Depict

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Depict
Designed by Kat Costa
Depict-Cover-Art.jpg
Can you get your friends to guess the secret word using only pyramids?
:Players Players: 2 - 10
:Time Length: Fast
:Complexity Complexity: Low
Trios per color: 5
Number of colors: 3
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 3
Five-color sets: 5
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
Setup time: 1 minute
Playing time: 10 minutes
0.167 Hr
- 45 minutes
0.75 Hr
Strategy depth: Low
Random chance: None
Game mechanics:
Theme:
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BGG Link:
Status: Initial design (v1.0), Year released: 2021


Depict

Depict-Cover-Art.jpg

Overview

Depict is a game of creative communication and guessing. It's a bit like Charades or Pictionary, except that you will be attempting to convey a secret word using only Looney Pyramids. There are no teams, so all players are involved every turn.

Materials

  • As many pyramids as possible. Preferably at least five different colors.
  • A deck of word-cards from a word game like Codenames, Taboo, Just One, Password, Decrypto, Pictionary, Concept, Squint, In A Pickle, Trapwords...
  • A digital countdown timer
  • Optional: A deck of playing cards

Objective

The goal of the game is to accumulate the most points by successfully conveying the target word to your fellow players using only a few simple materials. The active player and the correct guesser each score points based on how quickly the word was guessed.

Setup

Place all your pyramids within reach of the active player. Place the deck of word cards on the table, also within reach. If you are playing without a deck of playing cards nearby, count out the number of word-cards to be used as clues for this game and place them in a draw-pile. The rest of the word cards are set aside to be used as props.

Play

Each turn, the active player draws three words from the deck and chooses one of these words to convey to the audience. The player may spend a reasonable amount of time planning and thinking about how to convey the word, and at her signal a three-minute timer is started.

The active player then attempts to silently get the audience to guess the chosen word by using Looney Pyramids to paint a picture or scene. The focus of the audience should be on the pyramids, not on the active player. Therefore the active player may not use facial expressions or parts of her own body as elements of the scene.

Hands

If one thinks about the scene as being on stage, then the pyramids are the "actors" and props that make up the scene. The active player's hands may never be the focus "on stage" — that is, they may never be seen as one of the actors. But her hands may be used to do anything that a director, stagehand, or puppeteer might do to assist in the performance of a play.
Examples of acceptable actions with hands:

  • Moving props
  • Animating actors
  • Spotlighting certain elements of the scene (e.g. though pointing or drawing circles around things)
  • Special effects (e.g. concealing / revealing certain elements of the scene)
  • Indicating multiples (e.g. gesturing that a particular action demonstrated by an actor is being performed by many others as well without having to animate each instance of the action)
  • Indicating repetition (e.g. gesturing that particular configuration of pyramids is understood to be duplicated in many places within the playspace without needing to physically set them all out)

For example, animating a white pyramid as though it is rising from a group of red-and-yellow pyramids is acceptable for indicating "smoke," but the active player could not simply mime the shape and motion of smoke with her empty hands.

Cards as Props

Face-down cards from the word-game (or from any deck of cards you have lying around) may also make up part of the scene, and may be animated in the same ways as pyramids. For instance, a player may place pyramids on a playing card and then animate it flying around the table to convey the concept of a flying carpet, may hold a card sideways to indicate a wall, may place pyramids underneath a card and flip the card up to indicate the opening of a hinged lid, or may hold a card aloft to indicate the upper floor of a building. Cards may also be placed flat on the table, such as in a row to indicate a roadway, arranged in a rectangle to indicate a surrounding frame, or arranged in an overlapping manner to indicate a particular shape. However, the content of the cards themselves, front or back, may never be used as part of the scene.

Still Images, Symbols, and Alphanumeric Characters

Using the pyramids to create a mosaic or a still picture as seen from above is allowed. Arranging the pyramids into the shapes of symbols, such as a red cross to indicate medicine or a treble clef to indicate music, is also permissible. However, arranging pyramids to spell out alphanumeric characters is not allowed. For instance, arranging the pyramids in the shape of a maple leaf or a Canadian flag to indicate "Canada" is okay, but arranging them in the shape of the letter "C" is not.

Confirming Guesses

The audience is encouraged to guess aloud what the active player is trying to get across, and the active player is allowed to motion to guessers who are on the right track and to gesture that a guesser should keep trying along this vein, should give up that line of thinking, etc. Nodding, pointing to the guesser, giving thumbs-up or thumbs-down, motioning in a circle, motioning to "stop," etc. are all allowed in this context. These gestures are permissible as feedback and are not considered to be "on stage."

The active player is allowed to lead the audience to arrive at the correct guess in stages: for instance, if the target word is "cavity," the active player might build a structure from pyramids and confirm a guess of "person," then, upon pointing to the head of the pyramid-person, confirm a guess of "head," then "mouth," and finally set out white pyramids in a semicircle with one pyramid missing to elicit the guess of "cavity."

Compound Words, etc.

Homophones are not allowed; if you are trying to convey the word board and someone says "border" or "I'm bored," the word has not been guessed. Compound words are allowed: a guess of "board meeting" or "board game" would be successful, ending the turn. Forms of the word, such as farmer when your word is farm, are not correct guesses, but you are allowed to inform the guesser that she has said a form of the word.

Scoring

Upon the successful guessing of the word, the active player and the correct guesser each receive points according to how much time is left on the timer when the word was guessed. If more than one player speaks the correct word aloud at once, each correct player is awarded the points. If the time runs out before anyone has guessed the word correctly, the active player reveals the word to the audience and takes a seat. No points are awarded in this case.

SCORING CHART
Time left Max time elapsed Points Awarded
at least 2:30 30 seconds 5 points
at least 2:00 60 seconds 4 points
at least 1:30 90 seconds 3 points
at least 1:00 120 seconds 2 points
at least 0:01 179 seconds 1 point
0:00 3 minutes+ 0 points

Continuing Play

After points are awarded or the time runs out, play passes to someone who has not yet had a turn as active player. This continues until everyone has had one turn as the active player.

Game End

After each person has been the active player once, points are added up and the player with the most points wins. In the event of a tie, the tied players share their victory.

Two-Player Scoring

Two-player games are played cooperatively over three rounds (meaning a total of six target word cards are conveyed). The players collectively score the total points earned based on the amount of time it took them to convey each word, using the normal chart above. Their final score can be evaluated using the categories below.

Score at least Result
30 points Perfect score. You must have a psychic connection!
25 points Amazing. How did you do that?
20 points Impressive.
15 points You're getting good at this!
5 points It's the journey that matters.
1 point Were you even in the same room?

License

Somerights20.png

This game is licensed under a Creative_Commons License and is copyrighted ©2021 by me, Kat Costa


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