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1000 Blank White Cards

05 October 201107:49AMlifegames

We played 1000 Blank White Cards last weekend. It is awesome. If you can't be bothered clicking the link, it's basically a card game where you make up the cards as you go along - essentially, a nomic, only, y'know. Fun.

I've actually tried playing this before, in about year 8, with a bunch of guys who weren't really into gaming. Trying to explain it went something like this:

Me: the idea is you make the cards as you go. Others: But what are the rules?
Me: There aren't any! That's the cool part!
Others: So how do we play?
Me: Look, just write down something on the card, and then you play it, and do it.
Others: So it's like truth or dare.
Me: Kinda, but no. The rules change as you play new cards-
Others: I don't get it.
Me: _(giving up) _Fine, let's play Monopoly instead.

So I guess what I'm saying is, in order to make this kind of thing really work, you have to be playing with people who have a bit more experience than with cards than, say, go fish. It's all in the kind of mechanics you expect from card games or board games - you need experience with them to play around with them.

One observation came up while we were playing that despite the fact that we were making these up as we went along, they actually interacted really nicely with each other. For example, in what turned out to be the start of a game- long feud, Kester played Candlejack:

Ben subsequently says his name, and has to hand over a card. Now, normally this would be an inconvenience, except that Ben was holding this:

Resulting in massive rage from Kester. This interaction was totally random and not designed, yet the way it played out was perfect and impossibly fun to watch. And, though you'd expect balance to be a problem, it really wasn't: your ability to play an "I win" card is pretty much cancelled out by everyone else's ability to play a "No you don't" card.

Also interesting was the way we immediately started adopting mechanics from other card games, particularly trap cards (from Yugioh) and 'tapping' (from Magic). Like I said, the more experience you have with other card/board/rpg games, the better your cards will be, and the more easily you can use that kind of 'shorthand' for otherwise pretty complex rules.

And then there were the joke cards which... were pretty much truth or dare. So I guess that was actually pretty accurate after all.

I think we're pretty much hooked now. On something extremely time-consuming, cheap, and fun. And I have 3 assignments to write this weekend.


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