Reverse Charades

Filed Under (Family Games, Party Games, Tops for 2011, Word Games) by Bernie DeKoven on Jan 31, 2011

See, in your traditional, non-reverse charades, one person is trying to get her team to guess a word, a phrase, a book, song or movie title – except she can’t talk; while her team is guessing everything they can think of that is remotely connected to the frantic gestures of their team mate. So, logically, Reverse Charades is just like charades, except that it’s the team that’s frantically gesturing to one of their team members, who is guessing with equal franticity.

So, you ask, is that fun enough to deserve being a whole new game? Our answer, without further qualifications or conceptual gesticulations: you bet it is! Observe the following for further self-evidence.

As you can see, the team is trying to get its representative to guess as many words as possible within the 60-second time limit. As you might also note, there are children in the team, and they are using the soon-to-be released iPhone app. This demonstrates two more key aspects of the game – it is such an elegant, easy-to-understand concept for anyone who knows charades (like, for example, you) that it lends itself to just about any group; and that the rules, as elegantly as they are written, are meant to be change – whatever the size of the group, or the time they want to give each other per turn, or whatever else they want to do to make the game fun.

When we first tasted it, we didn’t have the recommended minimum number of players. We only had 4 people, and the game recommends a minimum of 6, 3 players for each team. So we changed the rules. We didn’t have teams. Three people did the charading, one the guessing. Next round, we just changed the guesser. If we would have kept score, we would have given ourselves points for all the words we managed to get, each round, hoping each time to beat our record. And the fun actually abounded.

Reverse Charades demonstrates the kind of reversal that we most like to see in games. In your traditional, non-reverse charades, one player has to do all the performing, all alone. This puts anyone even remotely shy or self-conscious in a potentially embarrassing position, and, sadly, some people find that person’s discomfort emblematic of the fun of non-reverse charades.  In Reverse Charades, no one is embarrassed, because everyone is acting silly together. And yes, there is a certain chaos. And yes, it’s the very kind of chaos makes the fun major.

Game design by Bryce and Scott Porter, with artistic design by Dave Regnier, the most recent edition of Reverse Charades comes with 288, double-sided word cards,  a 60-second sand timer, and very simple, inviting instructions. A new edition with many sets of themed card packs (sports cards, 80s, junior editions, movie, holidays) all in the works. The game app for Android, iPhone and iPad will be released in med-February, with lite-versions for free so people can taste the games themselves before they leap into the joyous fray.

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