It’s the year 2023, so anything that can get an injection of AI will get an injection of AI. However, I doubt many people had the board game Pictionary on their artificial intelligence bingo card. Mattel just surprised us all and announced a new version of the game, Pictionary Vs. AI. It’s the brand’s first title to “incorporate AI technology” and marks the company’s “first major leap into the category.”
This isn’t a video game. It’s an actual analog board game with an AI-enhanced refresh. The difference between this and traditional Pictionary is that here everyone works to stump the artificial intelligence, instead of each other. You get a clue from a card, just like the regular game, and draw on the included whiteboard, just like the regular game. That’s where the similarities end.
The drawing is sent to a smartphone where it’s analyzed by a proprietary AI. This algorithm attempts to guess what you drew. Everyone else tries to predict whether or not the AI will be successful at guessing your attempt at an ice cream sundae that really looks like a sad, melty mountain. You make your predictions after seeing the source drawings, which should lead to some hilarious situations. Mattel says that “fun and laughter are sure to ensue with all drawings good and bad.”
Pictionary Vs. AI releases on October 2 and costs $25, which seems like a decent enough value. It ships with four whiteboards, a simple smartphone stand, a game board, game pieces, some pens and, of course, a stack of clue cards.
This may be one of the first board games to incorporate AI, but there are many analog titles with a digital twist. Mattel hasn’t announced if they’d be bringing this technology to other IPs in its stable, like UNO or Apples to Apples.