Artistic Skills: An Advantage But Not Essential - Telestrations Review

I feel like reviewing something a lot lighter today and for that I need to delve into the realm of party games, a genre that is sadly overlooked by many hardcore gamers. I think that a lot of effort is needed to get a party game to work right just as any other Amerithrash (using Zee Garcia's phrase now, I hate using trash) and Euro game. I've played some complete duds in my time so it's not a simple case of going "here's some funny cards, now get laughing".

I'd held off from playing Telestrations for a long while as I was concentrating on other genres and it's hard to get a party game played at clubs - they are more for playing at your own home I find or on holiday. Well I acquired this game in preparation for a large group holiday and also showed it to some friends in Portsmouth after hearing US reviewers praise it a lot. I needed a refreshing change from Dixit as well (also a great party game, check out my review on that). I can't draw for toffee, but I expected that this would be a benefit in playing this game.


Designer: Uncredited
Publisher: Uncredited
# of Players: 4-8
Ages: 13+
Play Time: 30 Minutes
BGG Rank/Rating: 195 / 7.49
Dice Tower 2014 People’s Choice Rank: n/a
Category: Drawing Party Game

  
Pencils Down!

The concept is very simple and based on the classic Chinese Whispers theme. Each player has a dry-erase flip-board with pages for guess words and pictures. Everyone is given a card with several different words on it. A die is rolled to randomly determine which one is chosen and then the player writes it down on the front cover of their board.

Each player then has 90 seconds to draw a picture that represents the chosen word and this could be a noun, verb, adjective, phrase etc. They then pass their flip-board to the player on their left who then has to guess the word solely by looking at the picture they've just been passed. Once done, they pass round again and the next player has to draw a picture based on the previous players guess word.

This process rinses and repeats until each board returns to their starting player. At this point you then compare everyone's board and see just how close or how far the subsequent pictures and words digressed from the original card!


Paper Is For Chumps!

"Ignore the foreign language wording - best picture I could find for components!"

This game used to be a different form known as "Eat Poop You Cat". Now with that game, when I played it, I had fun, but when we were forced to draw on paper and pass those around, it just got fiddly and annoying. Here however you now have a dry erase board to use over and over again. And it's SOOO much easier. No longer are you folding paper this way and that to cover up guess words or having to draw in a tiny space because the previous player didn't leave you any room. These boards are great - you can write on them easily and rub them off with the provided cloths or even some tissue paper.


We're All Friends Here


The game is an experience - that is to say you should play this as a fun activity rather than competitively. The rules provide a variant for friendly and competitive scoring but you should burn these pages without reading them. The game is hilarious to play and much more enjoyable for newcomers when they know there's no "I'm the best" mentality going around. It also means that those who have trouble drawing aren't unfairly penalised - let's face it I'd be losing every game!

"A typical example of how things can go hilariously wrong!"

It's fun enough when you are commenting on the strange drawings and words that you come across, but the real highlight is when you compare the pads at the end. It's almost a little boring when everyone gets the word from start to finish, but the majority of the time you will be getting some obscure, messed up stuff appearing on the pads and it's going to be a barrel of laughs.


Verdict

Telestrations has made a high debut as one of my favourite party games ever. It can be played with a small band, but when you play this in a full group of 8 players, it's just a blast. Hearing everyone comment on their picture they've just received or the absurdity of their guess word is hilarious enough but when you go through everyone's pad at the end, it's just side splitting.

It's great that you don't have to be an expert at drawing to enjoy the game. My skills barely push past stick-men, but all it means is that my drawings for more complex clues end up even more funny and you find that you're certainly not alone as let's face it, many people these days can't draw very well, it's a skill that is lacking generally.

I can't say much more about it, this game is hilarious and worth its cheap price (picked my copy up for £15) for the erase boards alone as they make life so much easier. Do not play this game with paper under any circumstances and I highly recommend you burn the page in the rule book that mentions "scoring". The only thing I don't like is that I haven't seen the 12 Player Party Pack version in the UK. 


You Will Like This Game If:

  • You've enjoyed games such as Pictionary and Cranium in the past for their creative aspects.
  • You have a large group of players, getting a full complement of 8 is always best.
  • You can't draw........seriously not being able to draw well actually enhances the fun!

You Will Not Like This Game If:

  • You play competitively - this is best played as an activity so burn the "score keeping" variant.
  • You have no interest in drawing even if just for a laugh.
  • You already don't have an interest in party games - it's unlikely to convert you.

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