Telephone Charades

Telephone Charades (also known as Charades Down the Line) is a hilarious icebreaker in which a person acts out a charade only for the next person in the line, who in turn acts out for the next person.  The last person standing in line attempts to guess what the original clue was.

This is in active icebreaker that works best with a group of five or six people.  It can also be implemented for larger groups by taking five or six volunteers per round.   This game is best played indoors.  No special materials are required other than sheets of paper with the clues written on them.  Telephone Charades is for people age 10 and up.

Setup for Telephone Charades

Telephone Charades or “Charades Down the Line” is an active icebreaker that combines charades with the “telephone down the line” game.   To prepare for the game, write a list of humorous actions to be acted out.  Some examples are:

  • a pantomime
  • a nerd’s first date
  • a cat bathing itself
  • going skydiving
  • fishing and catching a huge fish

Instructions for How to Play

Choose five or six people (or ask for volunteers) and ask them to line up in a row, facing the left side of the room.  Ask the first person to turn around to see the first clue to be acted out.  Reveal the clue to the person, and display the clue to the audience as well.

The first person turns around and taps the next person in line on the shoulder.  He or she then acts out the clue using classic charades rules (no talking or noises permitted).  The second person then taps the third person and acts out his or her understanding of what was acted out.  This process continues until it reaches the last person in line, who must guess what the action is.

This game is funny because the acting tends to warp and get distorted based upon each person’s interpretation of what is going on.


A good variation to try is to have two teams line up and act out the same clue simultaneously.  The teams that guess the clue correctly (or most correctly) wins the round.

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