There is drawing and drawing. In the first case, you just need a pencil and paper, it’s just painting for fun. Other times, however, you need a lot of equipment with a stand, colors and canvas. And now there is a whole new generation of painting – virtual one. All you have to do is take a magic pencil, wave it in the air a few times and suddenly there is a surprising picture.
A drawing novelty with a magic pencil in the air was prepared for all charade-liking players by Mattel Games. The game was released in 2019 and a new way of drawing and arguing is coming to Europe thanks to Esdevium Games.
The game is hidden in a plastic blister, but those interested in drawing free a yellow box made of hard paper from it. However, a plastic electronic pencil, which is called Pictionary Air Pen, was already visible at the beginning through a transparent window. A pile of more than hundred of double-sided cards also shares space inside the box.
During setup, players must download the Pictionary Air app to their phone (or tablet) and insert one LR6 alkaline battery (included) into the pencil. To celebrate this success, the tip of the pencil (when turned on with a small button on the back) lights up red. There is a button for drawing on the pencil, thanks to which the tip color changes to green.
But before the players can start guessing, they have to split into two teams, shuffle the cards with the words, place them in the stand and, above all, launch the application. At the outset, it will show a lot of small rules for the proper functionality of sensing pencil movement – it is not recommended to play in front of lights, green or red background. Players set how many rounds they want to play (default is 5), how long they have for each round (default is 90 seconds) and whether they want to record all their performances to the phone with a camera.
Players prepare a card holder and a pencil and choose starting team. One of its members starts the app and they choose among its members the one, who will become a picturist for the current round. He takes the top card from the deck, looks at the five keywords, words that he will try to pass on to his teammates one by one. These can be done in any order he chooses.
When the draftsman is ready, he indicates this decision to his colleagues. One of them holds a mobile device with an application in which he starts a timer (Start Timer button at the bottom of the screen). After counting down 3-2-1, everything starts happening quickly. The artist should not be able to see the screen, but must work only with his imagination.
Screen of the mobile device looks through the camera and through augmented reality it adds information about the scores, countdown and especially the possibility to press the +1 button at the bottom, by which the team records their achieved score. This can be adjusted even after the round. Then it’s the second team’s turn to get a phone from their rivals.
The active player draws with the help of a pencil (holding a button) and tries to picture his team the word from the card. When one of the teammates guesses and succeeds (number of attempts is not limited), team scores a point. After the time limit has run out, the effort ends. During the given time, team has a chance to fight its way through up to five keywords. Teams take turns in this effort for the set number of rounds, and which team has the higher total at the end can celebrate the victory.
In the true spirit, Pictionary Air is simply a classic Activity, but instead of drawing on paper, this time everything is moved to the screen of a mobile device. When you watch a friend wave his pencil in the air and lines appear on the screen, it almost looks like magic. It is good to see that technology and modern possibilities are also used very well in the world of board games.
The basis of entertainment is augmented reality itself. So if the player has a good imagination, he can himself become part of the image and thus create truly unique images. It is the augmented reality, in which only a single-colored drawn line rules, that is the main attraction. And inexperienced players (which Pictionary usually targets) are intrigued on the first try. Everyone will be thrilled to be able to draw in the air just like that.
Much of the fun for teams stems from the fact, that the describing player does not see, what he is drawing. He has to try to handle everything in his head, because of course the pencil leaves no real trace in the air. Thanks to this, everything is very difficult for the active player, especially compared to other games with this guessing mechanism, where he is drawing on paper.
Players provide help to their colleagues, so they must do their best to be as fast as possible. However, they can choose the simplest passwords on the card to begin with, which can be described and guessed in an instant. Only then should they embark on the more complex ones, such as the last line on each card – a keyword, that has value of two points instead of one.
Due to the design of the application, it is realistic to have only one phone in the game, which is watched by all members. Because it can be inconvenient, the rules also offer guide to broadcast contents of the display from phone to the screen of a larger device, such as a television. If the artist is not happy with his creation or wants to start over, he can ask his teammates to clear the screen with the help of a button.
There is a total of more than two hundred word assignments (remember that the cards are double-sided?), which is enough for a nice number of games. The length of the entire match is determined by the players themselves, which sets the time limit for one round. So it usually means (without changing the settings) only twenty minutes for the whole match.
But there is no chance to cast screen to bigger device, then a major problem arises. The phone can only accommodate a limited number of spectators, so usually the rival team is not involved in the actdion at all. In our opinion, therefore, a common display is an absolute necessity. Without the emerging glowing line, it’s not anything close to fun for other viewers.
Once you download the application, whether for Android or IOS, you will no longer need data from the Internet to play. Everything you need is already the content of the program, which is pretty important.
Pictionary Air is a new generation of party games, in which everyone will be hunched over the TV or mobile phone from which they ran away to play board games. But if you don’t mind watching digital devices, then you will find a lot of fun and gameplay in this box. In Pictionary Air, it’s just about drawing lines, but they don’t really exist. And that’s what makes it fun.
+ fun drawing blindly
+ original way of party guessing
+ enough cards with goals
+ game time
+ possibility to project on TV
- a team that is not active can get bored