Have you ever spent a night in watching a movie with friends or family and released you’d rather be doing something that involved interacting with them? We’d like to reintroduce a lost concept: game night! Spend a night in with the family getting everyone around one table (rather than scattered around the house), make your next house party more interesting with a funny card game or find time-wasting fun that keeps your brain active! There’s a game out there for everyone.
Game: Speak Out
Best for: Silliness, parties, little to no brain power required
Time: No time limit; play for 10 minutes or a couple hours
Players: Teams of 2, ages 16+
If you’re a fan of the Ellen DeGeneres Show, you might’ve witnessed a few celebrities making a fool of themselves with this ridiculous game. The rules are simple: One person sticks a weird device in their mouth and tries to say the sentence written on their card. Their teammate tries to guess what the heck they’re saying, while everyone else laughs until they can’t breath.
Game: A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (2nd Edition)
Best for: Serious game night, tactic and strategy, competitive
Time: 2-4 hours; plan to make a night of it
Players: 3-6 per game, ages 14+
Any die-hard follower of the Game of Thrones books and/or TV series who’d like a shot at winning the Iron Throne themselves should take a stab at this board game. The rules are a bit complicated and it’s hard to get into at first, but once you’ve figured it out you might find yourself immersed in Westeros for hours on end. Just like R.R. Martin’s original tale, the game demands cunning battle plans, tactical diplomacy and backstabbing. Do you have what it takes to ascend the Iron Throne?
Best for: Family game night, a less-complicated strategy game
Time: 30-45 minutes
Players: 2-5 (6-8 with expansion), ages 7+
It can be hard to find a strategy game that the whole family can play, which is why this one is so great. Carcassonne, named after a medieval fortress in Southern France, is a tile-laying game in which players strategically place their tiles to create roads, monasteries, fields and cities. They then earn points by setting their followers (knights, monks, farmers and thieves) onto the newly created kingdom. It’s the perfect game to start off a family night devoid of screens!
Game: Apples to Apples
Best for: Family/kids, funny, simple card game for laughs
Time: 30 minutes minimum (or however long you want)
Players: 4-8, ages 8+
If you haven’t heard of Apples to Apples, we feel bad for you. This modern classic card game is a brilliant time-waster for pretty much anyone with a sense of humor. The rules are simple: A green card is drawn by the judge with a description. Everyone else looks through their hand of red cards with things on them (people, places, animals, etc.) and plays the card they think best matches the green card. Whoever plays the card the judge decides matches best (read: whichever card gets the most laughs) wins the green card. Whoever has the most green cards at the end of the game wins! Simple, fun, easy to play.
Game: Cards Against Humanity
Best for: A party game for horrible people
Time: Doesn’t matter
Players: Doesn’t matter how many as long as they aren’t kids…
Behold, the ultimate party game. Depending on your sensibilities, this outrageous card game will make you cringe, laugh until your stomach hurts, pull a face of disgust, go red from embarrassment, have a crazy epiphany or all of the above. It’s basically the inappropriate adult version of Apples to Apples, in which a question is asked or phrase with blanks is presented, and players answer with their awful cards. Here is a (relatively) tame example:
Black card: “That’s right, I killed ___ . How, you ask? By _____.” White cards: “Grandma” and “Farting and walking away.”
Best for: Parties (kids or adults), physical, brain power not (really) required
Time: However long it takes to create a human knot
Players: As many as fit on the mat; ages 6+
Okay, everyone is familiar with this game since it’s been around since the 60s, but we think it has been unjustly forgotten over time. The great thing about this physically and humorously awkward game is that it is just as appropriate at an 8-year-old birthday party as at a college house party. There is even a “Twister Ultimate” version with a larger mat for more players. Invite over some friends and bring back this American National Toy Hall of Famer to its glory days!
Best for: Families, small group of friends, teamwork
Time: 45 minutes
Players: 2-4, ages 8+
Pandemic turns the apocalyptic Hollywood movie plot into a board game. The world is facing four deadly diseases that are spreading like wildfire in different regions, and you and your fellow players are the only ones who can stop it. Each player takes on the role of dispatcher, medic, scientist, researcher or operations expert in a team effort to find cures for each of the diseases before it’s too late. What makes this game stand out is the fact that it is a team effort rather than a competition. Either everyone wins together, or the world goes up in flames. Have fun!
Game: Exploding Kittens
Best for: All ages, strategic card game fans, cat lovers(?)
Time: Until everyone has died (not literally – in the the game)
Players: At least 2, ages 6+
Exploding Kittens. Need we say more? The game exploded in popularity (please excuse the pun) on Kickstarter to become a best-seller. It’s a wacky card game version of Russian Roulette. Instead of a bullet, it’s an exploding kitten card that can kill you and knock you out of the game. The longer you play, the more likely you are to find one and the riskier things get. The other cards in the deck can either help you avoid an exploding kitten or diffuse the kitty bombs with things like laser pointers or kitten therapy. The last player standing who has not exploded wins!
Best for: Trivia fans, Scrabble players, family or friend game night
Time: No time limit
Players: The more the merrier, ages 12+
For those that like a brainy challenge, Balderdash can be won through knowledge or creativity. A card is picked from the deck with a word on it, and each player writes the definition of the word on a card. The best part is, you can win by either knowing the correct meaning OR making up a really convincing fake definition that your competitors are fooled by. Players receive points by guessing which definition is correct, writing the correct answer, or writing a fake answer that someone else guesses as the right one. The winner will be one (or a mixture) of two players: Those who make up spectacular lies or those who actually knows things.
Best for: Family/friends game night, creativity/performance, teamwork
Time: 35 minutes-60 minutes
Players: 4 or more, 16+
This all-rounder game is played in teams and forces players to use different kinds of creative intelligence – hence the name. Teams try to complete tasks by doing all kinds of things – getting your teammates to guess what you’re making out of clay, solving a puzzle, acting out a scene or spelling words backwards for example. The team who gets through all the tasks and makes it to the middle of the board first is triumphant. Cranium is worth a try because it requires all kinds of different skills and never has you doing the same thing twice.
Article by Gail Wilcoxen
We think that dusting off your old board games and card games can be fun for any age, but are you convinced by the idea?