We Stay Connected Through Our Terrible Drawings

I was talking to Chris and Ben earlier, and the topic of getting together for a video hang out (with some games) came up. Chris recommended Drawful 2, and I decided to give it a whirl with my sister and her family.

The initial setup took a little bit, and two attempts to get things right. But once we got going, it was really fun. Jump to the end if you are just interested in the details, and how to get this set up for you and your (remote) family/friends to play.

Shane, Jasmine, and Jahnu looking in from their laptop (Stacey is off camera, to the right). Everyone there was playing on their phone, and I was playing using my iPad.

The game works like this: everyone is giving a prompt to draw. It’s usually something really weird and unusual like: drone dropping drum sticks or caveman sauna. It’s pretty much guaranteed that the drawing, no matter how skilled the person may be, is going to be just terrible.

When a round starts, one drawing is shown. All the players then try to come up with a “believable” title that describes the drawing. Their goal is to get other players to choose their title as the correct one.

Then, the game jumps to the next phase:

Here, everyone sees the drawing along with all the possible titles. Keep in mind that one of the titles is the actual, real title that was given to the person who drew the picture. Then, everyone votes on which title they think is the right one.

If someone chooses the title you submitted, you get points! If someone chooses the “correct” original title, the person who drew the picture gets points!.

I don’t recall the original rules to Pictionary, but I feel like they’re somewhat similar. As with all Jackbox games, there’s a narrator and it’s really well done audio that guides you through the whole process. Also: lots of farting and burping noises.

One of my favorite drawings from the evening. The actual prompt/title was “lady gaga vs superman,” which I think was really well represented here (think Jasmine did this one).

And this is one of my masterpieces. My prompt was: president freddy kreuger.

I was reminded a lot of iSketch, and how much fun I found that back in the day.

Ah, nostalgia.

Ok! For details on how to set this up and run this yourselves: something I learned is that the game kind of assumes that all the players are physically in the same room. No worries. Right now, with most of us in quarantine, this is a bit of a challenge… but easily surmountable with some video conferencing.

The nice thing is: one person handles running the game, and all the other participants just need a mobile phone or tablet or computer. That’s it! No fancy software or anything for the participants, just a link and a four letter code they type in.

So, first thing’s first. I use Steam for a lot of games, and would recommend you download and install that on your computer. Create an account, and you can search and install a ton of games to run on your Mac or PC.

Once you have Steam installed, add Drawful 2 to your library. It’s free currently, until April 10th, which is awesome.

Once you’ve added it, run the game… and you’ll be shown a screen that tells you what your room code is. It’ll be something like PFGN.

Anyone who wants to play can join the game by going to jackbox.tv, and typing that code in. That’s all they have to do!

Now – the downside is, if all the other players are remote… they won’t be able to “see” the game. To fix that, you’ll want to use some kind of video conferencing tool like Zoom and share your screen. Participants would also need to install Zoom on their end, so they can see all the drawings. But they’d use their own phones to draw and vote.

A final note: there’s a limited number of people that can actually join a game and participate/draw. But! You can share your room code with others, and they can join the game as part of the audience. Those audience members can vote on the drawings, but won’t be able to draw or submit titles.

Also – a similar type of mobile/group game is Quiplash. Not free, but super fun and very hilarious.

How to Draw Felix
Spacebunny and the USS Flexbox
Quiplash: A Fun Group Party Game from Jackbox Games

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