Ostensibly, the purpose of 1000 Blank White Cards is to get the most points.
The true purpose (IMHO) is to create the best game cards you can, evaluating which cards are "best" by playing the game with them.
What You Need
- 2+; I recommend no more than 6, at least the first few games; the more people play the longer each game will take.
- A stack of blank white cards. You should have about 10 per player. Cards can be unlined or lined; regular (3" x 5"), extra large (5" x 8"), or even cut down in size (3" x 2.5").
- If you have played before, a deck of cards from the last game.
- Pens/pencils/markers; at least one per player
- NOTE: If you use markers, or felt-tip pens, they will soak through the cards. So be sure each player has a “backing” card, both to hide the back of their cards, and to catch any bleed-through ink when creating new cards. And you may wish to "back" each card, by gluing another blank card to it; though this will make shuffling very challenging.
Pre-Game Phase - Card Creation
- First, you need to set up the deck.
Everyone will now take a few minutes to turn their blanks into actual cards (explained at the end). Each player can fill in all of their cards, or leave a few blank.
When everyone is finished, collect all their cards and add them to the deck.
- If this is your first game, place 10 blank cards in the middle of the table for each player, for creating new cards.
- If you have played before, place 5 blank cards in the middle of the table for each player, for creating new cards. Also add 5 cards per player from an previous deck of cards.
One player can do this while the others are still working on creating cards.
- Shuffle the deck thoroughly. Ideally, the owner of the deck of cards will do this sometime before coming to the game.
Deal out five cards to each player.
Place the remaining cards face down, creating the draw pile.
Designate a place for the discard pile; usually next to the draw pile.
- Since most cards are flimsy, and easy to permanently bend, the most common ways I grew up shuffling cards (weave, riffle) are not recommended. More gentle alternatives include the Overhand shuffle (youtu.be/yVPZIbLGzKo?t=15), the Hindu shuffle (youtu.be/mbYRfQaKcXI?t=5), or just cut the deck into many stacks of small piles, and pick them back up in random order.
Playing the Game
Play begins with the player to the dealer's left, and moves clockwise.
For each player's turn:
- Draw the top card from the deck
- Play a card from your hand
- Apply instructions on card (if any)
1. Draw the top card from the deck
If there are no cards left, skip this first step. As long as each player whose turn is active can play a card, the game continues.
2. Play a card from your hand
You can generally play a card on yourself, on another player, or to the center of the table. The card affects the player it is placed in front of, or when placed in the middle of the table it affects all players, including yourself.
If you cannot play any cards from your hand, draw a second card from the deck into your hand, and it is the next player's turn.
Once the active player cannot play any cards, and there is no deck remaining, the game ends. All players discard all remaining unplayed cards in their hands.
3. Apply instructions on card
If the card has a point value or some other sort of lasting effect, leave it in place until it is somehow nullified, discarded, or removed by another card. If the effect is completed, place it in the discard pile.
If you have a blank card in your hand, you may turn the blank into a playable card at any time. You must do this in order to play it -- you cannot play a blank card. It is best to do this during the other players' turns, to not make others wait on you.
Game Over - Winning
Total up the point value of the cards in front of you, and add the point values of any cards played to the center of the table. This is your score (and yes, it can be a negative number). The player with the highest score wins! Huzzah!
Epilogue - Cleaning up
After the game is over, you will have a pile of cards. The next time you play, you will be using a random selection of cards from this pile, so you want the best cards to be kept, and the worst cards to be removed. To facilitate this, the Epilogue phase of the game is a process to choose which cards to keep.
Take all the cards from the game you just finished, as well as any previous cards that didn't get used, and spread them all out on the table, face-up. Each player will pick up their favorite cards, so they can be used again next time.
Optional ways to limit how many cards are kept:
- Each player can only preserve their favorite 7 cards
- Take turns picking a favorite card. When a player does not like any remaining cards, they pass. Once half of the players have passed, stop picking cards to keep.
- All at once, players pick up their favorite cards; when they are done, they put them all face-down in front of themselves. Once half of the players have finished, reserving cards is over for all players.
Reserved cards should be held by the person who brought the supply of cards.
The leftover cards can be thrown away; carefully archived in a huge library of three-ring binders; or baked into a tasty casserole -- your choice!
How To Create a Card
Okay, now for the important bit, the bit you've all been waiting for! .
Here is a sample card, with descriptions of its various parts.
First, a title. This is what the card is called. Yep.
Next, picture or drawing of some sort. Artistic ability is not required; stick men, or even scribbles, all good.
Last, a description of what the card does. This can be a point value, some sort of instruction, or both, or neither. Instructions can be based on anything you like - existing cards, the current month, current or future actions of the players, anything you can describe.
Try to make the intent of the card clear. When ambiguities arise, some discussion is fun, but too much confusion can be boring.