you have to be faster than the player with whom you are facing off? Images, words, and speed can create a wild time at the table with friends and family as everyone’s brains trip over themselves trying to be fast and right!
While I would normally give a brief interpretation of the rules and sum up, Blurble can be a little difficult to explain exactly how it works without being there in person. As such the following section is taken directly from the Blurble page on www.boardgamegeek.com. This is the official description from the publisher.
- To say an English word with the same first letter as the depicted image on the card before your opponent. The player with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner.
Playing the Game:
- Choose one player to start as the ‘Blurbler’ (the person who starts the action by flipping a card onto the table). The Blurbler takes a small stack of cards, without looking at the images, and adds more to the stack as necessary.
- Play starts between the Blurbler and the player to his or her left.
- The Blurbler flips the first card from the stack face-up onto the table. The card should be placed at an equal distance between the two players. Each time a card is flipped, a ‘face-off’ occurs between the Blurbler and the opponent.
- The two players involved race to say any English word, that is not a proper noun or a number, that shares the same first letter as the object on the card. For instance, if the card shows a dog, words such as “drain” or “dairy” would be acceptable, whereas “David” or “Denmark” would not. Words used must be at least three letters long.
- The first player to finish saying a correct word first is the winner.
- The Blurbler continues to move clockwise around the circle until beat.
- Once the Blurbler is beat, the deck is passed to the player who won that round, and a new Blurbler is born.
- Play always resumes with the player to the left of the new Blurbler.
- The player who says a legal word first is the winner of that face-off.
- After each face-off, the winning player takes the card and puts it in front of him or her.
- If there is uncertainty about who said the word first, the other players not involved will vote on who won. If the round is deemed a tie, neither player is awarded the card, and the two players will face-off again with the next card.
- A word may only be said once in a given sitting. Let’s say the octopus card is flipped. One player yells “orange” and the other yells “oblong”. If “orange” was said before “oblong”, then “orange” cannot be used for the duration of the game, but “oblong” is still allowed. If there is uncertainty whether a word has already been said, consult the rest of the table for a group vote. A redo card can be used to resolve any disputes.
- If an incorrect word is used, for instance a proper noun, a number, a two-letter word, or a word that has already been used, players may continue to shout words until someone says a correct one. There is no penalty for incorrect words.
- A word may not be used if its exact spelling is contained within the depicted image. For instance, “rain” could not be used for “rainbow,” or “rob” for “robot.” Similarly, if a word is pronounced the same, but has a different spelling, it cannot be used. In the example above, “reign” could not be used for “rainbow.” A word with a similar sound is acceptable, so long as it is not spelled out in the depicted image. For instance, “row” could be used for “rope” or “camel” for “camera.”
- The player with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner.
Winning the Game:
There are several different options of how to structure the game. In all options, the winning player of each face-off keeps that card. These options allow you to structure how long game play will last.
- Decide on how long to play and set a timer. When the timer sounds, players add up their cards to determine the winner.
- Play to a predetermined number. Once someone has accumulated the predetermined number of cards, he or she is the winner.
- Decide on how many cards will constitute a game. This can be done by simply grabbing a smaller stack from the deck, or counting out an exact number. Play until all the cards are gone. The player who collected the most cards is the winner.
I have played Blurble a number of times since receiving it from the designer/publisher. These games were almost exclusively three and four player games, however the wife and I have played a couple of head to head duels. While Blurble plays a little differently with each of these player counts, due to more or less down time, the common thread through all of the games was that we had a lot of fun playing! Those who know me, are well aware of my preference for hardcore strategy games that melt your brain and leave no question who won or why. What many of them do not know is that I also enjoy a good party game from time to time as well. I grew up playing Balderdash, Outburst, Pictionary, and many more. The key factor in all of these games, was the way they could criss-cross the way your brain worked and the hilarity that would ensue. Blurble captures the same feel as all of those I mentioned and provides entertainment to nearly any sized group while being incredibly simple to learn.
Blurble succeeds because it knows what it is and does not stray from its goal. Blurble wants to be a highly accessible, super simple, and quick to play party game that causes the brains of its players to get tangled up for the enjoyment of all involved, and it does so very well. One of the humorous aspects of Blurble that I have observed is the tendency for the most competitive player (me) to develop a stutter, shout previously used words, or brain freeze with the answer just out of reach. This only adds to the comical effect of the games nature.
Another thing that I find interesting, is that Blurble does not really fall into my normal definition of a game, because there are next to no decisions to be made, but it is most certainly a competitive and entertaining activity. While this will not endear it to hardcore gamers, it is exactly the sort of thing that makes it fun to pull out right around the holidays with family!
While some of the aspects of Blurble, which I have already described will be viewed as positives or negatives depending on the players, the only true issue we ever have had with the game is that some of the pictures are a little open to interpretation. While a minor problem, it can cause some disgruntled players if people disagree on what the picture is, and thus what are eligible words to say. We dealt with this by letting the player to make a case as to why the thought the picture was what they did, and given that it is a party game and not for blood, then allow it if their story was not too ridiculous.
All in all, Blurble lives up to its claim of being, “the fasted-paced game for quick-witted people”, while putting smiles on the faces of its players. It delivers as a family game and party game on the exact levels which it is shooting for and that makes it a success! If you enjoy sharing a light party game with mostly non-gamer friends and family, I would strongly recommend giving Blurble a try!
Let it be known to all readers and government officials alike, that Life in Games received a free copy of this game for the purpose of providing an objective review. No further compensation of any sort changed hands between myself and the publisher.