Good music and good food will only get you so far when everyone you know is stuffed in the same room together. The best new party games can break the ice and keep everyone entertained for a couple hours. For a while now, Cards Against Humanity has ruled the scene, but it's not the only good party game in 2018. If you and your friends feel like it's a little played out, you can rest easy knowing that you do have other options.
When making your pick, the first thing you have to do is pinpoint your audience. If you're going to a backyard barbecue with all of your married friends and their newborns, probably don't bring a game entitled "These Cards Will Get You Drunk." If you're heading to a weekend reunion with your 30 of your closest college friends, on the other hand, go for it.
The next rule of thumb: Choose games that are simple, straightforward, and easy to follow. That way, when players are a bit drunk, coming in and out of the circle, or inviting their grandmas to play, you don't have to break out a 30-page rulebook every time.
After that, it's all about preference, Whether you're looking for board games that are ideal for big groups or grown-up picks that'll make any game night, these ten new and popular options have you covered.
For The Friend Group That Communicates In Memes
If your main group chat is basically just one meme after another, this one's for you. What Do You Meme was launched on Kickstarter just two years ago, and it's quickly become one of the most popular party games sold on Amazon. It's a lot like Cards Against Humanity in that winners are chosen based on the judge's preference, but you're pairing words or phrases with popular internet memes in order to essentially create your own image macro. People are obsessed, saying things like, "I laughed so hard playing this game that I had a full six pack of abs by the time I woke up the next day." Impressive.
How To Play: Each person gets seven caption cards. Players go around in a circle taking turns being the judge. The judge picks a photo card and flips it over. Other players choose their funniest or most accurate caption card to suit the photo and toss it in the middle. The judge reads them all aloud and chooses their favorite; whoever played that caption gets to keep the photo card, and the person with the most photo cards by the end of the game wins.
Intended Audience: This one is definitely for adults. Pretty much every card is R-rated.
This NSFW-Version Of A Classic Favorite
The original Telestrations has nearly 2,000 reviews and a 4.8-star rating, but this new NSFW-version is definitely for adults only. It's pretty much a game of telephone if phrases were drawn and then interpreted instead of repeated, and you can expect all of them to get hilariously misconstrued by the end of it. It can accommodate four to eight players, and one round takes only 15 minutes.
How To Play: Each player takes a sketchbook, a marker, and a card. They write their name on the sketchbook, choose a secret word from the card, and write that down in the "secret word" bubble. All the books rotate to one direction, and it's that next person's job to draw the secret word on the next page. When it rotates again, the next player has to turn the drawing back into a word. It continues back and forth from phrase to drawing until the book reaches its original owner. There's no real winner, but it's hilarious to go back through the books and see how quickly things got out of hand.
Intended Audience: Some reviewers say it's "not as dirty/adult as [they] expected," but all can agree that it does include "vulgar and suggestive words." If you're looking to play with conservative family members or kids, try the original version.
If Traditional Pong Is Your Go-To, But It Could Use An Upgrade
So simple, yet so genius. Giant Yard Pong is exactly what it sounds like — the "solo cups" are the size of buckets and the ping pong balls are more like softballs. Everything's made from durable, washable plastic, so you can take this set to picnics, barbecues, and the beach. Some people even put glow sticks in them and play in the dark.
How To Play: Fill the buckets with sand, water, or anything else that'll weigh them down. Then play giant beer pong: get a teammate, try to throw the balls into the opposing team's cups, and drink if someone gets a ball in yours. Since it's your set, you choose the house rules.
Intended Audience: Theoretically, you could play this with people of any age (so long as beer isn't the only beverage option).
For The Friend Group That Roasts Each Other Constantly
According to reviewers, this one "uncovers the hilarious truth behind your friendships," and it's best played with a group of people you know really well, and you don't mind offending. The Voting Game has you vote anonymously for the person who most fits the description (almost like superlatives), but the categories aren't always flattering. You can play with up to 10 people at once, and a full game takes about an hour and a half.
How To Play: Players take turns picking a question card and reading it aloud. (Cards include questions like, "Who will be the hardest to recognize in 10 years?" and "Who would lose an election because of something they did in high school?") Using their numbered voting cards, each player votes for the person who best fits the description. Then everyone who got a vote has to guess who submitted it, and if they're right, that person has to fess up.
Intended Audience: This one is best suited for adults; some of the cards are pretty inappropriate. Also, don't play this with any friends who are easily offended.
This Card Game That Has One Single Objective — Get Everyone Drunk
Looking for a new and innovative way to drink with your friends? These Cards Will Get You Drunk is not at all discreetly named, but according to reviewers, it is effective. The rules are really easy to follow, the gameplay is quick-paced, and the objective is simple: Follow the prompts and drink lots of alcohol. Since it's interactive, self-explanatory, and relatively mess-free, it'll quickly become your go-to over all the other popular drinking games.
How To Play: Players take turns drawing cards and reading the prompts aloud. (The cards say things like, "Tell a joke. If no one laughs, drink," and "Everyone votes on who is most likely to be in bed by 10 PM. That person drinks.") Basically, you just do what the prompt tells you to do.
Intended Audience: People over 21
If Your Friends Or Family Are Easily-Distracted, This Quick-Paced Game Keeps Things Moving
If you're hosting easily-bored friends, a wide range of ages, or multitudes of drunk people, you'll need something with quick rounds and minimal rules. Quickwits is a fast-paced game in which you simply shout out the first thing you can think of that fits the category. It can handle huge groups of people at once, it's extremely easy to understand, and one game takes only 30 minutes.
How To Play: Players take turns drawing cards and flipping them over, face-up. When two symbols match, those two players have to shout out one correct example of someone or something in the given category. The first one to do so keeps the card. No repeats, and the player with the most cards at the end wins.
Intended Audience: The game suggests 17 and over because of some adult-themed cards. That said, you could easily remove them from the deck and play with younger kids.
For That Athletic Group That Can’t Seem To Sit Still
Board games aren't for everybody. For the family or friend group that always wants to get out and do something, there's Spikeball. This volleyball/four-square hybrid originally got its start on Shark Tank, and it's an awesome way to get active anywhere — even if you've got a small yard. It's also a must-have on college campuses or beaches, and it disassembles for easier travel and storage.
How To Play: Four players split up into teams of two. Once the ball is served, you have three touches to return it by smacking it against the net and bouncing it to another player. When a team was last to touch the ball and can't return it in three passes (or if it drops to the ground), the other team gets a point.
Intended Audience: All ages and skill levels
This Giant Game Of Jenga That Gets Over Five Feet Tall
The hand-sanded wooden blocks in this Giant Tumbling Timbers game are roughly the size of your forearm, which means the stack can grow to over five feet tall while playing. You can play with any amount of people, from two to two dozen, and it's an ice-breaker that'll get everyone involved at picnics, tailgating parties, and family reunions.
How To Play: Stack the blocks in rows of three, alternating between horizontal- and vertical-facing layers. Players take turns removing any one block from the stack and placing it on top. Whoever causes the stack to fall is the loser.
Intended Audience: Anyone who wants to and has a semblance of coordination — or not.
This Interactive Ice-Breaker Is Appropriate For Any Age Or Setting
If you're looking for a game you can play with kids, work associates, or grandma, look no further than HedBanz. It's an organized take on the party game, "Who Am I?" except you don't even have to put tape on your forehead — plus everyone in the room gets to interact while playing. "With a group of a dozen people aged 9-81, we had a fantastic time playing this," says one reviewer who usually "slips away" as soon as someone takes out a board game.
How To Play: Each player takes a card and an adjustable headband. They position the card face-out on the headband without looking at it. Then everyone takes turns asking yes or no questions about what's on their card. If you get it right, you get rid of one of your chips; if you give up, you collect one instead. The first person to get rid of all their chips wins.
Intended Audience: Anyone can play this one — it's as age- and work-appropriate as they come.
This Game Lets Everyone Play From Their Phones
Everyone's on their phones anyway; you might as well get them involved. Jackbox is a batch of digital games that turns your TV into the narrator and your phones into the controllers — and this third installment comes with revamped favorites as well as a few all-new games. Up to eight people can play at once, and up to 10,000 can join the participating audience. (It's an app, so if you don't have a smart TV, you'll need a laptop, an HDMI cable, a device with screen-mirroring capabilities, or some kind of streaming stick).
How To Play: Set Jackbox up on the TV and choose which game you want to play. Players navigate to Jackbox.tv on their phone browsers and enter the provided room code. The on-screen narrator will lead you through the rest.
Intended Audience: All ages. Some of the games are more mature in nature (like Trivia Murder Party, which can get pretty violent), but there is a "family friendly" mode that you can opt for.
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