Telestrations game review

Pictionary meets Chinese Whispers in Telestrations, a multi-player game that had our entire family howling with laughter.

I was provided with a copy of this game for review purposes.

We’re a family who enjoy our strategy games so it was fun to try something a bit different. The aim of Telestrations is to successfully communicate a secret word through a chain of up to eight people. One person attempts to draw the word. The next player guesses what it is and then passes it on to the next person to draw what they have written down.

Each round is complete after eight turns. If the original word is correctly translated all the way along the chain, great. More often, though, it has become distorted to the point of being unrecognisable from the original drawing, with hilarious results.

The game comprises a deck of cards containing over 1,100 different words, eight dry-wipe sketch books, pens, cleaning cloths and an electronic timer.

Telestrations is an easy game to start playing straight out of the box. It requires four to eight players, although we reckon the more players the better.

The game seems simple enough in principle. It isn’t. Some words are comparatively simple (e.g. ‘ferris wheel’), while others are fiendishly difficult. (How on earth do you draw ‘oatmeal’, for instance?)

It’s also particularly funny if someone has the artistic ability and dexterity of a giant panda wearing ski-gloves after a pub crawl. And, say, draws all animals as identical four-legged stick figures. (In case you were wondering, that would be me.)

And, of course, what may seem blindingly obvious to one person could appear as easy to translate as ancient hieroglyphics to the next player.

The kids instinctively understood the potential for laughs. For instance, Toby’s default guess for any drawing he couldn’t identify soon became a variation on ‘dead Isaac’. (Although whether that’s funny or disturbing is arguable …) And the most frequent reaction upon receiving the previous person’s guess or drawing soon became “What on earth is that?!?” followed by guffaws of laughter.

You can score the game in different ways. If you want ‘competitve’ scoring rules, you can award points based on accuracy and good guesswork. If, however, the game is played more for entertainment, then more ‘friendly’ criteria can be applied.

In fact, we soon found that half the fun of Telestrations comes from adapting the rules to fit your own needs. The game is recommended for ages eight and over but it can be easily adjusted to accommodate younger players. Kara, for instance, is too young to understand what some of the words are. So instead we allowed her to pick any word she wanted from the options available on her card. As long as a child player is old enough to read and draw to a certain level, they’re old enough to play with minor modifications to the rules.

We loved Telestrations. A three-round game takes no more than half an hour. Games can be shortened or lengthened to suit your needs by altering the number of rounds. It makes for a great party game, with up to eight people at a time engaged in much silliness. As such, it’s a great addition to our collection for the Christmas holidays or to brighten up the long, dark winter nights ahead.

Telestrations is available from major retailers with a recommended retail price of £26.99. You can find out more about the game on the John Adams website or for more on their wider range of games check out the John Adams IDEAL Facebook page.

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