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Rating: 4.6/5 (54 votes)
Comments (41) | Views (5,202)
ArtbegottixsketchFrom Ryan Dewsbury, creator of GPokr and KDice comes a new drawing game that will have you scratching your... Egg? Circle? Melon? Frying pan? Face? Head? That's it, scratching your head!

XSketch is a multiplayer Pictionary-style game with an interesting twist on gameplay and scoring. Players can jump right into any game already in progress and begin to have fun immediately. Points are earned by drawing and guessing successfully, and monthly competition leader boards give the game a real competitive feel.

People who have played GPokr or KDice can use their existing account in XSketch. (In fact, this game was made with the same Google Web Toolkit as the other games.) Otherwise, registration to begin playing is simple and painless.

To begin, simply sit down at a table to play. With each word that you play as a guesser, you ante up four points for the pot. The drawer (which cycles around the room in clockwise motion) antes up the total amount of all other players, and works to earn back his ante. The rest is chaotic fun... The drawer sketches out a picture with the mouse, and the guessers frantically shoot out their guesses in the dialogue box immediately below the picture. The successful guesser and the drawer split the pot evenly. (So in effect, the drawer wins back his ante, while the guesser wins everyone else's ante.)

What can really add to the excitement of the game is when the pot begins to build. If a word is not guessed in time, or if the drawer decides to pass (each with an extra penalty attached), the pot carries over into the next round of play. When there are so many points at stake to boost your rank (which is constantly being updated, no pressure!), the guessing becomes even more frantic in an effort to win it all.

Analysis: Draw-and-guess games are by no means new to the JIG community or to casual gamers in general, but Dewsbury's fresh take on the genre brings a whole new challenge to the easel. All of the words in the database are either written by him or submitted by players and approved by him. And the words aren't just simple words like "cat," "tree," or "cloud," but you've also got to be able to draw tricker phrases like "cousin," "attention," "vessel," and "boarding pass." The more difficult words can be fun to draw and guess, but sometimes terms might get a bit too obscure to be understood. (If anyone can tell me what "syrup pizza" is, I'd love to hear it.)

So without a doubt, some words will be hard to guess or draw. However, the scoring system prevents players from simply passing every word until they find an easy one. The penalty for passing is enough to encourage most drawers to try any word, no matter how ridiculous. And who knows, maybe someone will get it right off the bat.

One thing that sets this game apart from most others I've seen is the fact that you only have one color, black, with which to draw everything. While people who insist grass must always be green may have trouble adjusting to this, the monochromatic gameplay adds to the fun of the challenge (especially when trying to draw the word "color." Ironic, no?).

Sadly, by now it goes without saying that there is a definite PG-13 risk that comes with any multiplayer game anymore. As of yet, there are no censors or filters in place for guesses, chats, or pictures, although a "Warn" button is in place to stifle improper drawings.

So, grab your pen and paper, and

Play XSketch


I have a mac, and the game loaded okay for guessing, but when it came around as my turn to draw, I never got the word I had to draw, and couldn't make a picture appear. Has this happened to anyone else?


I played on a Mac yesterday and was able to see the word without issue.


Wow--they are too fast for me! One just now was back stab. How on earth did they guess that? My theory is that the words come around again so the regular players have a leg up on newcomers. Not fun.


Hmm it won't let me register.

Anyone else have that problem?

Sever_the_ties April 2, 2008 9:51 PM

yeah it happened to me too.


I had issues registering too. try using firefox. that's the only browser that worked for me.


I was going to bed over 3 hours ago, now I have over 1000 points on this silly but addictive game. (it's waaaay past my bedtime now)

EVspiffy April 2, 2008 10:46 PM

I had the same problem Abby.It wont let me draw on my own turn either.

I asked other players if it could be b/c I was using Firefox, but they said no. any ideas on what it could be?


Looks like the focus keeps leaving the registration box in IE. Best work around at the moment is to go to an empty table to register.

I think I have some free time tonight to fix this.


I have trouble guessing -- it's like the text box won't always take the focus? and people on that thing are warn-happy. I had drawn a line -- my phrase was "knee socks" and I'd drawn the straight part of a sock -- when I got warned. And then again on a similar situation.

Benjamin April 3, 2008 12:39 AM

I can't register either. I'm using Opera btw.


I am a yahoo grafitti JUNKIE. I play a LOT. And I've gotten pretty good.

This site, being younger, doesn't quite have the polished players (or interface) of its competitors. The laggy drawing and its tendency to boot players randomly can be major turnoffs.

I hit 30th ranking in a couple hours of playing, and was pretty much dominating the table I was at for awhile. The game has a lot of room for improvement, but the unique scoring system means there's a lot of potential too. I'll be checking back on this one in a few weeks.


So I eventually got to register, ended up having to use IE instead of Firefox, but had no trouble drawing in Firefox unlike some.

The game itself could use some improvements, there are some phrases that don't make sense. And as can be expected with a game created in the US, international players can get caught out on "incorrect" spellings of certain words. 'Donut' got me...

I do prefer it to iSketch, because the interface is much simpler.

But I don't particularly think it adds alot of new stuff to the original idea.


i dont get it. im on windows. im using firefox.


when its my turn to draw, the word that appears where (i think) the word should be is always the word the person before had.

I only know what i was supposed to be drawing when i timed out and i can't go back in time =/


I also cant draw at all.

but when i click, the screen sort of freezes.

and ive also got to wait the whole time, to time out.


Fun game.
Thrown out once while writing and sometimes the first couple of letter didn't get thru but I guess it's my connection and not the game itself.

I liked it a lot.

The only issue with this is that the stock of words should be a bit larger: I played for like 2 hours and at the end some of the words started to come back again.

But all in all it was big fun.

Marianen April 3, 2008 9:36 AM

iSketch is cool. It has many languages.

[Edit: We reviewed iSketch here at JIG a few years ago. -Jay]


I also can't register. Firefox on linux.


I am so psyched to play...but I've been waiting on my confirmation email for a good amount of time. I tried signing up again with the same email, and it said that email was already in use, so I know I typed it in correctly.


Bit of a pain that I kept losing because the words were US-centric - soccer not football, zucchini not courgette, traffic cop etc. At least with Isketch you can choose UK rooms.

Anonymous April 3, 2008 7:48 PM

2 times i got to draw happily. (by the way, i'm reecer6) but after that, i get LAG!!!!!!!!!!!! and at the end it says i passed the word. How do i fix this?

P.S., i'm in IE


Ahhh. My email came in after 15 minutes or so and I got to playing.

OMG I LOVE THIS GAME! I got up to 60th with about 2000 points in about 2 hours.

Elite Fencer April 4, 2008 2:32 PM

Darn. The only browser I have is internet explorer...this is annoying.

Elite Fencer April 4, 2008 2:34 PM

Aha, got it! You go to someone else's profile page and click on their name. it'll take you to the homepage and then you click Sign Up on the lefthand side.


This game murders my "windows virtual memory".

tigrita April 4, 2008 8:51 PM

Someone got "syrup pizza" the other day when I was playing, and I guessed it right, haha! Of course I gave JIG credit for my victory.


This game is great, and totally vamps my idle hours... I'm always amazed that other players guess my drawings right, even though I'm terrible at drawing (I blame laptop and touchpad)!

OrigamiMarie April 5, 2008 9:29 PM

How odd xadoc, because I found things like carpark to throw an American. The word (phrase) list is definitely a little strange, so you kind of have to watch for a while to get an idea of what some of the odder ones are, but I love it anyway. I had to draw a "court reporter" twice in one session. There's just something about drawing things quickly and getting other people in internet-land to guess correctly. And "syrup pizza" throws everybody, every time. Though you can tell somebody has been playing for a while when they give it as a wild guess.


There's a page error. It can't find it :(
It worked yesterday and I got addicted!
But now I can't play.

Grant Thurston April 6, 2008 11:57 PM

This game is amazing!!! I'm so addicted to it, and I made new friends while playing it too!!! And I'm good at drawing so I get lots of points when it's my turn to draw!!!


This game is ridiculously addictive.

I've worked my way up to 5th place in four days. There's something compelling about the challenge of drawing a word or phrase and having people guess. Also the feel of it is familiar from kdice, which is a plus.


Ok. Another pictionary game. Still doesn't come close to isketch!


Ok, solved. I feel very stupid now.


kdice and xsketch are both great games. unfortunately, it's not the xxx content that kills the game. it's the abusive chats, porn avatars, and players who cheat that kill the game. there are measures to prevent cheaters (such as the ewarn button), but too bad, if you have two friends sitting at one table, they can still cheat (writing out the answer or use IM to communicate the answers). also, there are lack of rules and players are always arguing what is allowed and what is not in the forum. and the report abuse feature is useless, i haven't seen the auther doing anything about it. overall, nice idea, fun game, but lack of rules and control and too many unfair players.


i can't sign up for an account :( does anyone know how to fix this?

elite noob April 10, 2008 7:14 PM

i just want to note that the ante you pay when you draw something is only lost when nobody guessed it. you don't "win back" your ante, you win that amount on top of winning back your ante, and if you "pass" you get back half your ante, rather than lose an additional amount.

which pretty much means that drawing really pays off (but it can also make you lose quite a lot), and most people on a table will have their score increasing, as points are generated per round when a word is guessed, rather then just exchanged.

also, i had little trouble getting passed the 'noob period'. you'll soon lern recurring words, and new words are added constantly.

try to find a room with lots of other noobs.

you do though, need a decent vocabulary and be able to type and spell quickly, as it is often a type-race.


Is it only me who's having trouble loading the page?

I've been playing XSketch for a while and now I'm over 11,000 points so I'd hate to leave the game - but today I wasn't able to load the page properly. The main (game) window fails to load so I can't play.
Firefox upgraded itself this morning so that might be the cause?

And when I'm trying to load the page using IE it seems to get in an endless reloading loop that keeps reloading the page like every half a second.

Anyone any ideas?

Grant Thurston June 16, 2008 1:37 PM

waaaah, I'm so upset!!! I've been playing this game for a while but then someone decided to totally deactivate my account! The reason:He doesn't believe that I'm a boy.
Argh, I don't think that anyone will be able to do anything, but please, I just want to play this game, I made friends with people on it, I just want to play the game T_T.

Ainegue July 4, 2008 8:18 PM

I love this game.

Reminds me of InkLink (i think that's what it's called) from Shockwave, but I think Vista has some trouble with Shockwave.

This is much better! *adds it to the Favorites list*


hi!!! i need help as i'm not able to login on xsketch!!! when ever i try too it says an error occured while signing in!!!! whyy??? please help!!


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