When you get together with family, friends, or a random network of acquaintances, it's always good to have some fun, easy-to-learn party games in mind just in case things get boring, awkward, or worse.
As a lifelong lover of all kinds of games, I looked up some new (or, new-to-me, at least) games on Reddit and Quora to find some that I — and you — can teach everyone I know the next time I see them:
1. Mirror Charades
"Just like charades, but two people go up instead of one. One person knows what they are acting out and performs the charade behind everyone trying to guess. The other person does not know, and simply mimics the first person, since they are the only one who can see them. It's odd how much harder this version is."
2. What’s That Strange Thing?
"It’s time to determine how well your friends utilize their sense of touch, which is awkward. Put various kinds of items in a single bowl. You can pick soft balls, unusual objects, slippery toys, or other strange items. Blindfolded participants will have to reach in and determine the item they have touched."
3. Balloon Duel
"Two people tape a balloon to one leg. The first person to bust the other person's balloon is the winner."
4. Cookie Pocket
"It's best played during winter when everybody is wearing jackets and multiple layers. You buy a giant party platter of cookies from the supermarket for everybody to use, and you try to reverse-pickpocket cookies into people's pockets. If they don't catch you in the act, they have to eat the cookie when they find it. If they catch you, you have to eat the cookie. I've seen somebody sneak 12 cookies into somebody's coat, and they drunkenly ate all of them.
It sounds fantastic at first, but cookies add up very quickly. Twelve cookies is a lot when you've already eaten five or six."
5. Charade Whispers
"Teams stand in a line. The people at the end are shown a word. Without speaking, they have to make a movement to explain the word and show it to the next person. That person copies the movement and shows the next person. The person at the other end has to shout out the word to get a point/win. They rarely get it right, but it is hilarious to watch hyper third grade boys play it. Especially when you tell them to play the trombone or something."
"Think of it like reverse hide and seek, except only one person hides, the rest seek. Once a person finds the hider(s), instead of announcing it, they proceed to join in on the hiding. The last person to find the entire group loses."
"Basically, all you need is paper and a dictionary. Everyone has a piece of paper and one person at a time has the dictionary. That person opens to a random page, finds a word they don't know, and announces it to the group. If nobody in the group knows the word, they can proceed.
Each person writes the word on a slip of paper and makes up a definition for it, except for the person who found the word (they write the actual definition). After writing, everyone turns in their definitions to the first person who proceeds to read all the definitions (fake and real) aloud to the group.
Everyone but the announcer gets one guess as to which definition is correct. After everyone has guessed, the announcer reveals the correct answer. If you guessed the correct definition, you get a point. If someone guessed your made up definition, you get a point for each time it was guessed. If nobody guesses the correct definition, the person who originally chose the word gets a point. Then the dictionary is passed to the next person and the process is repeated."
8. The Voting Game
"It's a steady flow of laughter. Basically there's a card read aloud, like, 'Who would have the worst passenger rating on Uber?' and everyone votes for each other (or yourself) anonymously. Then the person who got the most votes gets to call out who they think voted for them. It promotes funny story telling, too."
9. Wiki Top List Trivia
"It's easy to do with a phone. Choose a random list on Wikipedia, like countries by population. Either do the top 10 or top 20, and each person gets one or two guesses. You get one point for number one on the list, two points for number two, etc. So you're aiming for the lower half of the list, or safe and pick a easy one at the top. Go through some lists and the one with most points wins."
10. Telephone Pictionary
"Everyone, seated in a circle, has a sheet of paper and a pen. First, everyone writes a sentence with preferably vivid imagery. Next, everyone passes their paper, now with a sentence, to their right, and now everyone must draw a picture representing that sentence. Before passing the paper on, you fold over the sentence, leaving only the picture, with which the next person must describe using a sentence.
Repeat these steps until you get your paper back, and have fun charting the course of sentence and pictures!"
11. Fishbowl/Monikers/Salad Bowl/Names in a Hat
This is one of my personal favorite party games. Everyone seems to have a different name for it, but the rules are pretty much always the same. All you need for it is some pens, paper, and a bowl/hat/vessel that can hold a bunch of slips of paper. Each person writes down 3-5 names on pieces of paper, and the names can be anyone — family members, celebrities, fictional characters, historical figures, just anyone that everyone in the group will know. All of the papers go into the bowl, the group divides into two teams, and then everyone takes turns describing the name on each piece of paper to their team until the bowl is empty. Then, they all go back in the bowl, and in round two, everyone describes the names on the papers using just two words. In round three, people act out the names using charades.
12. Before and After
"Basically, someone starts off with a phrase, like 'Going to school'. You will then use the last word of that phrase to start a new one, while including the original, and keeping it going as long as possible. The first one to screw it up loses. It goes something like this:
'Going to school'
'Going to school house rock'
'Going to school house rock the boat'
'Going to school house rock the boat captain'
'Going to school house rock the boat Captain Jack Sparrow'
"It's like a kinda violent musical chairs. All you need is some spoons and a pack of cards. You all sit round a table, and lay out spoons in the middle, one less than the total number of players. You then deal out all the cards in the deck. On 'GO', you pass one card from your hand to the person on your left. The idea is to keep it moving quickly, almost rhythmically, and the objective is to get four of the same cards, like having all four kings, etc.
Once you have four of the same cards, you can make a grab for the spoons in the middle. As soon as someone makes a grab, every other player can make the grab. Think of it as the music stopping in musical chairs. At the end, one person will be left without a spoon and they are out. One spoon is taken away, and the game begins again until only one winner remains. The overall winner gets great glory and riches."
14. This or That
"Everybody sits in a circle. The first person gives you a choice of things. You have to vote on it, and the thing that you don't vote gets 'deleted' from the world forever. The thing you do keep then gets compared to another thing by the next person. For example, one person says 'sugar or video games,' and everybody has to vote on if you would rather live in a world without sugar or without video games. Once something is voted out, it doesn't exist in the world any more. Keep going until you have created a really weird world."
"Each player writes the name of a famous person (real or fictional) on a Post-It note or scrap of paper. They then stick it to the forehead of another player, so that that person can't see it but everyone else can.
The aim of the game is to find out whose name is attached to your forehead. You do this by asking yes/no questions, which all the other players answer. If the answer is yes, you can ask another. If it's no, it's the next player's turn."
16. Ostrich Dance
"Two people have a card taped to their back with a word written on it. The first person to read the other person's word is the winner. This usually results in my students spinning around in a circle and trying wrestling moves on each other."
17. Murder Wink 'Em
"Everyone sits in a circle and draws a piece of paper from a bucket. Most are blank, but one will have an M or something to identify the 'murderer'. A person is killed when the murderer makes eye contact and winks. The more dramatic and drawn out the death the better. The murderer tries to 'kill' as many people as they can without anyone seeing who they are and identifying them."