Critical Play: Bluffing, Judging and Getting Vulnerable –

Overview is a free multiplayer drawing and guessing game. One game consists of a few rounds in which every round someone has to draw their chosen word and others have to guess it to gain points. The person with the most points at the end of game wins.

When it’s a player’s turn to draw, they will have to choose a word from three options and visualize that word in 80 seconds, alternatively when somebody else is drawing players have to type their guess into the chat to gain points. The earlier a player guesses a word the more points they get.


The theme is a Pictionary-esque kind of game and visually, most of the styling is such that it looks as if someone drew everything by hand which goes well with the fact that this is a drawing game.


The game allows the player drawing to have many different tools at their disposal in order to quickly make good drawings using the trackpad like: different colors, the ability to quickly fill in an enclosed section, and different pen thickness.

Another mechanic is making player’s previous wrong-guesses public which allows for some sort of competitive team-work as a player works off the mistakes of others, and everyone more quickly narrows down the answer.


In this game we see several types of fun:

  1. Challenge – this game is designed to be a challenge of communicating something to someone without using words or actions, just drawings. Players have to be clever and creative in order to be good at this. The guessing player on the other hand, has to be really open minded in order to interpret the drawings.
  2. Fellowship – As I mentioned earlier, despite the fact that there are no actual teams, the players in a way, do work together to come up with the correct guess.
  3. Expression – Drawing itself is a mode of expression, so by placing the constraint of only being able to allow drawing to express an idea, players can be really creative, in the way they depict a concept.


This game is ripe for abuse. A malignant player can, for instance, not even try to draw what they were supposed to, draw inappropriate things (it actually happened to me), or simply write the word instead of draw it.  Also because the guessing works more-or-less like a chatbox, players can just write whatever inappropriate things they want on there.

Fortunately, there is a system for dealing with problematic players that somewhat alleviates the situation: players can vote to kick a player off (had to do that too). This works fairly well, but it acts as a punitive action rather than preventative. Something that would make this game better would be if there were a way to prevent inappropriate behavior before it happens.

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