The game of 1000 Blank White Cards was apparently invented by Nathan McQuillen of Madison, Wisconsin when he noticed a box labelled "1000 Blank White Cards". No hint was given regarding how they were to be used. So he encouraged people to draw on them and things went on from there. He now has a more detailed account of the game's creation up on his own site.

The game was brought to Harvard by Aaron Mandel; the collection of cards served herein is a mixture of those produced by the Madison and Cambridge circles of players.

Play at Home

The game is fairly simple. You take a lot of index cards, cut them in half, draw your own cards and play them on each other. (You can also use business card blanks; you don't have to cut anything that way, but they're harder to find and have more of a widescreen aspect ratio.) One of the two people involved should read the card aloud. These two activities - creating new cards and playing them on one another - occur simultaneously, although you generally take about half an hour at the start of the gathering just to draw new cards.

You start with five cards and draw a fresh one from the deck each time you play one on somebody, meaning that each player generally keeps a hand of five cards, although this can vary as people steal your cards or you make new ones. Drawing new cards specific to the situation and adding them to your own hand is explicitly allowed.

You can also play a card back on somebody in retaliation. "That 'it's a small world' song seems to be coming out of your ass." "Oh yeah? Well, you're doomed to wear the David Byrne big suit FOREVER!" This pattern eventually causes the game to break down entirely.

It is important to be creative. Some of the cards here do not live up to the full potential of the game, but that's the way it goes. Generally I go through the deck after each game and purge the bad ones. There ain't no shame in it.

For an illustration of what this all amounts to in practice, see the collected favorites and the larger, randomized collection from previous games, or sneak a peek at the image directory.

In general, play proceeds clockwise.

text by stewart king
if anyone ever actually tries this, i'm curious