Drawing games can open a group up to discussions, but these are usually of the “What do you mean this is OBVIOSLY the mutiny on the Bounty!!” variety. A lot of sound and fury, blah blah blah.

Identik takes the conversation in a slightly more nuanced direction.

The game is less about a person’s artistic ability and more about a player’s ability to quickly and accurately describe a picture. And the pictures are fun. Surreal. Absurd. Funny. FUN. One player acts as the “Art Director” while everyone else is an Artist. The Director has 90 seconds to describe the picture and the Artists draw what they hear.

Now the twist. At the bottom of each drawing, invisible to the Director and the Artists alike, are ten sentences that point out various details of the picture. These details are how the artists and the director are scored. For instance, if the picture was of a house, one of the sentences might read something to the effect of, “There must be at least three windows visible on the house.” The Director did not know that this would be an important detail. The Artists also do not know which details might be important.

Drawing what someone says is fun. Trying to cram every detail of an absurd little cartoon into 90 seconds is frustrating and fun. But the judging at the end (and the ensuing comparison conversations) is what sets this game apart as Major Fun. Because everyone hears the descriptions differently the pictures drawn by the Artists can be surprisingly, hilariously different. This has something to do with the Director, but it is like a game of Telephone played with pencil and paper drawings. But sometimes the accuracy is spooky.

The rules are quick and well designed. Players pick up on the scoring and pacing with ease. My one concern is replayability (Yes, spell-check, it is a word). The picture cards are two-sided, but once a player has experienced a card, that player will have a definite advantage over other players. This is perhaps a minor issue because there are a lot of cards, but players should refrain from browsing through the deck in order to fully appreciate the surprises at the end of each round.

William Jacobson and Amanda Kohout share credit for the game and artistic design of Identik. © 2006 by Asmodee.

William Bain, Games Taster

One thought on “Identik

  1. I was at a Halloween party where someone brought this, and everyone playing seemed to love it. I didn’t get to play, but after reading your review and a couple others online, I’m adding it to my Christmas list (which means I’ll end up buying it for myself) 🙂

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