August 9, 2007

Telephone Pictionary
IYM(C) 2007

One evening during this year's annual sessions of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative), a group of Friends gathered for games of all sorts--card games, board games, and even Friendly made-up games.

One such game I was introduced to is called Telephone Pictionary, which emerged (as I understood it) out of Yahara Friends (currently Preparative) Meeting.

You might readily imagine the two major components of the game:

1. Something having to do with passing a message from one person to the next, to see if you end up with the same message with which you started (Telephone); and

2. Something having to do with drawing a picture that represents an object and hoping that another person guesses what it is you are drawing (Pictionary).

I think the group had eight or nine Friends, all seated around a long table. We tore up MANY blank pieces of paper, which were divided into small stacks for each of us, and everyone found a pen or pencil to use. Then we were given the instruction to think of a common phrase, a popular saying, a proverb, a short Bible verse.

Each of us then wrote whatever the phrase or saying was on our own sheet of paper, turned it upside down, and passed it one person to the left, so everyone had their right-hand neighbor's paper.

Then we turned over the paper we had just received, read what was there, turned it back over so others couldn't see it, grabbed another blank piece of paper, and proceeded to draw a representation of that phrase, verse, or saying.

When we were done, then we turned our own drawing over, face down on top of the already-face-down quote from our neighbor. And once again we each passed our drawing, resting on top of the original quote, one person to the left, and we each received a new item from our neighbor to the right.

Here's where it gets tricky:

At this point, all the players must be diligent about turning over only the piece of paper that rests on TOP of the mini-pile that is passed to them. No fair peeking at the other pieces of paper!

Next, each player is required to look at the drawing that their right-hand neighbor had just sketched (based on the original phrase from two neighbors down) and write a phrase that they think the drawing represents.

And of course when done, turn the paper with the drawing over, and then place the newly written guessed-at phrase upside-down on the pile as well. Pass all mini-piles one person to the left; receive a new mini-pile from your right-hand neighbor.

So the rhythm of the game should be:

WRITE PHRASE - flip over - pass along/receive

Look at phrase - DRAW - flip over - pass along/receive

Look at drawing - flip over - WRITE PHRASE - flip over - pass/receive

Look at new phrase - flip over- DRAW - flip over - pass/receive

Look at new drawing - flip over - WRITE - flip over - pass/receive
The game continues until all the mini-piles have made a complete circle and end up where they began. (Actually, you can stop whenever you are ready for what I call The Reveal. Just be sure that the piles end up with the originator of the phrase.)

For the "reveal," it's fun for everyone to turn over her or his own pile at the same time, first looking at the end result and then taking a minute to look over the progression that occurred, from phrase to drawing to phrase... Then be sure to take turns, one person at a time, showing everyone else the progression from how things started to how things ended.

My own contribution and its related sequence started and ended like this:

START: Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
FINISH: The presence in our midst.

In-between were beautiful drawings of an oblong figure sitting atop some high-up structure. But by the end, the drawings became less egg-like and more... ambiguous. So did the structure. Hence the end result.

The beauty of the game rests in a number of aspects:

1. Children and adults can play together. There is very little set-up involved and very few rules.

2. There is no upper limit as to how many can play, because the game can stop at any point. Just return the mini-piles of paper to the correct person when you stop!

3. Everyone is engaged all the time.

4. If a player doesn't like to draw, she or he doesn't have to draw all the time. Alternately, if a player doesn't like to guess at words, she or he doesn't have to do that all the time.

5. There are no losers.

6. There is much laughter.

I can't wait to share this game at the next party I go to!


P.S. While doing a search for "Telephone" and "Pictionary," I came upon an actual link to this very game (though it goes by a variety of other names, it turns out). And here I thought Wisconsin Friends had really hit on something unique!

Iowa Conservative Sessions 2007: Part I; Part II; and Part III: Marshall Massey

1 comment:

Morgan said...

*delighted laugh* I learned this as "Eat Poop, You Cat!," from my F/friend Steve, at a potluck thrown by feminist Coven. (Does your brain hurt yet?)

The way Steve taught it to us, we used one large piece of paper for each phrase, and then you folded over the part(s) you weren't supposed to see. So if the first phrase was, say, "Eat poop, you cat!," the next person would draw, then fold over the phrase; the third person would write, then fold over the drawing, etc. I haven't played it the way you describe, but I wonder about all those pieces of paper...

Thank you for sharing this, Liz!