Monday, September 3, 2012

write. draw. repeat.

Howdy yall, and Happy Monday-- we can say "happy" because it's a holiday, which is about the only thing that can make a Monday feel happy. Well, it's a holiday if you're an American. My regrets to my international readers. :) (But please don't ask my what this holiday is about/for, because I seriously have no idea. I should probably look that up rather than admit my own ignorance, but...take me as I am.)

So today I thought I'd share about one of my favorite games-- just in case you find yourself with some free holiday time on your hands, or maybe a large group of friends and family, and you're out of time-passing ideas...well then, I'll give you a new one! This game has been one of my favorites for several years now, and since we played some particularly hilarious rounds on Saturday night...I figured it was about time to share.

We call the game Telephone Pictionary. I have no idea who invented this game (my friends and I have been playing it for years), but I am aware that last year or so someone put out a board game version-- don't know exactly what it's called, but I can assure you it's entirely unnecessary. All this game requires are some scraps of paper, pens, and people. Could it be any easier?

So in case you're not terribly perceptive, I'll go ahead and tell you: Telephone Pictionary is kind of a mash-up of Telephone and Pictionary. I know. Shocker. So here's what you do. And don't worry, after I explain, I'm going to show you one of our finished games from Saturday. And it's really funny. And then you'll want to go play. So hang with me for a sec.

You should have probably at least 5 people to make it fun enough to play. There's really no limit, but I'd say if you had more than about 9 people, it would make the game way too long...but whatever. Just get yourself some people, and get ready for fun. Now- however many people you have, you'll need that many pieces of paper per person. So if you have 7 people playing, you'll need 49 pieces of paper. The paper can be small-- post-it note size is fine; we usually grab old printer paper from the recycling bin and cut it into fourths. No need to be fancy. Give each person a stack of papers-- as in my earlier example, if 7 people are playing, each person should have a stack of 7 papers. Am I a math genius or WHAT? And each person will need a pen. And now you are done prepping. Well, after you get your people to sit in a circle-ish shape. Oh, and people might need a book or something to press down on for writing.

To start, each person is going to write something down on their top piece of paper. What do they write down? you might ask. I will tell you: write whatever you want. A phrase. A song title. The name of a city. A sentence you just thought of. A statement about your favorite celebrity. Whatever. Just write it down.

Done? Everyone done? Great.

Now you're all going to pass your stacks to the left. Or the right-- doesn't really matter, just pick a direction and go with it. Everyone pass the whole stack. So now the person to your left is looking at the words you just wrote. After they think for a minute, they're going to move that piece of paper to the back of the stack and now they have a blank paper that they will DRAW YOUR WORDS on. Not write. Draw. Like Pictionary! So whatever you wrote-- they will have to translate that into art. If you wrote something easy like "dog"...well, they'll probably just draw a dog. If you wrote something creative like "When Harry Met Sally" (not that I have EVER found myself in that situation)...they're basically screwed, because they're going to have to figure out how to draw that. So good luck. To both of you-- because you're currently drawing whatever YOUR neighbor wrote, too.

So, done drawing? Great.  Leave your picture on top, and pass to the left again. So now you're looking at a picture. Stare for a minute, decide what it is, and then move the picture to the back of the stack. Write down what you saw. Or what you think you saw. Or what you think your neighbor probably meant.

And then pass. And pass. Every time you alternate drawing and writing. You never look back through the stack of papers-- only at the one on top. No cheating!

And eventually you get your original stack back. Depending on whether you have an odd or even number of people playing, you'll either find a sentence or a picture...and it may or may not have anything to do with what you originally wrote. Like this, from last night:

Simple enough statement, right? But how does that turn into this?

Cute dino, but...what happened to the rest of my statement? For that, my friends, we must see The Progression. Definitely the best part of the game. Sharing time, wherein each person gets to see the entire course of each statement...and point fingers of blame at the parties responsible for the communication breakdown. And laugh. A lot. So let's look at my Progression from the beginning. now we see, right?

The unanimous decision of my group the other night was that this game broke down the minute Matt attempted to draw a mermaid:

Who could blame Matt's dad for seeing that as Casper the Ghost rather than a mermaid? Come on, Mattie...where's the seashell bra? The long, flowy hair? Heck, even a handy line of demarcation to show where the human torso ends and the fin begins?? HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A MERMAID???

But then the rest of the pictures/words more or less followed a pattern. So sometimes that's how the game goes. Sometimes there are train wrecks at basically every juncture. Sometimes it's easy. You just never know!! But no matter what happens, it's a super fun game. Plus, then you can spend the next few days mocking a 29 year old man about his (lack of) mermaid-drawing skillz. And watch him get mad and challenge everyone in sight to a mermaid-drawing competition. Not that that has ever happened. I'm just saying it could.

So there you have it: Telephone Pictionary. Now you can go enjoy the rest of your holiday. And practice drawing mermaids.


  1. I love it! Can't wait to try this game at our next family get together

  2. Ha we love playing that game too! But just so you know, BD has his feelings hurt that you said mermaids were better than dinosaurs...

  3. I heart this game. And your "progression" gave me a good laugh, so thanks :)

  4. That sounds super fun! Haha! And that mermaid is pretty scary...looks like Matt took some inspiration from that Animal Planet Mermaid 'documentary.' I loved seeing the progression of the round!

    And happy Labor Day/Monday off to you!

  5. This game is seriously one of my favorites! I've only played it in huge groups and it's time consuming, but HILARIOUS. And btw, the board game is actually not exactly like the pencil and paper version. Lame.

  6. I love that game! Everytime I play it I purposefully guess something completely off from the drawing just to make it more fun... People don't like playing it with me. And I have a homework assignment for Matt: he needs to watch the little mermaid today with a sketchpad in hand and practice drawing Ariel until she doesn't look like Casper :)

  7. I am totally playing this with my Grade 6 Sunday School class. This sounds like an awesome game! Why have I never heard of it?!?!?!

  8. ps. And I'm not jealous because we in Canada have a holiday Monday too. We're "celebrating" Labour Day!

  9. Hilarious game! I dunno if I'm brave enough to play it though. I mean, I'm the girl that almost flunked art. Thankfully participation points and vocabulary words saved my tail!

  10. How fun is this game? Never heard of it but we are SO playing it at our next small group get together. Have a great week!

  11. This is the best game EVER! WE are so playing this at our Halloween party (wanna come soulmate?) this year. We are going to play this and Werewolves of Miller's Hollow, which is a FANTASTIC Halloween game for a big group.


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