The Sound Of Silent Charades

Few party games offer the complete diversity in extremes that silent charades offers. On the one hand the idea of the game is for one member of the team to give clues using total silence while on the other hand the rest of the team is shouting guesses at what the silent member is trying to say. The result is usually one of the most boisterous party games probably ever created.
It happens more often than not that you are at a party and someone suggests a game of silent charades. What ensues is potentially the highlight of the evening for both the game players and everyone watching. Silent charades is a game that can have the players broken down into several different configurations. Some people like to break people up into a bunch of two player teams while others allow teams to have as many players as possible. Still others don’t put the competitive aspect of silent charades into effect and just have one big group of players playing the game. Essentially what happens is that one of the people on the team is given a word or phrase that the rest of the team has to guess using clues given by the person that was given the word or phrase. The key is that the person giving the clues cannot speak and must use hand gestures, facial gestures, and body language to give the clues to the rest of the team. Many times an exact word cannot be given as a clue so the person given the clue will give a simple clue for a word that is close to the word they are looking for a then prompt the players to guess similar words until they guess the actual word. For example, if the clue giver wants the players to guess the word worn then they may make a tearing motion like they are tearing a piece of paper. If a player guesses torn then the clue giver will point to that player and then prompt them to guess other words similar to torn until they guess born.

Silent charades has been around for years and it is a favorite device of Hollywood to include in movies. Possibly one of the most famous Hollywood personalities to engage in silent charades was Harpo Marx of the famous Marx Brothers comedy team. Harpo never spoke so he could only communicate using charades. Because of their comedic genius the Marx Brothers took the concept of charades to strange and hilarious places that most people would never have thought of. If you really want to see a version of extreme silent charades I invite you to watch any Marx Brothers’ movie and watch Harpo in action. You will not be disappointed.

Charades has developed its own list of hand signals that any player needs to be familiar with in order to be successful playing the game. The beauty of silent charades is that it has planted itself so deep into our society that many of the clues for charades are already part of our everyday life. For instance the charade signal for a movie is to pretend to be cranking an old time movie camera which is a hand gesture that everyone is familiar with. Pointing to your wrist as thought you were pointing to a watch to indicate time is also another common silent charade clue that most everyone knows. Tapping a number of fingers on your forearm to indicate the number of syllables in a word is also a very common silent charades clue that most everyone is familiar with.

Silent charades is a very popular party game that seems to have gone beyond the boundaries of being a simple game and has become an icon of our culture. So next time someone points at their wrist to indicate something to you you can use your knowledge of charades to give that person the time of day.
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