Generally regarded as one of the more popular board games of all time, Pictionary has been a mainstay game for a lot of gamers since its’ release in 1985. The game’s success mostly comes from the fact that the game is so simple to pick up and play. While a lot of people enjoy Pictionary, one of the biggest complaints about the game comes from people who can’t draw (myself included). It’s pretty hard to do well in a game that relies on drawing when no one can tell what it is that you drew. This brings us to today’s game the Pictionary Card Game which eliminates the drawing mechanic from Pictionary. Combining pictures with Charades, the Pictionary Card Game is not a perfect game but it is better than your typical spin-off card game.
How to Play the Pictionary Card Game
- Divide into two teams.
- Each team takes a set of picture cards and spreads them out on the table.
- The players choose whether they are going to use the adult (blue) or kid (yellow) side of the cards. Place the chosen side of the clue cards face down on the table.
- If you are using the adult side of the cards give each team a category reference card.
- Both teams will choose their first “picturist” who will use the picture cards to act out the word/phrase for the round. This role will alternate between the players on each team.
Playing the Game
For each round one player from both teams will act as the picturist. The younger picturist will choose a number between 1-4 in the first round. In other rounds the picturist from the team that won the previous round gets to pick the number. The two picturists look at the corresponding word/phrase on the next clue card. If the kid clues are being used the picturists tell the other players the category for the card. If the adult clues are being used the picturists point to the corresponding category on their category card.
When both picturists are ready the round begins. The picturists use their picture cards to act out the word/phrase for the round. A picturist can use as many picture cards as they want in a round. Players can act out scenes using the cards or can even use the cards with themselves to act out the word/phrase. Players can even combine two or more picture cards together to create a new shape.
The only things players can’t do include:
- Talking or making any noises
- Acting without using a picture card
- Pointing at your ear for “sounds like”
- Using gestures to indicate how many letters there are in a word
- Using sign language
The round ends when one of the teams successfully guess the round’s word/phrase. The team that guesses correctly gets to take the card which counts as a point. If neither team can guess the word/phrase both picturists can agree to end the round with neither team winning the card.
End of Game
The first team to acquire five cards wins the game.
My Thoughts on the Pictionary Card Game
In general I wouldn’t say that I have much of an opinion on Pictionary. I don’t personally have anything against the game but there is nothing in the game that makes me want to play it before many other games. Just like with Pictionary I don’t have much of an opinion of Charades as I wouldn’t consider myself to be much of an actor. With the Pictionary Card Game basically being a combination of Pictionary and Charades I didn’t have high expectations for the game. As most of these card games based off of popular games are mostly meant to be quick cash-ins, I had a feeling that the Pictionary Card Game would be the same. I have to say that after playing the game I was actually a little surprised.
Basically the Pictionary Card Game feels like a normal game of Pictionary except that you get to use other people’s pictures instead of having to draw your own. Since you don’t have to worry about drawing pictures, the focus of the game is figuring out how to use the different pictures together in order to act out the word/phrase. While I have yet to play it, this kind of reminds me of the premise for the board game Squint. For those people that have always liked the idea of Pictionary but can’t draw, this might be the combination you have always been looking for.
The thing that surprised me most about the Pictionary Card Game is how much I enjoyed playing the game. It is surprisingly satisfying combining the cards together and acting out the words/phrases. Some of the words/phrases require quite a bit of creative use of the pictures so the game still relies on you being creative without forcing you to be good at drawing. The game can also lead to some humorous situations when the players are not on the same page
Being a card game it is not surprising that the Pictionary Card Game is quite easy to learn and quick to play. The game has a recommended age of 8+ but I think kids a little younger shouldn’t have any real issues with the game. The rules are really simple since all you do is use pictures to act out other words/phrases. As far as length I think you can easily finish a game within 15-20 minutes. If one team is considerably better than the other I could see it taking even less time. This lets the Pictionary Card Game work pretty well as a filler game. It also helps as the game plays better in shorter doses as I could see the game getting pretty boring if it lasted for longer than 30-45 minutes.
Probably the biggest problem with the Scrabble Card Game is an issue that most of these type of games have when both teams play at the same time. Unless you somehow play the game where a team can only see their own picturist, it is quite easy for a team to cheat by looking at what the other team is doing. While most players are not going to cheat at the beginning of a round, as a round stretches on players are more likely to look at what the other team is doing since they aren’t getting the word/phrase from their own picturist. This kind of ruins the game because a player could do a really good job giving clues which are used by the other team to win the card. Even if the players try not to cheat, it is pretty hard to avoid looking at the other picturist at times.
Another problem that the game shares with every other one of these games is the difficulty of the words/phrases can differ wildly. Some clue cards are quite easy while others are almost impossible to portray well with the cards that you are given. I can understand all of the cards not being the same difficulty (due to every group not being familiar with the same things) but some of the cards are not even close when it comes to difficulty. The good news is this problem never becomes that big because both teams are stuck using the same word/phrase. If a word/phrase is really hard it is going to affect both teams equally. Even though it doesn’t favor either team, I still wish there was a little more consistency in the difficulty.
The final complaint I had with the game has to deal with the components. I really don’t have any problems with the quality of the components as you get what you would expect out of a typical card game. The problem that I had with the components is that I wish the game came with more picture and clue cards. While the game has quite a few picture cards I wish there was a little more variety. For example the game only has one picture that represents an animal and it only represents a small fraction of all of the different animals that a player may have to represent. I think the game could have used a few more picture cards which could have given players a little more to work with. At the same time I wish there were more clue cards included with the game. With only 66 clue cards you could start running into repeats a lot sooner than you would expect. This is not a huge problem though since you could use word/phrase cards from any of these type of games or you could even make your own if you are sick of repeats.
Should You Buy the Pictionary Card Game?
I will admit that I didn’t have high expectations for the Pictionary Card Game when I first saw it. While I liked the idea of not having to draw myself, the game just looked like a quick cash-in on the success of Pictionary. I will say that I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the game. It is far from a fantastic game but it works pretty well as a quick filler game. There is just something satisfying about combining the pictures in order to get your teammate(s) to guess a word/phrase. The game is not perfect though as it has most of the same problems as a lot of these type of games. The game has a problem with teams being able to easily cheat by looking at what the other team is doing, there are some difficulty spikes between different words/phrases, and I wish the game included some more cards.
If you don’t really care for the concept of using pictures to act out a word/phrase, I don’t see the Pictionary Card Game changing your mind. If you actually like the drawing aspect of Pictionary I also think you are better off just sticking with the original game. If you are interested in trying something different though and like the idea of playing a Pictionary game where you don’t have to draw, I think you might be surprised by the Pictionary Card Game.