My wife and I really wanted to play Pictomania, but didn't have a group of people together. So we created a 2-player variant! It retains a lot of the mechanisms of the full game (time pressure, simultaneous guessing, deductive guessing, and negative points for bad guesses), while acting as a fairly good replacement for regular Pictomania. Plus, you don't need any new components - just a timer. The goal is to score as many points as possible as a team (like Codenames 2-player variant).
Each player takes three sketch boards, one pen, and one sponge. The guess cards are not required for the players. Place the card racks in front of the players with a large amount of space between them. Fill the racks with 6 Easy (Green) clue cards, then place 6 Slightly Tricky (Orange) cards on the table in front of the card racks, then place 6 Difficult (Blue) cards below them such that all 24 clue cards are visible to both players. This setup means that each symbol has three cards corresponding to it: Easy on the rack, Slightly Tricky in front of it, and Difficult below it.
On one of the player's sketch boards, set aside a dividing line to record the team score in each of the five rounds.
Deal each player three symbol cards face-down (one for each of their sketch boards) and one face-down number card from the Green, Orange, and Blue guess card decks (not the normal number cards) on top of the three symbol cards respectively. Each player will now have three sketch boards, where each board has a Green, Orange, or Blue guess card respectively and a symbol card. These represent the number and symbol to draw for each row of cards (Easy, Slightly Tricky, or Difficult). Do not look at any of the symbol/coloured number cards yet!
Set a countdown timer for 3 minutes, to begin when the round begins.
Start the round by starting the timer. Each player picks up their Green guess card and symbol which determines what they are drawing from the Easy (Green) clue cards. They may not look at their other symbol/guess cards yet!.
When drawing, normal Pictomania drawing rules apply. At any point, a player may guess their teammate's number by audibly calling out the number and pointing at the sketch board they are guessing for. Their teammate then uses the score area of that board to record the number. Note: The reason that guesses are recorded this way instead of placing a card in front of the board is because there is a possibility that the same number appears across different sketch boards. If a player wishes, they may instead choose to pass by calling out 'Pass' and pointing at the sketch board they are passing on. The other player records this with a line through the score box.
As with regular Pictomania, you can use deduction to aid in making guesses. Each coloured card rules out one number in that difficulty, and each known symbol rules out one column of cards. But don't take too long; the time is ticking!
After making a guess or passing, a player can begin drawing their next (Orange) picture. And again, after guessing their teammate's Orange sketch, they can begin drawing their Blue picture.
When time runs out, or both players have guessed all pictures, calculate the team score.
Every correct guess is worth 1, 2, or 3 points for the level of difficulty of the sketch (i.e. Easy, Slightly Tricky, Difficult). Every incorrect guess is worth -1 point. Every pass or incompleted guess is worth 0 points. So, in a round, the players could make a total of 1+2+3+1+2+3=12 points for the six guesses between each of the players. Or, a minimum of -6 points if every guess was incorrect.
Record the score in the scoring area. This is the team score for that round.
Flip each of the clue cards over to new clues, and shuffle and re-deal out new symbols and numbers to each sketch board as per the Setup. Play five rounds as in normal Pictomania.
Feel like you and your teammate could take on harder clues and maximise those points? Feel free to use different difficulties for each row, where Very Difficult (Purple) is worth 4 points! If using two rows of the same difficulty, place the remaining guess cards next to the row to link the guess card colour to the row.
After five rounds are completed, sum up the total amount of points:
* Less than 0: Scribblers
* 0-20 points: Scrawlers
* 20-40 points: Sketchers
* 40-60 points: Painters
* 60-80 points: Artistes
* 80-100 points: Virtuosi
There you go! A 2-player variant that maintains the same feelings as regular Pictomania. If you feel like some lightning-quick drawing with a taste of deduction, but you only have one other person, give this a try.