Ultra-Casual Party Games?
January 24, 2012 10:25 PM   Subscribe

Super casual party games just for those will actually participate?...

...but still might be contagious to the rest?

We'll be hosting a grilled cheese party a la this AskMe and we'd like something to add to the general conversation, but isn't a party game that requires a lot of focus or involvement by everyone. basically something simple and fun that can run on its own without a lot of management beyond the initial setup.

We're fine with some prep beforehand (we have 10 days before the party!) and please keep in mind that we live in a small apartment and the total guests will be ~20-ish, maybe 30.

It would be a super bonus if it could fit in with our idea of doing(cheap and/or funny) door prizes that we are planning on giving via playing cards at the door.

Is this even possible? Searches only come up with unified participation.
posted by a_green_man to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 65 users marked this as a favorite
Apples to Apples does this for our family. Usually started by a few of the kids, by the end most everyone has joined in.
posted by bonehead at 10:35 PM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

Cards Against Humanity. Like Apples to Apples, but so much funnier (and filthier, something to keep in mind if you have children in attendence.) Sold out on Amazon, so the make your own option on their website linked above is the way to go right now. Doing it that way will set you back 10-15 bucks, tops. Totally worth it.
posted by KingEdRa at 10:41 PM on January 24, 2012 [7 favorites]

Dixit. Good with older kids up (11+ or so)

Similar to Apples to Apples, but picture based, so if there are kids with limited vocabulary, or adults who are in their second language, may be easier.
posted by chapps at 10:50 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

There's probably an actual name for this party game, but how about the one where you tape a card with the name of a famous person (fictional or non) to their back and they have to ask other people for clues.
posted by mannequito at 10:50 PM on January 24, 2012

Ideally, get a stack of those Hi, My Name Is ____ stickers for that.
posted by mannequito at 10:51 PM on January 24, 2012

Telestrations is so awesome, I cannot tell you how fun it is even for people who hate games. I have never kept score, and I can't even remember how you do keep score. We expand the game to as many people as want to play by giving people small notepads; the dry erase stuff is not at all necessary.

Actually, as long as you make up a list of words for people to choose out of a hat beforehand, you don't really need any of the game's paraphernalia- just a bunch of small spiral notebooks and pencils. Here's how it could work:
1) everyone gets a different word or phrase to draw (like in pictionary) and draws it
2) after X time, you pass the thing you drew to the person next to you, who turns to the next page and writes (not draws) what they think you were trying to draw
3) They then pass the notepad to the person next to them, with just their written description (not the original drawing) showing
4) That person turns to the next page and draws what the written description says, and then passes their drawing to the person next to them who
5) Writes down what they think the person in step 4 was drawing, and then passes the written description to the person next to them, and on and on through at least 3-4 complete cycles until
6) Show and tell

The great thing about the game is that the worse you are at drawing, the more hilarious the game is, and thus the more successful and un-crappy you feel about being horrible at drawing.
posted by charmedimsure at 10:52 PM on January 24, 2012 [23 favorites]

Egyptian Ratscrew

Anyone can join at any time, it looks exciting to observers, and when you lose you're not out forever.
posted by wayland at 11:02 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Guess the celebrity is a game that doesn't require any group work, encourages mingling and once set in motion completes itself on its own. Either start the game by having everyone drop names into a bowl (exampled in the first episode of peep show, where they use rolling papers since those come with a strip of gum and because I love referencing peep show) or come up with a list and have people draw a name when they come in.

The second scenario isn't recommended because by starting the game with the whole group it gets them all engaged at the same time and is more likely to keep going because each person had a hand in creating the game. Also, dropping all the names into a bowl before having people stick them on their heads makes it more of a group game as opposed to the 1-1 feel it would have if you just stuck it on the person next to you.
posted by sub-culture at 11:07 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding Guess the Celebrity. I just played it at a super casual party recently, and while we just called it Celebrity, it was pretty much the same as described above, and tons of fun. It really got people laughing and set folks at ease.
posted by anonnymoose at 11:11 PM on January 24, 2012

Ok, I see everyone is suggesting the usual great party games, BUT BUT BUT! I've seen these already and am really looking for *easy* !no-brainer! games that could run without the entire party having to participate if theyre not interested, and by this I mean we want to set something up where it just gets set up by us before the party and it runs it's course as people arrive and decide if the want to join the game.
posted by a_green_man at 11:16 PM on January 24, 2012

The Game of Things.

1. Come up with a bunch of categories such as "things you shouldn't say to your mother", "things that hurt", "things found at school", "things found in an attic" before the party starts. Fold them all up and put them in a hat.
2. Everyone who wants to play gets a piece of paper and pen. To start the game, one person picks a category from the hat and reads it, and everyone has to come up with an example of, ie, "something that you find in the attic", and write it on a piece of paper and then give it to the person who read the category. The more ridiculous the better.
3. The person who read the category collects all the answers, mixes them up in a hat, and reads them out loud one by one. Starting with the next person in the circle, each participant has to make one guess of which answer was written by which person.
4. If someone guesses the correct answer, they get a point and also get to continue guessing. The one who reads the clues aloud also gets to submit an answer but cannot be guessed.
5. Repeat steps 2-4. Hilarity ensues.
posted by costanza at 11:28 PM on January 24, 2012

Some friends of mine were playing a game at a recent potluck. They were all sitting around a table and playing this. This is how it worked:

Current person A: [looking at someone B] "Hey Johnny." (always Johnny, at least at first. You'll see.)
Looked-at person B: "Yeah, Johnny?"
Current person: [looking at Someone Else C] "Tell Johnny."
Looked-at person B: "Hey Johnny."
Someone Else C (from just before): "Yeah, Johnny?" [Repeats from here]

When someone screws up by saying the wrong thing (and the phrasing must always be exactly "Hey Johnny," "Yeah, Johnny?" "Tell Johnny"), they hold up a finger in front of their face (such that eventually having all ten fingers up would involve them basically covering their eyes) and become One-Finger, so nobody is allowed to call them Johnny anymore. On the other hand, if there's only one One-Finger, it's okay to not look at One-Finger when you say "tell One-Finger" because there's no ambiguity. The game gets easier to screw up as you go along, especially if you add, say, a drink penalty when you screw up.

If a One-Finger screws up, he/she becomes Two-Fingers, basically until a Ten-Fingers screws up. You can either end the game there or invent a suitable penalty for no-longer-just-Ten-Fingers.

Advanced play techniques include paying attention to how many Johnnies are left, and taking advantage of there being no ambiguity left if there's only one Johnny you can be referring to, by looking at someone else.

It's a lot more fun than it should be.
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:35 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

You can have a blank canvas and some paints set up in a corner, and let people contribute to the artwork if they like. I've been at parties where this was done and while the result isn't always something you'd want to hang on your wall, it's fun and a nice memory of the evening, and those who participate (there are always some people who get excited) enjoy themselves.

Also, some parties I've been to have had video games going in a side room or a corner. This works best if they are short multiplayer games, like old school arcade games, or a Wii or Kinect works well too.
posted by lollusc at 11:36 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

We did Telestrations (only we call it Broken Picture Telephone) at a baby shower I hosted ... similar requirement of possible but not mandatory participation. I got cute little notebooks and pens with clips (so they could travel with the notebooks), started each one with a phrase about babies, and released them into the party. When the little notebooks (around 40 pages) were full, we put them on display to laugh over and the guest of honor picked her favorite picture in each (there were 3) for a little prize. The completed notebooks made a nice keepsake for mom-to-be, who is a rabid fan of the game.

I think I used mini-moleskins, the ones in 3-packs.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:11 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not ultra-casual, but anyone can join at any point in the game and it promotes mingling:
posted by Akke at 12:25 AM on January 25, 2012

Some sort of photobooth set-up. There are lots of ways of doing this without an actual booth. The key is props - chalkboard speech bubble, boa, groucho glasses, etc. It's a fun activity without being trapped in a game or listening to people playing a game.

Blind wine tasting?

Group crossword or puzzle on a wall -- something interactive, but low key. People can come over and start to fill it in, wander away.

Some kind of table of goodies, with a contest of some kind. i.e. each person can sculpt plasticine into a famous person. At some point you line them all up and guess the identities! The one with the most guesses wins. Or an etch-a-sketch or something. Nostalgic games combined with interactivity.

Is it someone's birthday, or just for fun? Is anyone in your group of friends sick, or having a baby? You could set up a table with a bunch of cheap onsies and fabric markers. The results are often hilarious, especially without the pressure of a baby shower. If someone is bedridden or sick, you could leave a big pad of paper and markers, or printed photos of that person with friends / doing stuff, and ask people for captions.
posted by barnone at 12:26 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

Party like a Victorian: Games for Everybody. There's nothing that livens up a party like a couple of rounds of "Poor Pussy." Seriously, some of the writing games like Cities or Telegram can be fun and are really easy.
posted by betweenthebars at 1:18 AM on January 25, 2012

I don't know the name of this game, but it's pretty common at baby/bridal showers and the like - it's still really fun and can be opted out of. I'm going to call it Assassin, because that sounds really cool."

When people arrive, ask them, "Hey, do you want to play Assassin?" If they say yes, give them 5 stickers or clothespins or the like. They are now an assassin. Any time one assassin catches another saying the target word, they can take one of their stickers/pins. Pick a word that would come up very often ('party', 'work' if they are work friends, 'any simpson reference' if they are nerd friends, etc) The person with the most stickers at the end could get a prize.

It's nice because people can say they don't want to play at the beginning, but join in later by getting their 5 stickers.
posted by muddgirl at 5:53 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

While in graduate school, we used to play this game called "teledraw" after a few hours at the bar. Here's how it goes.

Any number of people can play, but you'd probably want at least 5 or so. If x is the number of people playing, then each person gets x index-card sized pieces of paper, and puts them in a stack. Each person then writes a phrase on the top card of the stack, like "blood is thicker than water" or something like that. They pass the whole stack to the person on their left. The person who received the stack, then puts the top card on the bottom, and proceeds to draw the phrase, pictionary style. The stack is then passed to the left again, where this time the person has to guess what the phrase is. They move the picture to the back, write what they think the phrase is on the top card, and pass it to the left again. Then that person draws it, etc. Continue until the stack reaches the original owner.

Next, each person goes through the stack and shows the progression from "blood is thicker than water" through a hilarious set of pictures and phrases. Everyone laughs maniacally. Rinse, repeat. Great times, super cheap, and people who don't want to play can just ignore the insane guffaws coming from the group of weirdos sitting in a circle on the ground.
posted by King Bee at 6:37 AM on January 25, 2012

I was recently at a gathering where people passed a blank notebook around (Steno pads are super-awesome) with a pen. There was one sentence written at the top of the first page in the notebook; when it was passed to a new person, that person had to write one new sentence, meant to continue the story provided by what had been written before. Once that person wrote a sentence, they passed it to someone else.

Initial interest was low, but once just a very small number of people got involved, everyone wanted to write in the notebook, and then people wanted to know what had happened to the story since they'd written in it. We read the whole story out loud at the end of the evening and it was pretty memorable.

Putting a note on the front of the book (Read the story inside. Add one sentence to keep it going. Pass it to someone else) might help if it gets temporarily set aside during festivities.
posted by Poppa Bear at 7:04 AM on January 25, 2012

I once went to a party with a super-casual clothes peg game that lasted the whole night. The first person attempts to surreptitiously attach the peg to someone's collar/sleeve/skirt etc, but if anyone notices them do it, they fail and have to try to attach the peg to someone else. If they manage to do it without anyone noticing, the victim is the new peg-holder and has to try to attach it to someone else. You could probably attach a points system to this but we didn't bother - it was just fun when, in the midst of conversation, someone would yell out "I saw that!" or "Agh, the peg's on me!". Also it promoted a lot of friendly touching amongst strangers and acquaintances (pats on the back, arms around each other) which was pretty funny - some people went to extreme lengths to try to peg people. And if someone fails and gets called out on it, everyone knows who the pegger is and tries to avoid them - hilarious awkwardness ensues!

Bonus: I came to this party late, and missed the explanation (if there was one) and still got to be part of the game, so it's great if people are going to be drifting in and out at different times.
posted by lovedbymarylane at 8:01 AM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

My friends and I played something we very imaginatively called "the movie game." Basically one person starts with an actor. Next person names a movie that actor was in. Next person names a different actor from that movie. And so on and so forth, until someone gets stumped. To make it more challenging, you could make a rule that you can't name the lead actor(s).
posted by elizeh at 7:15 PM on January 25, 2012

The clothes peg game can also be altered so that once the peg has been surreptitiously attached, the pegger waits a minute or two then begins a loud countdown from 10. Everyone joins in the countdown while furiously checking themselves for the peg, and if the peggee hasn't found it by 0 then they either drink or lose a point or perform some penalty.

I think it adds to the fun because you often get one person in the middle of the group frantically contorting themselves trying to find the elusive peg that everyone else can see.
posted by twirlypen at 1:15 AM on January 29, 2012

Games that have no actual objective, but are just an occasion to be witty, while drunk or hung-over.
So, the Movie titles game - replace a word in a movie title with a word, usually explicit, but varying according to delicate sensibilities.
E.g. Charlie and the *Penis* Factory, and you're allowed to do variations on a single title, like Charlie and the Chocolate ***.

Moose - Make moose hands on your head. Then using one moose hand, each person pretends they've had some kind of moose-related incident.
E.g. moose-butt - 'Ow! I sat on a moose',
moose-nose - "I snorted a moose".
Moose to bowl - "Waiter, there's a moose in my soup".
There's also deformed moose variation - one moose hand up, one pointing down. "Waiter, there's a deformed moose in my soup".
It sounds redundant, but variations on a theme allow a funny joke to be dragged out longer.
(There's also the occasional 'psychic moose' variation - moose hands to head, with spirit fingers).

I wish I could remember all the silly little things like that that people do... they are the kind of fun thing that people can just jump in on.
posted by Elysum at 3:56 PM on January 30, 2012

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