A Never-Miss Way to Win at Charades


Do people even play charades anymore? Charades (and the proper way to pronounce the word is, of course, shah-rod, though I will not leave the room if you prefer the pronunciation of the sticks, sha-rayde. I’m a nice guy that way.) Charades, in case you are unfortunate enough not to be in on the skinny, is that game in which you try to guess the title of a book, song, or movie based on the often absurd pantomime of a partner. Yeah, I don’t really need to explain the rules of charade in any more detail than that, do I?

The way charades is typically played is in teams. Each team comes up with some titles for another team to guess. The problem that many teams have in coming up with titles is that they confuse or long titles with being difficult to pantomime. I once played a game of charade that pitted me and one guy against my wife and another guy (The Amazing Bric Barker!). Bric made that fatal mistake of assuming that a rather bizarre title would be difficult to guess. In fact, I guessed Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars quite easily. You see spiders and stardust and even Mars are not that difficult to either pantomime or guess. Even Ziggy is not that hard to get across if you just do a “sound like” for piggy. The way to win charades, therefore, is to not to think in terms of a weird title being impossible to guess.

So how do you win at charades? Well, in almost every game of charades I’ve ever played or witnessed or even just heard about, the score is always pretty close. So the best way to ensure that you win has less to do with your own ability to guess the others, since you have no control over that, and more to do with the making it impossible for the other team to get one of your guesses. That means coming up with a title that is fairly obscure enough that someone can’t guess it, and also contains words that are difficult to accurately pantomime. This might seem a hopelessly Herculean task, but fortunately you have me. I have already figured out and placed into a real life situation a title that is guaranteed to stump all but the biggest fans of old TV Guides.

The best way to use the information I am about to give you on how to win at charades is when it comes down to a tiebreaker and you toss in the final title to guess. If you don’t want to take a chance on the odds, then just add this title in with your original batch. Here is the title that will win you a friendly game of charades:

The Ballad of Cable Hogue.

This movie is a relatively little known Sam Peckinpah effort from the early 1970’s. The great thing is that if anyone challenges you, you can go to the computer and do a search. It currently has a 7.4 rating so be aware that it is not entirely unknown. But it works wonderfully as a charades killer because, well, how you going to arrive at “Hogue” through pantomime? Cable, sure. And maybe even Ballad if you do a sounds like salad. But unless you are familiar with The Ballad of Cable Hogue even getting cable and ballad won’t help you very much. Trust me, this is a surefire title on which to win a game of charades.

If, however, you add The Ballad of Cable Hogue into the original mix of titles from which to draw and then find yourself in a tiebreaker anyway, there is one last title that will win it for you. It is the title of a song by Joy Division and unless you are a Joy Division fan there is almost no possible way you can figure this one out through charades:

Atrocity Exhibition.”