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How to Play Pictureka Game: Rules & Gameplay

Pictureka is a fast-paced, quick-thinking card game that has you frantically searching for images against the clock. So if you love the mind-work behind games such as “Where’s Waldo,” then the added pressure of Pictureka will be right up your street.

If you’ve ever played the card game pairs, then Pictureka is similar to that. Instead of locating two matching cards, you’re trying to spot crazy images of monsters and objects within a limited amount of time to beat your opponents.

About The Pictureka Game

This is one board game that always comes out during the game night at our house and never fails to entertain the whole family. It’s suitable for ages 6 and upwards too, so great for the little ones to get involved and easy to follow, which is always a bonus.

The idea for the game was first proposed in 2005 under the name project X. It was first released to the public in 2006.

Hasbro soon had their eyes on the game after they realized how popular it was becoming and were interested in taking over, which they soon did. Hasbro then rebranded the game with the name we know today, “Pictureka.”

Since Hasbro took over the brand, they have introduced more editions, such as jigsaw puzzles, the Pictureka Flipper Game, a Pictureka Card Game, and a travel edition of the original Pictureka game. They are fabulous for keeping the kids entertained during a family vacation.

The gameplay board itself comes split into 9, 3×3 tiles. Each tile has a random collection of images on both sides.

They can be placed any which way and in any order, creating a new board every time you play and making it near impossible to remember the location of any of the items you need to spot.

There are also three decks of cards, colored red, blue, and green, some of which have arrow symbols on them. Don’t worry if you don’t understand what these mean just yet. I will go into those in more detail shortly.

The bonus of this family card game is that it is straightforward to follow once the initial rules have been laid down. All you need to decide is who will go first, which version of the game you will be playing, and what the punishment will be for cheaters. If you find out someone is cheating, you may yell out “Liar Liar, Pants on Fire” in front of the group and then punish them whichever way you decide. This could be disqualification, skipping a turn, or returning cards to the deck.

The aim of the game is to quickly find the images on the cards and complete the missions. If you don’t achieve the task, you can not progress in the game; the winner at the end is the player who has collected the most cards.

If you play multiple rounds, then the overall player is the person who has won the most games.

So let’s look at what you’ll need to play Pictureka, what the cards mean, and learn how to play by the rules.

What You’ll Need?

You’ll be glad to hear that you don’t need fancy gadgets or consoles to play Pictureka. All you need to get is the board game set, which can be purchased from most online board games stores and on Amazon.

Pictureka Game

Some of the game’s special editions are a little harder to get your hands on, but the traditional version is all you need to get started.

When you open the box, inside you will find.

  • 55 Mission cards, red, blue, and green.
  • A timer.
  • A die.
  • 9 Tiles to build the board.
  • An instruction Booklet.

Rules And Gameplay

Rules And Gameplay

Setting Up The Game

First, you will want to set up the game. To do this, lay the 9 tiles out in a 3 x 3 square. This can be done in any order you like and can be changed during and between games.

Next, separate the Mission Cards into three piles according to their color, one for blue, one for red, and one for green. Make sure the cards are all well shuffled before play. Lay the cards face down.

Before You Start

Here are a few things that you should set in place before you start the game. This avoids confusion halfway through gameplay.

  • Decide whether you will work from the top, middle, or bottom layer on the green and red cards.
  • Decide which player will go first.
  • Set a punishment for the cheater. This can be losing a card, disqualification, or missing a turn. (You could even make them do a loser dance if you wanted)

Pictureka Game Versions

There are two different ways to play Pictureka, “Round and Round” and “Mish Mash.” Both versions are very similar, but one involves using the dice. Below I will take you through a step-by-step guide to each version.

Round and Round

This is the most commonly played version of the game, which is where you play a couple of rounds of the same colored missions. I suggest playing this version if you’re playing the game for the first time. The rules are as follows:

  • Agree on how many rounds you wish to play. Usually, fewer rounds for larger groups work best.
  • First, play your blue mission rounds, then green, and the red ones.
  • The first player should take the correct colored card from the top of the deck.
  • Whoever successfully completes their mission keeps the card, and the player to the left takes their turn.
  • Once all three colors have been played, the player holding the most cards is the winner.

Mish Mash

This version involves using the die, but aside from that, the games aren’t all that different. You will notice that the numbers on the dice are colored, relating to the Mission Cards. In this version, the players roll the die to decide the color of the cards they will play.

  • The first player should roll the die to reveal what mission color they will be playing. 
  • Play the card of color shown on the die.
  • From here, the rules are the same as the Round and Round versions. If the player completes their mission, they keep their card, and the player to the left takes their turn.
  • The first player to have 6 cards wins the game.


As I mentioned earlier, the mission cards come in three colors, red, blue, and green, and each color represents a different mission and a different set of rules, which are as follows:

Blue Cards: Find it First

  • Turn the card face-up so that all players can see it.
  • The card will show an image that is only shown once on the tiles.
  • Everyone must look for the image simultaneously, as quickly as possible, and the first person to find it will shout “Pictureka!”
  • Prove to your team that you found the picture, keep your card, and move on to the next round.

The aim of the blue cards is to beat the other players to find the objects.

Red Cards: My Tile

For the red cards, everyone should have individual tiles and work alone to find the images on the cards.

  • Each player should select a tile. You can pick two tiles each if there are only 2 or 3 players.
  • Take the top card from the red deck, read it aloud to the group, then place it face up for everyone to see.
  • At the same time, everyone flips over their tiles and begins searching for your object.
  • The first person to complete their mission shouts “Pictureka!” and keeps their card.
  • When the task is complete, rebuild the board in any formation you like.

Top Tip: If you can’t complete the mission, each player can flip your tile once per card.

Green Cards: Personal

For these missions, you’re on your own. The green mission cards require you to use the die and the sand timer. You will need to race against the clock to complete your mission.

  • First, take the green card from the top of the deck.
  • Read out your mission to the group, then roll the die. Whatever the number is shown on the dice, this is the number of items you will have to find.
  • Put the card face up before you, and another player should start the sand timer.
  • You must find all your images within the amount of time, and if the time runs out, put your card to the bottom of the pile. You haven’t won.
  • If you’re successful, keep your card, and the turn moves to the player on your left.

Switch and Flip

Occasionally, you will notice arrows on the backs of some of the mission cards. One of the arrows points left to right, which means you can switch two tiles on the board to anywhere you like. The other is a curved arrow, meaning you can flip over a tile of your picking. Look out for these arrows throughout the game.

How to Win Pictureka Game?

Unlike games such as Uno, where you need to get rid of your cards, the aim of Pictureka is to have the most cards at the end of the game, and the only way to do this is to be alert, quick thinking, and use your eagle eyes to find the images and complete the missions.

Additional Ways to Play Pictureka

You can make the games last longer or shorter by playing fewer rounds or putting the players into teams.

You can also make the game different each time by muddling the cards, changing the tiles, or leaving out the blue cards.

Pictureka! A Quick-Fire Family Game!

So there we have it, you’re ready to play Pictureka! A fun game for the whole family that never gets dull. Bring this to your next game night for an evening of laughter and competition.

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