Players: 4 to 8
Playing Time: 30 Minutes
Retail Price: $29.99
Category: Party Games
I’ve been wanting to try Telestrations for a while now. I’ve seen Telestrations at various conventions, and the groups always seemed to be having a good time. My opportunity arrived and I was not disappointed.
Telestrations is a party game for 4 to 8 players. Truthfully, it is more of an experience than an actual game. There are rules for scoring, but these are secondary to the playing of the game.
The game comes with 8 handy dandy notebooks. My daughter is very much into Blues’ Clues right now, so she immediately snapped one of these up and started drawing in it with one of the dry erase markers included. The notebooks are set up so that you can flip using the tabs labeled from 1 to 8. A box of double sided cards with six different phrases on each side offer a lot of replayability to the game. There is a timer, a die, and some cloths that you will use to erase the notebooks after each round. The cloths work, but I would have preferred an actual eraser.
The way the game works, each player is given one of the notebooks and markers. You write your name on the notebook, to avoid any mix ups, and each player gets one of the cards.
Everyone agrees on which side of the card to use for this round. A complete game lasts three rounds by the way. The die is rolled and matched to the corresponding word on each player’s card. The players secretly write their words down on the first page of the notebook.
There is a different procedure next depending upon the number of players. If there is an even number, then you flip to the next page and prepare to sketch your word on the blank page. If there is an odd number of pages, then you pass the notebook to the player on your left and they look at your word and prepare to sketch it themselves. Then the timer is flipped over and everyone sketches the word.
The timer part isn’t really crucial, you can allow some leeway. It’s mostly to hurry up the Rembrandts in the crowd. After the sketches are finished, the books are flipped over to the next tab and passed to the player on the left. This player will look at the sketch and try to guess what the word is by looking at it. They write down their guess and flip the page and the books are passed again. This continues, alternating between sketching and guessing until you all get your original notebooks back.
Finally, one by one the players flip through their notebooks, revealing the drawings and guesses to everyone, one step at a time. It can really be funny, seeing how the words evolved as the books were passed about.
For scoring, you get one point if the final guess matches your original word. You then award one player a point for the best sketch and another player one point for the best guess. This is entirely up to your discretion, you can pick the one that was the funniest, or the best drawn, of the worst, or whatever.
After all players reveal their books and hand out all of the points, everyone erases their books and begin the next round. After round three the game ends, points are totaled up and a winner is declared.
The game is more fun with more players. It is a lot of fun with only four players too, but it gets better as more people play, because there is much more opportunity for the words to evolve. Don’t expect the drawings to be spectacular, the markers are black and thick tipped, so the drawings can’t be too detailed. They are sufficient for their purpose.
Let me give you an example of a round we played.
My word (well, phrase really) was Holy Cow. Now, since I had no idea how to draw Harry Caray other than the huge glasses, I opted for attempting to draw a cow with holes in it. After drawing a strange, vaguely cowlike creature, I put a hole in its middle.
Well, it didn’t look like a hole, so I draw a tree behind the cow that you could see through the hole, in the hopes the others would get the idea. I patted myself on the back for my brilliance.
So, the next player took this and obviously I should have taken art in high school. She came up with “Zombie Horse under a Hamburger tree”, which was sketched as such by the next player. This player drew much better than I did and the next guess was “Zombie Tree eating a horse”. I received my book back and did the big reveal. I received no points, but it was funnier than all get out.