The box claims that Pass the Pen is the world’s fastest drawing game. It promises fun and laughter with creativity. Sounds like a game made for us!
We thought that it would be a fast Pictionary. In some ways, it is but it has some key differences that make it it’s own unique game.
To start, there are no teams. Everyone is free to guess on the drawing. Next there are no categories—good no “Difficult”. This made it easier and harder at the same time. Not knowing if the drawing is an action or object can be hard.
To play, you roll the colour-coded dice. Then you look at your card o the matching colour word or phrase. You then press down on the timer that is part of the special Pass the Pen pen and draw—but for only 10 seconds! After 10 seconds, the pen tip retracts and you are forced to stop drawing.
The third and biggest change from Pictionary is that you only get one guess while the person is drawing and one more guess in the 10 seconds after the pen tip disappears. We had a hard time adjusting to this change. We were use to calling out every and anything as we do in Pictionary. This cost us a few points as well as we guessed too early.
The next difference is that once the time is up, play doesn’t stop—unless someone has guessed correctly. If no one has the correct answer, the person on the left continues the same drawing. If still no one guess correctly, everyone adds to the original drawing until one last person is left to guess. If that person doesn’t guess correctly, there are no points given out.
Scoring is another difference. First, there is no board as in Pictionary. The amount of points reflects the number of players. If there are four players, there are four points. Six players? Six pints.
When there is a correct guess, both the artist and the guesser score the same amount of points. Let’s say there are 4 players. If the original artist gets a player to guess correctly, then both get 4 points. But if there needs to be a second drawer, the points lower to 3 each. If a third artist is needed, the points lower to 2.
Another difference is that if you roll the question mark, you get to pick anything to draw off of that one card. This is a nice feature.
The winner is the player with the most points at the end of 10 cards.
Things we liked
First, we liked the speed; it is much faster than a traditional game of Pictionary. Next, we liked the point system; we have two really strong guesser/drawers if they end up on the same team it’s no fun for the other team. Next, the timer is really nice as we usually get so wrapped up in drawing and guessing that we miss it. Plus this timer wasn’t distracting or too loud.
Things we didn’t like
The phrases were sometimes very difficult; “to juggle” instead of “juggling.” Also, the rules could have been made clearer; we had a lot of trail and error before we figured it out. And the only two guesses rule was hard to follow, but that’s a personal hardship.
Despite the original idea being that you draw and guess, Pass the Pen and Pictionary are very different games. Pass the Pen is fun and fast. It encourages creative and critical thinking. Personally, we prefer Pictionary but it has been a long standing favorite. If you don’t have Pictionary and prefer a faster game, then make room for Pass the Pen on your Family Game Shelf.
Pros: non-team scoring, good quality, non-distracting timer, you choose option
Cons: too similar/different to Pictionary, some clues were very difficult to draw, not detailed rules
Mom: creative and critical thinking