22 Fun Board Games for Parties
Prepare to laugh your buns off with these games that are perfect for parties. You won’t find any two-person strategy games here, but rather 22 games that are best enjoyed with larger groups of people. The more the merrier! Simple rules make these games quick to explain to newbies. A lot of these are easy to join, even if other players have already started playing, so you can answer the door or pour a drink and tap back in without missing a beat. Most of these games are perfectly appropriate to play with kids, and we’ve noted the few that are best left for adults only. Our favorite part? These are games anyone can play, no special skills required. Whether or not you decide to keep score is up to you.
1. Apples to Apples
Apples to Apples is a hilarious card game that is perfect for parties. The game contains more than 500 apple cards—red apple cards have nouns on them and green apple cards have adjectives on them. Each round, a new judge pulls a green apple card and reads it to the group. To reduce the chance of bias, all the other players anonymously play one of their red apple cards. The judge selects his or her favorite card as that round’s winner. Whether the judge chooses the weirdest card or the card with the most accurate match is up to them, but we are always in favor of the silliest. The more players you get involved, the more outrageous this game becomes.
Buy It: Apples to Apples, $14
2. Cards Against Humanity
The tagline for Cards Against Humanity is “a party game for horrible people,” which should certainly not dissuade you from playing, but consider it a warning that it’s not a game for those with fair sensibilities. There are two sets of cards involved in the game: black cards, which have open-ended statements or questions on them, and white cards, which bear a variety of funny, morbid, and strange words and phrases. Each round a new judge plays one black card and the other players select one white card from their hands to go with it. The answer cards are shuffled, read aloud, and a favorite is chosen. You can make it interesting by awarding points to the player who provides the winning answer, or just play for fun. This is a game you’ll want to keep to adults only.
Buy It: Cards Against Humanity, $25
3. Exploding Kittens
If you’re familiar with the cartoon site The Oatmeal, then you’ll probably want to get your hands on this game ASAP. Exploding Kittens is a party game that is friendly for all ages, and it also happens to be the most-backed project in Kickstarter history. To play, a stack of game cards is placed facedown on the table and players take turns drawing cards off the top. There are a variety of different cards—all illustrated by The Oatmeal—that dictate various actions or nonactions, but if someone draws an exploding kitten card, they are eliminated. We’d definitely suggest you read through the instructions a time or two before playing, but it will be worth it—they are highly entertaining in and of themselves.
Buy It: Exploding Kitten, $20
Whether you choose to break up into teams or play as individuals, the quick pace and creative nature of Scattergories make it a ton of fun with larger groups of people. The idea of the game is to come up with creative answers to a list of categories—things like TV shows, U.S. presidents, vegetables, or types of sandwiches—in the allotted time. But there’s a caveat: Every answer on the list must begin with a specific letter as dictated by a 20-sided letter die. Once the time is up, players read their lists aloud. Any words that appear on more than one list are crossed off, while unique answers receive one point. Technically, each game lasts for just three rounds, but you could add on as many additional rounds as your group likes.
Buy It: Scattergories, $17
Prepare to go undercover in the guessing game Codenames. A fun party game for kids and adults alike, Codenames is a strategic guessing game. Have your group break up into two teams, with each team selecting one spymaster. To play, the spymasters lay out a series of 25 one-word code name cards on the table, as indicated by the selected puzzle card. The all-knowing spymasters sit across from their teammates and, without saying a code name, give them one-word clues as to the identity of their field operatives. You need to guess carefully, as you risk helping the opposing team if you accidentally name one of their operatives. Even worse, you might guess the assassin who immediately ends the game. The first team to successfully identify all of their code names wins.
Buy It: Codenames, $15
6. Wits and Wagers
In Wits and Wagers, you don’t have to be a trivia buff to win, just need to make your best guess and see what happens. You can play as individuals or as teams, making this an adaptable game for a large group of people. Wits and Wagers contains 125 cards with fun trivia questions on them. Read one card to the group and have everyone write down their best guess. Answers, which will always be numbers, are placed faceup on a betting mat and arranged from smallest to largest. Using chips of differing point values, players then place wagers on the answer they think is correct. Do you think your answer is worth the house, or is Great Uncle Norman the one to wager on? Points are scored for having the correct guess or placing your wager on the closest answer.
Buy It: Wits and Wagers, $35
7. Say Anything
The name of the game pretty much says it all. This game poses a playful, open-ended question to the group and asks players to say, or more specifically write, anything they want as their response. Just think of the vast and varied (not to mention comical) answers friends and family will come up with when asked, “What would be the coolest thing to teach a monkey?” The answers are written down and placed faceup in the middle of the group for all to see. The judge for that round secretly chooses his or her favorite answer, and the other players must guess which response the judge chose. Say Anything is sure to garner a few laughs and, with more than 400 questions, you won’t run out of material any time soon.
Buy It: Say Anything, $47
Remember playing the game telephone in elementary school? Substitute drawing for the talking and you have the wildly entertaining game of Telestrations. Good news! No artistic ability is required to play, just a good sense of humor. The game starts with each player attempting to draw a word presented by a game card. That drawing is then passed to the next player who tries to decide what it is, and then he or she writes down that word. The second player then passes the word to a third player, who attempts to draw it. This process repeats for eight rounds. After the last round, the “telephoned” word is read aloud to the amusement of everyone. There are no winners or losers here, just a ton of fun.
Buy It: Telestrations, $16
9. The Game of Things
How well do you think you know your friends and family? Try to match them up with their answers in The Game of Things. Topic cards with open-ended statements guide the game. The 300 cards all start with the word “things.” For example, “Things that shouldn’t mix.” Each round, one player reads a card, and then everyone writes down whatever response they desire. All the answers are submitted to the reader to shuffle and then read aloud. Players try to remember the responses and then take turns matching them to the player that they think wrote it. If you make a correct match, you get one point and the person you matched is eliminated. Play The Game of Things in this elimination-style round, or play just for fun.
Buy it: The Game of Things, $23
10. What Do You Meme?
We love a good meme. And now there’s a game to indulge our obsession with those silly little pictures. What Do You Meme is a straightforward and hilarious game perfect for grown-up parties. The premise is similar to other popular party games. Each round, a judge plays a photo card to be captioned and the other players choose a caption card from their hands to complete the meme. The judge chooses his or her favorite caption and then the role of judge moves to a different player. Play What Do You Meme purely for the entertainment factor or, if your group is feeling competitive, award points for playing the winning card. The caption cards can get a little racy, so we’d recommend keeping this one adults only.
Buy It: What Do You Meme?, $30
You’ve probably played the party game Fishbowl or some variation of it before. This is like a fancy version of that game where all the hard word is done for you. Just divvy up into teams and let the competition ensue. Monikers consists of three rounds that will put your short-term memory to the test. In the first round, players try and get their teammates to guess the characters on as many Moniker cards as possible in the given time. There are fictional characters like Count Chocula and The Flying Spaghetti Monster, historical figures like Pablo Escobar, and some more obscure cards like One Hundred Duck-Sized Horses. The team holds on to the cards from the first round, and in the second round can use only one word to describe each card. In the third, teams can only use gestures. If you want to keep score, award 1 point for every card guessed correctly.
Buy It: Monikers, $25
You know when you’re told not to say something, it’s suddenly the only thing you can think about? Welcome to Taboo. In this game you try to get your teammates to guess the word listed on a game card but are forbidden from using any of the “taboo” words associated with it. To add to the pressure, there’s a time limit and a buzzer, both of which are in the possession of the opposing team who will likely take great joy in yelling out “time’s up!” and buzzing loudly when you inevitably slip up on a taboo word. Try to guess as many cards as possible in the given time. Win a point for a correct guess, but lose a point for uttering a taboo word. The team with the most points at the end wins.
Buy It: Taboo, $15
13. Cranium Dark
Like the classic Cranium game, Cranium Dark will certainly get your mind working but in a more entertaining fashion. In this version of the game, there are two types of cards, action cards and Cranium cards. Action cards might say something like “as a zombie” or “draw with your eyes closed” and are shared with the group so they have at least some general idea of the silliness that is about to follow. You then draw a Cranium card, which is kept secret, and try to express that card in the manner of the action drawn. Maybe you’re drawing scrambled eggs with your eyes closed, or maybe your neighbor has to get the group to guess “sumo wrestler” while acting like a zombie. Just try and keep a straight face with that one! Play in teams for a competitive angle or simply as one big group.
Buy It: Cranium Dark, $11
Pictionary is the party game suitable for players of all ages, where teams take turns drawing and guessing the words or phrases being depicted. This version of the game comes with both junior and adult level cards so everyone can play. You might think you know what something looks like, but then when you have to draw it, your mind goes blank. On top of that, you have only a minute to get your teammates to guess your drawing. In that time, your teammates will likely shout out anything that comes to mind. There’s a reason Pictionary is such an enduring classic. Play it using the accompanying game, which will dictate the difficulty level of words. Or for less complicated play, just skip the board and choose your own words from the cards provided.
Buy It: Pictionary, $11
Spook friends and family with how good you are at BS. Balderdash is the game that will put your knowledge to the test as you attempt to write a definition of a very real, but perhaps very strange, word. Players can try to write the real definition or go rogue and completely make one up. Once all the definitions have been submitted, they are read aloud and players try to decide for themselves which definition is real. If you’re keeping score, there are three ways to win points in Balderdash: by writing the correct definition, by calling another’s bluff, or when other players think your fake definition is the real one. Players are allowed to move across the game board one space for every point scored. The first player to reach the last space on the board wins.
Buy It: Balderdash, $15
16. Cash ’N Guns
Here’s the gist: You and your friends are a band of criminals that have just executed a successful heist, but now there’s a fight over the spoils and it’s every man for himself. What else would capricious criminals do in a disagreement other than pull (foam) guns on each other and duke it out? In the game of Cash ’N Guns, there are seven gangsters and one Godfather, a title which goes to the oldest player first, naturally. You all have eight opportunities to grab your loot and stay alive. But stay suspicious of the other players—you never know when they’ll try and shoot. After the eighth turn, when all the spoils have been divvied up, the player with the largest chunk of the loot wins.
Buy It: Cash ’N Guns, $26
We all do it already. You hear one word or note of music and instantly burst into song. Spontuneous is the game that puts your lyrical knowledge to work. To begin, each player writes down a list of “trigger words” from songs they know. You’ll want to dig deep into your musical repertoire to find songs with obscure words in an attempt to stump your opponents. If you want to win, maybe don’t use “love” as one of your words. Players take turns sharing a word from their list, and the first person to sing at least five words of a song containing the trigger word gets to roll the die and advance along the game board. If none of your opponents can think of a song containing your trigger word in the given time, you had better be able to perform.
Buy It: Spontuneous, $30
18. Reverse Charades
No doubt you’re familiar with charades. It’s a classic party game. You know the drill, one person has to act something out while teammates try and guess what it is. Reverse Charades takes that idea and flips it on its head. With this game, there’s now a whole team of people acting and just one person guessing. Reverse Charades comes with 500 cards and a one minute timer. The opposing team starts the timer and your team tries to act out and guess as many cards as possible before the time is up. Did your team draw a card that seems impossible to act out? You can always choose to skip, but use that option wisely as you can only skip once per round.
Buy It: Reverse Charades, $15
19. Games of Phones
That’s right people, everyone has their phones out already anyway, so why not make a game out of it! In this smartphone-friendly game, players use their phones to come up with answers to the game cards. Each round, a new player gets to be the judge who selects a card to present to the group. The group is then challenged to come up with the funniest, weirdest, or most accurate answer in 60 seconds or less using their phones. The answer might be found in their photo gallery, their social media, or on the internet. Cards like “find someone you should have unfriended by now,” and “text a random number,” are sure to generate some good stories and more than a few laughs.
Buy It: Games of Phones, $20
20. Joking Hazard
Put this game in the same category as Cards Against Humanity and What Do You Meme, which is to say, hilariously inappropriate and definitely not for kids. In Joking Hazard, a game inspired by the Cyanide & Happiness Random Comic Generator, players submit cards to complete a three-card comic strip. Each round, a new player starts the comic by pulling a card from the draw pile to place in the middle of the comic strip and adding one card from his or her own hand that can go on either side. The rest of the players then submit a card from their hands that they think best completes the comic and the judge chooses a favorite submission. With 360 cards in the box, you won’t soon tire of the hysterical combinations. Hold on to your winning cards to see who’s the best at being bad or simply play for the sheer outrageousness of it all.
Buy It: Joking Hazard, $25
Think fast in a quick game of Catchphrase. In this game, players try and get their teammates to guess a word on an electronic disc without saying that word or any variation of it. The disc contains some 10,000 words and phrases for teams to try and guess. Select one of 10 specific categories to narrow down the pool of words, or choose the all-encompassing “everything” category. Get your teammates to guess the word and quickly hand off the disc to the opposing team. (It’s helpful if you sit in a circle for easy passing.) A timekeeping mechanism embedded in the disc gradually beeps faster and faster, eventually ending with a loud buzz. Try to be the team who guesses the most words, but pass the disc fast after your turn—you don’t want it to buzz in your hands!
Buy It: Catchphrase, $23
22. Mad Gab
At first glance, the strange combination of words on Mad Gab cards will make you do a double take. But read them again. Say them out loud. Try saying them faster. Or slower. Do you hear it now? Mad Gab is the goofy game that will have you scratching your head as you try to sound out the 800 common words and phrases on the more than 200 game cards. Teams are given two minutes to sound out three cards and earn a point for each card guessed correctly. If your team can’t solve one of the puzzles, a designated “stealer” on the opposing team may attempt to solve the puzzle and steal that point. Play and find out just how well you speak Mad Gab.
Buy It: Mad Gab, $15