It's great to have some party games ready when you are getting a group of friends together, and Gartic Phone is a fantastic choice. Up to 30 players can write silly prompts and attempt to draw them. The website takes the classic telephone game and brings it to the digital age.

Gartic Phone is a completely free web browser game. The host simply needs to set up a room and share the link. Once everyone is ready, there are 13 game modes to try out. Some are certainly more entertaining than others. So, what is the best game mode to try?

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Updated January 16, 2022, By Luke Ackroyd: Gartic Phone is a fantastic party game to play online with your friends. It has quickly become one of the best free web browser games available for you to enjoy. You can create your own custom mode or enjoy one of the 12 preset game modes. No matter what option you try, you are in for some chaotic entertainment. Each mode offers an exciting variant to a simple collaborative drawing concept.

Since this article was last updated, there have been some changes to the website. The Movie and No Rush game modes have been removed and replaced with two new and exciting game modes: Background and Complement. Background enhances the now-classic Animation mode, while Complement offers an alternate take on the Ice Breaker mode. Both are a lot of fun to experience. So, this list ranking the best Gartic Phone game modes has been updated to incorporate them both.

13 Score - Similar To Jackbox Games

Gartic Phone - Score Logo - The points system at the end of the round

Many drawing games, such as the ones found in the classic Jackbox Party packs, have a scoring or voting system to add a bit of competition to the event. The Score game mode is Gartic's Phone's attempt at such a system.

Every time you write or draw something consistent with the previous prompt, you receive a point. It is a little unclear how the game determines if your contribution matches the one before it or not, making the point system feel a little arbitrary. Although friendly competition can be exciting, Gartic Phone doesn't need it since the normal game mode is enjoyable enough.

  • Timer: Standard
  • Both writing and drawing involved: Yes
  • Can you see the previous prompt?: Yes

12 Solo - No Collaboration Required

Gartic Phone - Solo Mode on the menu - The end of Solo Mode showing the final animation

In Solo mode, you are creating your very own animation. You will have five frames to complete. You will faintly see your previous design each turn, allowing you to trace over it and make slight changes to move the animation along.

Solo mode is the only game mode that you can play entirely on your own. But, it is still possible to play with your friends at the same time. With friends, a timer will start once most people have finished their turn. After the five turns are over, everyone will get the chance to present their work. You can even set the speed of the frame rate and if the animation will loop around or just play it once. This mode is excellent for when you don't have a big group of friends to join you but lacks that much-needed collaboration, which is half the fun of Gartic Phone.

  • Timer: Only starts when half the players have finished their turn
  • Both writing and drawing involved: Drawing only
  • Can you see the previous prompt?: Yes

11 Knock-Off - How Good Is Your Memory?

Gartic Phone - Knock-Off Logo - A drawing copying the one before it

In Knock-off, instead of switching between drawing a prompt or describing a drawing, you are now doodling every turn. The catch is that once you have started drawing the picture, you cannot go back to view the last rendition. You must rely on your memory to recreate it.

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Knock-off is a fun memory challenge. But, it is worth noting that it can get a little repetitive. Drawings are less likely to change too drastically, taking away some of the excitement of seeing the final result.

  • Timer: Time limit gets shorter each round
  • Both writing and drawing involved: Just drawing after the first turn
  • Can you see the previous prompt?: Briefly

10 Speedrun - Gotta Go Faster

Gartic Phone - Speedrun Logo - A rushed drawing based on a prompt

Speedrun takes the main game mode, where you must draw or describe the previous prompt repeatedly, and adds a shorter time limit. This encourages faster drawing and for players not to worry about creating a masterpiece. The game mode adds hilarious chaos to the experience as you question what your friends were even attempting to draw.

This game mode is excellent for when you want a quick game with your friends. But, the additional pressure of a faster time limit can take away some of the light-hearted fun that the game provides. It is far easier in this game mode for people to run out of time too soon, especially if distracted mid-game.

  • Timer: Accelerated time limit
  • Both writing and drawing involved: Yes
  • Can you see the previous prompt?: Yes

9 Sandwich - Spot The Difference

Gartic Phone - Sandwich Logo - A player memorizing a drawing

Sandwich is quite similar to Knock-off. You are only allowed to see the previous image before you start to draw it. Sandwich adds a final written stage that acts as a bookend to the experience. After a series of copied drawings, it is pretty fun to see how the initial prompt and the final guess differ.

The game mode suffers from being repetitive, like Knock-off. But they are both worth trying with your group to test how well they can stay consistent with one another's art.

  • Timer: Standard
  • Both writing and drawing involved: Writing only on the first and last turn
  • Can you see the previous prompt?: Briefly

8 Ice Breaker - Like A Polar Bear

Gartic Phone - Icebreaker Logo - A question and a drawing based off the question

Ice Breaker is a casual game mode that even non-gamers can enjoy. First, you all write a prompt as always, but it is encouraged that you ask questions this time. For example, asking people what their favorite movie is.

After the questions have been chosen, everyone will get the chance to draw the same prompts. The fun of this game mode comes from the final stage. All the drawings are displayed, and you can then take the time to present and discuss what you decided to draw. This one has less of a game than the other versions but is excellent for getting to know one another.

  • Timer: Standard
  • Both writing and drawing involved: Just drawing after the first turn
  • Can you see the previous prompt?: Just the writing prompt. No other drawings can be seen until the end

7 Complement - Be Inspired

Gartic Phone - Complement Gamemode - Drawing lines followed by another player filling in the gaps

Complement has some similarities to Ice Breaker but enhances it with a unique twist. In Complement, you are all first asked to draw a few random lines onto a blank page. You have a very limited time to do this, so you cannot draw anything elaborate. Next, everyone else will get the chance to add onto these initial few lines themselves to see what they can create.

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Once everyone has drawn their interpretation of the final drawing, you all get to see them. Like Ice Breaker, it is fascinating to see how everyone interpreted the prompt. There can be some genuine sparks of inspiration from this game mode. The challenge of trying to incorporate the initial lines is a satisfying one, and the final results are a joy to see.

  • Timer: Short for the first round. Standard for the rest
  • Both writing and drawing involved: Just drawing
  • Can you see the previous prompt?: Yes, and you cannot erase it. It is a part of your next drawing

6 Crowd - For Up To 30 Players

Gartic Phone - Crowd Logo - A player writing a sentence prompt

Crowd is the perfect game mode for when you have a massive group of people wanting to join in with the chaotic fun. Crowd mode suits the 30 player capacity well. This is useful for those that are perhaps streaming the game to a far larger audience.

In Crowd mode, you will still draw prompts and describe drawings. But, you will not be participating in every sequence. With fewer turns and faster time limits, Crowd makes sure that everyone can enjoy the game without it dragging on for far too long. If you have a huge group of friends, this is a good pick for you.

  • Timer: Accelerated time limit
  • Both writing and drawing involved: Yes
  • Can you see the previous prompt?: Yes

5 Custom - Play Your Way

Gartic Phone - Custom Settings Menu - The start of a custom game

If the different presets are not quite working for you, there is a custom settings menu for you to try out instead. In this menu, you can customize everything about the game. You can set the timer to ensure everyone has to rush or has infinite time to doodle. You get to specify how many turns everyone has and if those turns are just for drawing or if the game will involve some writing or animation.

It can be fun to mess around with the different settings and develop a game mode that you and your friends will enjoy. This freedom is fantastic, but the presets already available on Gartic Phone are already great. You might not feel much of a need to return to Custom Mode if you find one that your group enjoys better.

  • Timer: You decide
  • Both writing and drawing involved: You decide
  • Can you see the previous prompt?: You decide

4 Secret - No Fun Unless You Tell Everyone

Gartic Phone - Secret Logo - A player unable to see what they are drawing

Secret can rival Jackbox's party games in terms of creativity. During your turn, you will never quite see what you are doing. When writing a prompt, your words will be censored. When you are drawing, the screen is blank. These limitations create quite a challenge as you struggle to draw accurately and interpret what your friends were attempting to portray in the first place.

This is certainly the most chaotic out of the 13 presets on Gartic Phone. Your creations are likely to become incomprehensible messes. But the chaos is all part of the enjoyment.

  • Timer: Fast
  • Both writing and drawing involved: Yes
  • Can you see the previous prompt?: Yes

3 Normal - Totally Normal

Gartic Phone Normal Mode Logo - A player describing what they can see

The original game mode is what drew people to Gartic Phone in the first place. It's the ultimate casual game that friends and family can enjoy. Unlike the other game modes, there are no twists or tricks. You get a reasonable amount of time to write each prompt and draw your designs without the game overstaying its welcome.

The normal mode Is the best one to introduce newcomers to. They will get to grips with the game quickly and soon see why it is so much fun. Normal mode is a lovely classic to return to time and time again.

  • Timer: Standard
  • Both writing and drawing involved: Yes
  • Can you see the previous prompt?: Yes

2 Animation - Team Project

Gartic Phone - Animation Logo - A player slightly altering the last frame of the animation

Animation mode has quickly become one of the best game modes on the website. There is no prompt to write. You dive into drawing the first frame in an animation. The following person will be given a faint outline of your drawing. They can trace over the picture and make slight (or drastic) changes. The aim is to make a smooth transition and create simple Gifs.

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In Animation mode, you are trying to work together to create a cohesive project. This can be quite a challenging co-op experience, as you struggle to figure out what the previous player was going for. But, it is incredibly satisfying when you get to see the final result. You will have only contributed one frame to the entire animation, so seeing how each animation turned out is always a thrill. As with Solo mode, you can alter the speed and loop of the final animations.

  • Timer: Standard
  • Both writing and drawing involved: Drawing only
  • Can you see the previous prompt?: Yes

1 Background - Animation With Some Structure

Gartic Phone - Background Gamemode - Drawing a Background - Creating an animation

Background is a revision of the Movie game mode that is no longer available. The game mode is a more structured and extended version of the Animation mode. Just like before, you are tracing over someone else's drawing, but this time there will always be a background layer that remains with each frame. This background layer is drawn first and allows for more consistency within the animation. You can now see what the initial idea was, even without the full context of each previous frame.

This game mode has extended timers, so you do not need to rush. You also have twice the amount of frames to draw, allowing for more detailed animations to be created, especially with larger groups. Background is a far more collaborative process, which pushes it above the fun, but inconsistent, Animation mode. By the end of a round of Background, you'll have some incredible and often ridiculous animations to save and share around. Background is a lot of fun and even outshines Drawful: Animate from the latest Jackbox Party Pack.

  • Timer: Extended Time Limits
  • Both writing and drawing involved: Drawing Only
  • Can you see the previous prompt?: Yes, both the original background and the faded outline of the last frame

Overall, all 13 current game modes are fantastic and worth trying out. So, get your artistic skills ready and see which games work best for your group!

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