Visual Telephone

by Mika
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States, )

(Photo from Vincent Diamante)


This game works just like the game ‘Telephone’, except instead of passing one word down a line of people by whispering it in their ear, you draw the thing.

There are two rounds. In the first round you start by writing out the object of your choosing on a small piece of paper. You then pass that piece to the person sitting to your right.

They draw the object. Then, they pass both pieces of paper to the person on their right, but the person to their right should only see the image, not the original writing.

They then write out what they think the drawing is trying to depict and pass the three sheets of paper to the person to their right. That person then draws what the person to their left wrote, and so on.

The game ends when the drawings reach the original person. They then read out the progression of the drawings and it is usually very funny to see how the images change when passed from person to person.

The second round is exactly the same, except the person starts with a drawing instead of writing. There can be as many rounds as people would like to play. It is very important to keep the bottom pieces of paper invisible to the people to your right.

So person #3 should never be able to see what person #1 has written or drawn. They are basing their drawings exclusively off of what the person directly to their left has provided. There is no winner or loser in this game, just as there is no winner or loser in telephone.

You rotate who starts the game each round, too, so each person gets to choose what the original object will be. Everyone will need multiple pieces of paper and pens.

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Fax Machine

Another nice idea is to play this game on paper plates

Another nice idea is to play this game on paper plates

(Photo from Lauren Manning)

One of my favorite games is Fax Machine. I've also sometimes heard it called Telephone Pictionary. This is a great game because it can be played with large groups. You probably need at least 10 people, but more will work.

The game is similar to old-school telephone where you whisper a message and see how it changes, but this game is more fun because everyone is involved the whole time. All you need is a paper and pens or pencils.

To start, sit in a circle and give one piece of paper to each person. Everyone should write a sentence at the top of their paper—write small because the paper will fill up with lots of other things.

The sentence can be about anything you think of, but if you want to add a little more craziness to the game, you can create categories like “What you did this summer” or “People in this room,”

After writing your sentence, pass the paper to your right. With the sentence you receive, draw a picture of that sentence (again, draw small). No drawing skill necessary—sometimes the funniest pictures are stick figures!

After you draw, fold over the sentence so now only the picture is showing. Pass to the right again. Now you should have received a drawing. Write a sentence that describes that picture.

Keep passing, writing, and drawing, alternating sentences and pictures. Don’t forget to fold over your paper so that the next person can ONLY see what you wrote or drew. When the papers have made their way back around to the original writer, everyone unfolds their papers.

You will probably have to count because it is usually hard to tell when you get your own sentence back. With larger groups, it is not necessary to go all the way around. Share the best ones aloud, and enjoy the laughter!

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What the Blank Telephone Game for Adults

The game is about to draw a picture and pass it to the next person

The game is about to draw a picture and pass it to the next person

(Photo from Ardent Photography)

Everyone starts with a piece of paper and a writing instrument, such as pencil or pen. Ideally everyone is sitting in some form of a circle. The game works best with under ten players or its gets to drawn out.

Each person draws a picture and passes it the next person. Every person must then write a caption for the picture that they see. They fold the paper so only their caption is showing and the original picture is hidden.

The paper is passed again. The next person has to draw a picture which is their interpretation of the caption that they see. They then fold down the caption and pass along the paper so only their new picture is showing. The next person has to write a caption.

The paper keeps being passed along alternating between pictures and captions until it gets back to its original owner. The owner can then unfold the paper and see how far the last picture or caption is from their original picture.

They can then read it to everyone in the group or it can be passed everyone so everyone can read them and look at the pictures. It usually turns out that they pictures and captions get so far from the original that you do not even realize when you have your own paperback.

It is hilarious. It is basically the kid’s game of telephone in writing form for adults. This game is guaranteed to give laughs and it can also surprise you to see some people’s drawing skills or caption interpretations.

Maybe you will find a new Picasso of the group or someone talented at caption. Also, strangers will have something to discuss and joke about for the rest of their acquaintance.

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