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Scribblish- For Loads of Laughter

Updated on December 13, 2014
Play Scribblish for tons of laughter
Play Scribblish for tons of laughter

The Drawing - Captioning Game of Scribblish

Scribblish, a game made by Cranium - the same company that brought us a variety of "whole brain" games involving sketching, sculpting, humming, word play, and more - is all about laughter and having fun. Seriously. My family has over a hundred games, but I don't think any game has brought us more laughter than Scribblish! It is absolutely hilarious!

This article is my personal review of the game of Scribblish.

It's like the telephone game!

The Telephone Game
The Telephone Game | Source

Why does playing Scribblish produce such laughter?

Are you wondering why it's so funny? Let me tell you a little about the game. Do you remember the game of telephone you probably played as a child? In the game of telephone, you and your friends sat in a circle and one person whispered something to the person beside them, who whispered it to the person beside them, who whispered it to the person beside them, and so on until the message had gone all the way around the circle. The last person said the message aloud and then first person announced what the message had originally been. Then everyone would laugh and wonder how the sentence could have gotten sooo mixed up as it made the rounds!

Scribblish is similar to that, only way, way more fun! Scribblish doesn't involve talking to pass the message along. It involves writing and drawing. Scribbling, if you will. In fact, because there's a time limit, it really does come out more like scribbling!

Also, in Scribblish, everyone plays every turn. There's no sitting around waiting for your turn to come. However many people there are playing, that's how many story-drawings are being passed around each round. If 5 people are playing, you'll have 5 story-drawings being passed around, all at the same time! Did you ever try the telephone game where each person started their own sentence, so there were as many sentences being passed around the circle as there are number of players? That's a bit what Scribblish is like!

Do you think, "I can balance a cannon on my nose."

Could ever become, "A bird singing?"

See results
Here's a sampling of what Scribblish is like
Here's a sampling of what Scribblish is like
I can balance a cannon on my nose.
I can balance a cannon on my nose.

How To Play The Game Of Scribblish

Here are the basics of how to play. Each player is given a piece of paper, a scroll, a pencil, and a card which only they can see. On each card are several sentences. Each person picks the sentence they want to use and then writes the sentence at the top of the paper without letting anyone else see it (for now). Let's say the sentence is, "I can balance a cannon on my nose."

Then they quickly illustrate the sentence just below the words, drawing a cannon on someone's nose. If they aren't done when the timer goes off, too bad. (But it doesn't really matter; it just makes it all the more fun as the message gets even more mixed up!) The paper is rolled up partially into the scroll so that no one can see their drawing or it's caption. The scroll with the paper is then passed to another player.

Sentence: I have a whistle on my nose.
Sentence: I have a whistle on my nose.
Drawing for: I have a whistle on my nose.
Drawing for: I have a whistle on my nose.
Sentence: Turkey Singing
Sentence: Turkey Singing
Sentence: A bird singing
Sentence: A bird singing
Drawing: A bird singing.
Drawing: A bird singing.

The next person pulls just enough of the paper out of the scroll so that they can only see the picture - not the words - that the last person made. They must then write a sentence under the image that describes the picture. In our example shown here, looking at the picture of the person with a cannon on their nose, they think it's a whistle instead of a cannon, so they write, "I have a whistle on my nose!"

When the timer goes off, more paper is wound up into the scroll, covering all the work that's been done so far. The next person pulls out just enough paper from the scroll so that only the most recent sentence, "I have a whistle on my nose!," is visible. Since the last person wrote a sentence, it's this person's time to draw a picture to go with that sentence.

This process is continued, alternating pictures and written sentences, until you reach the bottom of the paper. At that point, everyone puts the papers into the middle of the table (showing only the most recent drawing on each one), and all players place tokens on the one they think is the funniest and the one they think is the one they started with.

Now here's where the fun really comes in. The papers are all uncovered and everyone looks at the progression, from the original sentence on each, to what it has become. I wish I had a way to express to you just how very funny this is, but I guess you'll either have to trust me on this or play the game yourself. We all laugh soooo hard, every single time we play! What started out as "I can balance a cannon on my nose" can indeed become, "A bird singing!" "Hail the size of bowling balls" may end up as "Jack and Jill in the Twilight." No kidding! That was one of the ones we did last night!!!

Some board games are full of strategy and planning your moves several turns in advance. Who knows: maybe you'll find a little strategy in Scribblish. But mostly what you'll find is fun and laughter!

Have you ever played Scribblish?

If so, what do you think of the game?

See results

Want some more examples? Below are some photos of some of the sentences we played last night. What started out as "Hail the size of bowling balls" became "A bunch of Indians looking at the moon" which became "Hiking by the light of the moon" which became "Jack and Jill in the twilight." Take a look at the two photos to see the sketches that came between each of these! Oh, and as you look at the sketches, please keep in mind each person only had 45 seconds to think of how best to illustrated the sentence and then draw it!

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
"Hail the size of bowling balls" became "A bunch of Indians looking at the moon" which became "Hiking by the light of the moon.""Hiking by the light of the moon" became "Jack and Jill in the Twilight."
"Hail the size of bowling balls" became "A bunch of Indians looking at the moon" which became "Hiking by the light of the moon."
"Hail the size of bowling balls" became "A bunch of Indians looking at the moon" which became "Hiking by the light of the moon."
"Hiking by the light of the moon" became "Jack and Jill in the Twilight."
"Hiking by the light of the moon" became "Jack and Jill in the Twilight."

Here are a few more Cranium games you may like. I've written reviews of all three of the Cranium games mentioned below. You can find them here: Great Board Games To Play With Your Family!

Cranium Bumparena
Cranium Bumparena

Cranium Bumparena has been a favorite in our house for many years! Unlike Scribblish, Bumparena does involve strategy, but it's much more active, easy-going, and quick-to-play (as well as learn!) than chess or most other strategy games. What is the best location and angle for your next piece to increase the odds the balls will collect in your goal whenever someone draws a "release" card?


Cranium is another game we really enjoy! I particularly like the variety of activities involved! Do you like to sculpt (with clay), sketch, do word play, act, hum, or learn new and interesting bits of trivia? Can you draw with your eyes closed? Or guess the definitions of words you don't know? This is a fun team game in which there's something for everyone! For 4 or more players (teens and adults).


© 2013 JanieceTobey

Comments? Questions? Tell us about your favorite board game!

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    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

      5 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      My family and I used to play "Cranium". I'd like to try this game you featured in this lens. - Ms. Charito from the Philippines

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      LOL, this sounds like a real fun game to play. I can only imagine how the message can get completely twisted by the time it gets to the end. I do remember playing the game of telephone. Thanks for this firsthand review on Scribblish!


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