Telestrations: Sketching Out a Good Time
What are games for? Are they to challenge us? Yes, which is why Chess has been around for ages. Are they to tweak our imagination? Of course, through great thematic games like Survive and Scotland Yard. But what is the primary purpose of games? Why do we really play games in the first place? Why, to have fun of course!
And if you are looking for straight up, no-holds-barred fun and excitement, you need look no further than Telestrations, the game which combines the playground game Telephone with the classic party game Pictionary. Telestrations is a party game above all other party games, providing one of the most hilarious times you can have with a group of people around a table or living room.
Everyone has a sketch pad and a marker. They are chosen a secret word randomly which they much draw in under a minute. When finished, everyone rotates their flip pads around in a circle. The next person looks only at the picture drawn, flips to the next page, and must write down what they think was drawn. The next person looks only at their guess, and draws that. And so on.
The best part of the game is the reveal, when everyone takes turns showing how their secret word evolved. This is where you find out how “New Jersey” turn into “cat’s behind”. Hilarity will ensue.
So who wins? Well, everyone. There is a set of rules for keeping score, based on whether or not your drawing matches the words and so on. I’ll be honest: we’ve never bothered with them. There’s no need. Everyone will be having so much fun, they won’t care about points or objectives.
Telestrations also come with some great components which are designed to make this game go as smoothly as possible so that everyone can focus only on the good times. There are eight flip pads which outline your instructions very clearly. Each is distinguishable by differently coloured coils, which I thought was a neat idea. There are also felt pens, which work well, and eight tiny cloths which get dirty too quickly.
There is also a deck of cards with a variety of words on either side. The words are chosen randomly with the roll of a dice. The words are just easy enough not to stymie anyone, but just difficult enough to get some crazy interpretations.
Some gamers look down on party games, but that’s hard for me to do, since party games have a tendency to provide some of the greatest party game experiences. And in fact, Telestrations provided my friends and I one of the best gaming experiences I can remember. We spent hours sitting around my buddy’s living room killing ourselves with laughter, getting sillier as time went on. That night is right up there with some of the most epic board game battles I’ve ever had as one my favourite gaming moments.
Only a game as simple yet well-designed as Telestrations could pull of a great night like that. The concept is familiar yet fresh and everything about the game, from the procedure to the components, is designed to maximize the fun. I recommend this game to anyone who likes a good laugh and loves a great time with friends.