Before we commence our game, it’s prudent that we get a few things out in the open. After all, we’re both adults and, more important, we’re both seasoned Cranium pl—oh, so you’ve only played a few times? OK, well, then you’re seasoned and I’m an expert.

So I think we have a real shot here, as long as we remember to read each other as partners. Seeing as how you and I have never been paired up before, I’d like to lay a little groundwork to ensure things advance smoothly and we maximize our chances of besting our decidedly formidable opponents in this impending game of intellectual fortitude. Also, Randall is a cheating son of a bitch, so eyes on him at all times.

First, let’s discuss the Star Performer category. Not my forte, but I’ll take it in a pinch. One tip: if it’s a Humdinger, I am not humming “I Saw Her Standing There.” For some inexplicable reason, that is everybody’s first guess. Let me just assure you in advance that it is not what I’m trying to convey, OK? I know more than one song, for Pete’s sake. If by some diabolical stroke of luck I do manage to draw that song, I’ll put my finger in my right ear like I’m really concentrating on getting the tune right. That’ll be your cue to guess “I Saw Her Standing There.” Otherwise, don’t waste your time guessing “I Saw Her Standing There.” Got it?

Celebrity imitations I rock at, so I’m open to acting out any Copycats. If it’s a movie actor, I try to place the famous person in a sex scene—not only does this help narrow down options but it tends to psyche out the other team. If you’re not into that—and I don’t know why you wouldn’t be—let me know and I’ll keep it PG. Or PG-13. Probably. As far as Cameos go, no-brainer, right? No? Oh, Jesus. Well, let me just point out that if you’re nearly 30 years old and a hipster and still don’t know how to play charades, you’ve got a seriously rude awakening ahead of you sometime in the not-too-distant future. All I’m saying.

Data Head is a pretty straightforward category, so don’t go overanalyzing things. Trivia is trivia. I tend to stick with initial hunches on those, so if you are the type who weighs every multiple-choice option “rationally” and “equally,” this probably isn’t going to work out. The true/false ones can be surprisingly tricky sometimes, though, so I’ll defer to you on those, but only when I don’t know them for sure. Cool?

I don’t want to brag, but I am high ruler of the Word Worm kingdom. Anagrams, fill-in-the-blanks, spelling backward and forward alike—these are my intellectual whores. I will therefore pimp for both of us on any and all of these categories. You can clap for the team when I am done and rub it in our opponents’ faces just as if you correctly answered yourself. I won’t mind. As for Lexicon cards: define for me the word “hirsute.” You can’t? Well, that is the easiest one in the deck, so go ahead and keep quiet on those as well. (It means “hairy,” by the way. Just remember, it sounds kind of like “hair suit.” You like that mnemonic device?)

Now we get to an area where I may need your help: Creative Cat. I never took professional drawing or sculpting classes, unlike seemingly everybody else, so my sketches and whatnot tend to come out a bit, well, “rudimentary” I guess would be the word. Cloodles I can manage, but only with my eyes open—no Sensosketch turns!—and only if it’s a dog or a man … or a boat. For Sculptorades, if I’m forced to do the sculpting, I’ll do my best to give you a quick peek at the card so you’ll know in advance what it is I’m attempting to fashion, which will inevitably resemble a snowman. Best I can do there. Like I said, I’m not classically trained like all these head-in-the-clouds artist types of our generation who frittered away tens of thousands of their parents’ hard-earned dollars on a worthless piece of paper some refer to as an “art degree.” Wait, you are? Sweet.

I’ve got a good feeling about you, dude. Remember to watch Randall. If we draw a Club Cranium Star Performer and he starts to get aggressive, just try to out-scream him. That usually works. If things get physical, don’t worry. I’ve got your back, most likely.