The Pretender

Refreshing charades reboot, but which one of you is the Pretender?
The Pretender (published by Gamely Games) is a surprisingly refreshing reinvention of the classic after dinner game – charades which weaves social deduction into the performing.

Each player (4 to 6) selects an identical card detailing the same ten words on the same theme (food, bad habits, zoo animals, cartoon characters etc).

One player calls out which numbered word the group is to perform, and in turn, each player acts out a mini-charade of the same selected word, except…one of the group has absolutely no idea what the secret word is (their card simply has the entry ‘pretender’) and they must confidently act out their bluff-charade so as to avert suspicion that they are not the titular pretender.

Once all players have performed, the group discuss who amongst them might be the pretender, before counting to three and each pointing at who they think is the hidden culprit. If the player with the most votes is not the pretender – the pretender wins.

seriously fun

This game is seriously fun. It is such a wonderfully clever reimagining of the classic – Charades. The social deduction addition really works.

It will take a couple of games before you fully appreciate the subtle layers of strategy required. A good pretender will confidently rework what the other players before them have mimed without it being a shameless copy so as not to draw attention. Non-pretenders need to ensure their performance hits the sweet spot of being abstract enough so the pretender can’t work out the secret word whilst remaining recognisable to other non-pretender players so as to avoid false accusations that they are the pretender.

Charades or performing games are not for everyone, and younger players may lack the performing confidence, cultural awareness, or vocabulary of some of the words on the category cards – the suggested age is 12+, but players aged 8 and upwards shouldn’t have too much difficulty with this game. Our 9 and 11 year-olds didn’t!

Yes you may exhaust the 36 categories (108 cards) fairly quickly (once you’ve started playing you won’t be able to stop!) but it wouldn’t take much effort to create your own additional category cards if needed.

ideal stocking filler

The super compact box (12cm x 9.5cm / 4.7inches x 3.7inches) make it a perfect travel or after dinner game and it would make an ideal stocking filler for fun post-Christmas dinner japery.



20 mins


Why buy?

Fun little gem that manages to reinvigorate the tired charades format with some clever new deduction mechanics. Simple rules and a short game length make this an ideal party game.

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