Looking for a versatile party game? Blank Slate is a great match! Blank Slate, from The Op Games and designed by Bob Kamp, is a straightforward word matching game for up to eight players that uses dry-erase slates to fill in a blank for half of a compound word. While matching answers with other players may seem easy, matching with just one player versus several nets more points, adding excitement and unique player connection to each game.
In Blank Slate, players take turns acting as the Selector, selecting and reading Word Cue cards from the box. Each card features a common word and a blank or a blank and a common word. After the card is read by the Selector, the Answer phase begins, and players write a word on their personal dry-erase slate to fill in the blank, either by completing a compound word or two-word phrase. Once everyone is done writing, players reveal their words to see if there are matches to score points to win. Unmatched words do not score points, and pairs of matching words receive more points than matching more than two people, so there is opportunity for strategy and for large point deficits to be recovered.
The game rules are clear with room (and suggestions!) for House Rules variations and tips. The game concludes when a player reaches 25 points. The estimated 30 minute playtime can stretch depending on the number of players, frequency of matches, and time given for players to choose their words. The matching mechanism is not as predictable as party match games where a ‘top’ answer is selected, decreasing the likelihood of kingmaking, and the widely variable answers—even when you think you know what the other person is thinking—keep Blank Slate engaging.
The titular slate theme is carried over into the components and game design. The box is dictated by the scoreboard size, and otherwise could have been much smaller, but the dry-erase slates and dry-erase markers have been considerably durable with minimal staining or need for replacement. The included card box holds all of the cards at once, so the game stays organized requiring very little setup, and the card boxes’ dual draw and discard labels make passing the cards around the room a breeze.
Blank Slate is very compatible for players of various ages as the words used are open to interpretation, and the writing component is largely personal and does not require strong handwriting or spelling capabilities. Blank Slate can also be played without a table so is a great choice for portability or playing from the couch like my family prefers.
Blank Slate scales well between the recommended 3 to 8 players, although like most party games, it can be more lively with more players. Reaching the points needed to win involves insight into the type of responses likely to be given by other players but does not translate into an applicable skill-based utility in gameplay. That said, the generally-broad words used on the cards and context in which they are selected is quite fluid and offers high replay value.
A party game for people who don't like party games, Blank Slate notates the perk of finding common ground.
- Easy to pick up
- Team participation with individual scoring
- Versatile gameplay
- No set time for player responses
- Box profile larger than necessary
- Markers will eventually need replacement