Critical Play:

I played, a multiplayer game that was created by @ticedev and is available online. This is a really fun game that can be played with groups of people of different ages and levels of closeness. Players have to be old enough to be able to draw recognizable pictures and to know the words used as prompts for the drawings, so the recommended age is 8+, but beyond this age, it is appealing to any age group. In my opinion, the game is better suited to be played with a group of friends than with complete strangers as this allows for people to play with inside jokes and strengthen existing friendships through the game instead of trying to build a connection online. Despite this, it is still a fun game to use as an icebreaker where people don’t need to know each other to play.

In, players take turns drawing and guessing. In each round, each player will get one turn where they get to draw, and in the rest of the round, they try to guess what the player whose turn it is to draw is drawing. It can be played with 2 to 12 players. When it is a player’s turn to draw, the player chooses a word from a list of 3 options and attempts to draw the word on a screen that all players can see in 80 seconds. The players guessing post their guesses in a chat, trying to guess before other players and before the time is up. Guesses can be seen by all players, unless someone guesses correctly, in which case the answer is hidden giving the other players a chance to guess correctly too. The faster players guess the more points they get. Once the time runs out or someone guesses correctly, the turn ends and it is the next player’s turn to draw. I think the game creates an interesting dynamic by giving both the drawer and the guesses more points if they guess faster, incentivizing the drawer and the guessers to work together. This makes the player drawing to try their best at representing the image in a clear way and they rest of the players to do their best to understand what the player drawing is trying to represent. In addition, by making the guesses visible to everyone, they help both the player drawing understand how they are misguiding the other players to wrong answers and the rest of the players discard possible incorrect guesses and get closer to the correct answer. In this way, even though players are competing, they are also working together to reach their objectives. provides many different types of fun, but I would say the most important ones are Challenge, Fellowship and Expression. The challenge comes from the difficulty of drawing with a time pressure when it is your turn to draw and trying to guess before all other players even though everyone is seeing the same drawing. If played with friends, fellowship fun becomes very important, as players can generate their own set of words to draw and play with inside jokes, people they all know or memorable experiences they have had as a group. The chat serves as a good place for players to interact but it can also be combined with discord or zoom and have players interacting more directly throughout the game, which is how I played it throughout the pandemic and it was a great way to give our group of friends the feeling that we were all together sharing an activity. Finally, expression is incorporated through the drawing component of the game, where the player gets a chance to get creative and find their own way to represent the word they choose. The combination of these elements work to make a fun game to play with friends where no matter whether it is your turn to draw or not you are engaged and get a chance to win points. All of this while you can socialize with a group of friends or break the ice with a new group of people, as no context is necessary to be able to play the game. I think the game could be improved by allowing players at least one chance to get a new set of 3 words to choose from if they don’t find any words that they understand/know how to draw, as when this happens it can be disappointing to have to waste your turn with a word you have no idea how to represent.

Compared to other similar games like Pictionary and Charades, I think the team aspect that these games have adds to the fellowship fun that can be derived from them. However, I that the fact that can be played online really adds to the game, as it is more appealing for many groups of friends to play this game when they can’t see each other in person than when they can get together and do other activities instead.

For this game, there is no need to get particularly vulnerable. It can be a casual game played with strangers without sharing any personal information or touching difficult topics. The only potential for vulnerability would be the fact everyone see’s your drawing and your incorrect guesses, which could make some people uncomfortable. When the players choose to create their own set of words to draw, this opens the door to getting more vulnerable, for example, if words about the players’ backgrounds or identities are incorporated into the set of possible words. Players can choose how personal they want the game to be, but in general, this is not an aspect that is built into the game.

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