Hello, my name is Picto! You want to start playing right away, without having to read the entire rulebook? Then just read my outlined comments and skip the paragraphs in between.
If any questions come up during your first game, you can always refer to the full rules text for clarification. I would, however, recommend reading the entire rulebook before playing your second game of Pictomania.
Object of the Game
In Pictomania, you are each secretly dealt a clue, which you have to draw. You also try and guess what your fellow players are drawing - all at the same time! You secretly make guesses with your guess cards.
Each correct guess earns you points. The faster you complete your drawing and make your guesses, the more bonus points you can score. Whoever has the most points after 5 rounds wins the game.
- 99 double-sided word cards
- in 4 difficulty levels
- 1 card holder
- 42 guessing cards in 6 colors
- 13 black cards
- 30 scoring tokens in 6 colors
- 6 black scoring tokens
- 6 pencils in 6 colors
- 1 sharpener
- 1 pad of drawing sheets
- 1 sticker sheet
- 1 rulebook
Each player chooses a color and takes the sketch board, 7 guess cards and a number of scoring tokens depending on the number of players, all in their color:
Each player also takes 1 dry-erase marker and 1 eraser. Place both card racks on the table so that every player can easily read the cards put onto them.
Separate the clue cards by color into 4 decks and place them on the table next to the number cards and the symbol cards. Depending on the number of players, place bonus point tokens in the center of the table where everyone can reach them:
If there are fewer than 6 players, return all remaining sketch boards, tokens, cards etc. to the game box. You will not use them during this game.
Each game of Pictomania consists of 5 rounds. Each round is made up of the following 3 phases:
- Draw and guess
Separately shuffle the number cards and symbol cards and deal 1 of each type face-down to each player. Each player keeps his two cards face-down in front of himself and may not look at them yet!
As a group, choose the difficulty level for this round. For the first round of your first game, we recommend the green cards, as they are the easiest. Take the top 6 clue cards from the deck of the chosen difficulty level and place them in the card racks.
Randomly determine which side of each card you want to use. Only the front of the card is relevant for this round; ignore the reverse sides. Each card lists 7 clues. The clues can be anything from single words to phrases, titles etc.
For each following round, you are free to choose the same difficulty level or a different one. The difficulty levels are color-coded:
2. Draw And Guess
Players should take a moment to read through all the clue cards to familiarize themselves with them. Important: Do not discuss the clues at this point!
One player gives a start signal. Now, each player secretly looks at the number card and symbol card he was dealt. The two cards tell you which clue you are supposed to draw. Place the two cards face-down on the table above your sketch board.
They form the basis of your guess pile. Then all players start to draw their clue. You may not write, talk or in any other way try to communicate which clue you are drawing.
To be more specific: Your symbol card indicates the clue card, and your number card indicates the particular clue on that card you are supposed to draw. For example: You have the - symbol and the number 5. This means you are supposed to draw the 5th clue on the clue card indicated by the symbol on the card rack.
Clues on the same card are always somewhat similar to each other. So it is always a good idea to read through all the clues on your clue card. In order for other players to guess your clue correctly, you should take care to distinguish it as clear as possible from the other clues on the same card.
While you are drawing your own clue, you will also be trying ' to guess everyone else's clues. To make a guess at someone else's clue, place your guess card with the corresponding number face-down onto that player's guess pile.
The guess cards only show numbers from 1 to 7. That is because correct guesses are determined only by the number of the clue, not by the symbol. For example: You think that Christine is drawing clue 3 (bicycle). Put your guess card with the number 3 face-down on top of Christine's guess pile.
Note: If Christine is actually drawing spectacles ( 3), your guess still counts as correct because both clues happen to share the same number.
Always put your guess card on top of the topmost card of each guess pile. The two bottom most cards in each guess pile are the symbol card and number card of that particular player. The first player to make a guess at that player's clue puts his guess card face-down on top of these two cards. The second guesser then puts his guess card on top of the first guesser's card, etc.
You are free to make guesses at other players' clues even if you have not finished your own drawing. If you think you will take longer in drawing a particular clue, it is often a good idea to interrupt your drawing and concentrate on making guesses for a while, then continue drawing.
You can put no more than 1 guess card on each other player's guess pile. Once you put a guess card onto a guess pile, you are not allowed to take it back or exchange it for another.
For example: Shortly after making your guess at Christine's clue (3 - bicycle), you start to think that she is actually drawing clue 7 (motorcycle). You cannot correct your guess and put your number 7 guess card onto her guess pile. To make matters worse, you are now missing your number 3 guess card, which you later realize you need to guess Dave's clue 3.
Each player is free to decide when to stop drawing and guessing. If you decide to stop, you may grab the bonus point token with the most stars from the center of the table and place it in front of you.
This is called finishing play. Once you have finished play, you can no longer make guesses or change your drawing in any way.
Players who have not finished play may still make guesses at your clue, even after you have finished play. If you want, you can finish play without having made a guess at every player's clue. The sooner you finish play, the better your chances to grab a valuable bonus point token.
End Of The Phase
Whoever takes the last bonus point token says "stop". The last player immediately has to stop drawing and guessing. He does not get a bonus point token. The following phase is the scoring phase.
You do not have to take a bonus point token if you don't want to. If one player decides not to take a bonus point token, the round still ends with a player grabbing the last bonus point token.
If, however, 2 or more players decide not to take a bonus point token for fear of negative points (see Score below), one or more bonus point tokens will remain in the center of the table. In this case, the round ends when all players without a bonus point token agree to end the round.
Awarding Scoring Tokens
You now award points for other players' guesses at your clue. It does not matter who starts awarding his points, as long as you do it one player after the other.
To award points, flip over your entire guess pile without changing the order of the cards!
Once you have flipped your pile, the top two cards are your symbol card and your number card. Underneath these are your fellow players' guess cards in the order they were put onto your guess pile.
Show your symbol card and number card to the other players, and check whether you have actually drawn the right clue.
If you have obviously drawn the wrong clue (and only then!), your drawing is scored as if nobody had made a guess at your clue! Return all guess cards to the respective players.
You award no scoring tokens, and your bonus point token does not earn you any points, but it could still lose you points (see Scoring bonus point tokens below). Use this rule only if you really have obviously drawn the wrong clue!
Next, check each guess made at your clue one by one in the order they were made (from first to last guess card in your guess pile).
Correct: If the number on a guess card matches the number on your black number card, the guess is correct. Give the player who made the guess back his guess card along with the most valuable scoring token you still have.
Incorrect: If the number on a guess card does not match the number on your black number card, the guess is incorrect. In this case, you do not award a scoring token. You do not return the guess card to the player. Instead, you place it in the centre of the table.
Repeat this process until all players have resolved their guess pile.
In this way, each player checks all guess cards in his guess pile and awards scoring tokens. The first player who made a correct guess at your clue gets your most valuable scoring token; the second player gets your second most valuable scoring token etc.
After you have completely resolved your guess pile, you have as many of your scoring tokens left as there were players who did not guess your clue correctly or at all. This means that you will still have all your scoring tokens if nobody guessed your clue correctly.
Adding Up Points
Positive points: All scoring tokens other players have awarded you for guessing their clue correctly are worth positive points. You get 1 point for each star.
Negative points: The scoring tokens of your color that you did not award are worth negative points. You lose 1 point for each star.
So, if another player guesses your clue correctly, that's good for both of you. He gets points for your scoring token, and you don't lose points for it. If you guess other players' clues faster than the others and get them right, you get the more valuable scoring tokens, which means more points for you.
Count the guess cards of each player in the centre of the table (remember: they were put there if that player made an incorrect guess). The player who made the most incorrect guesses is the black sheep for this round.
If the black sheep has taken a bonus point token, that player loses 1 point for each star on that token. If two or more players are tied for the most incorrect guesses, there is no black sheep this round.
If you are not the black sheep: You get 1 point for each star on your bonus point token if at least 1 player has guessed your clue correctly. If nobody has guessed your clue correctly, you neither get nor lose points for your bonus point token.
The sooner you finish play, the better your chances at grabbing a more valuable bonus point token. However, the token only earns you points if at least 1 player has guessed your clue correctly.
If you make too many incorrect guesses, you might end up the black sheep and the bonus point token will lose you points. So sometimes it may be better not to take a bonus point token at all.
Calculate your total score for this round (+ other player's scoring tokens, - your own scoring tokens, +/- bonus point token) and write it in one of the boxes along the edge of your sketch board.
End Of The Round
Use your eraser to clear your sketch board, but be careful not to erase your scores . If this was not the 5th round , set up the next round exactly like the last one.
In more detail:
- Place your bonus point token and all other players' scoring tokens in the center of the table.
- Take all scoring tokens and guess cards of your color from the center of the table.
- Collect all black symbol and number cards into two piles as before. Don't forget the cards that were not used in the current round.
- Return the 6 clue cards from the last round to the game box.
- Then you start the next round like the last one with phase 1: Setup.
End of the Game
After 5 rounds the game is over. Add up your scores from the 5 rounds and write the final score in the middle of your sketch board.
Whoever has the biggest final score wins the game. In case of a tie, players share the victory.
For an easier game, such as with young children, we recommend using only the green cards. An even easier way to play Pictomania is using only 1 card for all players. If you do this:
- use only 1 card rack, no matter which one;
- only deal out number cards, no symbol cards;
- place only 1 clue card on the rack;
- each player draws a clue from that card.
All other rules stay the same.