Tools and Resources

The Ultimate Guide to Playing Pictionary


Pictionary has been always a part of party games since it offers immense joy and engagement with each other. In this game, you have to team up and one of your teammates has to draw some clues. You have to guess right what they are talking about with the help of these clues.

If you have never played Pictionary before, we’re going to help you with it. In today’s blog, we are going to provide you with an ultimate guide to playing the Pictionary game. So, keep on reading to learn it.

Pictionary Objective

The objective of Pictionary is for teams to correctly guess as many drawn clues as possible within a time limit. Players take turns drawing pictures that represent words or phrases selected randomly without speaking. Their teammates must decipher the clues through observation. The first team to reach the final space on the game board wins.

Materials Needed

  • You need a board to play this game. But it is not cumplosary. Anything that you can draw on will do the job just right.
  • Dice (included in Pictionary box set)
  • Category cards with words/phrases (included in Pictionary box set)
  • Timer (included in Pictionary box set or use a phone/watch)
  • Pens or markers in different colors
  • Notepad and pencil for each team to write down guesses

Setting Up the Game

Decide on the number of teams, with 2-6 players per team recommended. You can also play individually. Place the game board in the center where all players can see. Each team gets a notepad, pencil and set of colored pens/markers. Shuffle the category cards and place them face down within easy reach. Popular categories include actions, objects, people, places and activities.

Each team places their playing piece (provided with the game) on the start space of the board. Set the timer to 1 minute, which is the standard time limit for drawing each clue. You can adjust the time as desired. Choose one team to go first by rolling the dice. The highest roll starts as the drawing team for the first round.

Now you’re ready to start playing! We’ll cover the gameplay steps in detail later. Adjust any rules as needed for your group. The goal is to have fun while using creativity, communication and quick thinking.

Gameplay Overview

Pictionary gameplay

The drawing team selects a card at random and looks at the word/phrase without showing others. The timer is set for 1 minute. When it starts, the drawer begins drawing the clue on the board/paper without speaking or using letters.

The guessing team calls out answers until someone guesses correctly or time runs out. If correct, the guessing team rolls the dice and moves their piece. They then become the new drawing team. The next round begins with a new word/phrase selected from the category cards.

Play continues switching off drawing and guessing teams until a winner reaches the finish space. Now let’s explore each step in more detail to help you fully understand how to play. Mastering the rules will make the game smoother and more enjoyable for everyone.

Drawing Team Duties

When it’s their turn to draw, one player from the team selects a category card at random without showing others. They have 5 seconds to look at the word/phrase before the timer starts. Some tips for the drawer:

  • Remain silent while drawing – no sounds, letters, numbers or sign language clues allowed.Well, you can use facial expressions to express if the team member is close enough to guessing the right answer or not.
  • Use simple, clear lines and shapes to represent the clue
  • Break long words into syllables or draw multiple pictures for a phrase
  • Erase and re-draw if the team doesn’t understand to give new hints
  • Maintain eye contact with the guessing team for engagement
  • Use facial expressions and body language to provide additional context clues
  • Have fun with it! Be creative and play to your strengths as an artist

Guessing Team Responsibilities

When the opposing team is drawing, one player from the guessing team should call out answers aloud. Teammates can then quietly discuss their thoughts. Some tips for the guessing team:

  • Brainstorm potential answers together rather than calling out individually
  • Ask questions to narrow down the category if needed
  • Watch the drawer’s reactions for confirmation or denial of guesses
  • Change strategies if initial guesses aren’t correct such as thinking outside the box
  • Use the process of elimination when time is running low
  • Celebrate together when the right answer is shouted out before time expires

Remember, the goal is to correctly identify the word/phrase through collaborative discussion – not place blame if the team doesn’t guess in time. Maintaining a positive, supportive environment makes the game more enjoyable.

Scoring and Advancement

If the guessing team shouts out the correct answer before the timer runs out, they earn a point. The team member then rolls the dice to determine how many spaces their playing piece will advance on the game board. Play then switches with the previous guessing team becoming the new drawing team. They select a category card and the next round begins.

If time expires before the right answer is identified, no point is awarded. The drawing team still gets to roll the dice on their next turn. The first team to reach the final finish space marked on the game board wins the entire game! You can play best two out of three games or multiple rounds to determine an overall champion.

Customizing the Game

Pictionary game customisation

While the basic Pictionary rules remain the same, you have flexibility to customize elements based on your group:

  1. Adjust the time limit (1-2 minutes depending on age/skill level)
  2. Allow/disallow sign language, sounds or letter clues from the drawer
  3. Incorporate theme nights with specific categories like movies, locations, foods
  4. Play in teams or individually where everyone tracks their own score
  5. Make it competitive with prizes for the winning team or include participation awards
  6. Loosen rules for younger kids by allowing words to be partially drawn
  7. Get creative with bonus challenges like drawing with non-dominant hand
  8. Vary the board layout by using a wall or floor space instead of a traditional game board

The options are endless! Feel free to modify Pictionary however you like as long as everyone understands and agrees to the variations. The goal is inclusive fun for all.

Advanced Strategies

Once familiar with the basic rules, players can try more complex strategies to gain an advantage:

Drawing Team:

  • Draw multiple connected pictures to represent a phrase
  • Incorporate movement/actions into drawings over time
  • Leave blank spaces as hints without completing the picture
  • Draw outlines of shapes/objects for the team to color in

Guessing Team:

  • Ask yes/no questions to narrow down categories
  • Discuss potential partial words based on drawn syllables
  • Watch for recurring themes or patterns in the drawer’s style
  • Make educated guesses combining drawn clues over rounds
  • Work together to decipher drawings methodically

Mastering subtle strategic techniques adds another layer of challenge. But remember, the fun of Pictionary lies in creative expression through pictures. So focus first on enjoying the journey of visual communication with your teammates.

Read More: Introduction to the Classic Word-Guessing Game of Hangman


To keep the game fresh over multiple play sessions, consider incorporating these variations:

Charades Style – Drawers act out clues without using any drawing tools

Timed Rounds – Draw multiple words back-to-back against the clock

Reverse Roles – Guessers draw while the other team calls out answers

Scavenger Hunt – Incorporate household objects into drawings

Pictionary Pictionary – Drawers can only use pictures, no words

Pictionary Pictionary Junior – Loosen rules for beginning players

Pictionary Relay – Teams race to draw/guess clues one after another

Pictionary Pictionary Freeze – Drawers stop on command for new clues

You can also come up with your own creative spins. The possibilities are endless depending on the supplies and space available. Experiment to keep the gameplay exciting each time you play.


To conclude it all, playing Pictionary may sound like a complex task but it is very simple to play. It is a team game and you will need at least 4 persons to play this game. One (or some) member of one team draws clues on a board and the others have to guess the right answer. This is the basic playing method of this game. However, there are some important details about the gameplay also. We have discussed them in great detail in the guide given above.


Moatsim Nasir

About Author

Sharing latest news, technologies, trends, and tips related to education. A Skilled writer who is enthusiastic about education and is dedicated to keeping up to date with the latest developments in the field. Committed to sharing his knowledge and insights to help readers stay informed and make better educational decisions.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

how to log into SMU Canvas
Tools and Resources

Forgot Password? Here is how to log into SMU Canvas

At some point, you may forget your password. Don’t worry! We have you covered. This article will walk you through
Tools and Resources

Trajecsys- Report System for Nursing and Allied Health Education

Trajecsys is a web-based report system designed to meet nursing and allied health education programs’ unique needs. With the increasing