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Subject: Charades fun without talking - The Board Game Family review rss

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Trent Howell
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Charades is a very popular party game and one that almost everyone knows how to play.

If you come across someone that doesn't know how to play, it's not a problem because it only takes 10 seconds to explain.

The familiarity and approachability of charades also make it easy to mimic. And many charade-like party games have been created over the years. Unfortunately, a lot of them don't really add anything fresh.

Well, Arcane Wonders has recently released a new take on charades that does offer something fresh.

And we've had a lot of fun playing it!


How to play Speechless

As you might have guessed from the name, Speechless is a charades game without all the shouting.

In normal charades, one person tries to get their team to guess as many words or phrases as they can by acting them out before the time expires. Meanwhile their teammates continuously shout out possible answers until they finally hit on the right one. Once they get it right, the actor moves on to the next word.

Well, in Speechless things are a bit different. There isn't any shouting of words, the actors don't wait for someone to guess the word correctly before they move on, nor are there even any teams.

In Speechless, players still all take their turn at acting. However, when it's a player's turn, they have a limited time to act out 6 words for everyone else to guess.

Instead of shouting out answers, each player has a dry erase board with 6 lines. They only write down a single word for each thing the person acts out.

So instead of getting closer and closer to the right words by elimination, players just make their best guess and move on.

After the timer runs out, the actor reads the words they were acting out and the other players score their answers.

If they correctly match a word, they get two points.

If they didn't guess it right, they may still score a point if someone else also wrote down the same incorrect answer.

For example, if the word is "butterfly" and two players wrote down "bird", each of those players will score 1 point for their guess.

The actor will also score points during the round they're acting. Their score will be 2 times the number of correct guesses by the person who got the most correct guesses.

For example, if I was acting and Brooke guessed 4 of the words exactly right, I will score 8 points for that round.

It's a great incentive for the actor to act well.

Everyone's score is then recorded on the scoreboard and another round begins.


Can the whole family enjoy playing Speechless?

Speechless is a fantastic game for family play!

Just like charades, there really isn't anything you need to teach about the game before diving into playing. And players of all ages understand how to act things out.

We've played with wide age ranges in extended family settings and everyone has had a great time.

Don't worry that the game box has ages 14+ on the box -- younger kids will enjoy it as well.

One of the foremost reasons Speechless is great for families is that players can score points even if they don't get the answers right.

We love that the younger players who may not understand everything being acted out will still make a guess. And more often than not, another one of the kids will have written the same guess as well. So they'll all still get some points.

There are also ways to increase or decrease the difficulty of the game depending on who's playing.

There are 3 different decks of words -- Green (easy), Yellow (medium), and Red (hard).

If you're playing with all young kids, you may want to just use the green and yellow cards. Whereas if it's all adults, just play with red cards.

In all the games we've played we've gone with the standard play of 1 of each color and it's worked out great. Everyone starts out with the easier green cards and moves on up through medium and hard.

Yet, even though the green cards are classified as "easy" players won't always get them correct. For example, the word may be a simple one like "arm". But depending on what the actor does, the other players may write down any number of other things like elbow, bicep, sleeve, or skin.

There are 8 dry erase boards and markers included in the game -- so it's easy to play up to that many players. However, if you want to play with more, there's not stopping you. Just find additional things to write on and even more can join in.

Another thing to point out is that the insert in the game box is an integral part of the game itself. It doesn't just store all the game components.

The 3 different decks of cards are stored in such a way that there's nothing to set up for a new game. The cards stay right in the box and players simply pull one from the back of each deck and place them in the holder in the box insert.

The card holder space even have molded numbers to correspond with the words on the card. Words 1 and 2 are identified in the leftmost holder spot. Words 3 and 4 are in the middle. And words 5 and 6 are labeled for the rightmost holder spot.

Very slick.


Downsides

We've only encountered two downsides to Speechless.

The first we'll mention is the number of cards in the game.

It's not that we think you'll quickly go through all the cards. We've played a bunch and have yet to go through all 270 cards (90 in each deck).

If you're playing with a full 8 players, you'll go through 24 cards in a game (8 rounds of 3 cards each round). If you're using 1 card from each deck, it will take 11 games to use every card.

However, if you're only playing with teens and/or adults and just want to use the hard cards, after just 4 games you've seen almost all the red cards.

So that could be a limiting factor on repeated plays.

The only other downside we've noticed is that for a party game, it's kind of quiet.

Yes, there's often laughter in what someone's acting out. But for a fair amount of the game, because people are just writing and not talking, it's a quiet atmosphere.

Of course, that hasn't dampened our enjoyment of the game because we do plenty of talking once the correct answers are revealed. Then everyone wants to share what in the world they thought the actor was trying to do.

And that's worth some more good laughs.


How does Speechless score on our "Let's Play Again" game meter?

Speechless scores very high on our "let's play again" game meter.

The rules state how many times each player gets a turn being the actor/presenter. But we've always gone extra innings!

Just because we've run to the end of the scoreboard doesn't mean we have to stop, right?

The kids have always wanted to keep acting out. They'll call out extra turns after every game. "I want to go again!"

They don't even care if we don't keep score. They've just loved the challenge of getting people to guess words and compare answers.

Speechless has been a hit with our family and I anticipate playing it frequently at our various extended family gatherings in the coming holiday months.

Thanks Arcane Wonders for a wonderful new take on charades and a great family party game!



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