Collaborative Group Game: Telephone Pictionary

Collaborative Group Game: Telephone Pictionary

Have you ever played this one before? It’s easy and fun—and gets groups working and laughing together.

Basically, it’s a mash-up of the games Telephone (where people whisper a message to each other to see how it becomes distorted by the time it reaches the last person) and Pictionary (where people attempt to sketch an idea until others can guess it). 

Here’s how it goes: 

Bring lots of blank copy paper or large index cards with you to the group time. For each round of the game, each person should start with enough blank sheets or cards for each person playing. In other words, if you have 10 people playing, each person gets a stack with 10 blank sheets or cards. Also bring enough pens or pencils for each person in your group. 

Have the members of your group sit in a circle around a table, if possible. Hand everyone a stack of blank paper or cards. Ask them to write a descriptive or well-known phrase on the top card. Phrases could include things like, “Two Heads are Better Than One,” “Happy New Year,” or “The Force Awakens.” Encourage them to be creative but to keep the phrases simple and easily understood. 

Next, have each person hand their stack to the person on their left with their phrase showing for that person (but not allowing anyone else to see it). Then tell them all to read the phrase on the top of their stack, move that top card to the bottom of the stack, and then draw a picture on the new blank top page that somehow illustrates the phrase they read in a way that will make it possible for someone to guess the phrase from their picture. 

Then have each person pass the stack to the left again with the drawing still visible (only to the person receiving the stack). Ask each of them to look at the drawing, move the card to the bottom of the stack, and write a short phrase on the new blank top card that would describe the picture they saw. 

Next, pass the stack, look at the phrase, move the card to the bottom of the stack, and then draw a picture that illustrates the phrase they read. 

Repeat the process until the stacks get all of the way around the circle, back to where each one started. 

Finally, have each person read the phrases and show the pictures to the rest of the group. Hilarity should ensue, as they see how each phrase got illustrated, translated, re-illustrated, re-translated, and so on. It’s a lot of fun and, like all good collaborative games, it might help to build some group community.


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