When comparing Balderdash vs Descent: Journeys in the Dark, the Slant community recommends Descent: Journeys in the Dark for most people. In the question“What are the best board games?” Descent: Journeys in the Dark is ranked 19th while Balderdash is ranked 30th. The most important reason people chose Descent: Journeys in the Dark is:
While the actual rule book may not be the most organized manual in the world, the gameplay systems themselves are very simple to grasp, even for new players. Thanks to being both intuitive and easy to follow, anyone can join in on the fun. Descent uses basic dice rolls for most actions, and how many actions you can take per turn are clearly defined based on your hero class. Movement along the board is handled in a grid like fashion with each tile denoting a certain distance. There is never any second guessing of whether or not you're in range to help a friend or attack an enemy. If you can roll dice, follow a tile based board, and understand a few simple rules, you can easily play this game.
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Pro A great party game
Balderdash has been around since 1984 and has proven itself to be perfect for all kinds of gettogethers. The game is simple and filled with plenty of socialization, bluffing, ridiculous answers, and laughter.
Players receive points from other players, so it’s entirely possible to move forward on the gameboard only because of others applauding what you’ve written. Players can often get some laughs and points out of everyone by making their answers little throwbacks to previous answers.
When everyone has chosen an answer, the correct one is revealed. This can lead to plenty of hilarious discussions about how another answer appeared more probable.
The game is very easy to teach and accessible because there really isn’t much to it. The basics are straightforward – you take a card, roll dice, and choose the category on the card that matches the rolled number (if a player rolls 6, they can choose the category). Then you say whatever is written under the category to the other players – a word that requires a definition, a movie that needs its plot, etc. While the players are writing their answers, you write down the real one. Once everyone has handed in the answers, you read them aloud. Then the players vote, and you write down which player voted for who. After that points are distributed.
If nobody managed to guess the correct answer, then the “dasher” (the person reading the answers) receives three points which translates to three moves on the gameboard. If a player’s written answer was correct or very close, they receive three points and their answer is not read aloud with the others. Otherwise players receive a point for every other player voting for their answer. Two points are given to whoever guesses the correct one. The first person to reach the finish space on the gameboard wins.
Pro Decent replayability
You will never play the same game of Balderdash twice. The box of the game includes 280 cards with 5 categories on each. Even if you manage to draw the same card in a different game, chances are the dice roll will make you read out a different category anyway.
Pro Allows one to be creative
When writing down answers the player gets to be as creative as they like and the game tends to encourage silly as well as ridiculous answers.
Pro Good with larger groups
The description says 2-6 players but it's really fun with a group of 4+, if more than 6 just pair up the players and it will still be a hilarious time.
Pro Accessible and easy to learn game systems
While the actual rule book may not be the most organized manual in the world, the gameplay systems themselves are very simple to grasp, even for new players. Thanks to being both intuitive and easy to follow, anyone can join in on the fun.
Descent uses basic dice rolls for most actions, and how many actions you can take per turn are clearly defined based on your hero class. Movement along the board is handled in a grid like fashion with each tile denoting a certain distance. There is never any second guessing of whether or not you're in range to help a friend or attack an enemy. If you can roll dice, follow a tile based board, and understand a few simple rules, you can easily play this game.
Pro Blends competitive and co-operative game play in one game
The premise is pretty unique in that one player takes on the role of an overlord while all other players act as the heroes who attempt to clear the dungeon. The overlord and the heroes play against each other in a turn-based setup.
The overlord is the one responsible for controlling the monsters and other pitfalls that the heroes will face. The overlord also has access to many powerful spell cards which can be played during their turn. The heroes work together to clear the dungeon of monsters and work towards the victory condition for their quest.
Since the main evil force is player controlled, it creates some really interesting situations not often seen in other boardgames such as monsters being able to play strategically and dealing with spell effects that aren't random.
Pro Engaging and replayable full campaign mode
Each 60 to 90 minute game consists of a single quest, however there is a campaign mode where heroes can take on a series of story quests while also learning new skills along the way. This is a great mode for that true epic adventure feeling. If you find a hero you enjoy, you can grow and develop this character over time similar to a standard RPG game. Additionally, no two campaigns will ever be the same. There are 8 different classes to select from, and you can pick and choose the quests you do, which adds a lot of replayability.
Pro Appealing, clean presentation
Everything is laid out cleanly on the board so it's easy to keep track of the action. Each player has their own cards with all usable actions and skills neatly presented. All heroes and monsters have game pieces that can be moved around the board, so it's easy to be aware of your surroundings and plan your next attack. The health system uses special token pieces that are used to keep track of your health. Being able to see your health physically raise and lower to keep track of your damage taken is a nice touch.
Pro Can play solo with the mobile app
There's a mobile app called "Road to Legend" that lets you play this game solo. The app works by taking over the overlord role. It even has multiple difficulty settings so you can get as much of a challenge as you crave. It's a great way to play when you have no friends available for a gaming session.
Pro Bitesized quests for quick fun
Each short gaming session consists of one quest with its own victory condition and two encounters. They are quick to play when you're looking for something fun to do for an hour or so.
Pro Lots of expansion packs to keep the fun going
The makers of this board game have added over ten expansion packs which feature new monsters, quests, campaigns, heroes, and re-balanced mechanics. Even after you've extensively played the vanilla game, there's plenty of ways to extend the fun and keep playing a game you enjoy.
Con Highly group dependent
The game requires people to understand it, socialize, be engaged, and have fun with it. If a person isn’t really invested into making creative answers, or just isn’t particularly good at Balderdash, then it can be very easy to spot which answers are incorrect right off the bat, which kind of ruins the experience.
Similarly, if a player is just unfamiliar with the game or maybe just learned it, then their experience also won’t be as fun and pleasant as that of an experienced player who knows the ins and outs of the game. For example, the way the correct answers are formulated, common tendencies, etc.
Con Not suitable for younger children
Balderdash might not be the best fit for children under the recommended age of 12. It’s a smart game that requires some higher language comprehension and general knowledge of many things, for example, movie plots and laws, to be able to effectively bluff as you write and formulate your answers.
Con Not fun with two people
The game devolves into a pure guessing game when played by two people. The gameplay consists of one player writing down the false answer and the true answer and making the other person guess which one is correct. While it keeps some of the bluffing elements, it really takes a lot of the laughter and light-heartedness out of Balderdash.
Con Components included are very sparse
Balderdash, for its price should include more in the box as not even including pencils means the game can not be played without outside equipment.
Con One player will always have to be the "bad guy"
Unless using the mobile app, which may very well ruin immersion for some, there is an evil overlord role that needs to be filled by a player. This is the player that makes decisions and takes actions for all the monsters. As such, this can be the source of many arguments. It can get especially bad when someone feels like they are being constantly targeted or singled out by the overlord.
Con Physical quality isn't the best
The game cards and board are flimsy and wear down rather easily. After only a few games, the wear and tear will be noticeable.
Con Disorganized rulebook
It's usually easier to find the information you need with an internet search since the rulebook itself is tough to navigate. It's arranged alphabetically by rule rather than organized in a manner that would align with the game flow.
Con Rules can be confusing
While the game systems themselves are rather easy to pick up and learn, some phrasing on the cards and within the rulebook is a bit cryptic, which may result in confusion when first starting out.