Pictionary Vs Telestrations: ELI5 The Difference

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Ready to put your creative talents to the test? The traditional Pictionary game, in which players sketch and make educated guesses to win, is in one corner. Telestrations, a comical game where sketching and telephone collide, is in the other corner. In this game, the original message frequently gets lost in translation. 

While both can be played with large groups, at parties, while traveling, and even at restaurants, both games are certain to make your game night entertaining, competitive, and creative. But who will win in the end? Let’s find out when we compared Telestrations with Pictionary!

Sketching the basics: A comprehensive introduction to pictionary and telestrations

1. Pictionary:


In this game, participants are divided into teams and take turns drawing drawings in an effort to have their colleagues correctly identify the word or phrase on their cards. Players are not permitted to communicate with any written words, gestures, or noises. The winning team is the one with the most properly guessed words or sentences throughout the allocated period.

2. Telestrations:

A sketching and telephone game is called telestrations. Each participant is given a notebook and is required to draw a secret word or phrase. The player to their left is then given their notebook, and they are instructed to estimate what the drawing in it symbolizes and record their guess on the following page. Once the notepad has completed a full circuit, the procedure is repeated, and the last guess is compared to the original word or phrase. Correct answers get points, and when pictures are misconstrued along the process, laughter frequently results.

Difference in Gameplay

Although both Pictionary and Telestrations involve drawing and guessing, there are some key differences in their gameplay:

1. Pictionary:

In Pictionary, players are split into teams, and one member of each team takes turns drawing while their teammates try to guess the word or phrase on their card. The person drawing cannot speak or write any words but can use gestures and nonverbal cues to try to get their team to guess correctly. Once the team guesses the word or phrase, they earn a point and play passes to the next team.

2. Telestrations:

In Telestrations, each player has their own notepad and a secret word or phrase to draw. After drawing, players pass their notepad to the player on their left, who must guess what the drawing represents and write down their guess on the next page. The process repeats, alternating between drawing and guessing until the notepad makes a full circle and returns to its original owner. Points are awarded for correct guesses, and the final drawings and guesses are often compared and laughed at.

While both serve the social benefits of a board game, one major difference between the two games is that Pictionary is played in teams, while Telestrations is played individually. Additionally, in Pictionary, players have a specific word or phrase to draw, while in Telestrations, players start with a word or phrase but it may change as it gets passed around the group. Finally, Pictionary is a race against time, with each team trying to guess as many words or phrases as possible before the timer runs out, while Telestrations is a more relaxed, leisurely game where players can take their time with their drawings and guesses.


Millions of copies of Pictionary were sold after its first publication in 1985, and various spin-offs and variants were developed over time. It is well known as one of the all-time most well-liked party games and has appeared on television programs, in films, and at events.

On the other side, Telestrations is a more recent game that was initially released in 2009. Nevertheless, it has developed a sizable fan base and garnered several accolades, including the 2010 Board Game Geek Golden Geek Best Party Game Award. Due in part to the development of social media and the availability of sharing amusing drawings and predictions online, its popularity has increased recently.

Complexity and learning curve

Pictionary and Telestrations each have a varying degree of intricacy and learning curve.


Due to its basic rules and intuitive gameplay, Pictionary is a reasonably simple game to learn. It does, however, call for some inventiveness and sketching ability, which may be difficult for some players. The requirement for good team communication and the strain of the timer can also make things more challenging.

Since sketching and guessing are fundamental concepts, telestrations is similarly simple to learn. However, as players grow more inventive with their drawings and interpretations, the game may become more complex, which can have surprising and humorous effects.

 The game also requires some strategic thinking on the part of the participants. Players must carefully consider their drawings and estimates in order to gain points in this strategy-based game.


The diversity of words and phrases in the game, as well as the many game categories and variants, all contribute to Pictionary’s replayability. Additionally, when participants gain confidence in the game, they could use more innovative drawings and guessing techniques, producing fresh and surprising results.

Due to the range of words and phrases that can be utilized, as well as the possibility for various interpretations and outcomes with each round, Telestrations also offer high replayability. The game may also be played with various groups of players, creating fresh experiences and results every time.

Team play vs. individual play

While there are many advantages and disadvantages of playing board games, however, one of the main differences between Pictionary and Telestrations is the type of play involved: team play versus individual play.

Pictionary is primarily a team game, where players are split into teams and work together to guess the word or phrase that their teammate is drawing. The team that guesses the correct answer earns a point, and the game continues with the other team taking a turn to draw and guess. This type of play encourages teamwork and communication, as players need to work together in order to win.

On the other hand, Telestrations is primarily an individual game, where each player has their own notepad and secret word or phrase to draw. After drawing, players pass their notepad to the player on their left, who must guess what the drawing represents and write down their guess on the next page. This type of play encourages creativity and individual interpretation, as each player is responsible for their own drawing and guessing.

While both types of play can be enjoyable, they offer different experiences and challenges. The team play in Pictionary requires communication and cooperation, while individual play in Telestrations requires creativity and individual interpretation. Some players may prefer the social aspect of team play, while others may enjoy the freedom and creativity of individual play.

Time required to play a game

A game of Pictionary or Telestrations can take a long time to play, depending on a variety of variables, including the number of participants, their skill level, and the game type being played. Both games, however, can often be completed in a manageable length of time.

Depending on the number of participants and the tempo of the game, a normal Pictionary game might run anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes. By altering the number of rounds played or the duration of the timer, the game may be played over shorter or longer periods of time.

The average length of a Telestrations game is between 30 and 45 minutes, however, this might vary depending on the number of players and the complexity of the game.

Artistic skills required

In the game of Pictionary, participants must draw and depict the word or phrase so that their colleagues can correctly guess the solution. Although significant creative abilities are not necessary, players who can create distinct and recognizable images may have an edge in the game. In Pictionary, however, quickness of thought and imagination are frequently more crucial than technical artistic ability.

Players must also draw in Telestrations, but the focus is less on producing precise, detailed drawings and more on creatively and humorously expressing a notion or idea. As a result, even players with less developed artistic abilities might be able to join in and enjoy the game. Players who can creatively decipher and speculate on the meanings of other players’ drawings may also have an edge in the game.

Flexibility of rules

Both Pictionary and Telestrations offer some degree of flexibility when it comes to rules, allowing players to adjust and customize the game to fit their preferences.

Pictionary has a set of basic rules that can be modified to suit the preferences of the players. For example, players may choose to use a longer or shorter time limit for drawing and guessing, adjust the number of points needed to win the game or use their own custom word list. Additionally, there are different versions of the game available that offer unique twists on the basic rules, such as Pictionary Air, which uses a digital pen and screen instead of paper and pencil.

Telestrations also offer some flexibility when it comes to rules. The basic rules involve drawing and guessing a specific word or phrase, but players can customize the game by adding their own words or themes. Additionally, players can adjust the number of rounds played, the length of the timer, or the number of players in the game.

Both games allow players to adjust the rules to fit their preferences and make the game more challenging or enjoyable. This flexibility can add to the replayability of the game and allow players to create a unique and personalized experience.

Unleashing your inner artist: When to choose pictionary or telestrations for a fun-filled game night

Sure, here are some examples of situations where Pictionary or Telestrations might be a good choice:

1. Family game night: Both Pictionary and Telestrations are great options for family game night, as they are easy to learn, fun to play, and can be enjoyed by a wide range of ages. They encourage communication and teamwork, making them great for family bonding.

2. Casual play with friends: Pictionary and Telestrations are both perfect for casual play with friends, as they don’t require any specific skills or knowledge to play. They offer a fun and light-hearted way to spend time with friends and can be a great icebreaker for new acquaintances.

3. Corporate team-building activities: Pictionary and Telestrations can also be used as team-building activities in corporate settings, as they promote communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. They can be used to break the ice, build camaraderie, and encourage creativity among team members.

4. Educational settings: Both games can be adapted for educational settings and used as a fun way to teach concepts or reinforce learning. For example, Pictionary can be used to teach vocabulary or reinforce language skills, while Telestrations can be used to illustrate scientific concepts or historical events.

5. Parties or social gatherings: Pictionary and Telestrations can be a great addition to parties or social gatherings, as they are easy to set up and can accommodate a large number of players. They can be played in teams or individually, making them versatile options for any social occasion.


To sum up, both Pictionary and Telestrations are enjoyable games that provide different gaming experiences. In Telestrations, the emphasis is on creatively and humorously expressing thoughts or ideas rather than sketching and illustrating words or phrases like in Pictionary.

Both games encourage collaboration, creativity, and communication, making them excellent choices for family game nights, informal play with friends, team-building exercises at work, in classrooms, and social events. Furthermore, the rules of both games are adaptable and may be changed to fit the tastes of the participants. Both games provide countless hours of fun and enjoyment, whether you like the fast-paced and competitive action of Pictionary or the creative and cooperative gameplay of Telestrations.

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