Whisper-down-the-lane meets Pictionary

Got a new board game a couple weeks ago and have been meaning to blog about it for a while, so here goes.  From the makers of Cranium, Scribblish is a game for four or more players that combines the fun of Pictionary with the “What the…!?” end results of whisper down the lane (Chinese whispers). It’s a lot of fun and depending on how many rounds you decide to play, it can be played really quickly for a good way to kill any amount of time.

To start, every player is given a plastic roller thing (basically a small tube that a piece of paper can be rolled inside of), a piece of paper, and a card like this:

Each person then chooses one of the three phrases from their card (filling in any blank with a word/words of their choosing) and writes at the top of their piece of paper.  After everyone has finished writing, the timer is started and you draw a picture of whichever phrase you have chosen.  After drawing the picture, you roll your paper up into the scroll just past the picture.

Next, someone rolls the die to determine how to pass the scrolls; one person to the right, one to the left, two to the right, two to the left, or scramble.  Scramble means all scrolls are placed in the center of the table, mixed up, and then taken at random.  If you happen to get the same one back, you trade with someone else.  After you’ve got a new scroll, you pull the paper out just far enough to see the bottom picture, and it’s now up to you to write a phrase describing what you see.

The paper is then rolled up in the scroll and passed again according to the die roll.  This time, you unroll to just the bottom phrase and draw a picture based on this new phrase.  This process is repeated alternating between a phrase and a picture until the paper is full.  When the paper is full, it is rolled up into the scroll and turned upside down in the middle of the table.  Then the scrolls are all mixed up and turned face up.

Next comes the scoring.  Every player has two paper tokens, “Mine!” and “Funny!”.  First, everyone puts their “Mine!” token in front of the picture they think is the end result of their original phrase.  After everyone has guessed, the papers are pulled out completely so you can see all of the pictures and phrases and their evolution to the final picture.  Then, everyone puts their “Funny!” token in front of the one they think had the funniest transformation (not their own).  All of the tokens in front of the paper with your original phrase are added up and awarded to you as points.

It’s a really fun game, especially so depending on people ability, or more importantly, inability to draw.  Having the timer forces you to draw a bit less detailed, leading to more change from the first picture to the last.  Also, introducing children or alcohol can increase the vagueness or randomness of pictures.  The rules about what you can draw (whether words are allowed, etc…) are pretty vague and can be decided by whoever is playing.  Also, you may decide to play without the die.  If you are playing with five or six people, it may be worth using, but when you are playing with only four people, the die often ends up passing the same paper back and forth between two players, which kills some of the fun.

Here are a few examples of cards from our game a week ago.  I’ll include the phrases underneath the pictures in case anything is unreadable.  Underlined words were blanks on the card.

– The spaghetti ran away with the meatball.                     I invented a time machine.

–     Happy pencil and ball go for a walk.                                      Jurassic Park

–  X-Acto blade and baseball ROADTRIP!                                   Jurasic Park

–              Stick and ball in a wagon.                                                  Dino Race


– Uh-oh.  Someone got a terrible haircut. /Watch as a squid jumps through a flaming hoop.

–         What kinda haircut is that?!?     /   Octopus watches a flaming balloon in a rock slide.

–            What happened to you?               /               Octopus sees a melting mountain.

– Don’t come near me or I will cut your hand off. / Octopus takes a trip to Water Kingdom.


–        Dance off!  Ghost vs Justin Bieber.                           Ed sits on a lottery ticket.

–     Ghost and kid dance to Bieber on rug.            Man standing on Maryland license plate.

–     Ghost dance in space over black hole.                    Man stands on prison number.

–                Musical ghosts eat pizza.                       Sad man rides numbers into western bar.

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2 Responses to Whisper-down-the-lane meets Pictionary

  1. ricecake says:

    if you’ve ever been to china/hk or hung out with any chinese people, you should know that “chinese whispers” do not exist. chinese people do not whisper. i don’t think they know how.

    • I had actually never ever heard it called that until I went to Japan, but I heard so many ALTs there call it that, so I figured I’d put that here too in case I’m the only one who calls it whisper-down-the-lane.

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