Charades is well-known parlor game, where the participants have to guess a word or phrase that is being mimed to them by one of the team members. In the most classical version, participants are divided into teams, each person submits one or more phrases written on a piece of paper and drops them into a common pool. Teams alternate selecting one of their number, who randomly picks a word/phrase and tries to demonstrate it without speaking. If the rest of the team guesses it correctly within a designated limit, they get a point.
No points – since this is more of an activity than a game, you can easily ditch the whole points and teams system. Whoever guesses the word/phrase is next to demonstrate it.
Reverse charades – in this variant, you flip the roles in the team – now one person tries to guess, while the rest of the team (without any consultation) tries to show the word/phrase
Drawing, etc. – instead of using gestures – try drawing, sculpting or building things out of Legos
Magic it up
This being a judge blog – I’m obligated to point out how you can make it more relevant. Try to use words/phrases pertaining to Magic, of course! These can be lore (Planeswalkers, Legendary creatures or lands, Planes, locations) or rules (penalties, card types, state-based effects). Try to mix up the categories to make it more difficult (though showing the category should be key!)
There are a lot of party games available that implement a form of Charades (or Charade-like activity) in some sort of framework. Typically, it’s easy to replace the words/phrases with something relevant. Sometimes they also have great components you can reuse (e.g. dry erase boards & markers).
Here’s a list to get you started (in alphabetical order): A Fake Artist Goes to New York, Concept, Pictionary, Pictomania, Reverse Charades, Telestrations.
Also, check out my blog post about Time’s Up!
At the 2015 Polish Judge Conference I ran through 30 different Magic set names – demonstrating each one, but with a twist. I tried to make it hard to guess. Ask me (or one of the participants) about Betrayers of Kamigawa.