Drawing games are often polarizing events because lots of people will say, “I’m not an artist. I can’t draw to save my life!” The games also turn the screws by putting a timer on the contestants. And then comes the sharing of the pictures: all that judgment and ridicule and justification that ensues.
Blue Orange’s elegant drawing game Sketch It! takes all of these frustrating aspects of other drawing games and doubles down on it all. Your pictures? They need to communicate specific items so that ANYONE at the table can identify your subject. Time limit? You have to be faster than the others to get the most points. The guessing process? Every single line will come under scrutiny and the inner workings of your mind will be laid bare.
Fun? Oh yeah.
The game is simple. Each player has a card with 6 items, a pencil, and a piece of paper. The game comes with 6 numbered chips (1-6) and these sit in the center of the table. Someone rolls a die and everyone sets to drawing the item that matches the rolled number. The first to finish grabs the highest numbered chip from the center of the table and the other players grab chips as they finish. The drawings are shuffled and passed out randomly so each player has a drawing made by someone else. They write what has been drawn and then reveal their guesses. If a player guesses correctly, the artist and guesser get the points on the artist’s chip. Incorrect guess means no points for either.
This mechanism of awarding the guesser and the artist works well to balance the game for those who do not feel so confident in their artistic skills. Being a good guesser is as important as being a good sketcher. The task of grabbing the numbered chips also adds a great deal of pressure to the better artists because they can’t keep their attention strictly on what they are drawing. A quick sketch that hints at the object can be more effective than a detailed depiction because the time for fine detail costs the artist the most valuable chips.
But part of the fun is the explanation and evaluation of the drawings created under such stressful conditions. How a creature with five legs, no ears, and a serious under bite (not over bite) can be a “donkey” is one funny conversation. That, more than the accumulation of points, is the aspect of Sketch It! that makes it Major Fun. I haven’t laughed so much at my own ineptitude as I did playing Sketch It!
3 – 6 players. Ages 10+
Sketch It! by Gregory Detrez. © 2011 Blue Orange Games.