Whether looking to keep your family entertained at home or searching for new games to play with friends, why not try a social activity that can transport players to another world? What better way to do that than through games?
Instead of playing yet another round of a familiar video game, why not try something new or bring back an old classic? Regardless of the group's age, a board game encourages strategic thinking and face-to-face contact. Check out these great party games to spice up that gathering.
1. Exploding Kittens
5 Players | 7+
Fans of classic card games like UNO will love this irreverent game. This casual but strategic game involves exploding kittens, laser beams, and enchiladas. Players may even encounter goats as they attempt to destroy their opponents while keeping themselves safe! A great board game to play with friends or family, each round only takes around fifteen minutes.
2. Retro Clue
2-6 Players | 8+
Who could say no to bringing home the retro fun of the Hasbro classic Clue? This retro series looks exactly like the original 1986 game board and initially gets all the suspense and thrills held for game fans. Anyone who wants to introduce their family to Colonel Mustard, meet him in the lounge where Miss Scarlett wields a revolver!
2-6 Players | 10+
An addicting adventure board game, Root can take over 90 minutes to play through the game, but worth every minute. Root also boasts several expansion packs with new characters, stories, and quests to keep the game fresh. Gamers who love roleplaying games and want to introduce family to their passion should look no further.
4. Settlers of Catan
4 Players | 10+
Most games of Catan take about an hour to play, and each round includes strategic plays as each player controls their civilizations and spreads across the board in pursuit of victory. This game remains a family favorite among party games to play with friends. I was the champion the first time I played this game, much to the chagrin of my more experienced tabletop-playing friends.
5. Star Wars: Risk
2-4 Players | 10+
Fans of Risk, should update their gaming collection with Star Wars: Risk today. It deviates slightly from the original game, but it's still just as fun (if not more). The Star Wars edition allows players to play through the Battle of Endor's events as they work to take down the Death Star. It's a lot of fun and a great game to play while rewatching the Star Wars movies.
6. DC Funkoverse Strategy Game
2-4 Players | 10+
Besides the scores of Funko Pop figures, did the world need a DC Funkoverse Strategy Game, too? Funko also offers a number of Funkoverse strategy games for several popular fandoms. Players can also add expansion packs to increase the number of players. Plus, the cute Minifigures can adorn bookshelves when not in use.
7. Wits & Wagers Board Game
3-20 Players | 10+
Wits & Wagers combines the most addictive parts of trivia games and gambling in a family-friendly fashion. Players can make educated guesses or decide with their gut instincts as they bet everything for the chance to win more chips and wow their friends with their trivia knowledge.
7-35 Players | 12+
When getting together with a large group of friends, Werewolf offers the indoor or outdoor game to bring along. Up to 35 players can play this game, working to deceive each other as the game unfolds.
The game plays a bit like “Murder in the Dark” or Mafia, but a lot more fun. Essentially, a werewolf tries to destroy a village and frame you and your friends. Players have to work to identify them or accidentally accuse the wrong person!
3-6 Players | 12+
Fans of Black Mirror will recognize this game as an episode title from the series. This game requires everyone to have a smartphone with the app, which allows you to access over 1,000 in-game prompts to help create a picture-perfect life that can crack from the slightest misstep. It's a great game to explore strategic gameplay skills while interacting with the other players.
10. Taboo Party Board Game
4+ Players | 13+
Taboo is a classic game that has provided party entertainment for decades. It's fast-paced, fun, and loud. Players race against time (and each other) to avoid saying the “forbidden word” and losing their turn. This edition features 450 game cards, an electronic buzzer, and a timer.
11. The Voting Game
5-10 Players | 13+
The Voting Game offers a chance to discuss serious topics with friends. There's also an NSFW version for anyone who wants to cut loose with all of their friends or make it into a drinking game.
The game says right on the box that the designers do not recommend it for accountants or anyone without a personality.
2-8 Players | 14+
In Codenames, rival spymasters try to keep their identities secret. Play head-to-head or with teammates, facing off against each other, trying to avoid assassins, giving one-word clues, and taking down the opposition. Interestingly, the game promises that it's even more fun when you're losing. How many party games can say that?
13. Betrayal at House on the Hill
3-6 Players | 14+
In this thrilling game, players must work together to escape the horror of the house on the hill. Build a haunted mansion, bring new terrors to life, and fight to escape all of it alive in 50 blood-curling scenarios that promise to introduce new gameplay every time. This might be a fun game to introduce at a Halloween party or horror film night.
14. Blockbuster: The Game
4-12 Players | 14+
While not everyone can visit Bend, Oregon, to see the last Blockbuster in America, this game is perfect for Millennials and Gen Xers who miss visiting their local Blockbuster and want to hold on to the VHS nostalgia longer. This buzzer battle brings you and your friends head-to-head in a showdown to reenact hilarious scenes from Blockbuster movies. If you don't remember the movie, make something up and see if anyone can guess it!
15. Medium: A Mind-Reading Party Game
2-8 Players | 14+
This funky board game allows players to harness extra-sensory powers as they become a psychic medium and read their opponent's thoughts. Together in pairs, players compete to say the exact words simultaneously.
16. Cinephile: A Card Game
2+ Players | 16+
The perfect game for movie lovers everywhere, Cinephile offers those who thirst for a great way to impress friends with all of that film knowledge. This 150-card game mixes pop culture, film, and party fun. Players can also play as a casual moviegoer or a bona fide cinephile.
17. The Awkward Storyteller
4-11 Players | 16+
The Storyteller chooses a card and reads the caption, starting the story's first line just waiting to be created. Each player asks the Storyteller questions from their deck of cards, helping create a unique story that will never be created twice. This one can entertain the whole family.
18. Drawing Without Dignity
4-12 Players | 17+
Anyone who wants to enjoy a party game without kids should pick up Drawing Without Dignity. It's NSFW and not family-friendly. Think of it as an uncensored Pictionary game that will cause players to draw the most inappropriate images and play with innuendos, making for a fun evening!
19. SDR – The Ultimate Adult Party Card Game
3-10 Players | 17+
This game can get super NSFW, so much so that the title isn't even complete! Players will laugh with this raunchy card game all night. Depending on the cards, players have to name words that start with the first letter of one letter of the game's name.
20. Cards Against Humanity
4-20 Players | 17+
Many already know and love Cards Against Humanity. This game has countless hyperspecific expansion packs and has a reputation as the highlight of any party. Some of the most recent expansion packs add a little spice to game night.
21. What Do You Meme?
4-8 Players | 17+
What Do You Meme draws on the funniest memes seen online. It plays like Cards Against Humanity but with cards that feature memes and slightly less adult humor. Instead of matching phrases, players match quippy meme titles with new images to create memes.
22. Joking Hazard
4 Players | 17+
Any fans of the frequently inappropriate but still hilarious Cyanide & Happiness webcomics? The geniuses behind the webcomic made a not-for-kids party game that's just as cynical and hilarious. Joking Hazard is a 360-panel card game that helps them form mini-comic strips that contain horrific and silly situations.
23. Game of Thrones Monopoly
3-6 Players | 17+
While the Internet may have stopped talking about Game of Thrones, players don't have to. Reenact the Red Wedding next Thanksgiving with a Game of Thrones-themed Monopoly board. Actually, please don't do that! But please play this super fun recreation of the classic Monopoly game that has torn families and friends apart for years.
2 Players | 8+
Patchwork involves a 9×9 board, and each player can create the highest-scoring (and most attractive) patchwork quilt using board pieces of varying sizes and buttons. A relatively simple game, it offers a perfect activity for two crafty players with limited time.
2-7 players | 12+
Players begin the game by assigning each player a random hand of bean cards. The game aims to gather and “plant” as many of the same types of beans in “fields” as possible and trade beans with other players. When the game ends, players harvest a field to determine who has the most points.
2-5 Players | 7+
In Carcassonne, each tile has a piece of landscape on it, which may look like a grassland, road, city, or a combination of these features. As each person plays their turn, they must strategize what pieces they will place where to expand their town or hinder their opponent's ability to earn more points.
3-6 Players | 14+
Hedbanz Adulting features fast-paced questions, a 90-second timer, and charades categories featuring pop-culture references. This hilarious party game will keep guests laughing and shouting all night.
2-12 Players | 21+
Relive college days with Drink-a-Palooza. Players spin the bottle to see who will start the game, and competitors compete to fill their six-pack with mini beer bottles. This boozy game is best played with a drink.
Players move around the board, competing in mini-games and working hard to defeat their arch-nemesis or college roommate.
3+ Players | 5+
Many played Telephone at school or with friends. Players gather in a line or circle and let one person start off with a phrase that they whisper in someone's ear, who then passes it along. Players keep whispering the words until they get to the last person and see how much it's changed by the end.
One version of Telephone involves switching back and forth between writing a phrase and drawing. This game comes in a physical game called Telestrations (up to 8 players), where each person gets a pen and pad to flip through during play. Although it requires access to a smartphone or computer, players can also enjoy an online game called Gartic Phone.
Nobody needs to reinvent the wheel to have fun at a party, especially if children attend. People of all ages have loved Charades for decades. Put imagination and non-verbal communication skills to the test while players try to get someone to guess what clue they're acting out. This game can easily be played with teams of virtually any size.
Although setting up a trivia game may take some time and creativity, it's the perfect game for a larger group of people to keep things interesting. Choose one person to write the questions and answers to “host” and hand out pieces of paper to let guests write down and submit their answers. Players can keep things simple with general questions or get specific with curated themes.
32. Murder Mystery Party
While there may be official murder mystery parties or events to attend locally, creating an event at home is a fun experience. Hosts can make up the story, clues, and characters. Alternatively, they can find a variety of existing murder mystery set-ups online if they don't want to know all the clues as the host and maintain a sense of mystery instead.
33. Create Your Own Olympics
Ever seen the episode of The Office where they create their own “Olympic” games? Game masters can get as creative as they want by making their own categories of activities and giving out ribbons or awards to the winners. Playing outdoors can include a sack race, scavenger hunt, or relay race. Staying indoors? Bounce ping-pong balls into a trash can, balance items on top of player heads, or use paper plates as frisbees.
This game has many names and likely inspired Werewolf (mentioned above), Among Us, and other games throughout the years. Although this game can be played with a smaller crowd, it's much more fun at a large gathering.
Most of the guests will play the role of a villager, while other members (a much smaller percentage, depending on the total number of people) will become assassins or mafia members. The “bad guys” will try to kill off villagers without being found out.
35. Would You Rather?
A perfect game for an icebreaker, and players can get as creative as they wish with the questions. Get personal, keep it silly, or engage guests with more thought-provoking inquiries. Ask people to explain their answers and expand their reasonings to keep them interesting.
36. Two Truths and a Lie
Two Truths and a Lie has a simple premise: tell the rest of the group three statements, two of which are accurate and the third a lie. Tricking family members or people who know each other well offers a significant challenge, but two truths and a lie is a great ice breaker for new friends.
37. 20 Questions
The gameplay of 20 questions is simple: choose a famous person, animal, movie, or thing, and people will try to figure out the clue. This game resembles Charades, except that the person guessing can ask yes or no questions, and the person with the clue can answer, but only saying yes or no.
38. Card Games
Party gamers can enjoy many games with just a deck or two of cards like Go Fish, Gin Rummy, Crazy Eights, or Kings. People of all ages can play most of these card games, including children. However, plenty of games can convert into drinking games for an older crowd.
39. Straight Face
This simple game players can play with only a pen and some slips of paper. Have each person write a random, silly phrase and put the slips of paper in a jar or hat. Each person can then take turns reading a piece of paper out loud, attempting to keep a straight face. If the player reading aloud slips up, laughs, or smiles, they're out.
40. Mr. Freeze
Assign one person the role of Mr. Freeze and carry on with the party until Mr. Freeze stops, and everyone else must follow suit. For more fun, don't dedicate specific time to Mr. Freeze. Instead, tell everyone at the beginning of the party that guests will play this game throughout the gathering. When Mr. Freeze freezes, the last person to follow his direction is “out.”
The game has a simple premise: set up the cornhole boards a short distance across from each other, and people take turns trying to toss the weighted bean bags into the hole on each board. Although each cornhole set only comes with two boards and two sets of heavy bags, players can play this game as a team.
42. Bocce Ball
Bocce ball is played with a set of colored balls and a “jack,” a white ball. The game aims to get the colored balls close to the white ball. Players can find official rules or a video explaining the gameplay online.
43. King Frog
Want to play an outdoor game that requires zero equipment? Have a group sit around in a circle together and have each person choose an animal and what sound or gesture that animal would make. Once the first person starts it off, the following player will create their own sign and attempt to imitate the previous gesture.
Silliness is encouraged, but if an error is made or a previous gesture is forgotten, that player will no longer be part of the running to be the winner. This game is ideal for a younger crowd, so invite the kids to join!
44. Outdoor Twister
People have enjoyed Twister at parties for decades because it's silly and fun. These days, players can use more than just the classic board. Manufacturers sell several types of Twister sets, including a giant inflatable outdoor Twister game. Players can also create their own outdoor lawn Twister game by spraying colored dots into their grass or on an existing tarp to save money.
45. Giant-Sized Games
Players could play Connect Four, chess, or Jenga on normal-sized boards inside. But wouldn't playing with giant boards and pieces be more fun?
46. Frisbee Golf or Frisbee Tag
Frisbee tag or golf is the perfect game for a birthday party, no matter the guests' age. Children can quickly learn how to throw frisbees at targets like a cone or bucket, and it doesn't require expensive supplies.
47. Backyard Mini Golf
Keep friends or children entertained for hours by setting up a mini golf course in the backyard. Nobody needs a big backyard to enjoy a round or two of mini golf. Keep things simple with ramps or buckets that kids can easily navigate, or make the game more challenging with household items and more complex obstacles.
48. Outdoor Bowling
Set up an outdoor bowling “alley” with empty bottles and a ball to knock the bottles over. Game masters can also fill the bottles with sand or water rather than the ball to keep them from being knocked over by the wind.
49. Backyard Obstacle Course
Creating an obstacle course offers fun for guests of all ages, especially during warm weather.
50. Giant Yard Beer Pong
Players could play beer pong on a folding table or take it to the next level with giant trash cans and buckets, throwing volleyballs instead of ping-pong balls. Play this at a party where no kids are present!