A comprehensive strategic board game that will last all night is not suitable for every get-together. Know your crowd and realize that sometimes the right choice is an entertaining and accessible party game that everyone can enjoy with a minimum of explanation or setup.
The following are some of my favorite party games recently, and one of them could be a great way to enjoy an evening with family and friends, regardless of their experience playing tabletop games. As such, they are an ideal choice for the holidays; Wouldn’t you rather laugh at one of these games than hear your uncle tell his favorite fishing story for the 50th time?
The number of players is listed so you can match your group size, and I’ve even added several full collaboration options in case you have a friend who may be a little too competitive.
This article was originally published on November 27 and will now be republished before the family and friends reunion at the end of the year. Have fun playing!
4-16 + players
Recently reissued with new packaging and even some new cards, this standout party item requires you to guess the (sometimes inappropriate) word on your friend’s card in a series of rounds that mix clue and direct charades. Fast moving timed laps and failed cards that are reshuffled lead to a growing vocabulary of in-jokes that will make you laugh for days.
Publisher: Games By Bicycle
A player is the customer who selects an absurd mix of concepts from available cards to incorporate into a single tattoo. All others draw their ideas on a whiteboard (in less than three minutes) and then give the customer an overview of his vision for this indelibly printed artwork. The best idea wins! Don’t worry, almost everyone can draw just as badly as you do.
Split into two teams and get ready for code breaks. Provide clues related to four numbered keywords that your team can see, but keep your clue vague so that the other team can’t figure out the code you’re referring to. Catch the other team’s secret messages and guess to win. Great for lovers of the cunning and the meanings behind the words.
Publisher: Czech Games Edition
Intoxicating and thoughtful, this cooperative game prompts players to shuffle words from the postcards that appear around the table. The trick is that you do not know your own letter and have to derive the identity from the given words. If you find out several letters, a final puzzle awaits you in which you have to guess the scrambled word composed of all the letters. Letter Jam is a fascinating challenge for a quieter get-together as it mixes elements of scrabble, jumble of words and good old-fashioned deductive thinking.
Pantone is all about the way our brains identify objects and individuals by their shadows. Alternately, as a color artist, you lay out several cards with different shades, but they combine into shapes that represent well-known characters from popular culture, and then try to get everyone else to guess who is on display. It is a surprising variant of the classic Pictionary format that appeals primarily to enthusiasts for visual design.
Publisher: Blue Orange Games
A player comes with a word and writes it on several blocks, which are then given to all other players (except one, the conspirator who receives an empty block). Players take turns laying out surreal art cards that somehow match the word, including the conspirator who has no idea what the word is. The word is then revealed to everyone and each player must justify their choice of cards. If you are the conspirator, enjoy lying to your friends!
Publisher: Repos Production
Everyone works together in this excellent cooperative word game. One player is the one who doesn’t know the puzzle word, while everyone else writes a clue to help them figure out what that puzzle word could be. The common goal is to correctly guess all the words. It is absurdly easy to learn and with a round that can be played in just 15 to 20 minutes it is an easy choice even for groups with no experience.
This clever variant of the concept for guessing characters is a lot of fun. They have a set character card (randomly among six that are visible to the entire team) that either refers to a well-known cultural figure (such as Papa Smurf, Serena Williams or Mr. Spock) or a more general name (such as caretaker, sumo) or wrestler the youngest player in the room). You then have a set of clues (such as “would wear a tutu to a fancy party” or “stole”) that you can assign values between “Definitive” and “Definitely not”. The other players then debate which character cards to consecutively eliminate with points for each correct guess.
It is wonderful
Publisher: Games by Bicycle
On a map, you are faced with an uncomfortable situation. You also have three equally uncomfortable ways to respond to the situation. After you have secretly chosen the path you want to take, everyone else votes on how they would deal with the encounter. It is probably one of those games that is more suitable for adult friends who don’t mind the sometimes embarrassing dynamics that are being discussed, and it is almost certainly a better choice for adult groups only.
Publisher: Lookout Games
1 to 6 players
The current “Doodle” variant is based on an earlier and beautiful two-person game called Patchwork and is faster and intended for larger groups who want to play together. The players compete to build / draw their own patchwork quilt on a notepad. You draw in your grid with assigned shapes and then evaluate the finished rectangular shapes in your drawing. By the way: While you can only play with the included pens, the game is a lot more entertaining if you take some crayons and use the colors in your quilt as soon as they come together.
Publisher: Gray Matter Games
This very adult party game (say the title of the game out loud several times until you hear it) prompts players to read out nonsense sentences aloud until they can successfully guess the implied (often dirty) sentence. So, in one of the milder cards, you could get “Draw Pit Lie Kits Ought” and try to guess the phrase: “Drop it like it’s hot”. The rounds are quick, the silly sentences should make your friends laugh, and it takes next to no time to think about the concept. Keep in mind that the NSFW content makes this game a game that you are unlikely to break out with anyone.
We are doomed to fail: the game of global panic
Publisher: Breaking Games
Do you fancy some thematic fun with your party game? Check out the sneaky geopolitical madness that involves allocating resources to build a missile that is the only escape from a disastrous world and then have enough leverage to secure a place on that missile. Form alliances, destroy your opponents and even draw secret events that only you know about. Just be careful; Laps are usually short and repeatable, but resentment can take a long time.
I am confident that one of the above games will go well with a vacation or other winter get-together with your family or friends. However, if you still need advice on choosing the right games, feel free to contact me line.
And if you’re looking for even more awesome tabletop games to enjoy over the long winter, check out the articles in the Top of the Table hub, which you can reach using the link in the bottom banner. Have fun playing!