Telestrations Rules and Gameplay Instructions

Remember the childhood game of Telephone where players whisper a secret and see how much of it remains true by the time it gets around to the last player? Telestrations is an award-winning game that brings Telephone to life through drawing illustrations!

Not an artist? Have no fear because your drawings don’t have to be perfect. Have your friends try to figure out pictures! Telestrations’ rules state that you can draw stick figures or other simple shapes. 

This Telestrations rules guide will cover the following:

  • What are Telestrations?
  • A brief history of Telestrations
  • What you’ll need to play Telestrations
  • Telestrations Rules
  • How to play Telestrations (Video Tutorial)
  • FAQs

Read on to learn how to play Telestrations: 

What are Telestrations?

Telestrations Board Game Info image

Available in an 8-player and 12-player party edition, Telestrations is the game of Telephone sketched out on paper instead of verbally spoken. 

Number of Players: 4-8 players

Ages: 12+

Difficulty: Easy

Length of Play: 20-30 minutes

Category: Party game, Family game

Similar to: Pictionary, Dixit, Monikers

Main Objective:  The main objective of Telestrations is to laugh and have fun while embracing your inner artist!

Why We Love It: Games like Telestrations make excellent party games and never get old because you experience new and hilarious drawings every time you play. 

A Brief History of Telestrations

USAopoly game, Telestrations has received numerous awards and nominations over the past decade. Copyrighted in 2009, Telestrations became increasingly popular and earned the Party Games, Game of the Year Award by Creative Child Magazine in 2011 and 2013. 

Since its release, several game variations have become available, including the 80s and 90’s Expansion and an adult version called, Telestrations After Dark which is recommended for players ages 17 and older. 

What You’ll Need to Play Telestrations

Everything you need to play is included in this boxed set.

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The complete game box contains: 

  • 1700 total words (142 cards)
  • 8 Erasable Sketch Books
  • 8 Dry Erase Markers
  • 60-Second Sand Timer
  • 8 Erasing cloths

Area of Play

Players gather around the table and remove the contents from the box. Decide which side of the playing cards you will use for the game: “This Side” or “That Side.”

Give each player a dry erase marker, sketchbook, and one card. Everyone writes their name on the cover of their sketchbook. 

Telestrations Rules

The first player begins by rolling the die. Looking at the key shown on the card, each player writes the corresponding word on their sketchbook’s “Secret Word” space. 

Start the sand timer, and everyone begins!

Even Number of Players

Players can go ahead and sketch an illustration of the secret word on Tab 1 in their sketchbook.

Odd Number of Players

If there are an odd number of players, pass the sketchbook to the player to your right, and they will draw the picture on Tab 1. 


After the timer ends, close your sketchbook and pass it to the player on your right. Now, looking at the illustration, try to guess the previous player’s secret word. Write your guess on the line for Tab 2. 

Close the sketchbook and pass it again to the player on your right. Start the timer, and everyone begins drawing again using the new word this time. 

This gameplay continues around the table until everyone retrieves their sketchbook again. 

Once all tabs are complete and you have received your sketchbook, be sure to check out all your friends’ talented drawings! 

Additional Rules

Be sure to keep your secret word hidden from other players while drawing. 

Your image cannot include any words or numbers. 

How to Keep Score in Telestrations

Keeping score is entirely optional while playing Telestrations however, there are some ways you can keep track of score if your party is interested in determining a winner. 

Each notebook has a scoresheet included on the first page. 

Players can keep track of their scores by marking points on the scorecard each of the three rounds played:

  1. Give one point to the player with your favorite sketch in your book. 
  2. Give one point to the player with your favorite guess written in your book. 
  3. Give yourself one point if the last guess matches the secret word. 
  4. Players can also give points if their guess matches the secret word in another player’s book.
  5. A sketcher can earn a point if their sketch helps another player guess a match. 
  6. You can give yourself a point if your last guess matches the secret word. 

How to Play Telestrations – Video Tutorial

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is Telestrations a good game? 

Telestrations is a fun party game because it is interactive and easy to learn. Players can all join in on the fun immediately with little downtime. Reading and writing skills are necessary to play, so this game is intended more for older children and adults. 

Is Telestrations the same as Pictionary? 

While both games require drawing and guessing, Telestrations is not the same as Pictionary. Telestrations involve a series of passes among players in order to guess a secret word. Both games are great additions to your next party or family game night! 

Other Games Similar to Telestrations (Our Guides)

If you enjoy games like Telestrations, be sure to check out these other fun party games:

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Read all the articles (69) written by Andrea Huguley