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This is why Scrabble isn't an EEEEEEEdiot's game.

In real life, Board Games are a multi-billion dollar global industry, with thousands of titles released by hundreds of publishers each year. In Hollywood, thanks to Small Reference Pools and the fact that most tabletop gaming is still viewed as a niche pastime in North America, the board gaming industry stopped a few decades ago, which is not coincidentally around the time most current Hollywood writers and producers were children. Most of the board game industry's global growth in size occurred starting in the mid-1990s, so it will likely be a while before games like Settlers of Catan or Ticket to Ride appear regularly in television or film, let alone as a prominent character interest in fiction.

Many board games in media are featured as a means to demonstrate a character's intellect, state of mind, or general disposition, and in these cases, it isn't necessarily important what game is being played. Showing a novel game unfamiliar to the audience would distract from the purpose of the scene, so a game with wide recognition allows for a quick way to demonstrate a character is engaged in some competition of skill and/or mind. Or, on the other hand, they could regard board games as Something That Begins with "Boring".

This is one consequence of Small Reference Pools. Compare Fictional Board Game, which is when writers decide to make up an original game instead. Related to Bad Guys Play Pool, Boggles the Mind, Cunning People Play Poker, Most Common Card Game, and Smart People Play Chess. See also Playing Pictionary and Scrabble Babble.

Note: In Hollywood Board Games, it is important to let the Wookiee win.


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  • There's this French ad for Battleship that has two husbands play the game behind their wives' backs because they are bored in the opera. Other than meaning that the game is obviously so much more engaging than opera, it also signals that Men Are Uncultured and rude.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Fate Series: On two occasions a modified chess board can be seen — 7x7 grid, Masters as the pawns, Servants as the other pieces, and a Holy Grail in the middle. Each time, its presence signifies different things. Although, in both cases, the Masters are the pawns not only because they are more plainly designed than the Servants but also because the power plays between the Servants have as much of an impact on the Wars' outcomes as the interactions between the Masters.
    • Fate/Zero: Gilgamesh is seen idly playing with a golden set of this board, although it appears to only have one side. That is golden is a nod to how Gilgamesh only owns the very best of everything because he considers himself king of everything. On the other hand, this also gives Chess Motifs to him in the sense of him being a massive Manipulative Bastard who treats people as pawns because it entertains him. Curiously enough, his class (Archer), is not positioned in the center. That position belongs to the Saber class. Plot-wise, this makes sense as Saber is The Protagonist and also the most powerful class.
    • Fate/Apocrypha: That it's Lord El-Melloi II, aka Waver, the one explaining the modified rules of the Great Holy Grail War to one of his students through the aforementioned board means two things primarily. One, he survived a previous war and not only emerged unscathed but also learned to be more patient and confident in his own strategies. Two, that he's a much more approachable Professor than Lord El-Melloi I was. About the student himself, he's very much a Keet and seems to learn better when he can see and interact with stuff. On a related note, this particular board has two sides (black and red), thus matching the special circumstances of this war.
  • Hikaru no Go:
    • The series is based on Hikaru Shindo, an (initially) eleven-year-old Japanese schoolboy who becomes obsessed with learning and playing Go after awakening the ghost of a Heian-era Go master named Fujiwara no Sai.
    • Tetsuo Kaga prefers to play Shogi but is pretty good at playing Go, too.
  • Kakegurui: The Top Idol Championship has Guile Hero Jabami and Idol Singer Yumemi face each other in several Game Show mini-games such as a dancing competition or collecting audience votes. Winning a mini-game gives the contestant a chance to put her tally on a Tic-Tac-Toe board's square. The first to complete a row, diagonally or linearly, is the winner of the Championship. Jabami's tally is a snake, which alludes to the meaning of her name: "snake-devouring dream girl". Overall, it's also kind of silly that such high stakes (both girls are gambling an exorbitant sum) are, in the end, decided but such a casual game like Tic-Tac-Toe.
  • Mnemosyne: Apos is occasionally seen playing chess against an immortal, blindfolded, bound, gagged, and stabbed in several places to her chair, and using rather creepy-looking chess pieces at that.
  • Naruto: The Nara Clan is characterized as being Brilliant, but Lazy. This is conveyed by the fact its members enjoy playing Shogi — a slow-paced strategy game usually played by smart old men with nothing better to do.
  • No Game No Life: Child Prodigy Shiro boasts that, for her, playing chess is as easy as Tic-Tac-Toe. After all, in both of them, you've got to memorize board setups. The only thing that changes is the number of possible combinations.

  • Dogs Playing Poker: The reason why people find these artworks kitsch, it's because of the juxtaposition between something so mundane as a tabletop game like poker and the weirdness of it being dogs playing it.

    Comic Books 
  • Buzz!: Society is obsessed with literature and spelling. One of the offhand remarks that further cement this is when the characters mention the existence of a cult that worships the Scrabble board.
  • Tintin: Flight 714: What better way to show that Evil Is Petty than to have the villain, Carreidas, shamelessly cheat at Battleship. Played for Laughs because that's what enrages the Captain the most.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: In "Scrabbled Arithmetic", Calvin sucking at maths and tendency to cheat show when he pulls a Scrabble Babble, claims is a double word score, and calculates that it's worth an insane amount of points. Calvin's competitive streak also rears its ugly head when he drops a Precision F-Strike after learning the word "BE" only awards him two points.
  • K Chronicles: Apparently, the shame of being from certain profession but being pants at the board game related to said profession is unbearable. It happens to Keith Knight, a cartoonist whose Pictionary skills are pitiful, to his nurse friend, whose medical knowledge doesn't translate to knowing how to play Operation, and to a private detective, who gets his ass handed to him in Cluedo. It's the epitome of irony.
  • Kid Paddle: Kid and Carole have a Sibling Yin-Yang dynamic. He loathes school and, while not particularly dumb, she's smarter than him and genuinely likes to learn new things. When they are playing Scrabble, Carole is winning with some ease. Kid hates to lose, so he invents a Perfectly Cromulent Word to try and score more points.
  • Phoebe and Her Unicorn: In Marigold's family reunion, Phoebe comments to Infernus how she can (now) play Pictionary with a unicorn anytime she wants. It's become so mundane for her that when she realizes how outlandish such a thing sounds, she cuts herself mid-sentence in quiet shock.

    Fan Works 
  • Ambience: A Fleet Symphony: In the 275th chapter, the battleship girls have a Battleship tournament with an upgraded version of the game — a 20×20 grid, extra ships, and tons of new rules for balance — because the girls didn't find the normal version challenging. This shows their dedication and how thoroughly bored they all are. Hyuga and Haruna's match ends with the latter good-naturedly accepting her defeat and both shaking hands. Damon and Ben think the whole situation is surreal and hilarious.
  • Banal Fantasy: Dréfus is a parody of the canonical villain Rufus who shares some traits with the audio play's creator Durandal. One of the things that give this character a more comedic twist, as well as playing onto his canonical Affably Evil disposition, is the fact that he enjoys playing Battleship with Crade (the parody of Final Fantasy IV's protagonist).
  • Being Meiling: Flandre's canonical Genki Girl personality and the versatility of her powers are highlighted in this fanfic by Flandre deciding to create life-sized board games. She even uses fairies as units.
  • Bring Me Home (found here): Marinette and Adrien play strip Battleship as foreplay after going out shopping. It's one of the many Slice of Life scenes the fic uses to show the casual side of their romantic relationship.
  • The Butcher Bird: Ghost Ship Prometheus is plagued with various nightmare-inducing monsters. Then you have Steve, a miniature giant squid who loves to play Scrabble. Very in tune with him tiny, adorable, and mostly harmless.
  • It's Just a Game: Janine resources to employing a canonical fictional language just to win an Scrabble game.
  • Kamen Rider Hour Of The Void: Phoenix Chronos has been barred from playing all sorts of board games; including Monopoly, Pictionary, Guess Who?, Battleship, Twister, and chess. When and how those bannings happened are Noodle Incidents, but they should really clue you in that he's an extremely Hot-Blooded Large Ham.
  • Kyon: Big Damn Hero: Kyon's knack for learning languages is easy to notice in the way he absolutely slays Haruhi in a game of Scrabble. He, of course, prefers hiding behind Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • New Hope University: Major In Murder: Starter Villain Therion Suárez is forced to play Tic-Tac-Toe against Monokuma, the game overseer. They tie every time until the scoreboard crushes Therion. For having been the first killer, he sure gets a humiliating dead, tantamount to telling him he doesn't have the potential to be a productive member of society.
  • A Pseudo-Pseudo Suzu Route: The first scene opens with a Battleship game between Suzu and a face-changing individual that haunts her dreams. Her mood is sour and she loathes having to interact with him but is afraid of venturing into the dark nothingness surrounding their table. It's later revealed that this recurring dream is a coping mechanism because the individual is Suzu's late brother Seiji. This also explains her attitude: she's well aware this is unhealthy but can't bring herself to let it go.
  • Residual Hope (found here): For Izuku's birthday, he goes to his honorary aunt Yūku's place to have dinner and play some board games with the women in precarious situations that Yūku houses. Kotone, who goes to college and thus has more advanced knowledge, beats them all at Monopoly. Maiko, an extremely competitive although otherwise distrustful young girl, rules at Sorry! and Poker, respectively winning two rounds and calling a straight flush. Ekikyō, Izuku's body partner, suspects the relatives she's running away from are underground villains — Poker is a Bad Guy Bar favorite. Nobody holds a grudge because they bet just candy.
  • Square Root of Minus Garfield: In the 1381st strip, Jon and a pissed (probably losing) Garfield are playing Battleship. Garfield then steps over the rather realistic board, which breaks it in half. Jon then complains that he "sunk his battleship", just like the people in the commercials. Garfield snarkily rebukes him that he should have put it on the edge of the grid, which is generally a bad strategy. In the original strip, Garfield ruined Jon's lasagna.
  • Sword Art Online Abridged: The King of Ashes is so Ax-Crazy, most of his lines are comprised of violent, incoherent screaming. Yet, he is a fan of Pictionary. Those are some very surprising Hidden Depths. In fact, that's how Big Good Heathcliff negotiates safe passage through Floor 75 in the eleventh episode. Among rounds of torture and gladiator combat, they play ''Pictionary''. Unfortunately, the King's insanity renders it all moot and orders his mooks to attack the intruders, aka Heathcliff's guild.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Addams Family: As it's customary for them, the Addams like to intertwine potential bodily harm with entertainment. In this case, Pugsley and his father Gómez play Battleship using their house as a board. In other words, every room is a square and some of them are packed with explosives. Gómez is standing on his hands for some reason and tries to guess which rooms will blow up in the same way a normal person would guess in which squares their opponent's ships are. Pugsley is remotely manning the explosives and is as enthusiastic about it as his father. Meanwhile, Uncle Fester is taking a bath. He doesn't look annoyed at all that they've blown him up and just jokes that they've sunk his bathtub/battleship.
  • The Big Snit: The married couple's dumbness is emphasized by their utter failure at playing Scrabble. The wife's tiles read "CARROST" while the husband's is a bunch of "E"s. Both get frustrated and engage in other activities. Later, they start a silly, slapstick argument despite there being a nuclear war outside.
  • Toy Story: As a way to convey the sheer amount of free time Andy's toys have when their owner is not around, there's a short scene of Hamm and Mr. Potato Head playing Battleship. To spice it up, each sunken ship means the loser has to hand out one of his toy/body parts. Brainy Pig Hamm is so obviously winning that it's hilariously painful to watch. Meanwhile, Butt-Monkey Potato Head is short his hat and has his entire board covered in pegs, somehow having missed all of Hamm's ships. Near the end of the scene, he loses his nose too, causing him to talk in a funny, nasal voice.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey: Death is such a Sore Loser that he keeps asking the boys for rematches and when that doesn't work, asks to play another board game. They go from Cluedo to Battleship to Twister.
  • The Break-Up: The final sign that Brooke and Gary's marriage is broken beyond repair is that they can't even play Pictionary together anymore. Soon enough, the affair becomes a Game Night Fight.
  • Dadnapped: Bookworm Wheeze can play a Scrabble knock off while coordinating someone's kidnapping. And he's winning the game! His Love Interest, Melissa, won the aforementioned game's regional tournament twice. They bond over it.
  • In Father of the Bride - Part II one of the things the Banks family do to pass the time whilst waiting for both of the adult women of the family to go into labour is play scrabble. Annie, who is at this point several days past her due date, scares the rest of the family by saying "Ouch!" loudly during a game, only to declare she meant it was a word she intended to play she wasn't actually having contractions yet.
  • Game Night: Annie and Max prefer to communicate by means of Pictionary games, playing board games a pastime they both enjoy and find relaxing. Sometimes, it's for important matters — Max proposes to her by drawing a ring and Annie reveals to him that she's pregnant by drawing a "bun in the oven". Other times, it's more casual things such as Max's In-Universe Tear Jerker reaction to The Green Mile.
  • Glass Onion: One must be extraordinarily insightful to be able to spot Morse code out of a mere Tic-Tac-Toe puzzle. Well, meet Peg, Birdie's Hyper-Competent Sidekick.
  • God of Love: Ray is so irresistible, that his opponent in the Scrabble tournament gets Distracted by the Sexy and decides to propose to him by using the tiles — she spells "DO ME". The fact that she's initially too horny to pay proper attention is shown when she first spells "DOME", which confuses Ray.
  • Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang: Proof that the pigs are clever animals is that the buyer claims they can play Scrabble just fine, even those who are unaffected by Nanny McPhee's magic.
  • Prom Wars: Selby is an academically oriented boarding school, so it stands to reason that its students are going to dominate "nerdy" contests such as a Scrabble tournament. In fact, they are so good that when the rival school's students hire Super Ringers, the Selby kids manage to win sometimes.
  • RoboCop (1987): Played for Laughs in the In-Universe commercial for Nukem, a board game that can be better described as Battleship or Risk with nukes. Instead of two navy fleets facing each other, the players are each one side of a worldwide nuclear war. The commercial wouldn't be out of a place for a themed Battleship, what with the characters hammy shouting that x territory is being threatened or smugly bragging when their tactics prove successful.
  • Rosemary's Baby: Rosemary has played Scrabble so many times, she can deduce the Significant Anagram that hides the villain's name.
  • Too Many Cooks: Marilyn McCook is the Affectionate Parody of your typical 80s sitcom Ms. Fanservice in that she is meant to be so shameless about it, she plays even Pictionary topless.
  • Word Wars: The characters, much like the people they are based on, have all kinds of personalities, with their only shared trait being how knowledgeable they are about the English language and the fact they have no other hobbies. They all possess Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness and jumble anagrams like nothing, to the point of making everyone else think they are using Perfectly Cromulent Words when playing Scrabble.

  • Harry Potter: In real life, being a genius is not a requirement for excelling at chess. Cue Ron Weasley. In the books, Ron may not be as clever as Hermione but is definitely not Book Dumb. Ron's forte is strategy, which he displays by sweeping the floor with Teen Genius Hermione in chess. Furthermore, he also wins against a life-sized chess set that was programmed, so to speak, by Professor McGonagall, who is very Book Smart.
  • Jingo: The Discworld Fictional Counterpart of Scrabble is used to gauge the characters' type of intelligence. Vetinari shines at being The Chessmaster, so he beats Leonard of Quirm, who is a brilliant inventor. At the same time, Colon is a Cunning Linguist, which gives him a huge edge in games involving words. He loses to Vetinari only because he doesn't want to anger his boss. It's kind of Played for Laughs how Colon is struggling to think of words that won't score him above Vetinari.
  • Night World: Playing Tic-Tac-Toe on someone's skin is usually a harmless prank. Using red-hot blades instead of markers turns into the kind of Cold-Blooded Torture the vampire slave ring would inflict on a girl who's been caught trying to escape.
  • Nursery Crime:
    • Exaggerated in The Big Over Easy, Friedland Chymes deduces the culprit's identity based on one of the words he picked during a Scrabble game.
    • Ashley's alien race has binary as their native tongue. So, naturally, they play a binary version of Scrabble to show off their intelligence and vocabulary.
  • The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: Unfazed Everyman Arthur and his alien friend Ford travel back in time to play a game of Scrabble with a pair of Neanderthals. It's true that the pair have gotten up all sorts of outlandish hijinks, but this time they are on a very important mission — to decode the message hidden in Arthur's brainwaves. On their part, the cavemen are incapable of spelling even onomatopeias with the tiles. Not surprising given they are yet to develop an alphabet and it's dubious whether Neanderthals can do such a thing. What they do form, apparently randomly, is the word "FORTY-TWO".
  • Terra Mirum Chronicles: Alys and her late best friend Charlie used to play chess a lot as a bonding activity — it's also one of the many things that set the pair of dreamers apart from their small town and, most importantly, abusive families. When Alys enters the Alice Allusion that is Terra Mirum, her knowledge of chess becomes a Chekhov's Skill. To be specific, the aforementioned Dream Land's monarchs come with Chess Motifs.
  • Luis Fernando Verissimo: One of his short comedic stories exaggerates this trope by correlating "cheats in Battleship" with "is unreliable and not wife material". A couple of newlyweds decide to play the paper-and-pen version in between having sex in their honeymoon. The husband is dismayed to find that his wife breaks apart the aircraft carrier and scatters the fragments all over the grid. She also doesn't draw the submarine because it's so deep down, its location is unknown to even her. During the divorce, the husband explains this to his friends and they agree.
  • Who's Afraid of Beowulf?: Two imps have had ten thousand years of time to kill. Naturally, they've solved the problem by playing board games that they eventually combine and set with increasingly more complicated rules.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • "Girl in the Flower Dress" starts with Skye and Ward playing Battleship because he wants to evaluate her thought process — and because he likes board games. This underlines that he is the team's Big Brother Mentor. In turn, Skye's celebration when she hits is funny and a little hammy. That, along with his comment about finding it refreshing to have a break from her training, cements that she's a Dork Knight. When she wins the game, she forces him to say "you sunk my battleship" and takes great delight in it.
    • At the end of "Repairs", Team Coulson plays Scrabble to destress from the episode's events. Ditzy Genius Simmons lets her bookworm side shine by cobbling up the word aglet from her tiles. The others react by asking What the Heck Is an Aglet? until Skye googles it.
  • Aliens in the Family: Brainy Baby Bobut is a downplayed Enfant Terrible — arrogant because of his superior intelligence and very bratty. He generally beats everyone's asses when they play Scrabble, however, his attitude problems are brought to the forefront when he Rage Quits because he can't use proper nouns in the game. It's as hilarious as it's frustrating, much like Bobut himself.
  • American Horror Story: 1984: Played for Laughs. In "Final Girl", the ghosts are so used to Spawn Camping Richard Ramírez, that they play board games, namely Pictionary, whenever his resurrection gets delayed for whatever reason.
  • The Americans: In "Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?", Gabriel and Philip play Scrabble as a bonding activity. They talk about love and marriage and exchange quips about the words they form with their tiles.
  • The Big Bang Theory: In "The Re-entry Minimalization", Sheldon's Complexity Addiction causes him and Leonard to epically lose a game of Pictionary against Penny and Amy. He is an Insufferable Genius so, of course, he'd insist on drawing (and thinking clues drawings are about) depictions of advanced Physics concepts or Science History obscure trivia. It's not for a lack of knowledge that Leonard fails to figure out what the hell Sheldon is trying to illustrate but because the latter's drawings resemble more mundane objects.
  • Big Wolf on Campus: Tommy is an impulsive and rather Book Dumb Wonderful Werewolf. On one occasion, he challenges Death to play chess with him on a whim despite not knowing the first thing about the game. Because he refuses to be deterred, Tommy then convinces Death to play other board games, from checkers to Barrel of Monkeys. Death eventually gets fed up.
  • Birds of a Feather:
    • In "Mice", playing Scrabble is depicted as the nail in the coffin of a boring, horrible camping trip. The sisters are kids and, due to unfortunate circumstances, can only play that game to pass the time.
    • "Caring":
      • Dorien doesn't think Sharon is literate enough to play Scrabble. She acknowledges that she's not the sharpest knife in the shed but makes clear that she knows enough to play.
      • Aunt Sylvie, a Delicate and Sickly elderly woman, gets annoyed when her grandnephew Garth doesn't let her spell an existing word differently. This goes along with the obnoxious attitude she's taken with the purpose of making her hosts let her go to a retirement home.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: In "Game Night", Rosa is playing Pictionary with her conservative family. She's in the middle of her coming-out arc and, predictably, her family is writing off her bisexuality as a phase despite Rosa being a grown-up woman. Being as Hot-Blooded as she is, Rosa devices to throw a jab at her homophobic parents and draw a lesbian wedding. Her mother is so delusional in that nobody can't truly fall in love with people of their same gender that she writes them off as very close friends, then sisters, then business partners. Queer erasure at its finest.
  • Community: In "Basic Genealogy", Pierce and co. play a game of Pictionary, with the cue being "windmill". Matching the sitcom's customary Black Comedy and in a justified case for it, Pierce's drawing resembles a swastika. This derails into a fistfight with a rabbi who gets understandably offended by it. The cop that arrests them thinks Pictionary should ban the abovementioned cue.
  • Criminal Minds: In "Spectator Slowing", Matt stays home to look after his pregnant wife and kids. It occurs to him to play a board game he bought in Thailand years ago with his children. Cool Old Guy Rossi jokingly warns him that if he deviates from video games, it would be at his own peril. This references how kids these days prefer video games over more traditional games. Fortunately, Matt and his family still have fun.
  • CSI: The cast plays several games, including Scrabble, in a very competitive manner, with some characters even taking the time to learn obscure words to win the game.
  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: In the very first episode, "New World Order", Leah invites Bucky Battleship to cheer him up. Whoever misses a hit has to drink a shot. This conveys Leah's considerate and playful nature as well as subtly nodding to her profession — she's a bartender, so she's got to know lots of Drinking Games. It also represents that despite Bucky's terrible actions while brainwashed, there's hope for a better future.
  • Family Ties: Insufferable Genius Alex and his father Steven get extremely invested in their Scrabble games, to the point of playing the game at night while everyone else is sleeping. They even gamble the house's deed. Both are sore losers, with Alex getting frustrated because he's smarter and Steven sometimes just doesn't know when to stop.
  • Father Ted: In "Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading", the eponymous character mentions something mind-boggling about his rival, Father Byrne. Apparently, Byrne managed to insult Ted by forming a phrase in a Scrabble game. Priests are usually fairly knowledgeable people, but this also shows how crafty and spiteful can Byrne get at times.
  • Frasier: Sore Loser Frasier's tendency to kick people out of his place because he Can't Take Criticism. It gets exemplified in "A man, A Plan, and a Gal: Julia", when he does poorly in a Pictionary game. Julia mocks him for his new Italian towels and he yells at her to leave, which shocks her. Frasier displays his Sarcasm Mode by asking her if she wants him to explain by means of a drawing. Julia rebukes that he's so bad at it, she'd waste her time trying to decipher it. Predictably, it only infuriates him more. On a related note, during the abovementioned game, Julia throws comments so scathing, the other players refuse to help her when she chokes on a peanut.
  • Friends: Monica is a Competition Freak from head to toe. She's so obsessed with winning that she threw a plate during a past Pictionary game because she was losing. She excuses herself by saying it was an accident, but she does regret having lost control and accidentally caused harm to Chandler. Everyone refers to it as the ''Pictionary'' Incident. It doesn't stop her from doing it again (with a glass this time) in The Tag, though, when her friends don't understand her drawing of a bird but get Rachel's bean reference to The Unbearable Lightness of Being. This happens in "The One With All The Poker" and mentioned again in "The One In Barbados, Part 2".
  • Full House: In "Rock the Cradle", the Tanner family (plus Joey) is playing Pictionary. Stephanie goes first and draws two clues that, together mean "don't have a cow" (doughnut plus half a cow), which is a whimsical thing to draw, just like Stephani herself. It also can be interpreted as a jab at her older sister Donna. Meanwhile, little Michelle keeps saying the clues mean big bird, her newest childish obsession. When it's Michelle's turn, everyone easily guesses what her drawing is supposed to be (big bird, predictably) despite her believing the contrary. It's adorable how she answers in awe "you guys are good at this!". Some comedy later, Becky takes advantage of the game's setup to indirectly tell her husband that she's pregnant. Now, Jessie's brain has a better time understanding music than picking up subtle clues, so he waits for Stephanie to decipher the very obvious first clue (cheese). He fails several times to properly connect it with the second clue (ink) and get the phrase "she's having...". The punchline is that he excitedly yells "... a hotdog!" when misinterpreting the third clue (a baby).
  • Gilmore Girls:
    • "The Bracebridge Dinner": Paris, a Lonely Rich Kid and an Academic Alpha Bitch, mentions that she beats her nanny at Monopoly every time. Left hanging in the air is that, other than complimenting her own intelligence, she doesn't play board games with her parents because they are not interested in spending time with her.
    • "Eight O'Clock at the Oasis": Lorelai and Rory's new neighbor, Dwight, is a man who engages in a lot of introverted pastimes and his house and lawn show it. According to Lorelai, he "took the lounge craze very seriously". When they open a closet, they find a vast collection of board games, which prompts Rory to comment that he owns Monopoly boards from "every country in the world". This is justified in that he's just gotten out of a toxic marriage and abusers often isolate their victims from friends and any kind of social interaction. Add to it that his former neighbors weren't very kind to him. Dwight's ex-wife claims that the board-game collection belongs, in fact, to her, especially the Trivial Pursuit sets. It's ambiguous how true this statement is but it wouldn't be out of character for an abuser to try and appropriate their victim's sources of comfort.
    • "A Messenger, Nothing More": Neither Lorelai nor Michel are fans of kids. Unfortunately for them, the Krumholtz family is staying in the Dragonfly Inn's most expensive room. The parents want to go out for a tour but the children want to stay. Lorelai convinces Michel, who is Only in It for the Money, to be friendly to the kids. His reluctance shows when he offers the kids to "play some insipid boardgames with [him]". Obliviously, they enthusiastically agree and ask for Chinese Checkers.
    • "Bridesmaids Revisited":
      • April and Lane have built a friendly rapport despite April's Brutal Honesty since both frequent Luke's diner. April has Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, so it makes sense she'd kick everyone's butt at Scrabble, even when she plays against other smart people who are older than her, such as Lane. On the other hand, April is still a kid, so she doesn't quite grasp the necessary Economy concepts to play Monopoly well.
      • Rory and Lorelai used to play Battleship a lot when the former was younger. Their Wacky Parent, Serious Child dynamic also shines there — Lorelai sees nothing wrong with cheating, while Rory gets very upset when she realizes what her mother is doing. Furthermore, that Lorelai needs to bend the rules to beat her daughter highlights said daughter's intelligence and cunning. Both are The Ace, but Rory's maturity gives her an edge — that, and the fact Rory is competitive as hell. When she recounts this to Lane, she answers that April reads the game's manual out loud before starting a game, making it impossible to cheat. Later in the episode, Lorelai gets the idea to create a wacky, hybrid board game, which also goes to show how she's more childish than her own daughter.
    • "Go, Bulldogs!": Lane knows that she sucks at chess, so she harasses April with seven-letter rare words until the latter agrees to play Boggle, which is the game Lane was told they were going to play. Understandable, since April has been roasting Lane's every chess move up until now.
  • The Golden Girls: Cool Old Lady Sophia is a comedic case of Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior! and something of an In-Universe Unreliable Narrator. Combine the two and you get her to indulge in Loophole Abuse by claiming that since the robbers stole the dictionary, it cannot be proven that her word is not Scrabble Babble. Fortunately, it's just a good-natured joke.
  • The Good Place: In "Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy", Janet having been replaced by an evil doppelganger is foreshadowed not by giving life to a terribly-drawn horse in a Pictionary game, but by the way she gives life to it. Normally, Janet would recognize the intent behind the illustration and materialize a normal horse. Bad Janet, however, materializes as-is, creeping everyone. Also, she gruesomely kills it off-screen afterward — Janet wouldn't have been that messy with her powers nor tried to describe the deed.
  • Hotel Babylon: One guest hires prostitutes to play Scrabble with because he feels lonely. That he picks said board game is meant to convey that he's such a loser.
  • How I Met Your Mother: In "Zip, Zip, Zip", Barney and The Lad-ette Robin play Battleship together, commenting that both of them always win because they cheat — Robin bends the aircraft barrier in half and Barney stacks his ships on top of each other. This further highlights that they are Birds of a Feather, not only in terms of activities they enjoy but also in having similar mindsets.
  • JAG: Played for Laughs in 'Iron Coffin'. Without context, two enlisted sailors playing Battleship way too seriously looks as if they are about to be attacked by a Russian submarine. In truth, the two men are just bored out of their minds in the USS Watertown.
  • NUMB3RS: Professor Charlie Eppes is scarily Good with Numbers, having attended college at thirteen. This translates to his mastery in playing chess, a game that despite relying primarily on strategy, also requires the same kind of abstract thinking that it's needed to excel at maths. However, when it comes to language, Charlie flunks. This is demonstrated by how he struggles with Scrabble.
  • The Office (US): In "The Seminar", Brainless Beauty Erin plays a Scrabble phone game with her Abhorrent Admirer Gabe. Seeing that she lacks the vocabulary to win the game, Pam and Oscar attempt to help her.
  • The Orville: In "Lasting Impressions", Gordon keeps yelling his guess (Dick Van Dyke) for one of the drawings. The other players ignoring him doesn't deter him. He might be an Ace Pilot but can act as an utter doofus on more mundane matters. At least he apologizes after the deed.
  • Patriot: In "C-19", Canter Walley is as eager to nuke Iran as he was, as a child, to sink other people's ships in Battleship. Curiously enough, whenever his younger self hits the C-19 square, he misses. This, among other instances during the episode, is a Played for Drama Title Drop.
  • Parks and Recreation: Donna Meagle's family is so dysfunctional, they can even have a Pictionary tournament without everyone ending up in the hospital. The Meagles sure know how to hold a grudge and act on it.
  • Project Runway: In the seventh season, designers Mentor Tim Gunn, who is A Father to His Men and enjoys bonding activities with his mentées, plays Pictionary with Seth Aaron's family during one of the home visits. Seth might be the season's resident source of wackiness but Aaron gets so invested in the game that he jokingly throws "Fallopian Tubes" as a guess for one of Aaron's daughters.
  • Scream Queens (2015): Chad's family is as misogynistic, self-centered, and nasty as him. So much, even Alpha Bitch Chanel is scandalized by their treatment of herself and Hester, her protégé during the Radwells' Thanksgiving dinner. Chanel describes their Pictionary game as the most mean-spirited one in the history of Pictionary. Anyone would think that after spending a game full of scathing remarks, vulgar guesses, and demeaning drawings.
  • The State: Played for Laughs when two of the boys play the strip version of Battleship, totally no homo, of course. One of them comments that the game would be more enticing if they actually wanted to see each other naked. They still have a good time.
  • Taskmaster Series 10:
    • Katherine's character is that of a cloudcuckoolander whose approach to her assigned task is rarely the logical option. She also displays wackiness in other ways such as when she claims a shrill "BOX!" as her Madness Mantra during a Pictionary-esque game.
    • Daisy and Richard's dynamic can get uncomfortable to watch at times. She's very outspoken and puts a perfectionist standard on everyone but herself. Meanwhile, he's a mild-mannered (mostly) Nice Guy. During the aforementioned "Turntable Pictionary" round, she ends up yelling at him for not recognizing her mediocre drawings.
  • Warehouse 13: If you want to prove that no AI is better than a human, all you gotta do is out-cheat it at playing Battleship. Ancient Keeper Artie uses his old man wisdom and experience to do it (he just doesn't put any of his ships on the board). Meanwhile, the AI's creator designed it to be excellent at cheating but the AI is not as resourceful or creative, so it loses if you abuse enough loopholes.
  • Would I Lie to You?:
    • Parodied in the second episode. Trisha's lie in the "Home Truths" round is to say that she's beating Jeremy Kyle at internet Scrabble. Now, this is suspicious because she is The Ditz, thus not someone you'd expect to be good at that particular game. However, comedian Frankie Boyle's actual reasoning is that The Internet Is for Porn.
    • In the unseen bits, Sara comments how she owns a pair of lenses-less glasses that she wears only when she's playing Scrabble. They make her feel cleverer.
  • Young Sheldon: In 'Stuffed Animals and a Sweet, Southern Syzygy', The Title Character is an Insufferable Genius who loves to brag his superior intelligence. It doesn't come as a surprise that, during his voice-over, he comments that the episode's resident obscure word awards tons of points when playing Scrabble.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Spitting Image: In one episode of The Original Series, the Cabinet members all bring board games to enjoy their last day in charge, particularly, Trivial Pursuit, although there's also Scrabble, Monopoly, and Game of Life on the table. This is meant to show that these politicians are knowledgeable in the silliest things and are rather childlike, not taking their jobs seriously at all.

  • Adventures in Odyssey: Bart Rathbone is an Evil Is Petty kind of villain who constantly, often unnecessarily, cheats. When he, his wife Doris, and their rivals the Washingtons play ''Pictionary'' after a fancy dinner, nobody is surprised that he criticizes everyone's drawings at every turn and tries to pass his own as valid even when they are pants.
  • The Jason Ellis Show: Jason's tendency to make even the most mundane of activities extreme or otherwise edgy is greatly exemplified by how he adds shock collars to Pictionary of all things.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In the cinematic series finale, Miss Brooks and Lawrence Nolan play a game of Scrabble aboard the Paradise, Nolan's yacht. Not surprisingly, the board is plainly the deluxe edition, with a built-in turntable.

  • Academy of Merlin: Scarlett Heyne wins games of Pictionary, Scrabble, and Connect Four against the Devil fair and square, which serves to underline how she's more than her quiet, humble disposition suggests. Of course, the Devil is a treacherous bastard and has far more power than a mere mortal, so this comes to bite her in the ass later. Scarlett's Fatal Flaw is hubris and the Devil doesn't play fair — it's madness to think he'd let her become Queen of Hell.

    Video Games 
  • Fallen London: The Noughts & The Crosses are two urchin rival gangs who war each other as if their territories were a Tic-Tac-Toe board —- nine city blocks divided by four, intersecting streets.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction: Parodied in the "You Sank My Battleship" skill point. You earn it when you destroy (sunk) 3 of the battleships in the Rakar Star Cluster by shooting them with a blue orb.
  • Space Quest V: The Next Mutation: At the bar, Captain Quirk challenges Roger to a play of Battle Cruiser (basically, Battleship in space) to show his superiority. During the whole Mini-Game, Quirk is sporting a smug expression. If you quit, he taunts Roger for being such a loser. Promptly after the game, Quirk abuses his power to incarcerate one of Roger's crewmates. Any doubt left that Quirk is an entitled, jerkass manchild?
  • Wicked Awesome Adventure:
    • When Rhys consults his wicked awesome pockets (aka, his inventory) while hopeful about something, said pockets snark at him telling him there's no hope by means of nonexistent, black-and-white, crossed-off Scrabble tiles. This detail works both as foreshadowing (for the tiles to come) and to highlight the setting's all-encompassing silliness.
    • The Scrabble tiles on the puzzle box spell "PEON" which Rhys struggles to rearrange into "OPEN". He first goes with "NOPE", which causes his imaginary duck to be disappointed. Rhys is very cunning, but that's a trait he develops during his adventure. For context, this happens very early in the game.
    • Guile Hero Rhys successfully bribes a literal rat cop with the Scrabble tiles he'd been encountering and collecting up to that point. He spells the word "DOLLER" (as in, dollar) and then bargains for that price to be lowered to just "LER" because his tiles amount to just "C-A-D-L-E-R". The cop accepts it and splits the tiles between himself and his partner. The narration even lampshades this lack of common sense by stating that the rats think of themselves as cunning — the implication being that they are not. Rhys holds onto his remaining tiles which spell "CAD", the name of the friend he wants to reunite with. Hence why he doesn't use the "A" tile up.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: In "Where's the Cheat?", Homsar and Strong Sad are playing what looks to be a weird mix pf Battleship and Jenga but it's actually Connect Four. This is meant to highlight Homsar's obliviousness, randomness, and general cloudcuckoolander behavior.
    Homsar: Oh no! You shanked my Jengaship!
    Strong Sad: I shanked your Jengaship? We're playing Connect Four!
  • How It Should Have Ended: "Transformers Play Battleship" has Optimus Prime and Megatron engage in, well, a Battleship game while discussing how is it even possible to produce a movie from a board game. At first, they are just playing like normal people — squinting their eyes at the tiny (for them) board while trying to divine what square to attack next and dejectedly sighing when they miss or get hit. Megatron, however, gets quickly derailed into a heated rant about the movie, which is lampshaded when he forgets whose turn is (or maybe he's trying to cheat) and when he mocks Optimus for being competitive. Optimus tries to get them back on track but eventually gets fed up and declares that Go-Karting with Bowser was a terrible idea.
  • Zero Punctuation: Ben Croshaw complains that having an Action-Based Mission in the climax of a puzzle-solving game like L.A. Noire is akin to defeating Hitler by beating him at Pictionary. It's just that absurd and that much of a Mood Whiplash.

    Web Comics 
  • Aki Alliance: Aki's efforts to befriend everyone led her to (re-)join several school clubs — he has a bad case of Fleeting Passionate Hobby — including the Scrabble one. Naturally, this lands her in trouble when two or more clubs have an event scheduled at the same time. On a related note, Aki's Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass smarts get to shine when, after familiarizing herself with the rules of Scrabble (and other games), she almost effortlessly rules at it.
  • Ansem Retort: What more proof do you need that jerkass Zexion and Ax-Crazy Axel are best Pals with Jesus (albeit one whose Fatal Flaw is being addicted to porn) is that they hang out and play Pictionary together?
  • Breakpoint City: Ben cannot play Scrabble in The Future because his vocabulary is outdated. Most words are Scrabble Babble for him due to the many terms added to the dictionary. By contrast, the players on the lead display an ample vocabulary.
  • Girls with Slingshots: When Jaime and Clarice fail to get a date for Valentine's Day, they decide to have a girls' night and play Drunk Strip Scrabble to spice things up. Such a thing falls well within both women's personalities — Clarice is a dominatrix and the Alt Text lampshades that going topless is normal for Jaime. They invite Hazel over, who is kind of puzzled when she first enters the apartment.
  • El Goonish Shive: Unwittingly, Elliot always ends up spelling swear words when playing Scrabble. This funnily highlights how he's Sir Swears-a-Lot. Also, Tedd mentioning that he could've been playing Strip Scrabble goes to tell how much of a cloudcuckoolander he can be at times.
  • Kukuburi: Inbetween's brand of Battleship is played with flying whales instead of ships — nothing that surprising considering the place's overall wackiness. Not-Death's brand of the game adds danger for flavor, as the board is a representation of the Inbetween and the Underside. If that isn't enough to establish Not-Death as a Card-Carrying Villain, then you should know he also cheats.
  • MS Paint Adventures: Did anyone seriously expect a Player Inventory system called Pictionary to be a reasonable way to fetch items? This is one of Jade's Sylladices and is a Symbol Drawing Interface. To catalog an object, it requires her to tag it with a drabble. Likewise, to recover an item, Jade has to draw the drabble associated with it. As expected, this is a very unreliable way of retrieving stuff, leading to the same problems players encounter when playing Pictionary (the board game). She has Sylladices based on Jenga and Memory too.
  • New School Kids: In the 34th strip, Trevor tries to cover up that he lost Monopoly's instructions by reading made-up rules from the brochure of an unidentified game and including Battleship pegs and ships. When Frank calls him out, he decides that this new game is ''Trevopoly''.
  • Nothing Special: One can learn a lot about Callie and her father Tom's relationship from the simple fact that they like to play Scrabble. Tom is a Good Parent, so the two of them are always amenable to spending quality time together. It's also easy to see how, despite their different personalities, they know how to communicate with each other. A game of Scrabble is their way to settle disagreements and, even if they can get rather intense, there are no hard feelings afterward. Finally, that they are so good at that game is not surprising given how Callie is Brilliant, but Lazy and Tom is fairly knowledgeable since he runs a magic shop.
  • The Order of the Stick: The Monster in the Darkness is Team Evil's resident Token Good Teammate and it shows. This creature would rather play Scrabble (and eat the tiles) with the other members.
  • Outsider: Jardin finds Talon and Spiral playing a holographic "capture the castle"-type game called Crossfire. A combo of observing them playing and Talon explaining the rules helps get him oriented, and he ends up beating Talon in their first game. This just goes to show Jardin's intelligence, especially when it comes to strategy-oriented games like Crossfire or chess.
  • Penny and Aggie: In "Everybody Loves Duane", Duane's Black and Nerdy nature gets highlighted by, among other things, telling someone he and his dad are planning to play their brand new Super Scrabble. Said someone is a girl currently trying to invite him on a date.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-507 is not cleared to challenge SCP-076-02 to fifty rounds of Tic-Tac-Toe. SCP-507 is a little touched on the head thanks to his Random Transportation episodes, so it's not out of character for him to make such a nonsensical, dangerous request. SCP-076-02 is, after all, an overpowered, trigger-happy murderer, it makes sense to keep them apart.
    • On one occasion, SCP-507 acquires a Magic: The Gathering copycat during one of this interdimensional travels. SCP-507 is a good-hearted guy, so he intends it as a gift for some SCP personnel. The problem? The cards' effects manifest in real life. Mayhem ensues and it's very much explained why the store has its clients play inside a steel box. SCP-507 brushed over that fact, very much used to seeing stranger things.

    Web Videos 
  • Carmilla the Series: In "The Heart of the Matter", Guile Hero Laura's intelligence gets to shine in how she destroys the all-seeing Goddess of Underworld at Scrabble. The latter scores 65 points with the word "TER" and brags about having played her fair share of Scrabble games in her long existence. Laura responds by spelling "QUIXOTRY", thus rising her score to a total of three-hundred and sixty-five points.
  • Carpe Clunes: Parodied in "Psychics Ruin Pictionary". Playing Pictionary with someone who has telepathic powers is utterly pointless. They'll know what you are trying to depict before you get the chance to actually draw it.
  • Escape the Night: Since the premise of this Reality Show runs on solving sometimes deadly puzzles, it's not surprising that some of them are based on board games. In Season 1, one of the rooms has the Journalist and the Mobster play Battleship. The twist is that, instead of guessing where a ship is located, you guess where your opponent is, resulting in a death challenge which doubles as the unholy love child between the game and Russian Roulette. As for characterization, well, the Journalist is The Smart Guy, so her approach is more strategic; the Mobster is Asian and Nerdy, but the events of the night take a toll on him to the point he fakes a hit and shoots himself in the head.
  • Joueur du Grenier: JDG's donation tiers for the Z Event 2020 are titled "JDG goes to the zoo with the Pictionary streamers" as a way to mock everyone's, himself included, ability to draw and recognize animals. Apparently, video gaming doesn't bode well with knowledge of the natural world.
  • The Nostalgia Chick: In the Grease 2 review, the Chick and Nella come up with very lustful words in their Scrabble game. This is to reference how sex-heavy the movie is.
  • Rhett & Link: Part of the pair's schtick is that Link has a more slow reasoning and Rhett gets exasperated by it or tries to help him when they are on a timed game. For example, when playing Pictionary with "taco bell" as the prompt, Rhett gives Link as many clues as humanly possible — even going as far as drawing a bell and writing "TAC" next to it. Link answers "tack bell".
  • StephenVlog: On the 2069th day, Stephen, his parents, Mal, Karley, and Kyle play Telestrations, a mix of Telephone and Pictionary where the first person gets a clue, draws it, and passes the sketch to the next person to interpret and draw. Rinse and repeat. The game starts innocent enough, with a "beaver" not surprisingly getting interpreted as "a squirrel holding an acorn". However, soon enough what started as "animated movie" gets derailed to "abortion clinic". As a former art teacher, Mal's drawings are the easiest to recognize. By contrast, Steve (Stephen's dad) draws like a toddler, with everyone bursting out laughing at his interpretations of the cues — he sees a rough drawing of a Kindergarten class and somehow thinks it's an abortion clinic.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • "The Club": Richard's Saturday club is full of fantasy geeks playing a Tabletop RPG and eating snacks. This is further highlighted when Richard engages in a role-playing Wizard Duel with one of the Reject Club's members, who is a social loser and an even worse nerd.
    • "The Master": The Wattersons play Dungeons & Dragons to settle a familial dispute. The gameplay is depicted very realistically (for a dysfunctional party, that is) and no one is characterized as geeky for enjoying the game.
  • Animaniacs: In "No Pain, No Painting", the Warners engage in a game of Pictionary with a stuck-up, Eccentric Artist Pablo Picasso. The siblings start drawing in the yet-unknown cubist style, which ironically gets them criticized by Picasso for their lack of artistic aptitude. Meanwhile, they have no problem figuring out what Picasso's drawings are illustrating because he is, well, an accomplished artist nonetheless. Seeing that he's losing, Picasso decides to draw in a more realistic fashion, stopping the Warners in their tracks. After the game, Picasso decides to adopt the siblings' funny style as his own, discovering at last the art style he's been pursuing the whole episode.
  • Bless the Harts: In 'When You Lose, You Win', Jenny gets fed up at her friends because they are screwing with the Scrabble game they're playing. She accuses them of not admitting purportedly common words. In truth, Jenny is just a Sore Loser who cheats to win at games and is enabled by Tracy — something that Travis and David won't allow.
  • Craig of the Creek:
    • "Adventures in Baby Casino": Craig's The Ace characterization encompasses even playing Tic-Tac-Toe, which he easily wins by taking over the corners. When faced with a 9x9 grid, he fakes struggling against his opponent, a The Don baby, to get him overconfident. A very smoothly played Batman Gambit.
    • "Bored Games": The second human-sized board game the Stump Trio lands in is Battle Barns, a Battleship knock-off. Their opponent welcomes them by shooting one of their barn ships with a corn torpedo. Being their turn, the kids now need ammo to fire back — J.P. summons a cute dog Monopoly piece but is reluctant to load it in their cannon, which shows that he's a Gentle Giant. Next, Craig summons Scrabble tiles which, when fired, take the shape of an arrow. This particular ammo choice (not intentional on his part) matches with the fact that he's Black and Nerdy, as well as providing some slapstick comedy. The kids win with this shot, causing them to cheer. When they discover they destroyed their opponent's home, they awkwardly apologize because they are good kids.
      Unseen Opponent: Oh, man, your shot burst my battle barn! It was my home!
  • The Crumpets: In "Save Granny", a Flashback Cut has Pa and Granny playing Battleship. Granny takes the game as such Serious Business, that she orders her son to apologize for mistaking a cruiser for a torpedo boat. When Pa loses, she takes his socks as punishment and he's forced to wear pink dancer tights. For context, Granny is addicted to gambling and they made a bet.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: Dexter's parents are playing Scrabble when they start to argue because Dexter's dad is apparently cheating. He rebukes it by reminding his wife that she cheated when they were playing cards. This shows that Child Prodigy Dexter gets his intelligence from his maternal side (his mom is quite skilled at handling advanced technology and his maternal grandpa is a scientist too) — Dexter's mom cheating while dealing the cards is left ambiguous but, if true, is another sign of her craftiness. Meanwhile, the fact that her husband has to resort to Scrabble Babble shows that he's not someone you'd call clever.
  • Dilbert:
    • Dogbert is always up to dismissing rules if it benefits him, so it doesn't come as a surprise that he cheats in crafty, although comedically blatant, ways even in board games. In Scrabble, for example, he carves new tiles under the table.
    • Comp-U-Comp is an In-Universe example that The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard. Unlike Dogbert, who is more creative in his cheating, Comp bends the rules to allow his Scrabble Babble to count as a valid word. This is despite the Earth needing it to be able to function normally — in other words, it ought to have more flexible thinking. Alternatively, it's precisely because it manages Earth — Comp is used to having access to everything, so it's more reasonable to it to change the rules it's already making.
    • Dilbert's mom makes liberal use of counterfeit vowels at Scrabble. It's meant to contrast how for all of her technological genius, she needs to nearly break a language-based game's rules to be up to par. It also can be interpreted as her being shrewd.
    • To sum up, everyone but Dilbert cheats at Scrabble, which goes to show that he's the most honest character, if only because everyone else is so terrible.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • "Imaginary Gary": Timmy wants to play Surgeon General (aka Operation) with his parents now that he's finally old enough for it. Also, his are just waiting for his mother's pie to bake, so he thinks it should be a good opportunity to spend quality time. Displaying their usual neglectful selves, Mom and Dad would rather stare at the oven and cheer the pie. Timmy wishes for his imaginary friend to be real so they can play Surgeon General together. Sadly, Gary regards the game as uncool — it's implied that he prefers to play with LEGOs. In the climax, it's revealed that since Gary is physically a 5-year-old, the game scares him.
    • "Cosmo Rules": What kind of game would the nastiest and true toughest fairy in the universe enjoy? Explosive Bingo, of course, where every time someone completes their card and shouts "Bingo!", they explode. It's even in her name! Nana Boom Boom Von Strangle, the grandmother of Jorgen, who is The Ahnold and shares a Strong Family Resemblance with her. Nana likes the Explosive Bingo so much, she won't abandon a game even to go enforce Da Rules when her grandson is ill. Funnily enough, she's seen playing it with other, non-muscly, elderly fairy ladies.
    • "Cosmonopoly": Cosmo regards the day he met Wanda as the best day of his immortal life, so, in his off-screen free time, he unwittingly creates a board game based on it. He was bored and didn't realize until it was finished that it was about that particular day. The game is modeled after Monopoly, with spotted white mice as dice and cards with punishments. The board contains locations that Cosmo visited in his daily life, such as the laundromat, and has the place he and Wanda met as the final destination. Wanda finds it very sweet and shows him some Cardiovascular Love for his efforts.
  • Family Guy: In A Fish out of Water", Stewie is intently doodling a non-descript drawing for a Pictionary game he's playing with the family that is moving to his house (the bank prematurely sold it). The father obnoxiously insists it's a jackal even before Stewie can finish — Stewie Rage Quits as a result. This is the same man who calls Stewie's father a lazy fatass, which is true but a very insensitive thing to say to a recently-unemployed man.
  • Gravity Falls: In "Carpet Diem", Candy and Grenda have a sleepover with a body-swapped Mabel (it's actually her twin Dipper inside) and engage in stereotypically girly activities. One of which is playing a Mystery Date knock-off. The board is majorly pink-colored and has a retro desk telephone at the center, numbered cards for the various dream boys, two dice, and tokens. Dipper is utterly bored.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: In "Queen Bee", Vexus (and most of the school) regards being in the Dungeons and Dragons club as a synonym for being an unpopular loser.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • "Dragonshy": Pinky Pie might be scatterbrained and the ultimate Genki Girl but also displays moments of brilliance, such as when she beats Rarity at Tic-Tac-Toe 35 times in a row. Rarity, who can be quite stubborn, keeps challenging her for rematches.
    • "Read It and Weep": A bedridden Rainbow Dash gets enraptured by an adventure book despite her initial reluctance. This initially embarrasses her, so when her friends bring her a Battleship knock-off (with a pony and a cumulus for ships) to play, all Rainbow wants is to finish quickly the game and resume reading her book. Her friends are flabbergasted by this behavior because not only Dash is acting suspiciously but they thought they'd have better luck at cheering Rainbow up with a board game. Under normal circumstances, Twilight and Fluttershy would have been right.
      Rainbow Dash: Aw, shucks! You rained on my cumulus!
    • "Dungeons & Discords": Spike, Big Mac, and Discord play an obvious Dungeons & Dragons knock-off: Ogres & Oubliettes. Discord has reality-warping powers and mostly runs on Blue-and-Orange Morality, so he's not impressed with a role-playing game. Then, he messes up, gets angry, and thus decides to turn their game's scenario into reality with his powers. Spike and Big Mac are not exactly the outdoor types, so this situation proves hard for them and the Mane Six have to rescue them.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: "Roll With It" is a Shout-Out to Tabletop RPGs, specifically Dungeons & Dragons. The Princess Alliance is a war meeting, with a board and miniatures, when they take the opportunity to roleplay as Mary Sue versions of themselves. Their fantasies match well their personalities. Mermista's character is Sea-Ra, which is basically herself (with her Making a Splash powers) if she got the Sword, er Trident, of Power — this is less out of envy but out of having a crush on She-Ra. It also foreshadows that she's a cloudcuckoolander behind all of her dry wit. Frosta's character is Winter's Bane and is "ramp up Frosta's ice's powers until she's unbeatable and has her Cool Big Sis figure (aka Glimmer) as her sidekick". In other words, an In-Universe Kid-Appeal Character. Glimmer herself shows her insecurities about not being good enough at magic by giving her character an unlimited amount of teleportations. Her character is also in anime, grey-and-pink style, adding to the overpowered protagonist thing. Despite being In Touch with His Feminine Side, Bow gives his character pretty standard teenage guy augments such as muscles, facial hair, and a punny sense of humor that actually makes people laugh. By contrast, Adora doesn't indulge in any fantasy and gets annoyed at everyone for doing so. Being She-Ra and believing she's only as valuable as she's useful put tons of pressure on her, even if she's otherwise goofy. It's also a way to convey how having grown up in an unforgiving, war-focused environment would cause Adora to fret more over war than the other characters, who've had much more care-free childhoods.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Marge is generally very in tune with her baby daughter Maggie's needs and methods of communication. As such, when the pair are playing Pictionary against Marge's sisters, Marge can decipher Maggie's wobbly drawings just fine.
    • "Bart the Genius": The family playing Scrabble is used to cement their personalities and intelligence level. Marge is average, as she has a good vocabulary but is unaware of more obscure words such as "ID". Lisa, the genius Bookworm, is winning the game with her ample vocabulary. By contrast, Homer ignores words such as "OXIDIZE" and is constantly telling his family to not engage in Scrabble Babble. Bart is equally ignorant and isn't even interested in the game, showing he is inattentive and Book Dumb. Also, he's willing to cheat because he does invent a word when it's his turn.
    • "Three Gays of the Condo": Homer is definitely not the brightest bulb. Therefore, it's just like him to mistake his family trying to get him to stop drinking for a fun game of Pictionary. Mind you, what they show him is a drawing of himself drunk out of his brains and surrounded by his crying family. Bart has to tell him they were Staging an Intervention.
    • "A Milhouse Divided": Luann and Kirk van Houten, whose marriage is in its last legs, have been exchanging underhanded insults throughout the Simpsons' dinner party. Luanne has her Rage Breaking Point in the middle of a Pictionary game. It's triggered by her inability to guess just what the hell that oblong shape her husband has made means. When Kirk points out it's supposed to be a drawing of "dignity", she loses it and accuses him of having lost his dignity since marrying her. Kirk challenges to depict "dignity", which she does so marvelously that some comments it's "worthy of Webster's".
    • Homer and/or Bart are often seen creating weird game hybrids with nonsensical rules. Both of them are Book Dumb but also occasionally creative, especially if they want to have fun. They do this with Scrabble and Battleship in "The Old Man and the Key". Comically, Homer takes it way too seriously, mourning the soldiers who die when a ship is sunk.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Mid-Life Crustacean", Bob and Patrick's attempt to make Mr. Krabs feel younger by playing a D&D knock-off. It backfires and Mr. Krabs accuses the boys of being nerds and geeks.
  • Time Squad: Sometimes, there's not much to do on the satellite base in-between emergencies. As shown in "Keepin' it Real with Sitting Bull", Tuddrussel and Otto engage in countless games of Tic-Tac-Toe to stave off boredom.

    Real Life 
  • Taylor Swift joked about her family getting her a new Scrabble board plus cat treats for Christmas. It's true that she enjoys the game but those gifts, without context, are what you would get for your grandmother.