Skip to Content

How To Play Pictionary (3 Minute Guide)

How To Play Pictionary (3 Minute Guide)

Overview: Pictionary is like charades, but with pictures. The drawer draws pictures to get his or her team to guess the clue word. When the team guesses right, they advance their pawn on the game board. First team to get to the finish square and answer a final clue wins.

If you don’t own Pictionary already, check it out here on Amazon.


SETUP- Each player is given a pawn, a piece of paper, a writing instrument, and a category card. Most versions of Pictionary feature category cards including these five categories: P (person, place, animal), A (action), O (object), D (difficult), and AP (all play). Dice and game board with colored squares are also needed to play.

Players are then split into teams. The ideal number for Pictionary is 4, with two people per team. But Pictionary can be played with more than 2 teams or with two teams of 3 or more players. Pictionary can be played with an odd number of players when one person is the permanent drawer.

After identifying teams, pawns are then placed on the game board with one pawn representing each team.


Each team chooses one initial drawer for the first clue. Both teams roll a six-sided die, and the team with the highest number gets to draw the initial card.

Both drawers will then draw the picture from the AP category on that card and all players will try to guess. The team that guesses the initial turn gets control of the game to start.


The team with control rolls the die and moves their pawn based on the number they roll.  Another team member becomes the drawer and he or she picks a card. The new drawer must draw the clue that matches with the color their team’s pawn is on (for example, if the category color for object is purple and the pawn is on a purple square, the drawer must draw the object clue).


  • No prearranged strategies before drawing
  • No numbers, letters, or dashes may be used while drawing
  • No reference to the number of letters or words (like in charades) in the clue is allowed
  • There is no limit to the amount of paper used
  • Spelling is not a requirement for correct answers (for example, a drawing for “shoot” would still count for guessing the word “chute.”
  • Any clue with a triangle beside it is an “All-Play” clue for all teams to participate.
  • Teams must establish an order of drawers (or a “batting order”) for the game. No team can skip turns or change that order once it’s established.

Drawers have five seconds to plan out their picture. Then, his or her team has a minute to guess the clue. If the team guesses correctly in the minute, they roll the dice again and keep drawing. Once the team fails to guess, another team gets to choose a card. Each time a team guesses correctly within the allotted time, they get to roll the die and draw again.


Teams draw, guess, and roll until one team reaches the final “All Play” square. The die roll doesn’t have to be exact (for example, if you are four spaces away from the final square, you can draw a five or six and make it to the final square). The team draws an “All Play” clue. If the team guesses the “All-Play” clue correctly while sitting on the Final Square, they win. But “All-Play” means everyone gets to guess. So if another team guesses the clue correctly, they can take back control. It is possible for multiple teams to end up on that final square. The first team to guess an “All-Play” clue while on the Finish Square wins.


Pictionary is a great game for kids even below the recommended age on the game. There are numerous kid-friendly versions of Pictionary. Another good tip for including kids in your Pictionary game is to appoint a judge. The judge can assist the child in choosing words he or she understands how to draw. Check out this site for defined roles of the judge and a list recommended words for kids to use as clues in the game. (


Pictionary was created in 1985 by Angel Games. The rights have since changed from Hasbro to Mattel. It is recommended for players 12 and up. Average game length is around 45 minutes. Pictionary received a 5.711 Geek Rating on Board Game Geek. Game difficulty is usually easy for Pictionary, though difficult and expert versions of the game are available. Popular alternative versions of Pictionary include:

  • Disney Pictionary
  • Pictionary Man- An electronic version of the game that combines charades with the classic drawing game
  • Pictionary Jr.
  • Pictionary Card Game
  • Pictionary Showdown

If you like this game, you’ll also like:

If you don’t like this game, you’ll also hate: