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1000 Blank White Cards

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I like card games as much as the next guy, but it seems like half the fun must be in creating the cards and making up the rules. (Okay, maybe that's just one-third of the fun. But still.) If you enjoy creating games as much as playing them, check out 1000 Blank White Cards, a party game in which creating the deck is part of the action. (A sample card is pictured at left: Self Trepanation (lose 2000 points).)

A game of 1000 Blank White Cards, or 1KBWC for short, consists of three general stages (described after the jump...)

1. Deck Creation - in which players create some number of cards, starting with a stack of blanks (up to the eponymous 1000 if you expect to play until next year). Depending on the expected duration of the game, you might create a hundred cards in advance -- or you might start with a handful and make more as you go along. Each card can contain any drawing or text you want -- the card can implement rules (all players must discard a card, for example), give you free turns, add or subtract points, end the game, make the player perform a task, anything you want. Also note that deck creation is explicitly allowed during game play, so this early phase is just about setting up the initial game, which will evolve during play.

Solar Power Card2. Game Play - in which players draw five-card hands and play them "on" other players. For example, you might draw the Solar Power card, which simply has an illustration of a Lego man driving a solar-powered buggy -- it does nothing on its own (though you might get creative and combine it with something else -- for example, by creating an "Al Gore" card that grants +50 points for any player with a solar-powered vehicle). Or you might draw the I Have No Arms card, which offers eight points if you pick something up with your teeth. (Note that points are completely arbitrary, though many cards offer plus or minus points for various reasons.) As mentioned above, players are encouraged to create new cards during game play, so if you picked up the Pies card (a picture of three pies), you might create a "+5 points per pie in hand" card and play it. Eventually game play ends when the players decide it's over, or something in the game mechanisms (perhaps a "Game Over" card) declares the end. The player with the most points wins. (Unless the game has been altered, perhaps by a "Lowest Points Wins" card....) You can see the inherent complexity of this Nomic game, in which the game mechanics change during game play.

Pies! Card3. Epilogue - in which the characters decide which of the cards created during the game should be kept for future games. This is purely arbitrary, and offers another way to "win" the game -- by adding your cards to future decks.

History and Further Reading - 1KBWC was invented by Nathan McQuillen, and spread through university towns until it was finally written up in GAMES Magazine and even an edition of Hoyle's Rules of Games. (Read more about the game's history.) Several online lists of cards are available, but beware -- many may be offensive or non-work-safe! Check out: Random Card Server from Boston, Another Random Card Server from Boston, Random Card Server from Seattle, Flickr group. Recommended reading: Bob: 1KBWC in Boston, Wikipedia page on 1KBWC.

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Big Questions
Why Do Baseball Managers Wear Uniforms?
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Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Basketball and hockey coaches wear business suits on the sidelines. Football coaches wear team-branded shirts and jackets and often ill-fitting pleated khakis. Why are baseball managers the only guys who wear the same outfit as their players?

According to John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball since 2011, it goes back to the earliest days of the game. Back then, the person known as the manager was the business manager: the guy who kept the books in order and the road trips on schedule. Meanwhile, the guy we call the manager today, the one who arranges the roster and decides when to pull a pitcher, was known as the captain. In addition to managing the team on the field, he was usually also on the team as a player. For many years, the “manager” wore a player’s uniform simply because he was a player. There were also a few captains who didn’t play for the team and stuck to making decisions in the dugout, and they usually wore suits.

With the passing of time, it became less common for the captain to play, and on most teams they took on strictly managerial roles. Instead of suits proliferating throughout America’s dugouts, though, non-playing captains largely hung on to the tradition of wearing a player's uniform. By the early to mid 20th century, wearing the uniform was the norm for managers, with a few notable exceptions. The Philadelphia Athletics’s Connie Mack and the Brooklyn Dodgers’s Burt Shotton continued to wear suits and ties to games long after it fell out of favor (though Shotton sometimes liked to layer a team jacket on top of his street clothes). Once those two retired, it’s been uniforms as far as the eye can see.

The adherence to the uniform among managers in the second half of the 20th century leads some people to think that MLB mandates it, but a look through the official major league rules [PDF] doesn’t turn up much on a manager’s dress. Rule 1.11(a) (1) says that “All players on a team shall wear uniforms identical in color, trim and style, and all players’ uniforms shall include minimal six-inch numbers on their backs" and rule 2.00 states that a coach is a "team member in uniform appointed by the manager to perform such duties as the manager may designate, such as but not limited to acting as base coach."

While Rule 2.00 gives a rundown of the manager’s role and some rules that apply to them, it doesn’t specify that they’re uniformed. Further down, Rule 3.15 says that "No person shall be allowed on the playing field during a game except players and coaches in uniform, managers, news photographers authorized by the home team, umpires, officers of the law in uniform and watchmen or other employees of the home club." Again, nothing about the managers being uniformed.

All that said, Rule 2.00 defines the bench or dugout as “the seating facilities reserved for players, substitutes and other team members in uniform when they are not actively engaged on the playing field," and makes no exceptions for managers or anyone else. While the managers’ duds are never addressed anywhere else, this definition does seem to necessitate, in a roundabout way, that managers wear a uniform—at least if they want to have access to the dugout. And, really, where else would they sit?

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Mattel
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This Just In
Mattel Unveils New Uno Edition for Colorblind Players
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Mattel

On the heels of International Colorblind Awareness Day, Mattel, which owns Uno, announced it would be unveiling a colorblind-friendly edition of the 46-year-old card game.

The updated deck is a collaboration with ColorADD, a global organization for colorblind accessibility and education. In place of its original color-dependent design, this new Uno will feature a small symbol next to each card's number that corresponds with its intended primary color.

As The Verge points out, Mattel is not actually the first to invent a card game for those with colorblindness. But this inclusive move is still pivotal: According to Fast Co. Design, Uno is currently the most popular noncollectible card game in the world. And with access being extended to the 350 million people globally and 13 million Americans who are colorblind, the game's popularity is sure to grow.

Mattel unveils color-friendly Uno deck
Mattel

[h/t: The Verge

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