Encyclopedia > Pictionary

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Pictionary is a team board game in which players try to identify specific words which their teammates' drawings try to illustrate under time pressure. The minimum number of players is four, i.e. two teams of two, but the game scales well up to four teams and/or half a dozen players on each team, so it makes an excellent party game.

The game works like this:

Each team moves a token along a track which is divided into squares. Each square has a letter on it, as explained below. The objective is to reach the end of the track first.

If the team whose turn it is gained the turn by correctly guessing a word, then they roll a die and advance that number of squares. If the turn passed to them otherwise, for example at the start of the game or because the previous team ran out of time before guessing their word, then they do not get to advance.

The team chooses one person to do the drawing; this position rotates with each word. The drawer chooses a card out of a deck of special Pictionary cards (similar to Trivial Pursuit), and tries to draw pictures which suggest the word printed on the card. The pictures must not contain any numbers or letters. The other people on the team call out words which they think the drawing is supposed to represent. If they guess the word within the specified time interval, they get to advance and get another turn; otherwise the turn passes to the next team, which chooses a card without advancing. A small hourglass (a minute-glass, really) comes with the game so that players can easily know how much time they have left.

There are five types of squares on the board, and each card has a list of five words printed on it. The drawer must draw the word which corresponds to square on the board the team's marker is on:

  • P - Person, Place, etc. (proper noun)
  • O - Object
  • A - Action
  • D - Difficult
  • AP - All Play

Normally, when one team is playing, the other team(s) sit back and watch the opposition try to guess the word within the time limit. However, some words in each category, and all the words in the AP category, are designated as "All Play". For "All Play" words the teams compete against each other as well as against the timer, so each team must designate a drawer. Whichever team guess the word first gets to advance and take the next turn. If none of the teams guesses the word in the allotted time, the turn passes to whichever team in next in rotation after the team which chose the card.

Pictionary is distributed by Hasbro Inc.


Instead of using the special Pictionary cards, the opposing team chooses the word out of a dictionary or other book.

See also: Charades

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