1. Apples to Apples
You might think Apples to Apples is child’s play, but given the extent you can just do whatever you want, it’s perfect for any age group. Probably the best variation is picking the cards that make a joke out of the adjective, like matching “Danny DeVito” with “magnificent.”
Regardless of what you put in the cups, quarters is simple, and will probably end with everyone riled up and ready to go. So, anyway, the objective is just to throw quarters down on their sides and try to bounce them into cups (anything works, but usually smaller ones are better). If the person to your right gets his or her quarter in before you, then you have to drink whatever concoction is in your cup. It can get chaotic, to say the least.
For Risk, you need several hours, and preferably, at least four players. It’s not as widely appealing as the other games on this list, but probably the most intense and satisfying—after all, you’re moving armies around the world, trying to conquer it. But be warned: you may end up losing a friend or two over this one.
For more raucous crowds, pick the ol Taboo. All you do is split the group into two teams and then you have to describe a thing without using the words that best describe the thing. It seems easy, but it certainly is not. Also, make sure that whoever is in control of the buzzer has a good amount of self-control, or you might end up insane.
Trivial Pursuit is obvious, but necessary. It’s well-balanced in that (
probably hopefully) everyone you’re playing with will have some subject that they know a lot about and be able to keep up. Or, if you’re looking for a specific “experience,” there’s more than eighty different versions of the game.
6. I’ve Done This… Have You? (Never Have I Ever)
Either of these will work, but where “never have I ever” can get tired, “I’ve done this… have you?” never does. Just hold up ten fingers and go at it. Whenever you have done something, you put one finger down, and whoever loses them all first has to do something appropriately embarrassing. You’ll probably end up learning a little bit more than you ever wanted to know about your friends.
Scattergories can get as rowdy as Taboo, but you only have to worry about yourself, rather than a team (there’s no “I” in those). You pick a themed card, roll a die, set the timer, and then come up with things that start with the same letter as the one rolled. This one is perfect for finally putting that English degree to use!
8. iPad Games for Cats
For the lazy partygoers and throwers, this is probably your best option. The requirements are pretty high (you need at least one cat and an iPad), but then all you have to do is put them both in a room and turn on one of the many iPad apps made for cats, and let ‘im at it. Then you and your friends can do whatever and watch a cat play with an iPad! They’ll hail you as a genius.
Charades has to be on this list, because it is probably the standard go-to of party games. So, instead of describing it, here’s a couple facts about it: it was likely invented in France during the eighteenth-century; and for a period after World War II it was so popular at dinner parties in the US that it was simply referred to as “The Game.” The more you know!
10. Picture Sentence
Picture Sentence is a lesser-known but very awesome game, especially with close friends. It starts by the first person drawing something and then passing it to his or her left (or right), whose recipient writes out a sentence describing what they’ve seen, and then folding the picture over. And on and on. It’s basically a combination of telephone and Pictionary, and more fun than either.