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How to Play Pictionary

Don't let your next dinner party go bust - entertain your guests with a lively game of Pictionary.


  • Step 1: Chose teams Divide players into teams of two or more people and pass out pads, pencils, category cards, and markers to each team. Place the timer and card box so all players can reach them.
  • Step 2: Determine order Roll the die to determine the play order. The team with the highest die roll starts first.
  • TIP: Determine acceptable answers before starting. For example, is using only a celebrity’s first or last name acceptable? Also, remind players that sketches cannot include letters, numbers, or symbols.
  • Step 3: Review "All Play" rules Landing on an All Play square means that the corresponding word on the word card is shown to the sketchers from each team, who draw clues simultaneously after time starts.
  • Step 4: Start the game Determine who will sketch first, and place all game markers on the board's start square. The color or picture on the square where the marker rests determines which word from the word card is in play.
  • TIP: Set up a dry-erase board or tape a large sheet of paper to the wall to make it easier for all players to see the clues during an All Play challenge.
  • Step 5: Select a word card Instruct the first team's sketcher to select a word card from the front of the deck and review it for no more than five seconds.
  • Step 6: Play the first round Turn over the one-minute sand timer and tell the sketcher to start drawing clues for their team. Allow the team to guess until they identify the clue or time is up.
  • Step 7: Decide who takes the next turn Assess whether the first team answered correctly. If so, the team rolls the die, advances their marker, and selects a new card. Otherwise, allow other teams a 30-second chance to "steal" the turn by correctly guessing the answer.
  • Step 8: Advance to the next round Advise the team on the previous player's left to draw a new card if the previous team did not answer correctly before time expires. Teams need to wait to roll the die until they have correctly identified a word within the time limit.
  • Step 9: Win the game Aim to advance your marker to the final All Play square and be first to correctly identify the word.
  • FACT: Pictionary was invented by Rob Angel, a waiter in Seattle, and first distributed nationwide in 1986.

You Will Need

  • Four or more people
  • A Pictionary game set
  • A dry-erase board (optional)
  • Dry-erase markers (optional)

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