More people are now choosing to stay home with friends than go out. But just because it’s easier on the purse strings, doesn’t mean a night in has to be boring. If you’re despairing at the thought of planning an evening’s activity then look no further. Games are back in fashion! Not the ones you play by yourself, in the dark, lit only by the constant glow of a screen…games with actual people: board games, card games, games that use your imagination. And we’re not talking the kind of games you used to play as a child – you won’t find Monopoly or Chess at our party – but jazzed up, modern games which will have you howling with laughter and discovering which of your friends have secret dark sides. So let’s have a look at some of the best party games to play with friends and family and give you some ideas to spice up your next social event.
Cards Against Humanity
It wouldn’t be a list of party games without mentioning this modern classic. Billed as a game for ‘horrible people’, the premise is simple. One player draws a black card which has a sentence on it, other players play white cards from their hands to fill in the blanks or answer the question. The starting player then votes for the best/funniest/most inappropriate answer from the bunch. Add a few bottles of alcohol and things will get x-rated pretty quickly. This is definitely a game to play with a group where you all know each other, and know how far you can push the boundaries of decency without causing offence. Don’t get it out the first time you meet your prospective in-laws.
Another one to play with an adult-only audience, strip poker is an old favourite that never goes out of fashion. It might be worth agreeing on a set of strip poker rules , just to avoid any controversy. Strip poker can be hilarious, as people laugh off the embarrassment of having to sit there in only their pants, but it can also get pretty flirty too, especially when alcohol is involved – and it’s a pretty standard requirement! Not a game for Grandad’s birthday, make sure you play it with a group of friends you are comfortable with.
This is a team game where groups must work together to interpret clues given by their spymaster and uncover which of the words on the table are meant for them. But the other team can listen in and try and sabotage, so choose your code words carefully. It takes a bit of brain power to try and work things out, but as you’re working together hopefully nobody should get massively stumped. This is a great game to play with the family and older kids can join in too. Just be ready to spend some time being glared at by your partner when you fail to get their oh-so-obvious clue!
One for the kids, although that isn’t to say the grown-ups will find it a doddle. Dobble is a deck of bright and colourful cards covered with little words and pictures: a banana, a clown, the moon etc. The game comes with rules for five variants, but they all operate around the idea that any random 5 cards will only have 1 picture in common…and it’s up to you to spot it first. Kids will delight scouring the cards for the right one and screaming it at the top of their lungs. A fair few adults will too – being the first to spot the common picture is incredibly satisfying, and if you’re too slow, the frustration will have you calling for another round! A firm favourite to get out at any party.
Telestrations/Telestrations After Dark
Telestrations is a cross between Pictionary and Chinese whispers. Yes, that may seem like a really weird combination, but it works so well. Players are each given a sketchbook and a secret word. They have 60 seconds to draw their secret word in as much detail as possible. When the time is up they pass it to the next player who has to guess what is drawn. But rather than ending there, they write their guess on the next page and pass the book round again. The next person draws the word…and the game repeats until each player gets their own sketchbook back. You can then have a laugh over the bizarre journey your word took, as your group of friends somehow managed to turn ‘walking the dog’ into ‘waterskiing behind a shark’.
Telestrations After Dark is the post-watershed version, with many of the secret words having adult meanings so make sure you get the right box for your intended audience – no one wants to have to explain to Grandma why her guess of ‘banana and coconuts’ wasn’t right.
Hopefully you’ve now got a few ideas for games to try at your next party or gathering. They should certainly provide plenty of entertainment and laughter, as long as you pair the right game with the right party guests. So whether you’re looking to add some fun to a family event or spice up an evening with friends, remember there are plenty of games to choose from, so you should never be stuck for something fun to do.