Telestrations is a drawing/guessing party game for 4-8 people. It can probably be best described as Pictionary and Chinese whisper’s illegitimate love child, the game is abstract, the points mean nothing and the art makes a caveman weep.
The game itself is simple, each player gets given a card with 6 words on each side, the players as a group decide whether to use This side or That side and then a dice is rolled. Every player gets the word on their card determined by the dice roll, so if you roll a 4 everyone has word number 4 on their different cards. This word is written onto the dry erase pads and then (assuming an even number of players) they sketch it. After finishing their masterpiece each player passes their pad along, the next player looks back at their sketch and writes down a guess of what they think the previous player tried to draw on the next page. The books are then passed along; the next player looks at the guess and tries to create the next Mona Lisa and so on until the pads arrive back to their original player.
Each player then takes a turn showing everyone the contents of their book, how the original word changed from, say, ‘Crocodile’ to ‘Bad Teeth’ and then assigns 3 points. 1 point to themselves if the final guess matches the original word, 1 point to the person they think made the best guess and 1 point to the person who drew the best sketch. The game consists of three rounds and at the end of it all the person who has the most points is the winner.
|An example of a guess and a drawing, if the drawing were of the guess then someone is *very* bad at the game.|
Of course people don’t really tend to care about being the winner; the game is about having a good, funny time as a group. The game has a couple of limitations, only 1 colour of pen restricts the drawings, along with a 90 second time limit on the drawing phases. This means that the images tend to be fairly, shall we say interesting? Of course hard to guess pictures make for interesting guesses (Winston Churchill definitely is a “Smoking English Baby”) which then leads to unique future sketches and so on.
|The matching drawing/guess to the earlier picture, this is some of the better art you'll see.|
Telestrations does have its flaws, the game feels a little lackluster with less than the full 8 players. Especially with an odd number of players where you don’t even get to draw your own word, so you have zero impact on whether you get that point. The less players you have the less times the sketchpad gets passed, which means you’re less likely to get the pictures become weird and twisted, which reduces the fun. It can also be ruined by 1 player who simply wants to mess about (Seriously, Sad River Cheese!?) although this can make it funny so long as they don’t go too overboard. The game has a huge selection of words and since some of them are blanks, or categories like ‘A country' etc. the game keeps feeling fresh over multiple plays.
Ultimately it’s a party game, so don’t expect the depth of a huge worker placement, but instead take it for what it is, a damn fine way to spend time with 7 friends having a huge laugh.