At a Glance: Telestrations is like the old game of Telephone, only with doodling.
Telestrations is a party game for 4-8 players that takes the classic group game/activity of Telephone, and mixes it with Pictionary. Each player has a marker and a dry erase pad to draw on. Each person draws a secret word shown on the card, but they only have a short amount of time. Then everybody flips the book to the next page and passes their pad to the person beside them, who writes in a guess for what the other player drew on the previous page. Then the books are passed again, but this time the next player will draw the word(s) that the previous player guessed. So it forms a chain, much like Telephone, until the books get back to each original player. Then everyone reveals their books and flips the pages to see how much the final guess diverted from the original prompt. The game provides a way to “score” and “win”, but we have never kept score for this one. If you do, whoever has the most points after a certain number of rounds is the winner.
It probably goes without saying that the main highlight of this game is the reveal, when you can see how ridiculous the guesses and drawings are, and how much things spiraled out of control from what was originally drawn. The less skilled you are at doodling, the better it gets. Sure, it is neat when the original word makes it unscathed until the final guess, but the real hilarity comes when bad drawings lead to wrong guesses, and it keeps devolving. I remember playing with my nieces and nephews once, when a pretty bland word somehow turned into “Suitcase Fishing Man” at the end. Like I said, we have NEVER actually kept score, and I do not think we ever will. The game is one of the funniest games out there, and it works so well as an activity or icebreaker, I would not want to bog down the gameplay by counting arbitrary points.
The spiral-bound sketchbooks are nice, but we have found the the dry erase pens tend to dry out easily, and are just a bit cheaply made. I would suggest getting nice regular dry erase markers to use. The game does come with nice little eraser cloths that work well. There are a couple different versions released now, including a Party Pack that accommodates up to 12 players, and a raunchier After Dark adult version.
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Drawing or Sketching games are their own sub-genre, and mostly fall under the Party Games umbrella. Here are a few other games that have a drawing component, but that missed out on my Top 100:
Win, Lose, or Draw – This board game version of the classic game show was published by Milton Bradley, and I remember playing this a lot in our family when I was a kid. The cards would probably be pretty dated at this point, but I don’t know, that would probably make it more fun to play now, especially for adults.
DICEcapades – This game definitely catches the eye, as it comes with over 100 dice! One aspect of the game involves rolling a die that tells you an object to draw in Pictionary style. However, it is probably my least favorite part of the game.
Cranium Pop 5 – This variation of Cranium which I enjoy more, involves one team wagering on different activities for the same Pop Culture prompt. Then, the other team chooses HOW to communicate that prompt, and gets the points assigned by the other team if they are successful. One of the available actions is Drawing. I like the wagering aspect of this one over the original Cranium.