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Subject: The Best Family/Party Game in a Long Time rss

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Andrea Doria
United States
Tennessee
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My wife and I came across Telestrations in one of those mall kiosks that sell calendars and party games. Christmas was a few weeks away and we felt that we ought to get a collective gift for my brothers and sisters (several of whom are still in high school or grade school), who we felt might not be thrilled with the apple preserves we were giving my parents. I was mildly skeptical, but the wife prevailed on me that not only was this the best investment, it was bound to be the most fun to play at home over Christmas.

She was right. I have not had as much fun at a just-family function in probably over a decade as I had playing this game. It is, hands down, the most hilarious party game ever conceived. I enjoy Scrabble, I enjoy Scattagories, and I enjoy Axis and Allies and Diplomacy. But while laying down that triple-word-score word is exhilarating, it simply isn't humorous. This game is.

Game Mechanics
Preparation
The game combines the old schoolroom game Telephone with Pictionary. Each player has a pad and a pen (the game comes with handy dry-erase pads and markers, but paper could be used). The pad consists of alternating "word" and "drawing" pages. Each player is then dealt a card, bearing a word or phrase, which he does not share with the other players (the cards actually contain 12 words, 6 on each side, and the one used is determined by die role, to increase replayability).

Sequence of Play
When all players have looked at their words, a timer is started, and each player draws a graphical representation of his word on the first page of his pad. When the time is up, he passes his pad to the player on his right. That player must then guess what the original word was based on the previous player's drawing. All players then pass the pads to the right again, and the original process is repeated (i.e. each player draws a picture based on the word written by the previous player). This process is repeated until the pads return to their original owners. Thus, each player has either drawn a picture or guessed the word, round-robin-style, for every other player's pad.

Scoring
After the pads have all been passed back to the original owner, each player, in turn, reads aloud and shows the drawings and word guesses on his pad. The owner of the pad gets 3 points if his pad came back to him with the last player having guessed the correct (original) word. The owner, however, also gets to give 1 point each to the "most creative" and "most humorous" guesses or drawings.

The Payoff
The funny part, of course, comes from revealing the sequence of drawings and guesses: these can range from the relatively mundane (the ones that everyone gets correct tend to be boring) to the side-splitting. Players who feel mischievous have exceptional opportunities to create hilarity by making "unusual" guesses that can start chain reactions of interesting drawings. A particularly hard-to-articulate concept as a word might yield surprising results. An extraneous line or odd artistic element in a drawing can derail a chain of successful guesses in uncannily funny ways.

This is really a game to be played among people who know each other fairly well. Attempting to play with strangers will end probably in little but awkwardness. Players who know each other well, however, can gauge just how much humorous peculiarity in a drawing will be funny without becoming unpleasant. It also helps, it seems, to have a group with a good amount of common knowledge, but also some individual quircks. Played with good friends or family (at least family that you like), Telestrations can quickly become a priceless favorite. All in all, it was a sound investment of the highest order.
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Travis Easton
United States
Casey
Illinois
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Sounds just like "Eat Poop You Cat" which has become all the rage on BGG recently.
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Andrea Doria
United States
Tennessee
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I keep hearing the name and haven't ever looked at the game. This one at least has a more pleasant name.
 
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Randy Cox
United States
Clemson
South Carolina
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1024x768 works just fine - Don't Wide the Site!
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The Back Alley gets no respect.
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Mutombo wrote:
Sounds just like "Eat Poop You Cat" which has become all the rage on BGG recently.
I have only played the telephone game (oddly named EPYC) via geek mail and I can say that it was not so fun. Phrases begin far too long and get distorted into trash almost instantly.

In Telestrations, the simple word/phrase at the beginning does morph away from what it is fairly quickly, but in a more reasonable and (most importantly!) quick manner. It is hilarious.

My modification:
- I don't give a one point bonus for writers (and the prior author) matching the original word. Only the one point for matching the word prior to the most recent drawing.

- We bend the "no letters or numbers" rule to allow the letter "X" when it is used as a symbol. For instance, if you want to get across that there is text on a document or on a bottle of rum or bottle of poison, you can put an X in for generic letters. People also like to put an X on a stick figure's eyes to connote death. That's OK.

I really think it's odd to give the card owner a bonus point when it goes all the way around the table, but it happens so rarely that I don't have a big problem with that extra point.
 
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