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Pretty much any gathering can be improved with some sort of group activity, but eventually your guests are going to get tired of beer pong and charades. If you’re looking to up your party games game, we’ve put together a few of our favorites, including some classics and one or two wild cards to add to the mix.
What Makes a Good Party Game?
As anyone who’s ever tried to play Cards Against Humanity with their mom knows all too well, the fun in a party game depends largely on the crowd. We tried to select games suitable for a variety of gatherings and situations.
Classics: G-rated stand-bys like Trivial Pursuit are perfect for family game nights and other low-key get togethers. But we’d recommend switching it up if you’re entertaining a livelier crowd.
Adults-Only: Games unafraid to go there are perversely entertaining, but can backfire if you misjudge your guests’ comfort level with explicit jokes about sex acts or dismembered limbs.
Drinking Games: Great for evenings when you’re ready to let loose — and cleared your morning schedule for the following day. For reasons that should be relatively obvious, simple and easy to learn is key. Just be sure everyone in your group actually drinks alcohol first.
Wild Cards: Go ahead and try switching things up with something new or unexpected. But if your choice includes hundreds of pieces and complicated rules, don’t be surprised when people start to lose interest. Your best bet is something straightforward and easy to get the hang of.
1. Tipsy Chicken
This game is definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you’re cool with getting very close with your friends while drinking, it’s a really good time.
Essentially a grown-up version of truth or dare (with tequila shots), the game includes a deck of “dare” cards, “chicken” cards, and “GOAT” cards. Players first pick a dare card, and if they complete the task, are rewarded with a “GOAT” card. If they “chicken out,” they’re punished with a “chicken” card, which tells you how much you have to drink.
We kinda like this game’s potential to send your night completely off the rails, but some people were turned off by the racier dares.
2. Cards Against Humanity
If you’ve existed in the world in the past several years, we’re assuming you’re familiar with the OG of gleefully vulgar party games: Cards Against Humanity. But just in case you’re not, imagine if Mad Libs was a card game and also horrendously offensive. Players pair a prompt card with one of seven phrase cards in their hand, and player one picks his or her favorite finished phrase. Particularly good match-ups are basically a meme genre of their own.
The game has an almost magical ability to draw out everyone’s cleverest jokes as well as some surprisingly sinister dark sides. Even after the novelty of a rude card game ebbed, Cards Against Humanity remains a consistently bankable party game.
3. Family Feud After Hours
The “After Hours” designation is a bit of a misnomer, as unlike our first two picks, this Family Feud card deck is decidedly grandma-friendly. The game is played just like the TV show, with two teams racing to correctly answer the most survey questions.
Assuming you have the kind of family that can withstand a little friendly competition, it is genuinely hilarious to watch a sibling stumble over an obvious phrase. We also love that the deck includes plenty of cards, and can be played start to finish in around 30 minutes.
4. Trivial Pursuit: Classic Edition
The Old Yeller of board games, Trivial Pursuit is a staple for every household game closet. This is definitely our pick for quiet nights, as it tends to elicit less shouting and general mayhem (unless someone is a very sore loser). And unlike our other picks, you know exactly what you’re getting which can be comforting.
Test your knowledge from six different categories including Geography, Entertainment, History, Art and Literature, Science and Nature, and Sports and Leisure. This set includes 400 cards with 2,400 questions in total.
Mansion, Apartment, Shack or House? Find out what the future holds for you with this revived version of M.A.S.H.
This set includes 300 Fate Cards in six different categories, along with 40 scenario cards. Draw a card, read your scenario out loud, and see what your friends think you’ll end up doing. Cards are slowly eliminated until you receive your fate. Do you fall in love and make your millions? Or will you end up broke and alone? (Too real? Sorry).
Though this was originally a lunch-time game at school, M.A.S.H. has been brought back as an adults-only version that’s sure to reveal some interesting tidbits about everyone playing. Creator Spin Master Games says this version can be played in as little as 10 to 20 minutes, making it a great impromptu option at a party or casual get together.