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Charades Rules - Kings Cup Rules

Charades Rules

Playing Charades with friends, youth groups, or your family during the holidays or a family game night is fun. You may have avoided playing Charades in the past because you did not understand the rules or felt uncomfortable. Now is the perfect time to learn the rules.

You can turn boring social gatherings into exciting ones by learning the rules for Charades. So, let’s dive into this interesting piece of information to know more about Charades.

What is Charades?

Charades, a popular team game, has been a favorite at gatherings and parties for many years. It’s a game of pantomimes where players must act out a word or phrase without speaking, while their teammates attempt to guess what it is.

The Objective Of The Game

In charades, you act out the phrase and then your teammates guess it. You must guess the phrase within the given time limit.

How To Play Charades

The word-guessing game Charades involves a player acting out a phrase or a word (for example, a movie or a book), while the other players attempt to guess what it is.

Charades is a game that can be played in many ways. We have listed the most popular formats, which are either in teams or with everyone playing against each other.


  • A stopwatch 
  • A writing pad to note scoring
  • Blank paper
  • Baskets, or other containers


Teams temporarily separate themselves to create phrases that they will write on their paper. The phrases can be either quotations, titles of movies, books, TV shows, or songs. Here are some rules that you can use to make it easier to guess the phrases:

  • No team should record any phrase that they have not heard at least three times.
  • No phrase should exceed seven words.
  • No phrase should be made up solely of proper names (i.e. it must also include other words);
  • No foreign words are permitted.

After they finish writing their phrases, teams return to the same space.

Playing Team Charades

The first player chooses an idea (or phrase) from the container of the opposing team. After reading the phrase, the player has to act it out while the other players try to guess what the answer is. The team gets a point if they can guess the correct answer within the given time limit. This is usually between two and three minutes.

Then, a player from the other team takes their turn. This continues until the entire list of ideas is used.

The team that scores the most points is the winner. You can choose to play until a specific score is reached or to set a time limit.

Playing Single Charades

It is simpler to have everyone on their own. Decide who will begin. The time limit is not set, so the person who guesses correctly will go next.

The first player chooses a charade and performs it for the rest of the players to guess. Next, the person who correctly guesses goes.

Charades Game Rules

  • All the players are divided into two equal teams.
  • The timer and scorekeeper can be a non-participant or a member of each team.
  • No words. No pointing to objects in the room. No lip movements.
  • You can only “act out” or pantomime similar-sounding words.
  • Charades is a game where two teams compete against each other, and they divide the same number of cards.
  • The charade card containing a phrase from Team 1 is shown to the actor of Team 2 but kept secret by the rest of the team.
  • The team performing the act selects their actor. No actor can act more than one time until all members of the team have had the chance to act as the actor.
  • An actor has a set amount of time (2-3 minutes) in which to perform a phrase before his team.
  • Decide on the time limit within which the actors must finish their tasks before the start of the game. This will remain the same for the duration of the game.
  • To act out a word, the actor can use any gestures.
  • Teams alternate roles until everyone has had their chance to play the role.

Charades Categories

Charades are divided into several categories with accompanying actions.

  • Movie title: Imagine that you are turning the film reels on an old-fashioned camera.
  • Title of a TV show: With your fingers, draw a rectangle in the air to represent a television.
  • Song title: Remove your hand from the mouth and pretend to sing.
  • Book title: Pretend you are opening a book with your hands.
  • Play title: Draw your hands apart to indicate the opening of a stage curtain.
  • Quotes and phrases: Create air quotes using your fingers.

Charades Standard Gestures

Charades players can use hand signals to understand the type of phrase they are acting out, as well as the number of words and syllables. The most common signals include:

  • Number of syllables: Hold fingers up to indicate the number of syllables, the position in which the word is being communicated and to break individual words down into syllables if necessary. Hold up three fingers to indicate a 3-word phrase and then one finger for the first.
  • Word Size: The word size can be shown by extending your thumb and forefinger, and by spreading out your arms.
  • Sounds Like: Place your hands behind your ears and indicate the similarity between what you say and what you do.
  • Plurals: Join pinky fingers to signify a plural.
  • Longer and shorter: To show that a phrase is longer or shorter, you can stretch your arms or do a karate-chop type of action.
  • Correct Guess: The point at the person you think correctly guessed and tap on their nose to let them know.

Alternative Game Rules/ Variations

Next time you play Charades, try these three variations of the rules:

1.Partner Charades

It’s hard enough to keep a straight face when you have to do it with your partner. Charades with partners are an interesting mix. You can play two-on-two or ask your partner to act out the words as you guess. The person who guesses the most words within the shortest period wins.

2. Reverse Charades

This variant turns the game completely 180 degrees. Three people will be acting out the phrase together in unison in front of your eyes.

The harder it is to do, the more people you have. This variant is best done with 3-4 people or in teams.

3. Free-for-all Charades

There’s no need to draw words out of a hat. These phrases were all created by the author.

The first player thinks of a song or movie. If the phrase is correct, the next player goes on stage. This is my favorite variant!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the rules of Charades?

The traditional Charades is a game where players act out different activities, titles, or objects to try and guess what the other players are doing.

What is prohibited when you play Charades?

In Charades, speaking or making noise is strictly prohibited.

What skills do charades use?

Charades uses and enhances skills like non-verbal communication, creativity, quick thinking, and teamwork.

Wrapping Up

Charades is a fun and engaging game that brings people together and sparks laughter. Now that you know the rules and some strategies, you’re ready to play and enjoy this wonderful game.

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