One of the inevitable parts of the holidays are the parties. There comes a point in every holiday party where people want to do something besides eat, drink and be merry. That often means playing a game, and the good news is that there are a lot of great options out there besides charades.
This list contains several options available from small publishers, large companies and even a digital option or two. Theay can make excellent gifts for a host or something to toss in a bag to bring as a guest. While they might see the most use during the holidays, these games can enhance a party year round.
Each round of Wavelength focuses on an abstract scale and asks a player to mention something that fits the categories. The goal is to have their team guess where that idea fits on the scale. If the players can figure out where, say, “apple” fits on the scale of “sweet to sour” they score points.
Wavelength’s presentation is part of what makes it a great game: there’s a central dial and readout that looks like it’s right out of a game show’s home edition. The crowd goes wild when the reveal happens and it’s very easy to get sidetracked into discussions about the topic at hand. For parties without a good setup spot, don’t worry: Wavelength also comes in a mobile format.
Trivia games seem like an excellent option for parties but the questions range all over the place for difficulty. Nobody wants to play a trivia game that’s too easy, nor one that’s too hard. What about a game that lets players offer their best guess?
Confident? asks questions that allows players to offer a range for their answers. The questions range from facts like “How many US state capitals have a name that begins with a vowel?” to educated guesses like “How many slices of bread are in a standard loaf?”. The tighter the range, the more likely the answer will net more points.
Confident can be played by a wide range of players. For larger parties it’s very easy to play teams with much of the fun coming from watching teammates and bystanders argue about the question. Add in a digital expansion featuring Christmas questions and this game mkes a great holiday gift.
Guessing a word is one of the classics of the party game genre. Just One mixes together some elements from some classic word guessing games to make something new. It’s a little Taboo, a little Password, a little Codenames and a lot of fun.
The trick is to pick a word that isn’t too obvious, because it might not make it to the guesser. Everyone writes down their one word clue, but any words that repeat are eliminated before they get to the guesser. This offers a one two punch of giggling reveals; one when the clues are set aside, another when the guesser takes their shot at figuring out the word.
Listening to anime fans talk to each other about their favorite shows can sometimes seem like listening to an alien language. These wild titles can sometimes seem to just be a jumble of words that have little to do with the content of the show. Channel A works with this idea by giving players a hand full of cards to use in constructing a title.
Building shows and pitching them is great fun even for folks who have never seen anime in their life. Everyone is a fan of some sort of TV show and this game can get people talking about their favorite shows and other stories. The best part is when, after a really good pitch, people dig into the imaginary history of the show and start talking about season finales and backstage drama.
Don’t Get Got
One of the challenges of a good party game is that it can collect people in a room away from the main flow of the guests. Don’t Get Got offers a different experience that threads throughout the party without diverting attention. It also means that guests have to be on their toes for much longer.
Every player gets a small handful of tasks when they start the game, like putting on a weird hat or saying a specific word. If they can convince one of the other players to do it, they get a point but if the other person calls them out, they get locked out. The first player to complete their tasks, or the one with the most completed at the end of the night wins the game.
Chances are any party location will have a screen nearby. If you can get access to a computer, gaming console or even a streaming device like an Amazon Fire or Roku, you can use that technology to your advantage. Jackbox Games offer several hilarious party games available at the push of a button.
While these games use a central console, they are actually played through the internet via smartphone browsers. There’s no need to hand out controllers or score pads because everyone just enters a code into the website and can answer questions on their own. Many have an “audience mode” for players who want to vote for their favorite answers without committing to a full game.
The most popular games include Quiplash, which encourages players to come up with a snappy answer to a strange question, and Fibbage, a game that hides an unlikely answer in a sea of player generated lies. These games comes in several different packages that offer a variety of games, so if one’s a flop, it’s easy to move onto the next one.
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