Few things in life can bring as much joy as gathering your friends around the table for a board game or two. Party games are unique from other board games as they don’t require hours to finish or take the entire kitchen table to set up. You can play party titles anytime, anywhere, and with any number of people. Also, unlike slots or other casino games, even the worst addiction to party games just means you’ll be spending more time with your friends when you should probably be getting some sleep because it’s a workday tomorrow.
Let’s look at some party board games that earned the most praise from both players and critics in the past. These games might not require or reward strategic genius, but they will bring countless hours of fun to your family and friends.
Publisher: Repos Production
Designer: Francois Romain
Age: 10 and above
Time: up to 30 minutes
If you’re looking for a fast and catchy game of word association with a new spin to it, So Clover! is the perfect title to try. It’s a cooperative game where all participants play together to earn the most points.
The rules are pretty simple: every player gets a plastic clover with four raised squares. One player shuffles the card deck with keywords. Every player then gets four cards from the deck with keywords they place randomly on a clover. Each clover table has a place above adjacent cards to write an association or a clue to help determine the words on these cards.
Every player keeps their plastic clover secret by writing the clue that ties two keywords together on the edges of the clover with a marker. When a player writes four words on every leaf of their plastic clover, they draw one additional card, mix with the cards they have, and put them on top of the face-down clover. After each player does this, the game goes into the resolution stage.
One player assumes the role of the Spectator. The Spectator is a player who cannot communicate as they uncover their plastic clover and keywords cards. The remaining players work together to put the cards in the right place and decide which cards will not be used. The group gets six points if they place all the cards correctly. If the group puts cards in the wrong order, the Spectator discards incorrect cards, with the group of players getting one more opportunity to place the cards correctly. With the second scoring round, the team will get fewer points.
Once the match ends and points are tallied, the next player becomes the spectator, and the entire game resets, except for the points. Once every player takes the mantle of the Spectator, the game ends, and all of the points are rounded up. The number of card combinations is nearly infinite, which guarantees hours of fun for everyone involved.
Publisher: Czech Games Edition
Designer: Vlaada Chvátil
Age: 10 and above
Time: 15 minutes
Another year goes by, and another Codenames game lands on our list. No surprise, since this series remains consistently phenomenal. The game designers really outdid themselves this time, and Codename Pictures is even more engaging than the original.
The concept is similar, with word cards being replaced with pictures. The picture quality is high, with hilarious images that carry multiple meanings. The fastest game took us five minutes to complete as it put our imagination, logic, and communication skills to the test, making it great for family gatherings.
Two teams are trying to find their secret agents. One member from each team is the Spymaster, and they sit on the opposite side of the table from the rest of their group. Twenty picture cards are placed on the table, with each Spymaster drawing one card that will allow their team to try to guess where their agents are. The first team to get a turn needs to find eight agents, while the second team must locate seven.
When the team is about to play, the Spymaster can only provide their players one word and one number. For example, if the Spymaster tells them “Vehicle, 4,” that means there are four cards that are associated with a vehicle, where they’ll find their agents. After players talk amongst each other, one of them selects a card from the table.
If they guess right and locate an agent, they can try again until they fail at finding agents or stop by their own choice. If the picture is an innocent bystander or the opposite’s team agent, their turn ends, and the second team starts playing. Any team that accidentally discovers an assassin loses the game.
What Do You Meme?
Designer: Elie Ballas, Ben Kaplan, Elliot Tebele
Age: 17 and above
Time: Between 30 and 90 minutes
Look out, Cards Against Humanity! There is a new competitor on the market with plenty of sharp, hilarious, and risky humor to challenge your long-standing reign! What Do You Meme is a straightforward card game with minimal rules, filled to the brim with modern slang, and designed for people that won’t be easily offended.
You get 360 caption cards, 75 picture cards, instructions, and one easel in the package. The rules couldn’t be more straightforward: every round, one player is selected as a judge who chooses the picture card. After that, each player draws seven cards with captions and separates the one that matches the picture card best. The game’s goal is to make the most comical meme for which they’ll get one point. After a specific number of turns, the player with the most points collected wins.
Up to 20 friends can play this wacky game, but the appeal may be lost on older generations or people too young to get some of the jokes. The game has many adult-centered captions that are not afraid to make you uncomfortable. It’s also replete with social media and internet jargon that might go over the head of older players.
We had a blast playing What Do You Meme, but the game has limited long-term appeal. Quality and replayability-wise, it’s similar to Cards Against Humanity. The game is entertaining for the first few days, but you’ll need to buy expansion packs to keep it interesting after that. It is hilarious while it’s still fresh, but you’ll see everything this game has to offer in a dozen hours or so at most.