Drawing with Noodles: A Review of Noodle Speedoodle

Noodle Speedoodle

As a kid, I remember doing an activity with Magna Doodle boards where a sibling would draw a random shape or squiggle and I would have to incorporate it into a coherent drawing. It required a lot of creativity and I always had a fun time with it. Noodle Speedoodle by Peaceable Kingdom turns this concept into a cooperative party game for 3 to 6 players. Instead of always drawing a squiggle, however, the game includes a handful of rubber noodles that are ready to use in your artistic creations.

Gameplay

Noodle Speedoodle comes with a whiteboard and marker, 100 word cards, a spinner, a timer, and 25 noodles. Players take turns spinning the spinner to determine what type of drawing they will do. Options include the following:

  • Noodle Speedoodle — pull a noodle from the noodle pile, draw a card, choose one of the 3 words to draw, and use the noodle in your drawing
  • Draw a Noodle — the same as Noodle Speedoodle, but instead of pulling a noodle, the player to your right draws a random squiggle on the board
  • Doodle 2 Noodles — the same as Noodle Speedoodle, except with 2 noodles incorporated into the same drawing
  • Other Hand Doodle — the same as Noodle Speedoodle, but using your non-dominant hand to draw
  • Kit & Kaboodle — the same as Noodle Speedoodle, but you must draw all 3 words from the card, instead of just one, using the same noodle

Once a word and noodle(s) are selected (or drawn), the timer is flipped over. The player then has 30 seconds to creating a drawing using the noodle while the other players try to guess what it is. If the players guess correctly before the timer runs out, players keep any noodles used in the drawing; otherwise, they are discarded.

The game continues until 11 noodles have been used. If players have kept at least 8 of the 11 noodles, everyone wins.

Noodle Speedoodle components

Review

Noodle Speedoodle is a fun party game, primarily for kids and families. It encourages creativity and offers many different challenges while also keeping players on the same team. Cooperative games like this are good for helping children learn to work together for a common goal, and they certainly have their place alongside competitive titles. As casual gaming adults, we found it to be enjoyable, but it seems primarily intended for a younger audience.

Gameplay is similar to Pictionary, but Noodle Speedoodle requires more creativity to take a given noodle and include it in a larger composition that is recognizable to other players. Fortunately, each card contains 3 words to choose from, which is important given the added constraints of using a noodle in the drawing. Additional variety is added to the game by including different play options on the spinner, which are selected randomly on each turn. However, our group thought it would be preferable if the harder options (particularly Kit & Kaboodle) were given a smaller area on the spinner so they don't come up quite as often. Our luck was such that this option was selected almost half of the time, which caused some grumbles among players.

The cooperative aspect of this game works well, since it allows fewer players to play and reduces downtime. Similar games that are competitive put players in two teams, one of which must wait it out while the other team takes their turn. However, in this game there is often little incentive to continue to all 11 noodles. The game can be lost after as few as 4 noodles or won after just 8 noodles. Continuing for all 11 noodles is irrelevant if the outcome is already known — if the players want to continue playing, it's better to start a new game rather than continue with unimportant rounds.

There doesn't seem to be a penalty included if a player creates a drawing that doesn't incorporate the noodle at all. Doing this is obviously against the spirit of the game, but some players might still be tempted to take the easy route and draw a picture that is altogether separate from the noodle. This is easy to fix with a house rule: if the noodle isn't used as a purposeful element in the drawing (based on a consensus of the majority of the players), it is lost.

The components for this game are decent enough, aside from a marker that didn't seem to work very well for us from the start. The noodles rest flat against the whiteboard and are made of a flexible rubber material that is both fun to play with and durable.

Overall, Noodle Speedoodle is an admirable game that is both creative and fun, but particularly suited for family gatherings.

Pros: Fun and creative cooperative game, good for kids and families in particular

Cons: No incentive to complete the game if the outcome is already known

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.