Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-07-28 17:09 (JST)
Translated by. Jacob Ritter
The word-guessing drawing game Draw & Guess has become a new trend on Steam. At its peak, the number of concurrent players exceeded 35,000. Drawing games are familiar to players across the world, and many browser and mobile games already exist in this genre internationally. But from within that sea of games, Draw & Guess has mysteriously managed to stand out in a big way.
Draw & Guess is a drawing game developed and published by the independent development company Acureus. Released this year on March 21, Draw & Guess offers two game modes: Chinese Whispers and Quiz.
In Chinese Whispers mode, you can have 4~16 players. Each player is given a subject in words and must then depict what’s written by drawing it. When you’re finished drawing, your picture will be passed on to the player to your right, and you will then receive the picture drawn by the player to your left. Your task is to then guess what that player was instructed to draw, and then draw your own version of it to be passed on to the player to your right.
When the drawing phase is over, the game will move to the voting phase where you can review everyone’s drawings. You’ll compete for points by voting for which player you think had their subject best conveyed from their initial drawing all the way to the last player who drew it.
For Quiz mode, you can have 2~16 players. The designated drawer will have to draw a certain subject, and then the other players will race to be the first to guess the subject correctly.
Another unique feature of Draw & Guess is that you can freely customize the subjects to be drawn. By default, you can only choose from categories such as “Animals” and “Food.” However, you can create and register your own subject-sets in Draw & Guess. Additionally, you can also download sets created by other users in Steam Workshop. For example, they include categories from other games such as the Atelier series, Monster Hunter Rise, and Pokémon.
Looking at Draw & Guess’s player population on Steam Database, the maximum number of concurrent players immediately following release was around 150. But the game experienced a rapid increase in popularity since late May, and from June to July the maximum number of concurrent players shot up from around 1,000 all the way to 8,000. And in late July, the player population made a steep spike to 10,000, with the number of concurrent players exceeding 35,000 on July 27. It seems Draw & Guess is only gaining more of a presence on Steam as time goes on.
Draw & Guess’s player base is concentrated in Asia, particularly China. The peak number of concurrent players seems to occur around 22:00 China Standard Time. Also, many of the Steam Workshop posts are written in Chinese, and most of the rooms on the game server browser also appear to be from China. However, there are also Japanese reviews written on the game’s Steam page, so it seems that as a whole, the game is widely popular in Asia, with China as the central hub.
Among Us is another example of a game that experienced a boom in popularity a while after its initial release. It’s a title that gained popularity after being played by influencers on Twitch. In contrast, Draw & Guess has few viewers on Twitch. As it’s rarely streamed on Twitch, Draw & Guess must have had another path to popularity.
The game’s Chinese title is Nǐ huà wǒ cāi, which literally translates to “You draw, I guess,” having the same nuance as the game’s English title Draw & Guess. Apparently, there was another game of the same name that became popular in China around 10 years ago. Since then, the Chinese for “You draw, I guess” has become recognized as the name for the genre of these types of drawing games where people guess what’s drawn in a picture. If you were to search this term, you’d find that many games bear similar names, Draw & Guess included.
Draw & Guess’s popularity in China is likely because it’s part of an already popular genre and has the perfect name to attract those who enjoy it. Plus, it feels like the perfect PC drawing game to self-promote itself via word-of-mouth.
As a side note, Draw & Guess experiences some popularity on the Chinese video-sharing site “bilibili,” but that’s not to say it’s among the most-watched content, either. It would seem after all that, rather than based solely on the game itself, the boom in popularity of Draw & Guess derives from the familiarity of the beloved drawing game genre.
Given that this is a drawing game, being able to communicate with the other players is key. Most of the rooms use Chinese, so it might be difficult to find a spot to play if you can’t speak Chinese. If the game sounds fun to you, why don’t you invite your friends to draw and play a few rounds together (Steam page)?