Good games for the dinner table?
November 25, 2010 2:10 PM   Subscribe

Wealth-of-information filter: family-friendly games for the thanksgiving table?

I'm aware that similar questions have probably been asked, and there are probably appropriate pages online. However, I've sifted through tens of pages of search results for each and can't find what I'm looking for, so I figured some direct answers would help :).

At a past dinner my family attended, the host had a little game where everyone wrote down some interesting/unique/obscure fact about themselves or their past (ie I've been on stage at Carnegie hall) and the cards were passed around and people tried to match the facts and the people. Most of the people there didn't know each other well so it was a funny and good game for the group.

We've got the Apples to Apples and catchphrase type stuff ready, but we were hoping for some games along the lines of that stuff, ones that help you learn more about other people.

We're a group with two large-ish families, though, so most people know a lot about the others, and it might be harder to pull off the game listed above (though we might try). Are there any other good games (or pages of games) that you can recommend? We are all 11 or older, so obviously it should be family friendly but no particularly young kids to worry about. We're a group of 13 people total.

I know of a lot of icebreaker games that are fun and physical, but I'm looking for something a bit more sedentary and equally easy for the 75-year-old as the 11-year-old.

Thanks in advance!
posted by R a c h e l to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
posted by slide at 2:30 PM on November 25, 2010

Mafia (sometimes called other things like werewolf) is an easy and fun party game. I've always played with two killers, 1 doctor, and 1 detective. The fun of the game is in debating with the townspeople over who to kill. No one should reveal their card unless they are killed. If the townspeople want to help in the debate even after being killed, make sure they keep their eyes closed at night.
posted by adorap0621 at 2:32 PM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Celebrity is always good with large groups.
posted by mumblingmynah at 2:49 PM on November 25, 2010

My family will write out a phrase such as "Happy Thanksgiving Everyone" and then everyone has 10 minutes to make as many words out of it as possible. Winner gets money! It's always a big hit.
posted by lhall at 3:02 PM on November 25, 2010

Seconding Werewolf! Great fun!
posted by molecicco at 3:11 PM on November 25, 2010

I don't know the name (my friends just call it "Inglourious Basterds", since that's where they all learned it) - the game where you stick an index card with a famous person's name to your forehead and people have to tell you who you are?
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 4:28 PM on November 25, 2010

My friends and I used to play a game we called "passalong poetry" -- each person starts with a piece of paper, at the top of which they write one line of a poem (that they just made up), then they pass it on to the next person. The next person adds a line, then folds back the top of the paper so only the most recent line is visible, then passes it on to the next person, who does the same. (That is, each person reads the most recent line, adds their own line, and refolds the sheet of paper so only the line that they just wrote is visible.) When each piece of paper has gone around the table once (or, if there aren't that many people, twice or three times), the papers are unfolded and each person reads their "poem" aloud. (My friends and I always tried to be as goofy as possible so that the resulting poems would be hilarious, but I imagine the game could also be played semi-seriously as well.)
posted by pluckemin at 5:21 PM on November 25, 2010

(Upon Googling, apparently that's a variety of Exquisite Corpse.)
posted by pluckemin at 5:23 PM on November 25, 2010

An alphabet game: Write the alphabet down the side of a piece of paper, one letter on each line. Next to that, write a famous quote or a line from a poem, again one letter per line; cut it off at the end of the alphabet. Now you have pairs of letters. Everyone come up with a famous person (real or fictional) who has those initials.

Categories: Come up with 10 categories: things in a kitchen, famous actors, heads of state, cities in Georgia, famous paintings, whatever. Put those down the side of the paper. Draw 3 letters (from a hat, or use your scrabble set) and put those across the top of the page. Set a timer and fill in the categories with answers that start with those letters.
posted by CathyG at 7:33 PM on November 25, 2010

Cranium is a great group game with a max of 16 players. The added advantage of larger teams means that people can take no-pressure breaks for eating!

Also, Charades is always fun.
posted by pluot at 8:56 PM on November 25, 2010

3rding werewolf, which is a really easy and really fun game to play with that big of a group, and doesn't require anything but sitting around and talking.

If you have a dictionary handy, you might also consider fictionary, in which players make up definitions for obscure words then try to pass them off as real.
posted by Gilbert at 9:24 PM on November 25, 2010

I'm late to this, but in case you need something for next time, I recommend Say Anything.

You could even improvise this game with pads of paper and unique tokens for each player to bet with.
posted by Dr-Baa at 5:53 AM on November 26, 2010

Thank you all! We ended up doing a variation on fictionary (more like says you) and it worked out great. Will definitely use this thread in the future!
posted by R a c h e l at 12:35 PM on November 27, 2010

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