Pictionary Card Game (designer Brian Yu, publisher Mattel). Unlike the original Pictionary, which requires players to draw diagrams and pictures, the card game has a set of pictographs - little cards with icons, sketches, and other abstract or symbolic drawings that can be combined or manipulated to prompt teammates to come up with the intended answer. There are two levels of play - adult level, where the answers that teammates need to guess require a certain familiarity with culture and turns of phrase (like "Yellow Submarine"), and kid level, where the answers are more generic (like "ruler"). Each answer has an associated category (like "school supplies" for "ruler") so that players have a general idea of what they're trying to guess.
|Sample pictograph cards used|
in Pictionary Card Game
Clue, Apples to Apples Junior (though not the original Apples to Apples), Pirateer, and Guillotine. In larger groups, we've had success with Are You a Werewolf? as long as the participants are comfortable in a player-elimination game. (If the group includes kids who are sensitive about getting "voted out," then Werewolf won't work.)
Trains Planes and Automobiles fits the bill as a family past-time in a group spanning a broad mix of ages - even more successfully than I expected when I first conceived and developed the game. I am frequently and pleasantly surprised by the positive reactions I get from both children and adults when I demonstrate it at conventions or hear from people who have played it at home. I mentioned in my last post that it had become a favorite of our friends' son and that they love the fact that they can get together and play it as a family without having to drag people to the table. I think the principle reason is that TPA rewards good decision-making enough to keep grown-ups engaged but also has enough luck and balancing elements to keep everybody in contention for the whole game. Kids feel as though they have a good chance to win, while adults enjoy playing a real game that is more than just a roll-and-move luck exercise.
Familia quod ludit una manet una.