Compound Pictionary

Although Husband and I had a wonderful summer in 2009 that really deepened our new friendship, our compatibility secretly proved itself through Pictionary.

Jump right to Compound Pictionary Instructions

Just seeing the box gives me warm feelings. Image: Terapeak

Our friendship had just started to bud when our house as a collective (9 university students) experienced its Pictionary phase. Whenever there was free time, Pictionary filled it. We regularly swapped partners, but Husband and I as a team, were the strongest pair.

While reminiscing, a housemate would say it was an unfair pairing because we were dating, so of course we’d convey our thoughts via drawings easily. I recall differently. We weren’t dating back then, and at the time we had maybe 5 inside jokes that were also shared with a third person.

I now interpret our uncanny ‘talents’ with Pictionary as an early sign that our minds were compatible. We were new friends who found it easy to communicate by drawing stick figures and arrows. It showed that our brains worked the same way and, seven years later, this is manifested in Husband’s ability to easily comprehend any unorganized partial thoughts I spew out of my mouth.

So if you’re considering dating someone, play Pictionary with them first. :p

This past weekend, our ex-housemate who moved to Montreal gave us a visit. Naturally, Pictionary came up. However, we didn’t have a board and we generally don’t like playing for points anyway, so we just gave each other words to draw and guess.

Eventually we made up some new rules and came up with: Compound Pictionary.

It’s a simple tweak but an immense amount of fun. Essentially, you have two lists of words, and you are randomly given a word from each. This is the compound idea that you must draw for your friends to guess.

It’s a new level of challenging, and is reliable at generating giggles. Some ‘concepts’ we had to draw were “profusely falcon”, “sweaty encephalopod”, and “spectacular parking lot”.

Pictionary doodles using markers.
Other treasures were “sweltering fishman” and “lethargic horseman”.


Setting Up Compound Pictionary


  • Abundance of paper
  • Pens/Markers/whatever you fancy
  • Dice or a random number generator


  1. Make two lists. One for nouns + verbs, and one for adjectivesWe tried to include adverbs but they didn’t seem to pair very well.
  2. Have every player contribute to the two lists (be more heavy on the nouns since they can pair with the most). The more words the funner it will be and the less likely you’ll remember exactly what you wrote.
  3. Make sure everyone reads through the listYou might end up with some really crazy words. This step makes sure everyone’s on the same playing ground.
  4. Number each word. 1 to n for the first list, 1 to n for the second. I don’t know how to describe that in less words.
  5. When it is your turn to draw, roll the dice to find out your first word, then again for your secondThe key is your list of words can’t be longer than your random number generator. i.e. a 6 sided die might not work very well.
  6. Draw it. Everyone else guesses.
  7. Repeat steps 4-5 until it’s 2 am in the morning and you can’t stuff any more cookies into your system.

And that’s it! What I love most about Compound Pictionary is you can include inside jokes, make up crazy concepts (I included “Catfish – a cat that looks like a fish, not a fish that looks like a cat”), and the game will naturally generate new inside jokes!

What sorts of games have you and your friends ‘tweaked’?

Also, if you’re a computer smarty-pants, you can make like my Husband and write a program to import the list and randomly generate pairs for you.

Let me know what sorts of crazy concepts you had to draw playing Compound Pictionary! Have fun. : )






A new way to play Pictionary using your own words. Guaranteed to bring lots of giggles!


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