Vlaada Chvátil for CGE. UK price ranges £18.00 - £25.00
This game has been around in various forms for about as long as I can remember (so at least last Tuesday then ). As far as the drawing pictures and guessing what others have drawn the game mechanic is best known as Pictionary (c), but CGE's editions, including this new version, isn't just about drawing objects it is about drawing pictures from words somewhat randomly determined from the 21 on display (7 on each of three cards) on the plastic moulded card holder. Each player is dealt a Letter, A, B or C and a number, 1 through 7 and it is the combination of Number and Letter that determine what it is they should be drawing.
Players are given one sheet of paper (provided in the box in the form of a small pad) which they fold in half, thus giving them four sides to draw on, one side for each Round of play. Once everyone has their target to illustrate they begin to draw them. Players try to finish their own pictures as quick as they can so they get to look at what the others are drawing. They cannot guess what others are drawing until they have completed their own picture.
As usual, we at Games Gazette like to fudge around with the rules to suit our players, young ages and non-gamers deserve a little extra time in our games, thus we draw in secret and wait until everyone has finished. Then we look at each others illustrations and write down the Letter/Number combination for each player on our own drawing sheet or on another secret sheet of paper. When one player has completed guessing all player's artwork, the others have 30 seconds to complete their own lists. Then one player calls out what they have for the player next to them and everyone ticks or crosses their own answer for that person. This continues with the same player going round the table calling out their guess for each player and all players agreeing or disagreeing by ticking and crossing their own lists. The other way we score is fairly similar to the correct rules. Instead of guessing all of the other player's pictures, we place our guess cards (one Letter one Number for each, thus allowing us just 3 guesses per Round) face down in front of the players whose work it is we are guessing, then once all players have used their guess cards they are all flipped over and the scoring counted.
Both ways work and both ways are fun, we just think that ours is a bit easier for the younger players and the correct way is better for players who can view the artwork as it is being created (upside down, sideways etc) and make their guesses. Of course we also use the simple scoring of one point for each right guess whereas PICTOMANIA has a much more complicated way of scoring that includes different shaped points tiles valued 3, 2 and 1 plus a set of (Black) bonus scoretiles, also 3,2 and 1 that gently push it away from the regular Pictionary (tm) and towards a more strategic game for core gamers who also play games with their families.
PICTOMANIA is a great party game especially if you have a minimum of four players (3-6 on the box) but it plays great with 5 or 6. We played it over Christmas with our family - all ages included from 5 upwards, and everyone had a fun game (in case you were wondering, the 5 year old 'helped' his daddy as some of the words were beyond him). Some of our artwork was hilarious, especially when some of us decided to play cryptically rather than straight, some of it also became a little 'adult' which was amusing for those old enough to understand and confusing enough for the younger players to not get the in-joke.
Words and numbers games like PICTOMANIA are great entertainment for party play (and as mentioned above, for 'adult' players to draw 'adult' pictures without their spouses telling them off) as everyone can join in the fun, and like many 'classic' games, everyone should have access to a game of this genre and PICTOMANIA is one of the best of its type because it can be played like regular Pictionary (tm) or in several other different ways by using the components provided.