Pictionary meets Chinese Whispers, Telestrations After Dark is the hilarious guessing game that will put everyone’s drawing skills to the test! Just pick a phrase from the card in front of you, write it in your special Sketch Book and watch your friends try to draw what is there or decipher what you’ve drawn. It is simple, fun and better if everyone is a terrible artist.
Telestrations After Dark is a very simple party game for 4-8 players. First, everyone grabs a Sketch Book, a dry-wipe marker and a little clean-up cloth, then pop the cards in the centre and write your name onto the front of your book. The round ends when your book comes back to you, so make sure you remember which one is yours! Each Sketch Book has a different coloured coil and matching coaster, so it should be easy to remember.
Everyone grab a card! Each card has 6 options on it; as a group you can decide to pick a certain number or give everyone the choice to pick the clue that takes their fancy. It doesn’t change the game how you select the clue, so decide amongst yourselves. As this is Telestrations After Dark, the clues are more adult than the classic version of the game. These can range from the obviously adult “full frontal nudity” to the subtler “bacon bits” (to be honest, I don’t understand why bacon bits might be considered adult and am happier not knowing). Write your word into your book and get ready for the next step.
Each round follows the same pattern: write the clue, draw the clue, guess the clue, draw the guess, guess the clue and so on until the book comes back to the original owner. But, this is where it matters how many players you have. If you have an even number of players, everyone turns the page and immediately sketches the clue they have just picked. If you have an odd number of players, you pass your book to the left and your neighbour has to draw whatever you have given them. This means that no matter how many players you have, the last round is always a guess. You never look back at the original clue, only looking at what the last person did. You could easily be drawing a beehive when the first clue was actually “open fly”…
Once your Sketch Book has made its way around the group, you reveal the outcomes. Everyone should get to see every sketch and every guess as, let’s face it, the fun is all in laughing at each other’s attempts. If you want to score, you can do it in two ways: friendly or competitive. Competitive scoring gives points for accurate drawings and correct guesses, while friendly takes the Cards Against Humanity route of offering points for the ones that made you laugh the most. Either way, it is a silly game that is more about the pictures than the points.
You can play to win Telestrations After Dark, but in reality it is more fun just to go along for the ride. The whole point of the Chinese Whispers element is to inject confusion and miscommunication. The reveal at the end of the round is where most of the fun comes in, seeing how people interpreted your pictures or what they were actually trying to depict in theirs. We had moments where everyone was rolling around on the floor with laughter.
Frankly, I am not sure if the “After Dark” element really adds anything to the gameplay. The best rounds were the ones where things had deviated furthest from the clue, not the dirtiest ones. “After Dark” meant that the pictures often got unnecessarily phallic rather than inventive. Cleaner clues worked better. For example, “Hard liquor” somehow became pictures of alcoholic ghosts: simple but very effective.
The rounds went quickly and everyone was engaged, especially when it came to reveal the pictures and guesses. The gameplay worked best when there were an odd number of players. When there are even numbers, the person who picks the clue also draws the first picture. This means that people are more likely to go for easy pictures, which is no fun! When you are picking a clue for someone else, suddenly everyone gets slightly more malicious... It is not a game of skill or competition, but laughs and terrible, terrible drawings.