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    I Swear By These 8 Board Games For Family And Group Settings

    Put away those Cards Against Humanity box and try something new for once in your life, will ya?

    My old millennial ass truly believes that board games are the only fun thing left in life.

    I feel so old. I just got excited at buying new kitchen knives...

    Maybe it's just because I'm secretly competitive, or maybe it's because I'm incapable of making conversation without some kind of social prop.

    Or maybe because board games are objectively the one social activity capable of bringing people together for an inevitably fun time! I'm beginning to think it might be the latter.

    If you're reading this post, you probably don't need much convincing about the national treasure that is board games, but as the selection gets bigger and bigger, it becomes harder to parse out which ones are actually worth buying and playing.

    Board games that fall under the "actually enjoyable" category are usually discovered by word of mouth and IRL playing them at a friend or family member's house. So here it is! Words from my mouth.

    1. The Chameleon (a bluffing game)

    Target

    I bought this board game on a whim trying to make the free shipping minimum on my Target shopping cart. It is no joke the best $15 I've ever spent, and I've played it countless times with groups as small as 4 and as big as 30. It's kind of your basic bluffing game — you get a topic, everyone knows what the topic is except the secret "chameleon," and then everyone tries to guess who the chameleon is.

    And that's the part where this game gets really absurd, especially if you've got some good liars in the group. I would say that this game does require a little thinking and creativity — it's one of those games that has enough strategy to keep people engaged, but also really lets the personalities of the people playing shine through (for better or for worse).

    Get it from Target for $14.84.

    2. 5 Second Rule (a word game)

    Amazon

    This game is an incredibly simple concept: You have five seconds to name three items in a category such as "celebrities who shouldn't be celebrities" or "commands to teach your dog." You can play it with an unlimited number of people (I once played this at a New Year's Eve party with 30+ guests, and somehow it was so much fun that we went through all the cards) and comes with a weird innovative timer that makes a goofy noise when your five seconds are up.

    The genius in this game is in 1) the simplicity in rules and concept 2) the randomness. Oh, the randomness! Everyone will say the most random things that pop into their heads, and even if it's not weird or NSFW, it will still be incredibly funny in the context of the game.

    Get it for the astonishingly low price of $13.49 from Amazon. And I also just realized there is another version of this game now called Spintensity and I am buying it right frickin' now as I type this.

    3. Hella '90s and Trivial Pursuit: '90s Edition (trivia games)

    Amazon

    Obviously the '90s are the best decade, and even most 2000s-born youths are pretty familiar with this era from a pop culture perspective. What makes '90s trivia specifically fun is that most people will be able to answer most of the questions, even if they're not great at trivia. Some of the questions will also be really hard, and you'll all look at each other and throw your heads back in laughter and say, "How could anyone possibly know or remember this?" And that, my friends, sums up the quintessential joy of board games.

    I own both of these games and they are equally fun but the Hello '90s game is a lot more inexpensive than the Trivial Pursuit one. Get Hello '90s from Amazon for $12.99 and get Trivial Pursuit for $43.94.

    4. Telestrations Party Pack (a drawing game)

    Amazon

    This is basically Pictionary meets Telephone. It frequently devolves into absurdity and cry-laughing, even if you are playing it with a group of completely braindead individuals (no one I personally know, haha).

    Something I love about this game is that you draw in little booklets that are made of whiteboard dry-erase paper. There's something tactilely satisfying about wiping it clean at the end of a round, and there's a lot less cleanup involved when you're not collecting mounds of crumpled papers at the end of the night.

    I recommend the 12-player which is $37.75 from Amazon because it's always great to have the option (it doesn't mean you have to play with 12 people). You can also get the 8-player for $24.95 from Amazon.

    5. No Thanks (a card game)

    Amazon

    No one knows about this game! In this trying time of board games with increasingly complicated rules, you gotta appreciate a deceptively simple card game akin to Uno or Go Fish. I won't go into the game mechanics here, but there are two really fun elements to this game: 1) finding new ways to say the underrated phrase "no thanks" when you decide not to claim the pot and 2) being able to completely screw someone over by taking the card that they want. Uno is timelessly fun for this reason, and I tend to think that the most fiercely competitive games are the ones that give you the opportunity to totally f*ck your opponents over to the point of no return.

    Get it from Amazon for $12.

    6. I Dissent (a game of unpopular opinions)

    Target

    This game is very loosely Ruth Bader Ginsburg-themed, but it is in no way political. There are basically a bunch of cards with trivial but controversial opinions on them which your group gets to vote on. You can choose to play using the intended rules, but I've also played a very simplified version in giant groups where a host reads the card and everyone just votes with a thumbs up or thumbs down motion. Inevitably people will have unpopular opinions, you'll all discuss and/or make fun of them, and you'll feel like you know everyone on a deeper level by the end. The last time I played, we ended up having a 30-minute discussion about whether you're supposed to leave a tip when staying in a hotel (can you imagine that there are some people who don't do this? Discuss in the comments below).

    Get it from Target for $14.99.

    7. True Colors (a game you have to play with people you know)

    ebay.com, Amazon

    I own the original version of this game because I saw it at a thrift store and was intrigued by the box design. There are cards with various superlatives (some are weird, like "Whose body shape are you most likely to spot in the dark" and some are whatever like "Who is funniest?") and you vote. Here's one thing about the game — you don't actually have to play it the way it was intended. You can simplify it by having people write their votes down on a piece of paper and it's fun enough just reading the votes aloud after each round. You can have everyone in the group write a bunch of superlatives as part of the game, like "Who in your friend group would you say is the most 'plastic'?" or "Who has the worst taste in music?" The most fun comes with playing with friends you know really well and coming up with superlatives that are somewhat insidery.

    Get the new version from Amazon for $9.44 or the old version from eBay for $19.99.

    8. Quiplash (NOT a board game, but easily accessible on your phone, laptop, or video game console)

    shop.jackboxgames.com

    Yes, I'm going a little rogue here by including a non-board game, but it's such a good group party game that I have to mention it. You buy the game for your computer or video game console and an unlimited number of people can login into the game from their phones using a special code to play. You could even include people long distance if you wanted to.

    But basically, the game asks an absurd question, everyone answers, and then you vote on the best ones. It's kind of like Cards Against Humanity, but the answers come from your brain.

    Get it for $5 on your PC/Mac, $9.99 from the Apple app store, $5 from Amazon for the Android version, or $24.99 for the Jackbox Party Pack (includes four other games) for the Nintendo Switch.

    What unexpectedly fun board games do you swear by and why?

    Let me know in the comments! I need some new games.