Blank: Blankdemic is a small expansion for publisher Hub Game’s take that style card game Blank. Gamers may have guessed from the name, this is a Pandemic themed expansion, designed by Matt and Colleen Leacock. The player count of 2 – 6 players is unchanged, with those players now having to save the world?! With epidemics, plagues and more, this is perhaps an odd time to review such an expansion. However, does Blankdemic help to spread the enjoyment of the base game? Let’s find out!
Note: The booster pack suggests starting with a fresh copy of Blank, however this is by no means a necessity. The version of the base game used to review has hit many tables countless times, with lots of the “blank” aspects no longer being blank.
To start with the six game effect cards and a few standard game cards are removed from the deck. These stay in the box for later – with the ten new game cards including epidemics and “One Quiet Night” shuffled into the deck. Removing cards is done to keep the distribution of the numbered & coloured cards.
Not every card is perfect at maintaining the same quick experience. For example, one of the new rules cards Bluebonic Plague results in all players drawing a card when a blue is played. Drastically increasing the length of the game, there are times when blue cards are being played and picked up causing hand sizes to swell. It’s almost possible to get stuff in a cycle of reducing cards before the next wave of blue cards come out. As a “plague” the card therefore works very well but when one rule card over doubles the game time it is quite a shift.
A number of the game cards also slow the pace of the experience down. They often have a lot of text on them, and are rather gamery. With actions such as shuffling the discard pile back on top, swapping cards with the box and such, new players have been a bit flummoxed by what they exactly need to do – almost panicking they might do something wrong. While custom rule cards often lead to silly natured actions these splice in a few serious actions rightly or wrongly.
The game and rule cards surprisingly do a great job at adding a Pandemic feeling twist into Blank. Especially with rules cards which are torn up, reminiscent of the Pandemic Legacy seasons. Epidemics enter play, with discarded cards being shuffled and added back to the top of the deck – just like in Pandemic. This goes one of two ways. Either amazing cards are shuffled back on top and are more likely to come out again or meh cards resurface. The only solution is to play more and custom more cards so the second possibility cannot occur!
An element that is introduced by the Blankdemic expansion is the concept of tags. This adds a brand new opportunity into the game to create and trigger brand new rule cards. Just when players are used to watching out for playing colours or numbers, this can spice things up. On top of this, some cards see players discarding to the box or taking a card from it – so even the box itself can impact play! For example, one rule card we have created sees the game box passed around. Whenever a card is added or taken from the box the player with it in front of them gets to copy the effect. These new concepts have just helped the creative process flow once again and to new heights.
Overall, the Blankdemic expansion has been an interesting rather than exciting addition to Blank. The way that a lot of the game card actions work slightly changes the purely silly vibe. The expansion has however created the amazing new avenue of the tags, opening up plenty of opportunities for new rule cards and game effects! There is even a rule card that introduces a new way to win, shaking up the experience. That is what this booster pack of cards is ideal for, shaking up and refreshing what is already an amazing game.
(Editor’s Note: Blank: Blankdemic was provided to us by Coiledspring Games for the review.)