How to Play Charades

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Charades is a game of pantomimes: you have to "act out" a word without speaking, while the other members of your team try to guess what the word is. The objective is for your team to guess the word as quickly as possible.

Standard Rules


Each round of the game proceeds as follows.

Normally the game continues until every player has had a chance to "act out" a word. The score for each team is the total time that the team needed for all of the rounds. The team with the smallest score wins the game.

Variation without Teams, with Optional Scores


Instead of dividing the group into teams, everybody tries to figure out the word or phrase when someone "acts it out". If you wish to keep score, the person who figures out the word or phrase being "acted out" can be awarded 1 point, the winner being the one with the most points when the game ends.

Gesture Tips

If the word contains multiple parts, or if it is a phrase, one usually starts by indicating the number of parts. You don't have to explain each part in order. Here are some tips on the "language" of charades.

Number of parts or words
Hold up the number of fingers.
Which part or word you're working on
Hold up the number of fingers again.
Thumbs up, or show your open hand
Completely wrong
Slash a big cross in the air with both hands
Close, almost correct
Wobble your hand horizontally
Sounds like, similar pronunciation
Put your hand to your ear
Use part of the word you just said
Slash through the air with one hand
Continue brainstorming on this topic, or say something you just said again
Roll your hand


Pictionary is a variation, where instead of acting out the word, you draw it on paper. You can use the same rules as for charades, or a slightly different variation

Each round proceeds as follows.

The team with the most points wins.

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