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How to Play Pictionary for those who hate reading rules

This how to play Pictionary guide was written to help those who hate reading rulebooks. This guide focuses on the key steps to get your game started fast.

What is the goal?

Yo guess words using sketched clues. Every correct guess gets you closer to the Finish square. Once there, correctly identify the final word.

Pictionary Game setup

  • Remove category cards from Adult Card Deck, place in Card Box.
  • Place Junior Card Deck in other Card Box.
  • Divide into equal teams (max four teams).
  • Each team gets a pencil, category card, and colored playing mover (on Start Square).
  • Each team chooses a player to be the Picturist who will draw the first word.
  • The die is rolled to determine the order of play. The highest rolling team starts.
  • Each team’s mover is placed on the start square
Each team’s mover is placed on the start square
Each team’s mover is placed on the start square

Pictionary Categories

Pictionary has five categories that correspond to the colored squares on the board.
Yellow: Object 
Blue: Person/Place/Animal (Names are included)
Orange: Action
Green: Difficult (Challenging words)
Red: Miscellaneous (Any type of words)

Step by Step How to Play Pictionary Game Rules

Timer is turned over and Picturist sketches the clues

  • Flip the timer.
  • Picturist has one minute to sketch clues for their team.
  • Sketching and guessing continue until the word is identified or time runs out.

Guess correctly and continue playing

  • Team rolls the die and move the number of spaces show
  • Team continues if they guess correctly. they keep playing by rolling the die, and selecting a new Picturist (changes each time a team sketches a new word).
  • Draw a new card from the appropriate deck and sketch the word that matches the colored square they landed on.
  • The team keeps rolling the die, sketching, and guessing words as long as they keep guessing correctly.

Play passes to left team if unable to identify the word 

  • If the current team can’t identify the word within the time limit, the die goes to the left team.
  • The receiving team starts their turn by picking a new card from the top of the pack, instead of rolling the die.
  • The word matching the color of the team’s cube is played.
  • The timer is turned over, and a new turn starts.
  • The die is rolled to advance a cube only when:
    • A word is identified within the one-minute time limit.
    • A team is first to identify the word in an ALL PLAY situation.
  • A team must remain on a square as long as it does not identify the given word.
  • More than one playing mover can occupy the same square at the same time.
Pictionary Card
Pictionary Categories

Play first word from yellow category

  • Start space is a yellow square.
  • First word played is from the yellow category.
  • The die is NOT rolled to start.
  • Starting team’s Picturist takes a card from the top of the appropriate card deck.
    • Use Junior Card Deck for teams with young children.
  • Picturist secretly looks at the word to be played.
Pictionary 1
Pictionary All Play Square

When a team lands on an ALL PLAY square

  • Landing on an ALL PLAY square triggers all teams to guess the clue simultaneously.
  • After drawing the card, show it to the Picturists on each team.
  • In the Adult Card Deck:
    • Picturists draw the CATEGORY clue that matches the color of the All Play Square.
  • In the Junior Card Deck:
    • Picturists announce the category and draw the clue in the corresponding color BAR of the All Play Square.
  • Timer starts, and Picturists simultaneously sketch the same word for their teams.
  • Note: During an All Play:
    • If one Picturist is an adult and the other is a junior, both teams draw a clue from the Junior Card Deck, regardless of who landed on the All Play Square.
  • The team that guesses the clue first wins the round, rolls the die, and advances the indicated number of spaces.
    • This team continues their turn with a new word.
  • If no team guesses the word in the given time:
    • The die moves to the next team on the left.
    • This team doesn’t roll the die but starts their turn by picking a new card and drawing the word corresponding to their current colored square.
Pictionary Wild Square
Pictionary Wild Square

When a team lands on a WILD SQUARE

  • Landing on a Wild Square allows the Picturist to choose any category to play.
  • When using the Junior Card Deck:
    • The Picturist can choose any clue.
  • When using the Adult Card Deck:
    • The Picturist must announce the category before sketching.

How do you win?

Reach the final ALL PLAY Square for a chance to win (no exact roll needed).

Control the die and be the first team to identify the word in the subsequent All Play round.

If no team identifies the word within the time limit, pass the die left. If another team identifies it first, pass the die to them. A team on the final ALL PLAY Square can’t win by winning a round controlled by another team. They must regain control of the die for a chance to win.

Do’s and Don’ts in Pictionary

• Draw anything related to the word
• Break words into a number of syllables
• Draw “dock” for “doc”, or “flu” for “flue”, etc.

• Use “ears” for “sounds like” or dashes to show the number of letters in the word
• Use letters or numbers
• Speak to your teammates
• Use sign language

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