All work and no play are bad, so now it's time to play!
CONSIDERATIONS FOR HOSTING CHARADES
ENCORE, OTHER GAMES, AND PUZZLES
MUSIC AND ART
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I learned a set of signals that some friends use in charades sessions.
Later I searched the web for signals, and I found some differences.
There is no universally used set of signals, so I combined what I consider the best from all the sources, to produce
two pages of signals for charades
If you have arrived at this section
because you want to see the signals,
you can click the link above and then ignore the rest of this Charades section of my web site.
If you are more deeply interested in charades (or the other leisure topics), continue reading.
Here are other web sites that deal with charades:
Here is some of the rationale for my decisions on signals:
My friends use the drawing of a curved curtain for a play, tuning knobs or a V-shaped antenna for a TV show,
and the drawing of a rectangle for a picture.
Other web sites' signals use the pulling of a rope for a play and the drawing of a rectangle for a TV show,
and they do not mention a picture.
I decided to use those popular signals for a play or TV show.
Then I could no longer use a rectangle for a picture, so I use a paint brush.
For the name of a person, my friends use pointing to where a name tag would be,
but several sites use hands on hips, so I decided to use hands on hips.
My friends use drawing a line on the forehead for a headline (☺),
and several sites use pointing to a watch for an event.
I decided to use drawing a line for either a headline or an event.
Several sites have signals for “stop; you're on the wrong track,”
but I think that simply shaking your head “no” suffices,
and I don't even list it in my set of signals, because it's obvious.
Some sites have a signal for “synonym,”
but I think that the “continue” and “sort of” signals suffice.
for “shorten” and the stretching for “lengthen” are popular,
and I followed one site's practice of distinguishing between
doing those things at a word's beginning and at its end.
Some sites use a karate chop for a single letter,
but I don't want the karate chop to have two meanings, so I use a different signal for a single letter.
My friends use saluting for a color (saluting the colors ☺) and pointing to the tongue for a foreign language.
Some sites use pointing to the tongue for a color, but I keep my friends' signals.
I invented very few signals: stepping backward (for back up) and using a paint brush (for a picture).
CONSIDERATIONS FOR HOSTING CHARADES:
Here are my suggestions:
I have prepared a
on which players can write their entries.
Use two-sided printing or photocopying; the back says “PLEASE USE OTHER SIDE.”
I used a blank back when I first hosted charades, and one person apparently assumed that this was scrap paper,
wrote on the blank side, and forgot to include his/her name.
Therefore, I added the warning on the back; the front has a space for the writer's name.
Experience is the best teacher.
If all the players arrive around the same time,
and you are confident that they will all remember your spoken information about the form, you can leave the back blank.
Feel free to use a different set of signals if the players don't like my set.
There's no central authority on charades; certainly not this web site!
The important thing is for the group to agree on some set of signals.
Bring copies of the form for entries (described above), pencils, a bag to hold the entries,
and copies of the set of signals.
For reference, you can leave one copy of the signals on a table near where players will stand to act out entries.
My experience has been that if the players are mostly adults, then teenagers can participate successfully,
but I suggest excluding pre-teens, who would have problems (perhaps because of smaller vocabularies).
Demonstrate all the signals briefly at the beginning of the party.
Either you prepare entries in advance, or all the players write entries at the beginning of the party.
The advantage of preparing entries in advance is saving of time at the party.
The advantage of having all the players write entries is that you (the host) can participate in the guessing,
because you don't know what entries the other players wrote.
When I host charades, all the players write entries.
When you invite players to the party, you can suggest that they think of entries in advance, to save time at the beginning.
My two pages of signals mention that if a picked entry is too hard, the picker can force the writer to act out that entry.
The purpose of this rule is to discourage the writing of entries that are ridiculously difficult to act out.
Some charades parties randomly divide the players into two teams for competitive play
(after the entries have gone into the bag), and some play charades noncompetitively:
With two teams for competitive play, the teams alternate play,
where a person acts out an entry for his/her teammates to guess, although the writer cannot guess.
The first person from team 1 acts, then the first person from team 2 acts, then the second person from team 1 acts, etc.
The team that is not currently acting and guessing
the play, so have a stopwatch available.
If a team takes 3 minutes, then the team's time is recorded as 3 minutes, even if they have not yet guessed the entry.
The team that has the lower total of the times of all the entries is the winner.
With noncompetitive charades, everybody (except the writer) can guess, and there is no timing.
One person acts, then the next person acts, and continue around the room.
Some people prefer competitive charades.
I think that novices would feel more comfortable with noncompetitive charades.
If your charades group is just beginning, I suggest noncompetitive charades for the first few parties,
and then (after gaining experience) you can try competitive play if the players want it.
is an international society that was founded in 1946 in the UK and that has groups in many countries;
I will concentrate on
The sole requirement for membership is a score in the top 2% of the general
population on any of various intelligence tests.
American Mensa's web site says that members range in age from 4 to 100.
I (and, I suspect, most members) view Mensa primarily as a social organization, but the official goals are broader:
“to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity,
to encourage research in the nature, characteristics and uses of intelligence,
and to promote stimulating intellectual and social opportunities for its members.”
American Mensa has many
There are some national activities, including a
(with speakers, games, and other activities), but most social activities are within the local groups.
The types of social activities vary among different local groups.
Here are examples of Mensa activities:
potluck dinners, games
Settlers of Catan
etc.), restaurant dining, videos in members' homes,
movies at movie theatres, sing-alongs, wine tasting, miscellaneous parties, discussions, speakers, hiking,
target shooting, self-defense classes, and annual local gatherings.
These are activities that many people (not just Mensans) would enjoy, and you should not expect to find elitism at Mensa.
A few aspects of Mensa (e.g., some discussions,
do have a more cerebral tone, and there are some community service activities.
If you join Mensa, you can start an activity!
You might even attend an afternoon activity and an evening activity in the same day.
The web sites for local groups list local officers to contact and (for many local groups) list calendars of events.
Some local groups list a “Mensa phone,” where you can leave a message to request information.
Many but not all events welcome prospective members who want to experience Mensa events before deciding whether
to join Mensa; contact the event's host if you are unsure whether an event welcomes people who are not yet members.
join through American Mensa
not through a local group.
If you move between local groups, your membership moves with you.
For example, if you scored at least 1300 on the
taken before September 30, 1974
or at least 1250 on the SAT taken from September 30, 1974 to January 31, 1994, you qualify;
scores on later SAT test dates are not accepted.
Local groups tend to
periodically, or you can go to a private psychologist for a test.
ENCORE, OTHER GAMES, AND PUZZLES
Encore is a board game for two teams that like to sing.
need to sing well; you only need to remember song lyrics.
Some people love Encore, and some have a
Each card in the deck has 6 colors, 5 of which have words and 1 of which has a category.
Each position on the board has 1 color, to indicate which word to use (or whether to use the category instead).
One team must sing at least 8 consecutive words of a song that includes the word or category,
then the other team must, then the first team must, etc.
For example, if the word is “life,” a team might sing
“I tell you life ain't easy for a boy named Sue” (from the song
“A Boy Named Sue
If the category is “musical instruments,” a team might sing
“just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze,” which is also from “A Boy Named Sue.”
A word in a song can match a category even if the word has a completely different meaning in the song's context;
the rules' example is the category of “automobile names”
and the song excerpt of “Climb every mountain,
every stream, follow every rainbow.”
Some people (e.g., the owner of this web site) enjoy such outrageous double meanings, and some do not.
There are two editions of Encore:
The original Encore, which you apparently can buy as a used copy on the web, is from Parker Brothers.
For the word or category that matches the board position's color,
each team in turn has 30 seconds (via a timer) to think of a song excerpt and start singing it.
A team that “times out” loses that round, and the other team rolls the die to advance.
is from Endless Games.
For the word or category, initially no timer is used, as each team in turn thinks of a song excerpt and sings it.
If one team appears to be stumped, the other team
starts the timer.
Then if the stumped team “times out,” it loses that round, as in the original edition.
But if, instead, the allegedly stumped team succeeds in thinking of a song excerpt and starting to
sing it before the timer runs out, that team
the round and rolls the die.
I have never played with the revised rules, but I can envision a potential disadvantage:
A team that can think of a song excerpt might
to be unable to think of one, to induce the other team to start the timer and thus end the round.
The other team might suspect that the first team is just pretending and thus refrain from starting the timer,
thus delaying the game because the first team continues to stall.
In either edition, a team that reaches the end of the board
has an opportunity to win the game via a special set of singing, described in the rules.
I consider it unsportsmanlike for the winning team to sing
“We are the Champions
at this point, and I have no control over what the losing team would do to the winning team!
Some other games that I enjoy are
I haven't played Monopoly in many years.
Apparently it has been brought up to date.
I saw a
in which one “Go to jail” card says that you have been arrested for insider trading.
Crossword, mathematical, and logic puzzles are good mental exercises that can be hard to put down.
National Park Service
has a great collection of parks.
You can save time on the day(s) of your visit by planning your visit in advance.
Information is available on the web,
and if you need more information, you can call the park to ask about obtaining additional information.
One good hiking trail, the
extends from Maine to Georgia.
In Massachusetts, the
Department of Conservation and Recreation
provides many hiking trails.
Also, here's a book:
C. W. G. Smith,
Massachusetts Trail Guide
Appalachian Mountain Club Books.
In Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County's
Department of Parks and Recreation
provides many hiking trails.
Also, here's a book:
The Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Book
Oak Valley Press.
As a substitute for hiking, an exercise bicycle by itself is not very interesting,
especially for those of us who like breathing fresh air
and seeing animals, plants, rock formations, and scenery in general.
However, an exercise bicycle has the virtue of not occupying your eyes, ears, or hands.
Therefore, if you were planning to read something, watch TV, or do some other interesting things,
adding the exercise bicycle adds the benefits of exercise
but does not add a significant amount of time to the interesting things that you were planning to do.
another virtue is immunity from extreme temperatures, precipitation, and effects of precipitation (mud, snow, and ice).
MUSIC AND ART
When using a search engine to find the lyrics of a song,
inclusion of some of the lyrics (not just the title) in your search criteria will concentrate the results
on sites that list the lyrics, as opposed to sites that just mention the song without listing the lyrics.
There are many web sites that include lyrics.
Some but not all also include guitar chords.
I make no promises about the accuracy of the lyrics or chords on the web sites.
You will find cases where two sites differ on the lyrics and/or differ on the guitar chords.
Buying the sheet music or photocopying it in a public library
can give you the melody, the harmony, the guitar chords, and probably the official lyrics.
Here are some but not nearly all of the sites:
When I took a drawing class, I concluded that learning how to observe is a large part of learning how to draw.
Forward to Miscellaneous.
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