Wine Balderdash

26 September 2021

Wine Balderdash is a variant of the game Balderdash where instead of words and their definitions, the game is played with wines and their labeled descriptions. I've only played it once, but it was a great amount of fun. It's a game that combines creativity and comical moments, especially as the rounds progress and wine is drunk.

Wine Balderdash is played in rounds. During each round, one player serves as the leader. To start the round, the leader serves the wine to each player for tasting. Next, players privately write down plausible sounding descriptions of the wine on a scrap of paper and places that scrap into a hat. The leader of the round also writes down the actual description of the wine and places it into the hat. To close the round, the leader reads each description from the hat out loud, and each player guesses which description was the actual description. One point is awarded to each player who guesses the actual description. Points are also awarded to players whose descriptions are guessed by other players, one point for each guess.

The setup of the game is straightforward: you just need wines (preferably one brought by each player, with each wine having an ornate/outrageous/comical descriptions), pens, and scraps of paper. A little bit of prep can add some fun to the game: before the game is played, each player writes down the description of the bottle on a piece of paper that will be added into the hat when that player leads the round. The bottle's description should then be covered up with tape or sticky-notes so that the bottle itself can be passed around for tasting without its description being accidentally read.

That's it! That's the whole game. If you play and/or find improvements to the game, let me know! On a personal note: I co-invented this game with my spouse for an event held within my cooperative house where I lived at the time. The inspiration came from Jony Ive's voiceovers for Apple products, which to us always gave off the energy that wine descriptions tended to have.