How to Create a Charades Game

By Lauren Nelson
Acting out prompts can be a whole lot of laughs and fun.

Charades is an age-old role playing party game. In it, participants select prompts and attempt to act them out without words, while other participants attempt to guess what the original prompt was. It can be played as a group or with teams. Charades can add life to any kind of gathering, but before the games can begin, it's necessary to make the following preparations.

Let the Games Begin!

Invite the right group of people with enough advance notice that they will be able to attend. You want to have a good amount of balance among the individuals you invite. A group of quiet, introverted individuals will likely lead to an awkward and uncomfortable round of Charades, or the game won't even get off the ground for lack of willingness to participate. On the other hand, too many competitive participants could lead to unnecessary tension or conflict. Invite a healthy blend of people to make sure the game stays light and fun.

Establish the rules before anyone even arrives. If you're playing as a group, define how you will pick a winner, if you pick one at all. If you're playing on teams, you'll need to decide if people from both teams will be allowed to guess what prompt is being acted out, if time limits for acting out the prompt will be set, and whether you'll be playing to a certain amount of points or rounds of participation. Setting the rules before the day of the gathering or game play is essential to preventing unnecessary flare ups between your guests when the game begins.

Develop the prompts before anyone shows up. These can come from a variety of subjects, ranging from movies, books, commonly used phrases, famous people to verbs. How many prompts you'll need is dependent on the number of people you're inviting and the rules you've already established. A general rule of thumb is to have enough prompts that everyone can go three to four times at least. You'll need to write them down on small slips of paper, and fold them into fairly similar sizes so the prompts will be indistinguishable from one another as people draw them. Once they are written down, you'll need to put them in a container for people to draw from. It's important to set up this part of the game in advance so as few people as possible will know what the prompts are beforehand.

Get the game play area set up before the guests arrive. Place the prompts into the container of your choice, be it a deep hat or a bowl, and set it up next to a pad of paper to keep score, a pen, and a stopwatch to keep time. Make sure you have plenty of seating for your guests and room for participants to act out the prompts. Having the stage set in advance will allow you to relax when they arrive and enjoy the game once it starts.

Tip

Charades is a lot of fun when played competitively. Ramp up participation by offering a prize for the winning team. You should also consider serving refreshments to your guests as they participate.

About the Author

Lauren Nelson was a nationally recognized public speaker and debater for eight years and has three years of contracted technical writing under her belt. Nelson is a graduate of Western Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Arts in corporate and organizational communication and is currently serving as Director of Communications for Attain Capital Management.