On the one hand, there is no reason to write a full length review for a game like Six Second Scribbles. There isn’t all that much to say. In fact, if I’m being honest, I considered writing the review before I even cracked the shrink on the cards—I was that sure of the outcome.
On the other hand, when a game’s design so perfectly reflects not only the personality on the box but that of its corporate publishing identity, it deserves a unique header on the website and an extra paragraph or two to celebrate the accomplishment.
Six Second Scribbles is the creation of Hazel Reynolds of Gamely Ltd, a Brighton, UK publisher. The Gamely philosophy includes small boxes, laughter, a manageable carbon footprint, and charity. I really want to like games from a company like Gamely. How pleasant, then, when the little yellow (which is also metaphorically green) box is a smash hit at the table.
There are three decks of cards in Six Second Scribbles: Easy, Tricky, and Almost Impossible. Each player receives a face-down card that lists ten items under a single category. With one minute on the clock, players must flip and then draw as many items as possible using a golf pencil and a rather small piece of paper.
When the timer runs out, players write the category on the paper and pass it to someone else, who then attempts to label the drawings. We ran a timer for this activity as well just to keep things moving. Both artist and partner receive a point for each correctly labeled scribble. In each subsequent round, different players exchange and share points.
That’s it; and that’s all it needs to be.
So far, we have adopted the approach of increasing the difficulty with each round. Drawing ten fruits, vegetables, or things that start with B might seem simple; but by the time you’re drawing children’s songs, famous paintings, or specific dog breeds, the pressure is so ridiculous that you have to laugh.
The scale of the game only helps. A tiny pencil and a tiny piece of paper superbly marry the tiny timer to create oversized laughs. Nothing in the rules forbids a larger pencil or more or larger paper. And yet, there is something silly in the smallness that really enlivens the personality. Hear me now: when the pad runs out and the pencils wear down to a nub, we will replace them with implements of the same ridiculous proportions.
By some sort of unspoken agreement, we have tried to keep all ten images on one little side of paper. Try drawing the Last Supper in six seconds at a size comparable to a postage stamp, or “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Then watch your friends try to decipher your efforts. You barely need to play to know what you’re in for.
Six Second Scribbles is worth every last bit of the £14.99 asking price. There is a second box in print—a blue one that is also metaphorically green—that boasts being the greatest sequel since The Godfather II. I’m inclined to believe it. I’m not sure how distribution works on this side of the Atlantic right now, but if you see a copy I recommend grabbing it. It’s the perfect way to spend 15 or 20 minutes with other humans, provided they’re old enough to read the words and wiggle the pencil.
This one is exactly what it avows to be; and it’s fun. For that, Gamely, I salute you.