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TELESTRATIONS

Reviewed by Herb Levy

TELESTRATIONS (USAopoly, 4-8 players, ages 12 and up, less than 60 minutes; $29.99)

 

When you were a kid, and if you were like me, then you probably played a game called “Telephone”. You remember how it went, right? You would start out with a phrase, whisper it into the ear of the person next to you who, in turn, would whisper what he or she THOUGHT they heard to the next person who would then whisper it to the next person and on and on until, finally, the last person would reveal what was heard. The comparison between the starting phrase and the ending phrase often boggled the mind! They were so far apart that we would roar with laughter! With that in mind, USAopoly, best known for their licensed Monopoly spin-offs and variations, have packaged that “telephone game” into a box where illustrating replaces whispering, calling it Telestrations.

Telestrations comes with eight erasable sketch books, eight dry-erase markers (and wipe off cloths), 142 cards, a six-sided die, a 60 second timer and easy to follow instructions.telestrations

All players get their own sketch book, a dry-erase marker (which they use to write their name on their book) and a card. Each card lists several words or phrases. A die is rolled which determined which particular one a player is trying to sketch. (If a blank space matches the number rolled, you can make up any word you want! If the category rolled is underlined, you can make up any word in that category! If you see the “dancing man” icon on the bottom of the card, you may choose ANY word on the card.) Now everyone writes in their book the word or phrase chosen. The timer is flipped and we’re off.

Quickly, all players simultaneously try to draw to convey their word or phrase. Anything goes except no letters or numbers may be used. When the timer is up, the sketch books shift to the left and the next player, by looking at the drawn sketch, must write down the word or phrase he or she feels it represents. The guesser MUST write down something. No “giving up” allowed. Now, the book shifts again and the next player must draw the guess of the last player. This alternate play between guessing and drawing continues until all players receive their own book back. At that point, all sketches and guesses are revealed.

As sketch book pages are flipped, players will be amazed at how bizarre the sketches made will appear, especially when compared to the original word/phrase. Couple that with the disparity between the sketches and what they are supposed to be and the result is a lot of laughs. Of course, in some cases, players will actually surprise themselves by nailing the word/phrase on the head (which is, on the surface, the goal of the game). Being able to draw is a help, of course, which leads, in games like these, to the main gripe from potential players: “I can’t draw”. But that is missing the point. In Telestrations, the worse you draw, the better it is! You can go from “doggie bag” to “purse snatcher” and not miss a beat!

The component quality of the game is very good. The dry-erase pens work, the boards are large enough to give you room for drawing your inspiration and the coils of the sketch books come in different colors to make it that much easier to track your book’s progress around the gaming circle.

The game provides several different ways to score (after all, if this is a game, there must be a winner and a loser). You can do “friendly scoring” and award 1 point to the player who has drawn your favorite sketch in your book, 1 point for the player offering your favorite guess in your book and take 1 point for yourself if the last guess matches the actual, original, word or phrase. Alternatively, you can do “competitive scoring” where guessers get 1 point if their guess matches the secret word/phrase or previous guess, sketchers get 1 point if their sketch helps a guesser to guess correctly and take 1 point for yourself if the last guess matches your original secret word/phrase. But in a game like this, scoring is beside the point. This is not exactly a game; Telestrations is an experience – and a fun-filled experience at that – which will please serious gamers while seducing the non-gamers in your group into having a very good time. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Herb Levy


 

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