I’m a huge fan of Heads Up. In fact, it’s one of my favorite party games as I always find that it breaks the ice and gets people laughing and having fun together.
If you’re not familiar with Heads Up, the premise is simple: one person holds up a card (on their phone) to their forehead, without being able to see it themselves, and the rest of the group has to give them clues about what the word on the card is.
The aim is to guess as many words as possible within a time limit. The game is simple to learn but provides a challenge for even the most experienced player.
That being said, not everyone is a fan of Heads Up. I’ve had friends who find the game frustrating, or who simply don’t like charades-style games.
If you’re looking for alternatives to Heads Up, here are some of the best games like Heads Up that I’ve played and enjoyed.
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This is a similar game to Heads Up in that it challenges players to guess words based on clues from their friends. However, Guesstures also incorporates physical gestures into the gameplay, making it a more active and energetic game.
Most people think it is the board version of Heads Up because of how the tiles with words are settled in front of the clue-giver, but Guesstures has a few additional features.
For one, there are different categories of word clues, and each category is worth a different number of points. There is also a time limit for each round, adding an element of pressure to the game.
The game is just as exciting as you’ll be jumping around trying to guess the word before the time runs out.
Teams are also able to compete against each other, making Guesstures the perfect game for large groups. You can divide the group into two or more teams and it doesn’t matter if the number of teams is even or odd.
Each team will alternate turns and send a new member to the front to give clues to the word, with the first team to reach a certain number of points declared the winner.
When it’s your turn, you are to grab 4 cards from the deck and give clues to your team about the word on the card.
Each card has two words on both sides, but you only need to concern yourself with one word per card making it four words in total for you to act out.
Once your team shouts out the word, show the card to the other team to confirm and then discard it. If no one on your team can guess the word, simply discard the card.
You have to be quick as there is a mimer-timer that beeps faster as the round goes on.
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Cranium is a great game for large groups. It was released by Richard Tait and Whit Alexander in 1998.
The aim of the game is to get your team to guess a word or phrase based on clues given by one member. There are four categories: Creative Cat, Data Head, Star Performer, and Word Worm.
It features four different timed rounds where players must complete various tasks like word puzzles, sculpting, and identifying songs.
Creative Cat – This involves players giving clues through charades or drawing. For example, you may have to act out a scene from a movie or draw a picture of an object.
Data Head – This is all about trivia and requires players to answer questions from different categories.
Star Performer – One player from the team has to complete a task, such as singing or telling a joke.
Word Worm – Players have to guess words based on clues given by other members of the team. The activities include anagrams, word jumbles, and synonyms.
Once a team is successful on the first turn, they will roll the 10-sided die and move their pawn along the board on the ‘fast-track’ spaces.
If they are not successful on the first turn, they’d wait till their next turn to try again. Once they are, they will then roll the die and advance on the ‘scenic’ path.
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3. Catch Phrase
Catch Phrase was created by Steve Radosh. It even has a television show.
The game is similar to Heads Up in that it is a guessing game. It has two teams and a person from each team tries to get their teammates to say a word by giving them clues. The first team to get to seven points wins.
You must have two teams to play the game and it doesn’t matter if both teams have equal numbers of players.
Although it would be easier if they did so that each opposing team member can sit down face to face with each other.
Each team will pick a player to go first and that player will start the game by pressing the button on the device to start their time.
They have some seconds to get their teammates to guess as many words as possible.
If at any point they feel they can’t give any more clues for a certain word, they can just pass and the next player on their team will take a turn. The words get harder as the game goes on.
The game has 11 categories which account for a total of 10,000 words. There will be a buzzer sound to indicate the end of each round.
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Pictionary is a classic board game, (now on mobile) that has been around for decades. The objective of the game is to guess the word or phrase that your partner is drawing.
To play, each player will need a piece of paper and something to draw with. One player will be the drawer and the other will be the guesser. The drawer will choose a card from the deck and look at the word or phrase.
They will then have to draw a picture that represents the word or phrase without saying any words.
The guesser will then try to predict the word or phrase. If they guess correctly, they get a point. If they don’t, the other team gets a chance to guess.
Pictionary comes in a game box that includes a game board, a die, category cards, and playing pieces.
The board spaces are labeled with different alphabets. When it is a team’s turn, the player will roll the die and move their playing piece to the next space that corresponds with the color they rolled.
These colors represent different categories such as “People” or “Things”.
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Articulate is a popular game like Heads Up that tasks players to guess words based on their friends’ clues. It is similar to Heads Up in that it requires players to use their creativity and imagination to develop the correct word or phrase.
There are six categories that the clues can fall under and each team will choose who will guess and who will give the clues. They will alternate roles so that it goes around before the end of the game.
The number of guesses and clue givers will be determined by the number of participants. For example, if there are four people taking part in the game, then there will be two people giving clues and two people guessing.
The game is designed for four or more players but can be played with as few as two.
A sand timer is included with the game and is used to time each round. Once the timer starts, the clue giver will take the first card from the stack and give a clue to their teammate about the word on the card.
The clue giver cannot say any part of the word or phrase on the card, but they can give as many clues as they like until their teammate guesses correctly.
If the teammate guessed correctly, they will take the next card from the stack and give a clue to their teammate. If they guessed incorrectly, the other team will have a chance to steal the point by giving a correct answer.
The game ends when all of the cards have been guessed or when the timer runs out of time. The team with the most points at the end wins the game.
6. Who Am I?
Photo by Askar Abayev
Who Am I is a great game like Heads Up. The object of the game is to guess who they are by asking other people questions.
The concept of the game is a brilliant one and is appropriate for parties and social events to break the ice between people who do not know each other well.
It is designed for 8 to 10 people but can be played by more or less.
Here’s how the game is played:
The names of famous people, whether dead or alive, are written on small pieces of paper and placed into a bowl.
Once a guest arrives, a name is pinned to their back without them knowing the name of the person they are.
The aim of the game is to find out who you are by asking other guests questions.
You can not ask other guests who you are, rather, you are only allowed to ask questions that may lead to clues about your identity.
For example, if you are able to determine that you are a politician, you might ask other guests questions about whether they think taxes should be raised or lowered.
If you think you know who you are, you can go up to the host and whisper your guess in their ear. If you are correct, you win the game and you can rejoin the party merely to mingle and answer questions asked by other players.
If you are wrong, you must return to the party and continue playing.
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Concept is a board game released by Repos Production. In the game, players take turns drafting cards into their hands, then playing one of those cards on the table.
The card played will have an icon on it, and the other players must guess what type of card it is based on the icons.
You must first place the central concept pawn to give a clue of the words to be guessed. Then followed by cubes of the same color to give more clues about the words. Players can only guess when it is not their turn to play a card.
The first player to reach the answer wins a double point while the players of the team whose word was guessed get a point for each card played.
Team members are only allowed to say ‘Yes’ when the player is on the right part and ‘No’ when they’re not.
The other team members can talk discreetly among themselves to try and help the player by giving clues.
If no one can get the word correctly after a while, they can assign a third player to try and help. If after the extra hand, no one has guessed the word, they can abandon the card and no point will be scored.
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Charades is a classic party game that has been around for centuries. The objective of the game is to guess the words that are on each card based on their friends’ clues.
You don’t necessarily require teams to play this game, but it can be more fun with teams. To play with teams, divide the group into two or more teams.
Once the teams have been picked, each team is to head to a different room or different sides of the same room.
Then you can write words or phrases on paper slips. These words will be given to the other teams to draw when it is their turn.
Fold the slips of paper and put them into a bowl or hat.
One player from each team starts by taking a slip of paper and acting out the word or phrase without using any words. Their teammates must try to tell what word is on the paper.
If they guess correctly, they get a point. If not, the other team gets a chance to steal the point.
The game is over when all the words have been guessed or when time runs out. The team with the most points wins.
Charades is also available on mobile with the same concept.
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Parlera is a great game for those who want to improve their communication skills.
Your goal is to guess the words or phrases that the game gives you based on your friend’s descriptions. This game can be played with two or more players and is great for ages 10 and up.
It starts by dealing out seven random cards to each player. One player is then chosen to be the clue-giver for the round.
The clue-giver looks at their cards and selects one. without showing it to anyone else, the clue-giver gives a one-word clue about the selected card. For example, if the selected card was “dog,” the clue-giver might say “animal.”
The other players then look at their cards and try to guess which one the clue-giver is describing. If they think they know which card it is, they hold up that card and say the word on it. If they’re wrong, they put the card back down.
Once a player correctly guesses the card, he gets two points, and the clue-giver gets a point for every player who guessed correctly. The round then ends and a new clue-giver is chosen for the next round.
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10. Show and Tell
Show and Tell is a great party game for groups of all sizes.
The game is simple: one person acts out a word or phrase while the others try to guess what it is. The fun comes from the creativity of the players and the hilarious actions that result.
It features a wide variety of topics, so there’s something for everyone. Best of all, it’s easy to learn and quick to play.
You can get clues from the other players or your friends when you’re stuck. Then, when you’ve guessed the word or phrase, it’s your turn to act it out.
It is available on iPhones so you can download it before your next party. You can also play it even if everyone is not in the same room.
The fun part of this game is that you can be as creative as you want to be. You can use any props or costumes that you have on hand, and there are no rules about how to act out the words.
Additionally, the game is flexible in terms of length. You can play for a few minutes or a few hours, depending on your group’s preference.
This game is great for kids and adults alike. It’s a great way to break the ice and get everyone laughing.
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While Heads Up will always remain one of my favorite word guessing games, it is awesome that there are many other similar games that can provide the same level of fun and excitement.
I have listed some of the best games like Heads Up above which are sure to keep you entertained for hours on end. So pick a game and start playing.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.