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Best Party Board Games for Adults – 15 Games for Pure Fun

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Sometimes you just want to sit at the table with your friends, have a few drinks and have fun. Maybe you’re just not in the mood, are too tired or you have someone casual along who is not interested in a more complex board game. I have researched what are the best party board games for adults currently on the market.

You can’t go much wrong with any of the games on the list, but my personal favorites are mentioned in the conclusion of this article.

All of these games are easy to pick up, have simple rules and you can be competitive the first time you play them. Therefore, are an excellent choice if you want to include players. Parties and family get together-s are just two of the occasions that these games are work great at.

Table of Contents

I have split the games in four larger categories (click on a category or a title to jump to that part of the article directly):

  1. Trivia/Quiz Board Games
  2. Guessing Board Games
  3. Action and Reaction Board Games
  4. Social Deduction Board Games
  5. Uncategorized /Special mention

Clicking on the pictures by each board game will take you to it’s Amazon page. If you then decide to buy something, I will earn a small commission – to no extra cost to you.

1. Trivia/Quiz Board Games

Competing with your friends in knowledge is always fun, even more so if you’re any good at it (you listened in school or you are a book worm).

All of these games share similar game mechanics: you move on the board (by die or by points) and you answer questions of different categories (i.e. history, sports, geography, popular culture). Answering correctly makes you advance/advance faster, and the first player that makes it into the finish tile, is the winner.

Trivia board games are best played in a group of people of similar “smartness”. If one of the players is too weak, it can kill the game for him. On the contrary – if one of the players is too strong – that can kill the game for everybody else.

Trivial Pursuit

Players: 2-6

Playing time: 45-90 minutes (depending on the player number)

Ages:  16+

Skill factor: If by skill we mean use of strategies and tactics, there is very little skill involved in Trivial Pursuit. But if we mean knowing stuff, then it’s one of the most demanding board games on the market.

Luck factor: Although the moves are determined by the die, there is very little luck involved. Ok, sometimes you will get a (subjectively) easier or harder question or land on a certain category you (dis)like. But in the end, it will always be the player, who is the smartest, that will win.

BoardGameGeek link

Trivial Pursuit is a classic board games series. It was first release in 1981 and is considered synonymous with the genre.

Game in the link is the re-branded classic edition, but there are editions with easier questions (Family Edition) and harder questions (Master and Genus Edition) available.

Players move on the board by die and there are six categories of questions:

  • geography,
  • entertainment,
  • history,
  • arts & literature,
  • science & nature and
  • sport & leisure.

Instead of racing to the finish line, players compete in collecting pieces of the pie – collect all six pieces (one for each category) and win.

Wit’s End

Players: 2-6

Playing time: 60 minutes

Ages: 12+

Skill factor: Just like Trivial Pursuit, the main skill you will need, is to be knowledgeable of things. There are no other strategies in the game.

Luck factor: In each ring, there are only a number of tiles, where you will have the option to advance to the higher ring. So, if keep missing them, you can’t advance, even if you answer everything right. But usually, it isn’t a game-breaking problem (you can move both left or right), so the luck factor in Wit’s End is still considered low.

BoardGameGeek link

Wit’s End uses a cleverly designed board, made of four (+ central tile) concentric circles. Players start on the largest circle, on which they move with the help of a die, answering questions on the way.

Answer correctly, and you have another throw of the die. Answer incorrectly, it’s the next player’s turn.

Certain tiles on each circle have connections to the next circle. If players answer correctly on such a tile, they advance one circle towards the middle of the board. The first player to reach the central tile and answers correctly, is declared the winner.

There are 200 question of all sorts of themes, but instead of categories, the questions are characterized by type:

  • Teaser requires you to solve a riddle.
  • In Odd1Out you choose one out of the four answers, that does not relate to others.
  • Sequence requires you to arrange answers (usually three) in the required order.
  • Wild Card is a surprise category, you never know what type of question you will get.

Beside that, there are some cards that come with a Bonus! or Sorry! feature on the answer part of the card. This is an extra element of luck, giving you chances to promote/demote you or your opponent (whatever the cards says).

Overall, Wit’s End is slightly less “smart” oriented than Trivial Pursuit and slightly more “fun” oriented.


2. Guessing Board Games

Trying to guess a hidden word or words is the point of these games. One of the players, is trying to “show” the word to other players, by pantomime, drawing, explaining, singing etc. and other(s) is/are trying to guess it.

Charades

BoardGameGeek link

Popular since the 16th century, you don’t have to buy anything to play this. One of the players comes up with the word, slogan, title (or whatever house rules you decide to play by), tells it to the next player who then tries to express the phrase by pantomime (or sound effects). Remaining players then try to guess it. For the next round the role moves to new winner.

We played this a lot couple of years ago with my friends, down to the point that we got too good for it. I remember one time the guess word was “Four riders of the apocalypse”. To a disbelief of all of us, it only took a couple of minutes to guess.

This is not a competitive game in a way that there will be a winner at the end. But it’s an immensely fun causal game for groups (a bit of alcohol and mixed gender only spices things up), where making a fool out of yourself has never been so much fun.

Taboo

Players: 4-10 (ideally you want an even number of players, so that they can be split into pairs)

Playing time: 20 minutes

Ages: 12+

Skill factor: low

Luck factor: low

BoardGameGeek link

Another Classic, celebrating it’s 30th anniversary this year.

Players are split into teams of two. Each turn, a team has a limited amount of time available (timer is included). In that time, they draw cards one by one, until the timer runs out.

On a card, there is a word or a phrase they must describe to their partner, who must guess it. Trick is, that on the cards, there are also five more “taboo” words, which the explaining player is not allowed to use. Of course, these words are usually the ones, that describe the first word with most relevance and ease.

If the word is guessed correctly, the active team receives a point and they draw another card. On the other side, inactive teams are policing the action – making sure that no taboo words are used and that the describing player does not make any illegal gestures.

If the inactive team catches them “cheating”, they hit the buzzer and inactive team gets a point. (Arguments can happen at this point – don’t be too competitive and take it as a fun game.)

If the active team has trouble with a certain card, they can pass it and draw another – in this case the inactive team(s) get a point as well.

Game is played for the pre-agreed number of turns and then the points are added together and winner is declared.

Activity

Players: 3-16

Playing time: 45 minutes

Ages: 12+

Skill factor: low

Luck factor: low

BoardGameGeek link

Players form teams of roughly the same size, for a maximum of four teams. Activity is a racing game – goal is to be the team that gets to the finish tile first.

Team’s meeples move on the linear board, consisting of tiles of different types. On each of the tiles, a task must be performed successfully in order to advance further. There are three types of tasks:

  • Pantomime. One of the team members uses pantomime to describe the term on the card and other team members are trying to guess it.
  • Describe. In this type, one of the members is verbally describing the wanted term, other guess it.
  • Draw. The term in question is this time being drawn on a piece of paper, other members of the team are trying to guess it.

There is not much luck or skill involved in conventional way, but social skills come more into play. Not only it’s important to know how to explain the term in question, but you must also know your team buddies and explain the term in such a way that it will be the easiest for them. But, as is the case with all similar games, the main goal of Activity is to have fun.

After the initial release, several reprints and editions (as well as translations into different languages) have been released and in 2002, Activity 2 was released. it offers a refined gameplay and gives players an option to choose the difficulty of the card they draw.

That brings some more tactics into play as you can go for easy cards and move 3 tiles forward or you can risk a bit more and go for hard cards and move 5 tiles forward (or don’t move at all, if you don’t guess it correctly). If you want to go through the middle path, there are medium difficulty cards as well (for 4 tiles).


3. Action and Reaction Board Games

Common theme here are two phases. In the action phase, a card is drawn or a sentence is said, and in reaction phase players, react to this either by answering or playing cards. Results can be scored, but the main drive are the hilarious combinations that arise.


Cards Against Humanity

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BoardGameGeek:

Card Czar chooses a black card, which has a question or fill-in-blank, and other players, pass their white cards (answers) to him. Czar then decides on the answer he likes the best (is funniest, most cynical or sarcastic) and that person receives a point and games moves on to the next Czar.

What makes the games special are the topics it covers: taboo subjects like race, gender, religion, torture, poverty, drugs, sex, child abuse, black humor etc. The more controversial the topic (and your answers), the merrier. Just play this with (good) friends.

That’s What She Said

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BoardGameGeek:

Almost identical rules as in Cards Against Humanity, only that this one focuses mainly on the dating/sexual topic. This is better for a group that is not yet acquainted (Cards Against Humanity would offend them) with each other.

The Game of Things

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BoardGameGeek:

Draw a card with a topic like: “Things zombies do when they’re not eating people.” or “Things a proctologist nicknames his finger.” and each player writes a response. After a good laugh, you try to guess who wrote what.

Loaded Questions

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BoardGameGeek:

Asking questions like “What do you consider your nicest feature?” and “What cartoon would you like to be a character in?” and then guessing who wrote which answer will test who well the players, know each other and provide a lot of laughter and embarrassment. For even more of the latter, check the Adult Version or the Party version.

Dixit

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BoardGameGeek:

Storyteller makes up a sentence from a picture on one of his 6 hand cards and says it out loud. Each player then gives a card of his own to the storyteller (one he thinks represents said sentence the best). Story teller shuffles the cards and places them face up on the table and players, bet on which card was storyteller’s, earning points.


4. Social Deduction Board Games

Players are given secret roles (often unknown to others) and are trying to complete their agenda while guessing who the others are and what they are trying to do. These games are slightly (but only slightly) more complex; they require a bit of deduction, social interaction skills, bluffing and deceiving.


The Resistance

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BoardGameGeek:

Inspired by the Mafia/Werewolf, in Resistance, players, are split into two teams (Imperial Spies and Resistance Operatives). Round starts with discussion and attempts to guess other players’ identities and gain trust.

The leader then sends some players on a mission (passing them cards) and all the players vote to approve the assignment. When the assignment is passed, chosen players, decide to support or sabotage the mission in secret, giving point to either Resistance or Empire.

The Resistance: Avalon is a version based in the medieval world with King Arthur against Mordred. New addition is Merlin, who knows the agents of evil. Avalon is stand-alone game, but can be combined with The Resistance.

 


One Night Ultimate Werewolf

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BoardGameGeek:

Another role-playing game, this one can be finished in ten minutes. Players assume the roles of numerous characters, each with a special ability, and in a single morning decide who is the werewolf. Or the werewolf wins if they fail.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf can be combined with One Night Ultimate Werewolf: Daybreak, but either of the games can be played alone.


Secret Hitler

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BoardGameGeek:

Can you get more controversial than having the name of Nazi leader in the title? Secret Hitler is a role-playing game, where players, assume the roles of fascists versus liberals and one player is Secret Hitler. Roles are partially hidden and each turn President and Chancellor are elected trying to pass policies to enact Hitler or assassinate him.


Codenames

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Codenames is towards the top of every party game list out there, and justifying so.

Two teams are trying to guess the names of their agents (25 words on the table). Each team has a spymaster, who is guiding his team by giving them hint words (and adding how many of agents this word affects). First team to guess all their agents, wins.

Codenames is on the top of every party game list out there. There is Pictures version available, an adult version as well as Disney, Marvel and Harry Potter versions.


5. Uncategorized / Special Mention


Exploding Kittens

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BoardGameGeek:

Interesting wording in the title, but the game is very simple – think of Russian roulette. Players are drawing the cards from the deck and the one that draws the exploding kitten, loses. Trick is, that the deck also contains cards, that allow you to peek before you draw, shuffle the deck or force your opponents to draw more cards. Game intensifies towards the end when fewer cards are available and the exploding kitten card inevitably comes up.


Personal Favorites

I promised you to give the ones I like best and here they are (in no particular order):

Do you have any favorites of your own? Do you agree/disagree withy my choice? Let me know in the comments below.

Vasilij

20 thoughts on “Best Party Board Games for Adults – 15 Games for Pure Fun

  1. Gaming have been a very vital aspect of bringing friends and family together in many situations. Over time we all have this family or group game we love playing together and the gun it brings to us is priceless. In recent time my friends and I have grown to love playing monopoly just to prove who is a better in managing his affairs.
    Over 3years and still counting we have had just one champ and it’s time to try something new looking at Trivial Pursuit, its seen quite easy, but from my experience with dice, there are chances of anyone winning. I’ll love to give it a try. Best regards

    1. Trivial Pursuit is not affected by luck much. Sure, you can get lucky and get an easy question (or contrary), but vast majority of the time, the player with the most knowledge will win. That can be unsettling as well. 😀

  2. What an absolutely fantastic post, these are some great ideas for when we have family and friends around, there are some of these games here that I have never even heard of but after reading up on them they do look vary interesting, board games are very good to have in the house, they are there as a sort of back up for when the barbecue is finished and we go indoors when the light starts to fade, I’m tempted to buy a few of your board game recommendations here, I like the loaded questions one and the cards against humanity, in fact I’m finding it difficult to choose because they all look so good and interesting, thank you for sharing this post.  

    1. Ther are thousands of other (yes, better than those in this article) board games out there, I just focused on the ones that are easy to pick up and anybody can play.
      Be careful with Cards Against Humanity though – their language is … profane, putting it mildly.

  3. Wow, seeing this article the first thing that came to my mind was sharing it to my dad, I won’t say he’s grumpy but he’s shit of fun, all he does with his friends is to watch handball matches. Board games are really good for seniors as it helps catch fun and relax their body nerve through the exercise of playing it, it also work on their mind and thinking. I like the board games in this article, they are full of fun I must say, my favorite is Secret Hitler, its interesting. This post is really entertaining and fun filled, I love it.

  4. Awesome write-up.

    I got the trivia pursuit classic for my son not too long. He is really into Trivia and prefers it so much  than any other board games. He is eight and I’m mostly able to go through and find questions he can answer, depending on the category. He might be slightly ahead of your average eight year old, but in general a lot of the questions have little hints built into them and if you go through a few, it seems like I find one that is in the realm of what he can reasonably answer. He just asks me whatever question comes up and I’m able to get a fair number of them.

  5. Getting board games for adults that speaks of fun and also combine it with such sleekness as you have presented here is very rare to see in my area and it has been long that I have gotten to play such board games. Wow! I will try to revisit and try to get atleast three from the list you have provided here. thumbs up to you for bringing all these here.

  6. Hi Vasilij,

    I really enjoyed reading your article on the best party board games for adults. I think its a great idea to try these for a change. 

    The only ones I have played are trivial pursuit (a brilliant game and also great in the family versions) and exploding kittens which I must admit we didn’t enjoy much.

    Are any of the games suitable for older children? We often like to play games as a family especially at Christmas. Thanks in advance, Andrew

    1. Exploding Kittens does have a peculiar taste of humor, so I understand you position. 🙂

      Try Forbidden Island – It is a cooperative game (so you can work together as a team) for up to 4 players and it is for ages 10+. I have just recently discovered it and can highly recommend it.

  7. Gaming has been a means to challenging each other in my house and with such contest, my siblings would always go for a trivi a game than any other game. We play monopoly a lot, but since it’s a kind of luck game with dice, it’s been removed. I feel the Trivial Pursuit game would be one we all can agree to. Thanks of sharing .

  8. Right from time, I have always been a big time lover of the trivial games and that is the area I will focus my attention more on here. This is really great to see here and the fact that in this age where digital and video games have taken over, we could still get such awesome games as these. Thanks for sharing all these.

  9. Oh, this is pretty cool. Not the regular chess or snake and ladder. LOL. I think i need to get myself a couple of these not because i would like to play with my family for because my friends say i will be hosting them pretty soon and i was googling the ways t be a good host and the idea of bringing in fun games came up. I will like to try the role-playing games out. Would be very cool. Thanks.

    1. Role playing games are great for parties, especially when people already get slightly “relaxed”. 🙂

      The ones on my list are also specifically selected not to have too complicated game mechanics, so even non-gamers can pick them up quickly.

  10. I am a big fan of board games, i really really love them and i am very happy that you could share some of the great ones. I am more interested in roleplaying board games because i have not played them before and i was told about how awesome they are. Even you have mentioned that here. Which do you think is beginner friendly. Do you have a post dedicated to role-playing board games?

    1. All social deduction games (I think that’s what you meant with role playing games) on the list are beginner friendly. I might add Love letters, check that out.

      I don’t have a specific post for those games yet, but stay tuned!

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