Unplugged: Duplik (Boardgame)

duplik boxIn Pictionary you draw for speed, but in Duplik you draw for elegance. Duplik is a party game where one player describes and all others draw a detailed scene. Players then judge each other’s creations on ten, previously unknown, criteria. Players score points for correct drawings while the caller scores points for any player who meets a criteria. After points are awarded, drawings are shared around and hilarity ensues. Duplik rewards thoroughness (not necessarily skill) under pressure and is a great choice for a drawing-focused party game.

Publisher: Asmodee
Ages: 8+
Players: 3-10
Time: 45 mins
(Review copy provided by Asmodee Games)

Duplik is played over several rounds, with players taking turns as the caller (describer.) The caller is presented with a cartoonish graphic with a number of details. They must then describe, under a time limit, the picture they see so that all the other players can draw a copy of this unseen picture. Once the drawing portion is finished, players trade their pictures around and grade each other’s picture.

duplik contents

The judging portion is just as fun as the drawing, as the requirements for each picture are unknown by anyone (including the caller) until the drawings are finished. The caller (still without revealing the source picture) runs down a checklist of ten specific aspects of the picture. Each player’s image scores one point for every satisfied criteria. One of the ten is also randomly chosen to be the “bonus” criteria and that scores an additional two points. The caller scores one point for each criteria satisfied by at least one of the drawers. (This means the caller must provide a good description of the picture.) Once scoring is completed, players are encouraged to display their creations in a mini art show before moving on to the next caller. The game continues until every player has had a turn to be the caller.

Obviously, the art and drawing portion of the game is key to the game’s success or failure. Thankfully, the game’s creators have done an excellent job of balancing creative cartoons that can be drawn by non-artists while keeping enough detail for the criteria to be non-obvious questions. A given image might show two apple-houses connected by a laundry line, a worm squiggling by, and the sun shining down. Criteria might involve what is hanging on the line, which house is bigger, where the sun is located, or even details like whether the worm has eyebrows. A mix of somewhat obvious and nonobvious criteria make each image different. As things stand, even a passable ability to draw is sufficient to play. In fact, some who consider themselves artists may find themselves spending too much time on making everything look “good” and run out of time to include important details.

duplik card

The main downside of the game are its limitations. It doesn’t come with nearly enough paper and pencils for a decent sized game, but these are easily acquired. I’m concerned about the number of drawings (120.) This seems like a lot, but if the game goes over well, I could see myself running out of “new” cards after awhile. I have seen some complain about the criteria cards. They are printed in black ink covered with a red design. Clear red plastic is placed over the card so that the underlying criteria can be read. While I haven’t had a hard time reading the criteria, some have complained about the mechanism and the small font used.


Duplik is a great example of a unique party game. I enjoy having options for any given setting and Duplik holds a unique spot. Sure, Pictionary involves drawing, but there it is exclusively for communication and not to create an actual image. I love how Duplik involves all the players at all times, there isn’t downtime where one group is waiting for another. The created art is particularly fun, as some pictures are funny due to the mistakes made, some due to the artist’s talent, and others are funny due to the lack of talent. Thankfully, for me, talent is not required to play well, and even the worst artist has a shot at winning the game. The game lists 3-10 players, and it’s nice to have at least 5 to see some variation. However, the game can handle even more players if they’re willing to play a longer game. With many players (which is still fun) I prefer to simply have only some of the players serve as the caller. Duplik is a fun party game at a good price (under $20), I give it a hearty recommendation.


Kid Factor:
You have to be able to draw at least a little bit, and the caller has to be able to read the criteria off when they’re done. However, I find it hilarious when younger players are the callers as sometimes they have a unique take on the world. The art itself is not a big deal for younger kids, as it tends to be rather tame and cartoonish to boot.

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