Wherefore art thou Michelangelo?

Draw Something

First impressions

We had read about Draw Something and how it was sweeping the nation, and so we decided to see for ourselves what all the hubbub was about. It was easy to download and right from the git-go it seemed there were others willing to play with us. We realised quickly that choosing a smaller nib size was the way forward, as the default size made every drawing we attempted look like a two year-old’s efforts. Any thoughts of fancying ourselves as the next Picasso went right out the window. This was not as simple as we thought it would be.

How it works

This is basically Pictionary over the Internet so you can show off your artistic skills to an audience across the globe. You can choose to play against your friends or strangers.

The main issue with the latter is cheating, which I’ll get to in the “When we played” section. You log in and state that you want to play, and once you are matched with another player either you or they will go first. There are three options of words or phrases to choose from: easy, medium and hard.

Easy is worth one coin, medium is worth two and hard, three. It’s great to be ambitious and go hard from the start, but remember that the only way you (and they) win the coins is if you draw something well enough for them to recognise it. If you don’t think you can do a three-coin “Lebron” justice, for example, then choose an easier word.

Should the easy, medium and hard words all look difficult, you can request another three but this will use up one of your limited do-over chances. Once you’ve made a choice and done your best work (yes, you can erase and start again if it’s all going Pete Tong), then the player on the other side has to decipher your scrawl. Should they get it right you’re both coins richer. They will be drawing the next one and it’ll be your turn to guess.

The basic palette of colours you’re given is black, red, yellow and blue but should you feel that such limited shades are restricting your talent, you can buy more with coins. If you can’t wait until you win enough, you can purchase them through the iTunes store. This might be the way forward if you think that all that’s standing between you and some real masterpieces is Burnt Sienna.

When we played

Even when we chose the smallest nib size for our drawings we were astounded to see how our vision wasn’t exactly translating. Our elephant looked like a camel and our dog barely resembled an animal. Once we got more used to the sensitivity of the iPad screen and how to control our lurching fingers, we got much better.

Although we were extremely tempted to buy more colours to assist with our attempts, we resisted. Call it ridiculous pride. That being said, others guessed what we were trying to convey about 90 per cent of the time. The coins came rolling in. Before we knew it, we were playing against four people at a time. Our guesswork on their drawings wasn’t too shabby either.

The only issue we had with playing with strangers is that some of them cheated. There is no way for this kind of thing to be monitored by the game, so the only thing we could do was delete the person from our list of players. For example, if their word was “mouse” they simply wrote “mouse”, they didn’t draw anything. Of course it’s up to you if you want to just play along, but then it’s not much fun. When we played against friends this was never an issue for obvious reasons.

Final thoughts

Draw Something can be lots of fun and although playing against friends will guarantee no cheating, playing against strangers can be equally satisfying. Just weed out the cheaters and stick with those who like the challenge. This has become a very popular game because it combines creativity and puzzle solving, which makes it a great choice for a range of ages. Based on the difficulty of the words and phrases, this is probably better suited to young teens and up.

Pros: A very recognisable concept thanks to Pictionary and charades. Doesn’t get boring because you’re playing against different people all the time.

Cons: You have to be connected to the Internet to play. Limited colours unless you buy more. The iPhone/iPod touch screen is pretty small for this game; we would stick to the iPad.

Any thoughts of fancying ourselves as the next Picasso went right out the window.