(MetaFilter's own) Telephone Pictionary - signups open! February 12, 2019 1:52 PM   Subscribe

OK, friends and neighbors -- signups for Telephone-Pictionary-by-mail are now OPEN! The signup form is here, and signups will be accepted through the end of February. I'll aim to assign groups and email folks with their group assignments in the first week of March. If you have questions, please feel free to send me a MeFi Mail or shoot an email to mailphonepictionary@gmail.com. Better yet, ask in the comments to this thread. Not sure what this is about? Details within!

A bunch of us are going to be playing correspondence games of Telephone Pictionary, and you are invited to join us! Previous MeTa here for context.

Telephone Pictionary is an excellent parlor game, which is to say, a game that requires only pen and paper to play. You may be familiar with the game "Telephone," wherein participants sit in a circle and whisper a phrase in one another's ears around the circle; the phrase usually becomes corrupted in the process. Telephone Pictionary adds a visual component: the first player writes a phrase, the next player attempts to depict the phrase in a drawing, the third player attempts to capture the drawing in a phrase... and so on. Each player is only allowed to see the step immediately preceding theirs, and play alternates between written steps and drawn steps.

The correspondence version of this game is basically the same, but it's played through the mail. Once signups are complete, I'll assign each participant to one or more mail-chain. Each chain will have 9 participants. I'm mocking up a super-basic printable booklet that Player #1 in each chain will print and assemble; after they've filled in the first phrase, they'll send it along to the second person on the list. Each person in the chain will look at ONLY the immediately preceding step before filling out their step and sending the booklet along to the next person in the chain (this will be accomplished by using a paper clip as a bookmark). The last person in the chain is responsible for taking photos or scans of the completed project and sharing them out!

If you're interested in seeing some examples of this in action, I've played this game via snail-mail with friends in the past, and have posted scans here.

posted by duffell to MetaFilter-Related at 1:52 PM (82 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

This is great! Time to break out the colored pencils and my weird brain.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 2:09 PM on February 12, 2019

I 1000% lack the self-control necessary to only look at the preceding step in the process if it's secured by nothing more than a paperclip. I could probably manage to restrain myself long enough to do my part -- drawing or guessing -- without peeking, but not send the whole thing away again without looking.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:32 PM on February 12, 2019

Is it ok to write an AI to do the drawings for you?
posted by sammyo at 2:45 PM on February 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


out? much? me?
posted by billiebee at 3:09 PM on February 12, 2019

I tried to sign up but I’m not sure if you got like eight of me. Is there a “success!” screen when you have successfully submitted a Google doc?
posted by eirias at 4:45 PM on February 12, 2019

You should get a confirmation screen, yeah. I'm not seeing one from you, eirias, so can you submit again? Thanks so much!
posted by duffell at 5:21 PM on February 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is everything I didn’t realize I needed right now. Hooray!
posted by okayokayigive at 5:40 PM on February 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

I love this idea even though my drawing skills are crap.

Awkward drawings that were intended to mean one thing but somehow convey something entirely different are the lifeblood of this game.
posted by eirias at 5:58 PM on February 12, 2019 [3 favorites]

Signed up—I’m not an artist but I have imagination!
Real mail is fun!
posted by bookmammal at 6:11 PM on February 12, 2019

Signed up! So excited ! Yay duffell!
posted by Fig at 6:28 PM on February 12, 2019

I'm in! Post-divorce (yesterday!), low-cost entertainments are my jam.
posted by HotToddy at 6:50 PM on February 12, 2019 [10 favorites]

I'm in! I put myself down to participate in 5 chains, but I'm also willing to pinch hit in case we need one person to meet quorum for a chain.
posted by capricorn at 7:38 PM on February 12, 2019

I only signed up for one chain—but if you have spots that need to be filled to complete a chain you can add me to another one.
Thanks, duffell!
posted by bookmammal at 7:43 PM on February 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yes. Fun.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:07 PM on February 12, 2019

Count me in for 3, but I also can do an extra if need be.
posted by coppertop at 5:33 AM on February 13, 2019

Done and done.
*rubs hands together, cackles*
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:24 AM on February 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

As I mentioned in my sign-up - I am terrible at drawing and guessing. This should be fun!
posted by Julnyes at 8:30 AM on February 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

I love this game!!! Signed up.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:44 AM on February 13, 2019

I'm in!
posted by mon-ma-tron at 2:53 PM on February 13, 2019

posted by cortex (staff) at 4:04 PM on February 13, 2019

In for 2, but I can do more if you need it. This is awesome. Thank you!
posted by limeonaire at 6:06 PM on February 13, 2019

✏ ☎ \m/
posted by miles per flower at 6:40 PM on February 13, 2019

Yaaay, count me in!
posted by Skybly at 6:21 AM on February 14, 2019

Looking good so far... we have enough for 20 chains, and counting!

A few things to bear in mind:
  • You still have 2 weeks to sign up, so if you haven't done so you've got pleeeeenty of time.
  • I'll be sending out a "welcome to the game!" email to each chain separately in early March. That way if there's a need for folks in the same chain to communicate (mail delay, change of address, other logistical stuff) it's easy to do so.
  • That *also* means that folks who are signing up for multiple chains will receive multiple welcome emails. 😬 Sorry (not sorry), this is the only way I can see to do this without making the administration of this very complicated and difficult.
  • I'll probably also send out a separate message to anyone who's assigned Step #1 in a chain, offering specific instructions.
  • The US-only and US/Canada chains are likely to finish earlier than the "anywhere in the world" chains. This is fine! We'll probably have a wide range of completion dates.
  • Once completed chains start rolling in (late March at the earliest, I'm guessing), I'll probably create a fresh MeTa with a link to the results, so folks have a space to share bewilderment and joy!
posted by duffell at 8:54 AM on February 14, 2019 [6 favorites]

Yay! I'm signed up!
posted by triggerfinger at 7:28 PM on February 14, 2019

This is very strange and yet... the lure of snail mail is strong. I'm in.
posted by tuesdayschild at 1:52 PM on February 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is so awesome. I've got a group of folks who play this so much we just call it "the party game." I signed up for 5 chains but am willing to be added more times if needed to make numbers work out!
posted by cubby at 5:34 PM on February 17, 2019

BTW for people who like to play this game in person: Telestrations comes with cards you use to set the topic and (the best part) a dry-erase flipbook for passing around. I keep meaning to make some additional flipbooks from craft supplies, because you want extras for playing multiple rounds OR because you end up wanting to get photographs of some of the drawings.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:58 AM on February 18, 2019

I just signed up, and am so excited about it! Love this game.
posted by Guess What at 12:56 PM on February 23, 2019

I'm in. Even though my games always descend into weird religious scenes involving hot dogs.
posted by Beardman at 1:56 PM on February 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Even though my games always descend into weird religious scenes involving hot dogs.

Gold, frankfurters, and myrrh.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:16 PM on February 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

All right, y'all, I am excited! Remember that signups close at the end of the month--and the last day of the month is Thursday!
posted by duffell at 7:00 PM on February 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hope you guys don't mind a dread lurker joining - I've been meaning to actually start participating on this site and a snail mail variation of one of my favorite games sounds like a lot of fun. So, hi!
posted by limnerent at 9:29 PM on February 26, 2019 [5 favorites]

Hey, limnerant! Way to jump in!

See, folks, a good party game really does break the ice!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:26 PM on February 26, 2019

Another last minute lurker! Yeah!
posted by anotherbrick at 2:25 PM on February 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Signups are now closed, groups are assigned, and emails will be going out today!

If you meant to sign up but missed the deadline, let me know. I can start a backup queue or something.
posted by duffell at 3:12 AM on March 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I am really quite stupidly excited about this :)
posted by billiebee at 7:28 AM on March 1, 2019


I tried to send all invitations, but I'm wondering if the sudden spike in activity from that account set off some controls... I haven't actually received the invitations I sent myself.

Anyone else received their invitations via email?
posted by duffell at 8:07 AM on March 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Invite has been received. Booklet is filled out and I'll print it soon.
posted by zinon at 8:19 AM on March 1, 2019

I rescued mine from my junk folder. Go Team Carrier Pigeon!
posted by billiebee at 8:20 AM on March 1, 2019

Did not receive—I’m 99% sure I signed up!
posted by bookmammal at 8:21 AM on March 1, 2019

You're signed up, bookmammal!

I'll work on getting these out somehow. Ugh. Might take me more than a day to get everything out, now.
posted by duffell at 8:31 AM on March 1, 2019

Don’t stress over it—the FUN will be worth the wait!
Thanks for facilitating all of this, duffel!
posted by bookmammal at 8:33 AM on March 1, 2019

I got my invite, but it said I would get the address for the next recipient in another email, and I didn't get that one.
posted by Etrigan at 8:34 AM on March 1, 2019

I recieved an instructions email but nothing with an address of who to send it to. (Nothing in my junk folder.)

Thanks for all of your work on this, duffell!
posted by okayokayigive at 8:38 AM on March 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

OK--I had two batches of emails that were supposed to go out. One batch was to folks who were assigned the first or last step in a chain. So far, it sounds like those have gone out. Fingers crossed.

The other batch went to each participant of each chain (31 separate emails, each to a group of people). So far, looks like these might've been blocked on Gmail's end, and didn't make it to anyone's inbox. These emails contained the addresses of each participant in the chain.

I suspect the problem here stemmed from my method of sending--I can try restructuring this batch of emails and re-sending from my personal gmail address. This is going to take me awhile, though.
posted by duffell at 8:44 AM on March 1, 2019

Maybe I spoke too soon? I just got my team list. Thanks again!!
posted by okayokayigive at 9:52 AM on March 1, 2019

I received emails, but the one for the thread I am supposed to start doesn't have any addresses to send to. The ones for games in which I am somewhere in the middle of the chain look perfect though.
posted by TheCoug at 9:52 AM on March 1, 2019

Though perhaps the list for that game just hasn't come through yet?
posted by TheCoug at 9:54 AM on March 1, 2019

Just got back from lunch to find that mine finally came through--and not all at once (one of them came 12 minutes after the rest).

I'm going to wait it out. Looks like we might be OK.

Apologies to homo neanderthalensis, who prematurely received a followup invitation email from me.
posted by duffell at 10:08 AM on March 1, 2019

I got both of my group emails. (12:35p and 12:48p, according to gmail.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 10:24 AM on March 1, 2019

Group email received. Thanks, duffell!
posted by Etrigan at 10:47 AM on March 1, 2019

Got all my invitations, it looks like, as well as a separate notice that I’m running anchor on Team Dirac Communicator. Duffell, thanks for your work on this! I am super excited and would like to say that I think these are *stellar* team names here. They’re already putting a big smile on my face and I haven’t even started drawing any tiny pirates / breakfast cereal mascots / schtick figures yet!
posted by miles per flower at 10:50 AM on March 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Got mine! (I assume, I don't remember how many I signed up for).

posted by RhysPenbras at 11:09 AM on March 1, 2019

Got it!
posted by bookmammal at 11:16 AM on March 1, 2019

If anyone wants to double-check details to make sure they've got everything, feel free to memail or email me!
posted by duffell at 11:20 AM on March 1, 2019

Hey! So! It'll be at least a month before the first of the chains are complete, but once I start receiving scans/photos of the completed chains, I'll be putting them into Google Photos albums.

I figure it'd be helpful to have some kind of index page that's regularly updated as new chains are completed, as a central reference. I'm happy to put that on my own site if people don't mind, but I'm open to other suggestions. Here's what I've mocked up--it's pretty basic. I'd hyperlink each line as photos become available.
posted by duffell at 12:41 PM on March 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

These emails (...many emails...I get to play my favorite game A Lot of Times) made me smile big yesterday, and Team Esperanto’s packet is already in my mailbox waiting to be picked up in the mail. :) :)
posted by eirias at 2:32 PM on March 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Wahoo! I kind of like that I'm late in the chain for most of my teams -- I'll have mostly forgotten about this, and then will get some awesome suprises in the mail.
posted by cubby at 4:41 PM on March 2, 2019

Got all of my mails, yay! I am excited! Double excited that I am the final point in one chain so I get to see the result first!
posted by Skybly at 8:22 AM on March 4, 2019

Hey folks! If you haven't reached out to me yet or piped up in this thread, I'd love to know if you definitely HAVE or HAVEN'T received your emails. A few folks never did receive them, so I want to be sure.

If you've already indicated you received them in this thread, no need to say so again. After a day or so I'll reach out directly to any unknowns just to make sure we're all good. :-)
posted by duffell at 10:39 AM on March 4, 2019 [3 favorites]

I got my emails for all three. Should be a hoot, thanks for running this!
posted by Mizu at 10:43 AM on March 4, 2019

I got my emails for all three and just mailed the booklet for Floo Powder. Watch your mailbox, zinful!

Is this going to be a thread where we can comment on progress (no spoilers) and squee kinda like Secret Quonsar, or do we have to wait til the end?
posted by probably not that Karen Blair at 11:10 AM on March 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

I heartily encourage spoiler-free squeeing in this thread. Once the first booklet has been completed and scanned, I'll start a new thread where we can oooh and ahhh over the final results!
posted by duffell at 11:31 AM on March 4, 2019

Duffell, I can confirm that I got all of the emails and that the letter for Team Black Square is in the mail!
posted by metaphorever at 1:53 PM on March 4, 2019

I have received my three emails and have printed the booklet I'm to send and hopefully will get it in the mail this evening!
posted by HotToddy at 2:09 PM on March 4, 2019

Wow, this looks like total fun! Your collective enthusiasm is inspiring. Just dropping by to salute duffell's amazing community spirit and energy, as well as note that Pickle Christmas (one of duffell's examples in a link above) would make an excellent sock account or band name. That is all.
posted by Bella Donna at 10:00 PM on March 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

I got my emails! I have slight performance anxiety, but I'll get over it.
posted by holborne at 9:24 AM on March 5, 2019

Hi duffell -- confirming I got all of mine, and sent out the booklet for the one where I was first. Thanks!
posted by daisyace at 9:37 AM on March 5, 2019

Got my emails! "Universal Translator" is the best team name ever.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:40 AM on March 5, 2019

holborne, me too! But I’m also terribly excited.

Got my two emails!
posted by theappleonatree at 9:49 AM on March 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

We're going to be awesome, Team Floo Powder and Team Golden Record!
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:25 PM on March 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

When I play this game around a table, a consensus emerges fairly early along about how detailed we're gonna do our drawings. It usually skews toward basic cartoony line/sketch drawings -- both to accomodate those less sure of their drawing ability and to keep the game moving at a speedy clip. That one person who labors over their picture for too long and creates a log jam in the game (we usually play where there is one piece of paper per person, so everyone is drawing or writing a sentence at the same time, papers are passed around the circle, and it's over when you get the paper back that you started) is roundly criticized for putting a hitch in everyone's get along, and they are forced to finish up quick and keep it moving already.

I wonder how things will play out in this version, where each player has the luxury of basically as much time as they want to complete their turn. I'm gonna go ahead and set my Expectations higher than usual -- looking to see your best/most hilarious/silliest/overall magnificent work, teams!
posted by cubby at 6:41 AM on March 6, 2019

I got my first booklet in the mail sometime between Saturday and yesterday, and can confirm that duffel's booklet template and 1 paperclip got to me with 1 stamp.

Will do the next part tonight, and send it out tomorrow.
posted by Fig at 10:43 AM on March 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

Aaaaaand my first one is done and sent off! Go Team Green Bullet! (I put on two stamps just to be on the safe side; it probably wasn't necessary.)
posted by holborne at 10:45 AM on March 7, 2019 [4 favorites]

Woohoo, I'm second in team Babel Fish and just got the booklet in the mail today!
posted by exogenous at 4:12 PM on March 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

I sent out the booklet for team Golden Record two days ago and the machine at the post office generated a 70 cent stamp. Maybe if I'd used a smaller envelope (I used a #10), it would have been lower?

Either way, I can't wait to see the results!
posted by Julnyes at 3:14 PM on March 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Team Singing Telegram, I am very sorry that I haven't gotten our booklet in the mail yet. I got some pretty big, bad news earlier in the week and frankly I entirely forgot that I had the sheets for this printed out and waiting to be stapled. I will get it in the mail tonight.
posted by HotToddy at 3:25 PM on March 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

So sorry, Hot Toddy.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:38 PM on March 10, 2019

Sorry to hear, Hot Toddy. I don't think you need to apologize.
posted by holborne at 11:07 AM on March 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

I received Team Ansible's booklet before the weekend and it will make its way back across the ocean tomorrow!
posted by Skybly at 2:44 PM on March 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

So this is totally true. My work is a complete shitscape and for that and other reasons like a family bereavement and then a different family crisis this thread (and most things) has gone totally out of my head. Last night I dreamt I got my team booklet, which I then promptly forgot about again thanks to the whirling dervish of shite that was my day today. I’ve just battled through gales and torrential rain to get home from work via the grocery shop, pausing only to accidentally drive through a red light and have a lady (justifiably) make rude gestures to me, dragging my weary ass through the door ready to make dinner then start the 2500 word assignment due for tomorrow. When lo and behold I see the cheery yellow envelope of my team booklet waiting for me!!! I cannot tell you how much I needed a lift today. Thank you Rock Steady for posting it at just the right moment. I’ll get it back en route asap.
posted by billiebee at 10:53 AM on March 12, 2019 [4 favorites]

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