Share your custom board games
March 26, 2010 2:55 PM   Subscribe

What are the best games you or your friends have made up yourself(s)?

Since I have been I kid I have loved making up my own games. They are truly the best kinds of games since they are so unique and make you feel all special inside. :)

Recently my friends and I have made up a game based on the TV show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" We each write down a random phrase, select a couple of people, and make up a scene. Any time during the scene the audience members may shout out 'Stop!' and one of the actors need to pull out a random piece of paper and say what is written on it. It usually turns out pretty funny. We usually keep going until the papers are done then switch actors.

I am looking for any games you and your friends have made up that are fun to play and easy to create (i.e., you don't need to create your own custom board or something complex like that). Any type of game will do. Go! :)
posted by 1awesomeguy to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (28 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
My wife and I play "Bichon or Poodle" -- when driving down the road, and you see a dog of any kind (it doesn't even need curly hair), the viewer yells out, "bichon or poodle!" and the respondent has to answer one of those two dog families.

Er, we're fun people, really.
posted by AzraelBrown at 3:10 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Do you have a crabapple tree in your yard? Apple tag.
posted by GuyZero at 3:10 PM on March 26, 2010

I made one up with my brothers (and some help from our dad) when I was a kid. You need a large empty parking lot. Basically, one person or team sets up as a batter with an aluminum bat and a tennis ball. That person bounces or throws the ball up in the air and then hits it as hard and as far as they can. The other person/team fields it, stops in place, and then can close out their half of the inning by bowling the tennis ball underhand across the parking lot and hitting the bat (which the batter has laid flat on the pavement at whichever angle is least advantageous to the bowler). Whichever team plays through X innings with the lowest number of rolls needed to end them wins.

You can adjust the difficulty drastically given the size of the parking lot, the strength of the batter, and other obstacles: for instance, hitting the ball over a building means that the other team has to start from the other side of it. The game is even more fun if you use a golf ball, but in that case you don't want to play around anything breakable and the fielding team should probably wear helmets/masks and cover their genitals during batting.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 3:24 PM on March 26, 2010

1000 blank white cards.

We didn't make it up, but then again we sort of did.
posted by saguaro at 3:37 PM on March 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

The Dictionary Game!

Everyone sits in a circle and the picker flings open a dictionary and picks out a very obscure word (the more obscure the better). Then they say it aloud and everyone else has to make up their own definition for the word and write it down on a strip of paper. The word picker is also writing the correct definition at this point. All the definitions get thrown in a hat and the original word picker then reads them out-loud. Everyone playing then gets to vote on which they think is the real definition. One point for you if you guess the right definition. And one point for you for every person that guesses that your made up definition is the correct one. Then the picker rotates to the left until you've gone completely around the circle. Whoever has accumulated the most points is the winner.
posted by jay.eye.elle.elle. at 3:42 PM on March 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

I feel like I'm opening myself up for some rather pointed criticism here, but I'm going to have to admit that living in Santa Monica (a city with a high population of mentally ill homeless people, and an equally high population of obnoxious cell phone users) that I've spent a lot of time entertaining myself by playing a guessing game called Schizophrenic or Bluetooth.

I also briefly played a similar game called Sleeping or Dead, but it rapidly became far too depressing and I lacked any sort of safe mechanism for testing my guesses.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 3:47 PM on March 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

Ball of Death. It's like Catch, but angrier.
posted by Catseye at 3:51 PM on March 26, 2010

Trivial Charades, a drinking game!

You need a box of TP cards and the TP pieces with the "pies" though you can always keep track on paper. You need beer.

Divide the group into teams. You take a card from the Trivial Pursuit box and you must act out one of the answer using standard charade rules. You can state the category. Whichever team gets the answer gets that color pie and each team member drinks a shot of beer. Cheers!

If you cannot convey your idea is a sufficient period of time - you drink. You give up? You drink.

The strategy comes in when your team needs a particular category so you go with those categories or category -- sometimes that will be the hardest clue on the card -- but no choosing another card!

My friends and I made this up on a ski weekend and it was surprisingly fun and competitive.

(pardon typos - I'm on my phone)
posted by amanda at 3:59 PM on March 26, 2010 [5 favorites]

Very simple: free association. Sit in a circle, one person says a word, and the next person free-associates to come up with a (somehow) related word.

This works best with a crowd that tends toward humor and raunchiness.
posted by needs more cowbell at 4:00 PM on March 26, 2010

The foot stepping game:
Simply put, you have to step on the other person's foot to score a point. Obviously, this is safer outside on the grass than inside. ;)

Rock in a Sock:
Get a couple of pebbles/small rocks and put them into a plastic bag (like you get form walmart.) Roll them up into the bag and put that into another bag, etc, until you have a reasonably padded ball. Put this into a final bag and tie it off so you have a tail. Now, throw the Rock in a Sock ('cause socks work as well) by holding it by its tail and flicking it at the other person. (This was derived from a Foxtail.)

Finger Fencing:
Make a "gun" with your hand and then grasp the other person's hand. Now, touch the other person with the "barrel" of the "gun". Touching their gun-arm doesn't count.

Ooh man, good times! :)
posted by 47triple2 at 4:27 PM on March 26, 2010

Dominoes, Double-Double Animal Style.
The basic game is the same as regular dominoes with a set of 9s (score is based on getting all of the ends to add up to a multiple of five). The twist: having all odds or all evens at the ends doubles the points and 2's can be added or subtracted (so 7 and 2 can make 5 or 9, the 5 scores as 5 because the 7 is odd and the 2 is even). If more than one 2 is in play, they must all be added or subtracted together, so two 2's is either 4 or -4 but cannot be used to cancel each other out.

Oddities and extra points: A score of zero (say two 1's and a 2) is worth 5 points. A straight (4 consecutive numbers at the ends that add up to a multiple of 5) are worth 30 points. 5 of a kind (a double on one end and all the other ends having the same number) are worth triple the points (so five 9's would be 45x3).

This makes the game a lot harder and requires a lot more strategic thinking. We generally play to 500 which requires several rounds.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:43 PM on March 26, 2010

My friends and I added professions to Monopoly, so that the Banker actually got a salary, as did the Real Estate Agent and the Mayor / Head of DPW / Railroad Conglomerate Executive.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 4:54 PM on March 26, 2010

Wordball! You need at least five people and a large, soft ball (soccer balls work great, or kickballs). You could also play with a hackeysack or Koosh ball. Everybody stands in a circle and agrees on a theme, like "colors" or "countries" or "science fiction movies."

Whoever has the ball starts by shouting a word or phrase that fits the category, and immediately throws the ball to someone else (anyone s/he chooses) in the circle. That person catches the ball, and shouts a different word or phrase before tossing the ball to another player. If the person says a word/phrase that has been called already, s/he is out and must sit down for the duration of the game. If s/he catches the ball and takes too long (more than a beat or two) to come up with something, s/he is out. If s/he fumbles catching the ball and it hits the floor, s/he is out.

The person throwing the ball is allowed to fake-out other player or try no-look passes, but if it's a poor aim that person is out. Nobody should have to move from their positions or jump to try to catch it. Likewise, no throws below the belt or hard chucks are allowed. It's gotta be a catchable, sportsmanlike toss. The game continues elimination-style until a winner emerges. Games are fast-paced and only last a few minutes so you'll end up playing a number of times with increasingly inventive themes. The best ones are neither too obscure nor too broad, and you'll find a good balance after a few rounds. If the ball is soft enough and the players are coordinated, it works equally well indoors as outside.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 4:55 PM on March 26, 2010

Get a bunch of people and divide them into teams of 2 or 3. Get everyone to write down 5-6 people's names (famous or fictional or someone people there know personally, as long as most of the people in the game have heard of them it's fine) on bits of paper. Fold up all the names and put them in a hat. Going round the circle, each team has 90 seconds each where 1 person in the team picks out names, and describes them to their team-mate(s). They do as many as they can in 90 seconds, then pass the hat to the next team, retaining the names they guessed right. Go round the circle giving each team 90 seconds, until all the names are used up. it doesn't matter if you overlap and some teams get two goes, it will even out. Once you've run out of names, count up how many each team got, write it down (that's their score for round 1), then all names go back in the hat.

Then you start again - each team getting 90 seconds where one team member describes the names taken from the hat, only this time they only get 3 words per name. Do the same thing as before - each team gets 90 seconds to describe & guess then passes the hat round. Keep going till you run out of names again, get the round 2 scores, names back in hat.

Then do it again - only you only get 1 word to describe the name. Repeat as above.

Then do it again - only this time no words, just charades. Repeat as above.

It's fun because it's not just a describing/guessing game - you have to pay attention to everyone else's go and try and remember all the names that come up, so that by round three when someone describes a name with the one word "president", you remember that in round 1, one of the other teams had "george bush" as one of their names.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:17 PM on March 26, 2010

Mennonite Madness! (Or Mennonite Manners -- the only description I could find online. Slightly different from the way we play.)

You'll need: a piece of paper for each person, a pencil (or pen), and a set of dice.

Sit in a circle (or close approximation -- we've done it both around a dining room table and seated on the floor around a coffee table). Someone starts by writing down numbers, 1-100, in sequential order while the person on the left (or right, or however you want to decide who goes next) rolls the dice over and over in an effort to get doubles. As soon as that person gets doubles, s/he yanks the pencil from the hand of the person (who is frantically writing down numbers) and begin to frantically write numbers on his/her own piece of paper, while the person on the left snatches the dice and rolls until they get doubles, yanks the pencil, and writes down numbers. Lather, rinse, repeat until someone has been able to write down all numbers from 1-100.

It sounds really dumb.

Because it is.

It sounds like it might be boring.

But it is awesome.

Some caution: it can get vicious. And dangerous. Things can get destroyed (I think a chair in a fight over the pencil, and definitely a bowl when someone thought he could keep from surrendering the pencil by running into the kitchen). People have been known to throw pencil, dice, and paper across the room in order to hinder another person's progress. Wrestling over the pencil from the grasp of someone who refuses to surrender it can result in spilt beer. If a dog steals a die that got flung across the room, and then runs off to the bathroom to chew on it, the person with the pencil still considers it her turn and will continue to write down numbers, despite everyone else yelling time out. We no longer use pens because of certain people who will take pieces of the pen apart and scatter them across the room. It is quite likely you will never get into the double-digits if you are trapped between someone who knows all the tricks to keep from surrendering the pencil and another person who has a knack for rolling doubles.

A good game will leave people slightly bruised. Or impaled with a pencil. (One friend insists I bruised his ribs, but I think he's just bitter I'm a better doubles-roller than he is and I refused to let him get away with any more seconds of my precious number-writing time.)

We didn't create this game -- it was handed down to us. But we've created variants based on our moods and type of crowd we have at any given time.
posted by paisley sheep at 5:23 PM on March 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

Truth-or-dare/ drinking-variant Jenga. Write on the blocks and you have to do what it says on the one you pull out.
posted by alygator at 5:27 PM on March 26, 2010

On preview: we've played the game EndsOfInvention mentions, but we only have three rounds -- I think we skip the one-word round. (I think -- it's not one of my personal favorites, but my set likes it well enough.)

But we use any random words or phrases -- quotes, names of people, names of movies, scientific jargon purposefully written down to trip people up.

And it reminds me another game I play with my family that is very similar:

Essentially it's "Catchphrase," but you make it up yourself.

Everyone gets oh, say, 10 scraps of paper and writes down something to do with the chosen theme (ie "Movie Titles," "Historical Figures," "Actors/Actresses"). Then they're folded up and all go into a box (an old kleenex box works great -- opaque, but with a nice size opening to reach in a grab a paper). Everyone is divided into teams -- generally it's 6-8 of us playing, so it would be 2 person per team (whoever is sitting across from the table from each other), but in bigger groups, we'll go every other or every third to make bigger teams.

Going in order around the circle, each team player gets one minute to describe the person/movie/place written on the paper, without saying any of the words on it. During that minute, you to answer as many as possible. If you're stuck, you're stuck. Ones that aren't answered go back into the box for someone else to draw (which is sometimes nice, because if you hear one team attempt to describe and their team doesn't get it, but yours does, you can use a brief description of the previous team's description and yay! faster answer!). You go until the box is empty. At the end, you are penalized for ones that you said any portion of the name against the ones you answered correctly.
posted by paisley sheep at 5:41 PM on March 26, 2010


At the end, you are penalized for ones that you* said any portion of the name against the ones you** answered correctly.

*You = the teammate describing what is on the paper
**You = the teammate that guessed what is on the paper

Clarity in pronouns goes out the window when I dork out over homegrown games.
posted by paisley sheep at 5:47 PM on March 26, 2010

My brothers, friends and I loved to have snowball fights, but the weather did not always cooperate and there was the other 9 months of the year so we invented a game called "Killana" There would be two teams although we have played with three. Each team of 2 or 3 per team starts with 20 tennis balls. You have 10 minutes to build a fort within someones yard. Usually you would involve a tree and some bushes rather than the pile of snow. Each team would place a bandanna in their fort. On the signal the game would begin. The object of the game was to take the other team's bandanna back to your fort. You could throw tennis balls or tackle a person. We usually got about 2 rounds in before blood or tears and some significant arguments forced the end of the situation. But, damn, those games were FUN!!
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:15 PM on March 26, 2010

Not a board game, but a musical game. 'Before you listen'. I just heard /was told about this incredible song, etc. Before you listen, make it up and sing it, if only to yourself. You know the title, the mood, little else. In my first time, I did this from a blues thread from Mefi about blind Willie Johnson (Dark was the night). Everyone was raving about it, i.e. how they listened to this so many times in a row, it made them cry, etc. I had high expectations. I thought, test yourself to see how you would do it, and how it would compare. For some reason I didn't listen to it right away - I thought I would love it, but I wanted to know how I would create it. I made up a few lyrics - I sung it - it was fun, I loved it. Next I listened to the original. Surprisingly, it didn't have any lyrics! (It was hummed). Ordinarily I might be let down- but I wasn't disappointed, 'cause I had my own lyrics. I still sing it once in a while on a dark night.
posted by uni verse at 8:20 PM on March 26, 2010

47triple2: "

Finger Fencing:
Make a "gun" with your hand and then grasp the other person's hand. Now, touch the other person with the "barrel" of the "gun". Touching their gun-arm doesn't count.

I broke a kid's collar bone doing that one summer. So, you know, be careful...
posted by rebent at 9:22 PM on March 26, 2010

Something we created as kids:

Hot Lava Monster. Played on any front lawn where there's sidewalk and lawn, you have to move around on the lawn, jumping from piece to piece, while another person is only allowed to move on the sidewalk (the "lava").

If the lava monster gets you, or if you accidentally step on the lava, you are then the hot lava monster, and the previous lava monster gets to be a person again.

Repeat until all children are bored.
posted by Katemonkey at 4:55 AM on March 27, 2010

Mad Lib movies: Pick a funny word and place it in different movie titles. Our fav was sphincter: Sphincter Wars, The Sphincter Strikes Back, Revenge of the Sphincter. So very juvenile, but simple stupid fun.

Individual Fortune Cookie: Make your own fortunes by tearing your fortune cookie paper in half and passing the back half to the person to your right. Read aloud. Makes them weirder, unique and more fortune-y sounding.
posted by dog food sugar at 7:49 AM on March 27, 2010

In a similar vein Suburban Movie Titles was very popular amongst our group for a while. One simply stuck a suburb's name into any movie title. Obviously some combinations are much cleverer or funnier than others. Placing more than one suburb into a single title usually produced the biggest laughs / jealousy.
posted by puffmoike at 8:47 AM on March 27, 2010

The summer of 2003 we came up with "Bloodball" - basically basketball in a pool, but no holds barred: aggression was for the most part unlimited. Holding opponents underwater was allowed. If you felt a player was not working out, you could organize a trade mid-game. You could jump in and out of the water for limited periods of time if you needed to get out of a tussle. Team size was determined by how many people could come out (up to teams of 8 at one point). The game ended when someone got hurt too badly to continue...or when my friend's mom came home and yelled at us.

(Surprisingly, we all turned out to be ok people...)
posted by dayspteh at 3:22 PM on March 27, 2010

very simple version of broken telephone that I invented based off of the game Eat Poop You Cat:

Everyone sits in a circle (a la telephone), except person n and person n+1 must speak 2 common languages. Then the telephone game works by translation: you've got to whisper to the next person a translation of what you heard.

It's not the most fun you'll ever have, but its a fun exercise in (mis-)translation suitable for lazy day in the park.
posted by milestogo at 6:30 AM on March 28, 2010


Works great with a 6-8 people, and in a grid-like city such as New York. I call this game HUNT.

You divide into teams and define the streets and avenues that are fair territory. After that, the teams split up, and each finds something visually interesting and unique in the area (but gettable) and pic-msgs it to the other squad. The picture your team receives is the target. Which ever team finds its target first wins that round. It's sort of like an interactive scavenger hunt.
posted by milestogo at 6:43 AM on March 28, 2010

We call this game no-hands wrestling. Two people stand facing each other about two feet apart, feet firmly planted, hands behind their backs. The object is to get the other person to move their feet by knocking them off balance, without using your arms or moving your own feet. It involves slow motion head butts, and pushing the person with your shoulders or chest.
posted by tr0ubley at 11:01 AM on March 28, 2010

« Older How To Fairly Divide An Apartment re: Rent   |   Where can I buy recordings of the Moscow State... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.