Thursday 12 June 2014

Review - Blankety Blank Game

Blankety Blank

Blankety Blank
Published by Milton Bradley
Designed by...?
For 3 or more players, aged 10 to adult

Blankety Blank board game

I'm going to let you in on a little secret... Reviewing games is pointless. Really, it is. Because I can never really tell you if you will like a game. I have enough trouble figuring out if I will like a game, and I know me pretty well.

The truth of it is, many times a game is only as good as the people you play it with.

That's why my reviews for bloody awful children's games tend to be positive... There is nothing more special than playing those games with my daughter.

And that is why my review for Blankety Blank is going to be positive.

Sort of.

My wife picked this up for me in a charity shop as part of a Christmas present. She basically searched charity shops for months on the run-up to Christmas, so she could present me with about 30 games on the day. There were some really rather wonderful games in the collection she amassed, including Scotland Yard and Shing Shang.

And then there was Blankety Blank.

I am sure most people remember the Blankety Blank television show.

Basically, there are two contestants. They each get given a sentence with a "blank" in it, and they need to provide one or more words to fill that "blank." Then six panellists do the same thing, and the contestant gets a point for each panellist who gives the same answer.

Well, the board game is a pretty faithful recreation of the television show. There is a book with over 80 unique games in it, and one person becomes the presenter and is in charge of asking the questions. The other two players (or groups of players) are the contestants.

The presenter gives each contestant two sentences. The contestants give answers, and compare them to the six answers in the book to see how many points are scored. Points are tracked on a peg board with plastic pegs, and at the end, the team with the most pegs goes through to the next round.

Blankety Blank peg board
The peg board - cute, but pointless.

In the next round, the player is given another sentence, and has to fill in the "blank" again. There are three possible solutions, worth various amounts of points.

Finally, the contestant and the presenter both write down a word to complete one more sentence. If the answers match, both players get points. Then another player becomes the presenter, and another round begins.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that sounds pretty boring. I know, because I was pretty bored writing it.

And it is a bit boring. Worse than that, it is not very fair. You see, the maximum number of points a player can score depends on how many matching answers are in the book. If four of the six answers match the player's answer, then the player wins four points. That would be fine if the distribution of answers was always the same, but it isn't. For example, you might get a question where all six answers in the book are different, meaning it is only possible to score a maximum of one point, no matter what answer you give.

So yeah, on paper, this sounds like a pretty poor excuse for a game, and I really wasn't expecting much when I rolled it out at my recent games night. In fact, I rolled it out for a joke, assuming we would play for about five minutes, and then do something else.

But then a weird thing happened... We actually had fun.

I'll be honest, the main reason we had fun is because one of the guys in my gaming group suggested I should use the word "penis" instead of "blank" when reading the sentences.

Yes, I am aware that is incredibly immature.

And yes, the word he suggested was actually a bit ruder than "penis."

So, we started playing, and I read the first sentence...

"After two years of yoga, Paul was so fit, he could put his 'penis' in his ear."

Blankety Blank game book
The Penisy Penis... Er... Blankety Blank game book

Good grief.

"Josephine sneezed so hard that her 'penis' turned inside out."


"At the airport, as Jack was crossing the runway, his 'penis' got sucked into a jet engine."

I could barely read the questions I was laughing so hard. My eyes were streaming, I couldn't catch my breath.

And, YES, I am aware that is incredibly immature.

And I don't care.

And I'm not even going to tell you some of the answers my gaming group gave.

Blankety Blank is a pretty terrible game. There are long periods when some players have to sit out waiting for a chance to do something, and replayability is limited. And it has paper money. I hate paper money.

Blankety Blank paper money
Paper money. I hate paper money...

And yet, Blankety Blank ended up being a lot of fun. I'm not suggesting I can chuck out Lords of Waterdeep, Kingdom Builder, and Smallworld; but I honestly feel this game has a place in my collection. After all, it is nice to be a bit silly every now and again.

As for whether you would like the game... I can't say. But here's a test. Complete the following sentence:

"I think anyone who likes the Blankety Blank game is a 'penis.'"


  1. Thank you, I just tried to read this aloud to my husband... now we're both laughing uncontrollably and tears are streaming down our, p^H faces. Yes. Faces. Definitely Faces.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I am glad you enjoyed the review. I don't think I have ever used the word "penis" quite so often as when I wrote this.

    2. I wandered here from your review of Winter Tales on boardgamegeek, and just kept reading. I must go look at your books...

    3. Thanks. I hope you stick around and follow the site (if you don't already), because misery loves company.

      Winter Tales really is a lovely game. I am so glad it went down well with my gaming group.

  2. It's a shame you don't have a donate button! I'd certainly donate to this excellent
    blog! I guess for now i'll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google
    account. I look forward to new updates and will share this website
    with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

    1. Thanks, I appreciate the kind words. (And sorry your comment got caught in the wonky spam trap for a while!)


Go on, leave me a comment. You know you want to.