Kudos to my sister-in-law who scored with arguably the biggest hit of all the gifts this holiday season, Telestrations. Or actually, credit may go to my 9-year-old niece who saw it in a store and said, “hey, that looks fun” which was the understatement of the year.

Related: 8 of our favorite family board games for 6 or more players of all ages.

Essentially Telestrations like a game of telephone with drawings — you sit in a circle, and each player gets a different word or phrase to write down on a dry-erase flip pad. Then, you flip the page and illustrate that word best you can. Pass all the books one spot to the left…and now the next player has to guess the word simply from the drawing, before passing it again.

You may start with the word “skyline” which becomes a rudimentary drawing of buildings that someone describes as “Seattle” which then is illustrated as some fish off the coast of the western US, that is next described as “shark tank” and finally becomes an illustration of some random stick figures on TV holding bags of money.

Or then, there’s “buffalo wings”…

Great party game for big groups: Telestrations is like a game of Operator meets Pictionary.

Well, it started as Buffalo Wings.

You can see how we laughed so hard we cried most rounds. Especially when Frankenstein somehow became “Grownup Zombie Charlie Brown.”

The game is recommended for kids 12+ which is odd, because we found it perfectly fun for kids as young as 6 who should know most of the words. (If not, we just let her take a new card or pick another word on the card; you can be pretty flexible with the rules.)  It’s perfect for adults but especially great for big family gatherings because there’s no winner or loser; just a lot of laughing and finger-pointing and defensiveness about one’s drawing skills.

Be warned though, when you’re playing with kids: expect plenty of references to poop and farts.  Sigh.

Learn more about Telestrations by USAopoly on their website, or find it Telestrations at Amazon (affiliate) with free Prime shipping or your local independent toy and game store. There’s a Telestrations Party Pack which lets you play up to 12 players. I’d suggest spending the extra few bucks for that one.

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