Online Balderdash - Tips

Tips last updated in April 2001.

  1. Creating Answers

    Creating answers can be the most enjoyable part of Balderdash, or the most stressful! People are always commenting to me that their answers suck or won't get votes for one reason or another. So here are a few basic tips on creating answers, but I don't guarantee anything! It's all up to the voters in the end...

    1. Keep it short! The answers on the cards are almost always one sentence. Very rarely, the movies category has a two-sentence answer.

    2. Use full sentences with proper grammar. For example, instead of "Inventor of the whatever," say "The inventor of the whatever." Also, ensure that your sentence structure is reasonably grammatically correct, since the cards generally are. Although do note that occasionally the cards do have answers like "Invented Lego," probably to throw experienced players off. More often than not, however, they are grammatically correct.

    3. If you don't know how to spell something, don't guess! Try another word or another answer entirely. Despite what the dasher may say about ignoring spelling errors, people tend to shy away from voting for answers with errors. And remember, looking the word up in the dictionary is considered cheating in this version of the game.

    4. Use a variety of detail. After playing for awhile, it becomes obvious to some voters which players always use a great deal of detail (ie The inventor of the whatever who went on to do such-and-such), and which tend to keep it very short (ie The inventor of the whatever.). If your answers aren't following a pattern, it'll be harder for voters to say to themselves, "Hey, that looks like something so-and-so might say, so I won't vote for it."

    5. Use a variety of subject matters. Again, regular players will notice other regular players' habits...for example, if your answers generally refer to sports, Europe, or any other topic.

    6. Don't be afraid to be wacky. Since the real answer is often highly bizarre, your wacky answer might stand out on the voting list as a probable one because voters will assume no one would come up with such a ridiculous answer.

    7. Don't be afraid to stretch the subject. In the movies category, quite often the title has nothing to do with the real plot. If everyone else's answers are about a specific subject and your isn't, voters might gravitiate to yours.

    8. Don't be afraid to use extra words in the initials category. Don't do it all the time, but it does happen frequently that the real answer contains extra words, usually conjunctions and articles like and, of, in, the, etc.

    9. It's rare, but not unheard of, for the movies category to include the name of actors in the film. So if you're going to do so, do it sparingly!

    10. Don't be afraid to recycle good answers. More than once now it's happened that several rounds back someone made up a realistic answer in the dates category (ie regarding the Berlin wall or the first heart transplant), only to have that actually be the real answer in another round. So if you made up a realistic dates answer that nobody went for, try using it again several rounds later, and maybe you'll get some votes from people thinking it's now on the card.

    11. Avoid regional dialect. Personally, I often find it kind of easy to spot the answers from our British players. There are various colloquialisms only used in the UK that make them stand out like a sore thumb. Unfortunately, the game is an American/Canadian game, so such words and phrases aren't ever going to be on the card. For example, the term "row" referring to a fight is not used in North America. Also, words like "organization" and "realize" are spelled with a 'z' in North America, so that's what the cards will usually say. Don't call the person a "bloke" or other UK-type slang, because it'll mark your answer as a player answer for all the non-Europeans playing.

    12. It's quite rare for a card answer to use "etc."

    13. In the People category, it's not a good idea to say something such as "Would have been famous for [something], except that [whatever] happened to prevent that." Think about it: if the person was completely prevented from achieving notoriety, they probably wouldn't have ended up on the card in the first place. Experienced players will discount such an answer almost immediately.

    14. Above all, remember your goal is to persuade people that your answer is best. You goal is not to actually be close to the truth (unless you are going for a correct answer in those rare instances), or to impress people with how much you know about a given subject. So structure your answers with the mindset of attracting people to the answer, not for any other goal.

  2. Voting

    Not much can be said on tips for voting, because it's pretty much just what you think sounds good. But here are a few handy pointers:

    1. Process of elimination is your best bet. I find that the easiest way to vote is to reply to the voting list message and include the full text of the list in the reply. Then, category by category, I go through the answers and use line delete to remove ones I know I don't want to vote for, such as my own or any others that immediately strike me as wrong. Mind you, I have no advice for how to chose once you get down to the last few probable ones.

    2. Use the actual text of the answers in your reply to the dasher. Sometimes several answers are similar, so if you just summarize, your vote might not go where you intend it. In fact, I'll make you resubmit your votes rather than guess at what you mean.

    3. Don't base your vote on how many similar answers there are. Sometimes many similar answers might mean that everyone is submitting the same thing. Sometimes it might mean that a couple people submitted the same sort of thing, and one is the right answer. Just because two answers are sort of similar doesn't mean that they're necessarily right or wrong.

    4. Don't base your vote on typos. The dasher is, after all, typing the real entry in, and may have made a typo there.

  3. Making the dasher's life easier

    These are some simple guidelines that I, KaCee, have to make my own dashing easier. If you don't follow these tips, you won't be punished or penalized in any way, so don't worry. This is just little things that would mean less formatting for me to do. I promise I won't be upset if you ignore them, but you'll make me a happy girl if you follow them:

    1. Type your answers with proper capitalization and punctuation. Here is the format that I use for the lists:

      • Words: A full sentence with proper grammar and a period at the end.
      • People: A full sentence with proper grammar and a period at the end. Very, very rarely has two sentences.
      • Initials: Not a sentence, no period at the end.
      • Movies: A full sentence with proper grammar and a period at the end. Very rarely has two sentences.
      • Dates: A full sentence with proper grammar and a period at the end.

      Putting things in this format when you submit answers saves me TONS of time, and is strongly appreciated.

    2. Don't put "my answer:" similar statements, or tabs in front of your answer. Such things make it difficult to cut and paste entire lines.

    3. When you include comments about your answers (which is perfectly acceptable), put them in square brackets or else before/after the list of answers to ensure that they aren't included on the lists.

    4. Specify if any comment made is something you want shared with others on the results posting.

    5. Specify if you think your answer is correct.

    6. Include categories and the current word, name, etc. with your answers, so I can make sure you're answering for the current round and not an old one by accident.

Balderdash is a trademark of Gameworks Creations, formerly under license by Parker Brothers and Canada games, now under license by Hasbro. No written permission has been obtained for this online play, but I do legally own a copy of the game, and as far as I know no written permission is required for that.

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Page last updated December 4, 2003.

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