How to Play
The game Guess A Doodle is played in rounds. In each round one player is the instructor while the rest of the players are drawers. The instructor draws a card for the round (with no other players seeing the card). If the player draws a doodle card there will be a picture and also a word of the item that will be drawn that round. A word card will just have the word for the object that will be drawn that round.
The instructor then starts to describe the object to the other players without giving specific information about the item. For example to describe an ice cream cone the player cannot say, “First draw the cone. Then draw the ice cream on top.” Instead the player can say the following: “First draw a long thin triangle. Then draw three circles on top of the small flat side of the triangle.” While the instructor is describing the object, the other players draw what the instructor is telling them.
When the instructor is done describing the item, each drawer finishes up their drawing. Each drawer then tries to figure out what they just drew. Everyone writes their answer on the piece of paper and when everyone has their guess, they all reveal their answer. For each correct guess, the guessing player and the instructor both get a point. For example if three players guess correctly, each guessing player would get one point and the instructor would get three points.
After a predetermined number of rounds, whoever has the most points is the winner of the game.
A while back Geeky Hobbies looked at a game called Backseat Drawing made by Out of the Box. Backseat Drawing and Guess A Doodle are kind of the reverse of Pictionary. Instead of drawing a picture and having the other players guess the word, you instead give clues to the other players about the word and they need to draw the picture. While drawing the picture the players need to try and guess the word for the current round.
When I reviewed Backseat Drawing I found it to be a pretty average game. Some of my group didn’t particularly care for the game. The problem with Backseat Drawing was that the difficulty in the objects that had to be drawn varied significantly. Some objects were quite easy to describe and thus were easy to draw and figure out. A lot of the cards were quite hard though. Seeing that Guess A Doodle is essentially the exact same game gauged more towards children, I thought the game could actually be better since with it being easier it would probably be more fun. As it turns out neither are true.
While Backseat Drawing is played like Pictionary where the players are divided into teams that compete against one another, Guess A Doodle is an individual game. This is Guess A Doodle’s biggest flaw in my opinion. Backseat Drawing benefited quite a bit from the team component. The competitive environment added quite a bit of fun to the game as players kept yelling out answers hoping that they would guess the correct answer. In Guess A Doodle you can’t just blurt out answers. You need to write down your answer and you only have one guess. This sucks out a lot of the fun since someone describes an item and the rest of the players just sit around quietly drawing. This makes Guess A Doodle a pretty boring game.
The lack of a team element also leads to issues with describing the item. Since the instructor is describing the item to multiple people at the same time, they are not able to get really specific in how they describe the item. When the instructor is only talking to one drawer they can be much more specific and can even tell the player to correct something that wasn’t drawn like the instructor was anticipating. In Backseat Drawing the players are also able to yell out answers whenever they came up with one. The instructor can use these guesses in order to alter their description in order to guide the player in the right direction.
None of this is possible in Guess A Doodle. When one of the players is going the wrong way there is no way to really redirect them to get them back on track since the description you provide needs to work for all of the players. Since each player only gets one guess and there is really no way to correct a player that is going in the wrong direction, unless the player gives a good description you are unlikely to score many points.
With a recommended age of eight and older you would think that the game would be pretty easy. The game is easy to play since the rules are quite simple. Everyone is not going to be good at this game though and I could see a lot of people struggling. In order to be good at this game you need good communication/language skills in order to describe the item in a way that the other players will understand what you are trying to explain. The game could be used to help children with their communication skills. You also need some artistic skills. You need to be able to draw what the instructor is describing. Having art skills should also help with describing the object to the other players.
The game’s difficulty can vary pretty significantly. Some cards are pretty simple to draw/describe. For example one of the cards is for the number three. On the other hand some shapes are much harder like a train or a whale. Describing a three is much easier than how to draw a train or a whale. The luck of the draw ends up having a pretty significant impact on how many points you can score in the game.
Component wise I was kind of disappointed with Guess a Doodle. While Backseat Drawing came with some nice dry erase boards, Guess a Doodle relies on pencils and scratch paper. This is not a big problem but I would have preferred dry erase boards. I was also disappointed by the lack of cards included with the game. The game includes only 100 cards. The good news is that you could easily come up with your own cards or you could use cards from a game like Pictionary. One thing I do like that comes with the game is the shape sheet. This sheet features drawings of various shapes that a player can reference to help describe the item if the player can’t think of the right term to use.
I honestly didn’t have much fun playing Guess A Doodle. The game is considerably harder than you would expect. If you don’t have artistic skills and/or good descriptive skills, you will struggle with the game. The game lacks interactivity since it seems like everyone is just doing their own thing. If you are not a fan of drawing games like Pictionary I don’t think you will enjoy Guess A Doodle. If you do like drawing games though you may be intrigued by the game since it is played like Pictionary in reverse. I personally would recommend Backseat Drawing as an alternative to Guess A Doodle though since Backseat Drawing has a more interactive feel to it.