FTW Staff Picks - Speechless September 11 2018

For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new. 


Genre: Party

Designer: Mike Elliott

Player Size: 3 to 8 Players

Game Length: 30 minutes

For fans of: Guesstures, Charades, Time's Up

Charades is a timeless affair that has lived on since its inception. It doesn't take much more than paper and pen to even get started, and that makes it one of the best games you can pull out of thin air. Over the years many games such as Guesstures and Time's Up! have given their own spin on the classic. Today we take a look at another take on the formula, and why Speechless is one of our favourite new party games. 

In Speechless, players take turns acting out 6 different words of varying difficulties as the rest of the players attempt to guess each word. With just 90 seconds on the timer, the player acting out the clues will have to work efficiently. Guessing players write their answers silently on their boards. They may ask the active player to repeat the action of one of the words, otherwise they must stay completely silent. After 90 seconds have elapsed, the active player will reveal the 6 words. If any player guesses the correct word they are rewarded 2 points. If any players guess incorrectly, but guess the same word as each other they are all rewarded 1 point. The active player earns 2 points for each correct guess made by the player who guessed the most correct words. After 10 rounds, the player with the most points is declared the winner!

With just 90 seconds, there is little room for error. And with a scoring system that is designed to punish players who are bad at acting out clues, you have to really prepare to give clear and concise actions. Another thing to keep in mind is that since players have to write down their answers, they may not see you acting out the next clue. As the active player you also want to give yourself enough time to revisit clues that were not clearly understood. It's difficult to get a perfect score, which makes the time constraint feel like the perfect amount. 

Most Charades clones are team-based games. Due to the nature of acting out clues and having people guess, the same is true of games even outside of that niche such as PictionaryTaboo and Mad Gab. The unique thing about Speechless is you can play it as fully competitive, free-for-all party game. In the games we've played the final rounds became quite tense. Speechless is great for your competitive friends who don't want to sit and learn a complicated strategy game.