Updated: Oct 24
Designed by Henri Kermarrec with art by Rob Dalton and Winnie Shek, and published by Hub Games / Creativity Hub, Blank is an easy-to-play Uno-style game where 2–6 players each start with a hand of seven cards and are racing to be the first to get rid of them all.
Game play is straightforward enough. Cards have a colour (and distinguishing symbol for those that are colour blind) and a number. You need to follow the card on top of the discard pile by playing to it one or more cards from your hand that match either its colour or its number. If there's text on the card you play, you follow the instructions (for example, requiring every other player to draw an extra card). That's pretty much it - except that at the start of each game you randomly select three 'rule' cards. These impose an effect when a particular condition is met; usually, but not always, when a card tops the discard pile that meets the rule card's colour or number requirement. Most effects require players to draw more cards (which of course they also do if they cannot on their turn play a card from their hand) but some impose party game elements.
The clue to what separates Blank from the numerous other similar card games is in the title. Although there are text instructions on some of the number cards, most are blank aside from the number. The idea here is that the reward for the player who wins each game is that they get to add their own text to one of the cards. The game rules offer some examples and suggestions but the publishers' intention is to stimulate players' creativity.
This is a simple twist. Like any Legacy game, it'll probably offend those who like to keep their games in pristine condition but it's a clever way of encouraging players to play the game again: once you've added your own cards, you'll probably want to deal another round to see how they play. The result too is that, the more it's played, the more a family's copy of Blank will be customised to that family's particular likes and preferences. If you enjoy light party games, you'll probably want to add party game effects when you add your cards to the deck; if you like slightly more serious games, you can focus your game changes on more tactical effects. The box comes with a stack too of blank rule cards, so you can add to those that apply overall rule effects for the whole game.
Mention Legacy games and most gamers' thoughts immediately turn to Pandemic, which spawned the most successful Legacy games to date. Pandemic designer Matt Leacock and his daughter Colleen have contributed Blankdemic; their own Pandemic-themed mini-expansion for Blank. This is a small additional deck of rule and game cards that can be added to the core game of Blank to introduce some Pandemic-related effects. If you're a completionist building an exhaustive collection of Pandemic's numerous incarnations then you'll certainly want to snap up a copy of Blank: Blankdemic. And you'll have the satisfaction too of knowing that profits from the sale of the expansion go to benefit the charity Medecins Sans Frontiers.