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The party game of Reverse Charades is what traditional charades always tried to be.
I never really cared much for charades. Admittedly, I never played it much, but why should I when I didn’t think it was much fun?
I know a lot of other people who don’t like it either. So when some of us got together to try this new-fangled Reverse Charades, I had the fun bar set really low.
I could have set it much higher; it would have cleared it easily. (I don’t like to mix metaphors, but this one fits pretty well.)
How Do You Play Reverse Charades?
In the version of the traditional game that I’m familiar with, one person acts out the word until one of his teammates figures out what in the world the actor is trying desperately to portray. Then it’s that person’s turn to perform some pantomime. And on and on with no real goal, as far as I know.
In Reverse Charades, the “reverse” means that one person guesses while all of his teammates do the acting out together. You get one minute using a sand timer to solve as many charades as possible. Then the other team takes a turn.
You can play for a set number of rounds or number of points or whatever game ending condition you prefer. The winning team is usually the one who correctly guesses the most words, unless your winning conditions state otherwise.
How Do the Old and New Games of Charades Compare?
The differences in the two games feel subtle but are really very effective.
One of the biggest differences is that you don’t have to put on a solo standup act. Performing with friends is a big boost to your confidence. In other words, (ahem) you can get by with a little help from your friends.
The timer helps too, because you know you don’t have to make a fool of yourself forever. There’s comfort in knowing that the madness only lasts a finite amount of time.
In Reverse Charades, since you are trying for more than one word per turn, you are allowed to pass on one of the randomly selected cards if everyone on your team finds it too difficult.
A fair number of the cards in Reverse Charades have items that are easier to solve with more than one person. That is, the charade on the card almost requires the acting of multiple people. I would assume this was done on purpose.
The proper nouns, on the other hand, seem more difficult to guess simply because you don’t know that they are proper nouns and may go for a related common noun instead. You could easily rectify this by agreeing on some signal that a proper noun is in play. (We hadn’t arranged for such a signal in our game.)
By the time our game was done, the temperature of the room had risen significantly from the physical effort put forth by the players. We all had many laughs during the game, and there were still smiles on every face many minutes later.
Final Thoughts on Reverse Charades
The components of the game are very simple, but they are well crafted and cover everything you need. Personally I don’t care for the sickly green that’s part of the color scheme. Fortunately that has absolutely nothing to do with the game play.
You really should have at least 6 people to play, but I’d recommend no more than 8 players. You know from the start that this is a party game, so you probably wouldn’t pull it off the shelf if you didn’t have that many.
We played with 7 because that was everyone in the room. We played until everyone had a chance to be the guesser. The team with 3 players just had one person guess twice. Balancing was simple.
Reverse Charades is a really cool party game (and this may be the only time I ever say that) that even the most shy player should enjoy. Not having to be “on stage” all by yourself takes away any worries you might have about feeling foolish.
Just get out there and join in the fun.