1KBWC: Hours of DIY Fun for Less Than 6 Bucks

1000 Blank White Cards (1KBWC) is a card game for 3-6 people in which the players create all the cards used in the game. It’s so simple and fun to play that I can’t believe I never mentioned it here before.

One of the most common things that people say when I tell them about 1KBWC is that they’ll just make a card that says “infinity points” and win. Because they are thinking linearly in terms of a single winning scenario, they don’t immediately realize that there are a number of ways to creatively trump a seemingly unbeatable number of points in a game with flexible rules. A couple of simple examples are below.



Once you get used to the idea that rules are no longer set in stone, the game becomes an exercise in both creativity and non-linear thinking. You may even begin to think about other games in a whole new way.

If you can change the rules, games become more about playing and less about winning. And that mentality can provide a lot more laughter, creativity and satisfaction than the win itself.

Below is everything you should need to get started.

Enjoy!

Materials

  • 500 3″x5″ notecards cut into 1000 3″x2.5″ cards
  • A pack of black ballpoint pens

Black ballpoints are not required, but they are recommended to give the cards a little bit of consistency. Markers and felt tip pens should be avoided because notecards are cheap, and the ink will leak right through. All the materials can be found at an office supply store like Staples (including the card cutting) for about $6.

Deck Preparation

Put a pile of blank cards in the middle of the table
3-4 Players use 40 cards
5-6 Players use 60 cards

Add previously made cards
If you have played before, add 20 (or 30) previously made cards.
If this is your first game, add 20 (or 30) blank cards.

Depending on the number of players, you now have either a 60 or 90 card deck. Don’t shuffle it just yet.

Deal out the starter cards from the deck
3-5 Players: Deal each person 6 blank cards.
4-6 Players: Deal each person 5 blank cards.

Create your cards
Each player then takes a few minutes to turn the blank cards they were just dealt into actual cards. When all the cards have been created, add them back to the deck in the center of the table and shuffle it well.

Playing the Game

Deal five cards to each player. Play moves clockwise from the dealer’s left.

A turn consists of taking the top card from the deck and then playing a card. Cards can be played either on yourself, on another player, or to the center of the table (in which case it affects all the players, including yourself).

If the card has a point value or some other sort of lasting effect, it stays in front of the player it was played on (or in the middle of the table) until it is nullified by another card. Otherwise, it is placed in the discard pile.

If you have a blank card in your hand, you must turn it into a playable card during another player’s turn.

If a player cannot play a card, then they draw a second card from the deck and pass their turn. If there are no cards left in the deck, the game is over. Any cards left in players hands are discarded, and the winner is determined.

Winning

Typically, the player with the highest score wins, unless this is modified by a card during the game.

Epilogue

Take all the cards from the game and spread them out on the table, face-up. If this is only your first or second game, keep only 30 cards. If you’ve played several games, keep 60. If you’re a 1KBWC regular, you may want to keep 90. Divide whichever number you choose by the number of players. This is the number of cards each player can choose as their favorites.

After all the favorites have been chosen, they are collected and put into a pile. You now have a stockpile of the best cards in the game, which will be used as a starter deck for future games. Unchosen cards can be put aside.

Doing this after every game ensures that the deck gets better and better.

Recommendations

If you’re still on the fence about playing or you need some creative fodder to get your card building brain revved up, take a look at a 1KBWC Random card Server to get an idea of why this game can be so much fun.

6 thoughts on “1KBWC: Hours of DIY Fun for Less Than 6 Bucks

  1. I was somewhat confused by the whole idea behind the game – given that I didn’t read all thru the wikipedia entry on it.

    But your explanation is a whole lot better, and it actually sounds like a game that would be hilarious to play.

  2. The way you described the gameplay makes me think of Fluxx. My kids adore Fluxx so they might like this game. Most of the other adults I’ve played Fluxx with sit at the table with confused looks on their faces the whole time, so I don’t think I will introduce 1000 White Cards to them :-).

  3. Thank you so much for posting this on your blog. I StumbledUpon you and discovered your version of 1KBCG after digging around in your site. It’s kept me busy and excited all afternoon, discussing this with my game-playing friends. We’ve got plans for this weekend now!

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