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Players 4 or more
Age range 8 and up
Setup time < 5 minutes
Playing time 1 hour
Random chance Medium
Skills required Drawing, image recognition, wordplay, vocabulary

Pictionary is a guessing word game invented by Robert Angel with graphic design by Gary Everson and first published in 1985 by Angel Games Inc.[1] Hasbro has been the publisher since 1994 after acquiring the games business of Western Publishing.[2] The game is played with teams with players trying to identify specific words from their teammates' drawings.


Each team moves a piece on a game board formed by a sequence of squares. Each square has a letter or shape identifying the type of picture to be drawn on it. The objective is to be the first team to reach the last space on the board. To achieve this a player must guess the word or phrase being drawn by their partner, or if the player lands on an "all play" square, one player from each team attempts to illustrate the same concept simultaneously, with the two teams racing to guess first.


The team chooses one person to begin drawing; this position rotates with each word. The drawer chooses a card out of a deck of special Pictionary cards and tries to draw pictures which suggest the word printed on the card. The pictures cannot contain any numbers or letters, nor can the drawer use verbal clues about the subject he/she is drawing. The teammates try to guess the word the drawing is intended to represent.

There are five types of squares on the board, and each Pictionary card has a list of five words printed on it. Players must then draw the word which corresponds to the square on the board on which the team's marker is:

P Person/Place/Animal
O Object
A Action
D Difficult (words which are difficult to represent in a drawing)
AP All Play
Appears in certain versions. Player may pick a card and choose which word he/she wishes to draw from the five given.

AP category (and a few other words) are designated as "All Play". For "All Play," the teams compete against each other. Each team designates a player whose purpose will be to draw pictures. The team that guesses the word first gets to advance and take the next turn. If none of the teams guess the word, the turn passes to whichever team should have been next.

A one-minute timer, usually a sand timer, is used to compel players to rapidly complete their drawing and guessing.

See also[]

  • iSketch, a Pictionary-like online game
  • Pictionary (1989 game show) and Pictionary (1997 game show), two television shows that were based on Pictionary
  • Win, Lose or Draw, a game show with a similar concept to Pictionary
  • Pictionary (video game)
  • Draw Something, an asynchronous mobile game with a similar concept.
  • Charades, a game that inspired Pictionary where players act out words or phrases.


  1. Ravulur, Nandita (Oct 12, 1997). "Game Boys". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved 31 Oct 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Western Publishing to Sell its Games Unit to Hasbro