Looking for fun party games like Telephone Pictionary
October 18, 2012 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Looking for fun party games (other than Telephone Pictionary) that can be played with 20-25 people and involve little (or no) supplies, explanation, organization, or complex thinking.

My girlfriend and I host a monthly potluck dinner for our friends. After we eat, we usually play Telephone Pictionary, which is always funny and everybody loves. Only thing is we've been doing this for months, and I'm concerned about the group getting tired of Telephone Pictionary. Nobody's said anything yet, but it's starting to feel a bit repetitive. I'm thinking it may be time to try a new game.

Thing is, Telephone Pictionary is perfect. It doesn't require many supplies (just a bunch of notebooks and pens), the rules can be explained in less than 2 minutes, and it's absolutely hilarious. Everyone loves it.

Are there any other party games that fit this description?

Please keep in mind that my friends are usually tipsy by this point in the evening, so I'd rather not introduce something that requires organization or complex thinking. Definitely not interested in strategy games. Anything that channels my friends' natural creativity and humor is a plus.

Alternately, do you know of any fun variations on Telephone Pictionary that may shake things up a bit?
posted by Afroblanco to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (24 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Mafia would be fun with a group that size. It wouldn't require any supplies at all, although it might take slightly longer to explain.

The crazy group dynamics really start to come out then. You might have to adjust the numbers a little.
posted by Mercaptan at 11:12 AM on October 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

White board pictionary. As a group come up with several themes. Split into two teams...everyone writes down a clue for each theme. Have a big whiteboard with dry erase markers...play pictionary!

This does require the purchase of a whiteboard and markers...but you already have the paper and pens for writing clues.
posted by schyler523 at 11:18 AM on October 18, 2012

Best answer: Are card games acceptable? Cards Against Humanity is my go to fun party game for a bunch of people. Hilarious in a crude and offensive kind of way, so it's certainly not a good choice if there are any younger children involved. Rules are very simple as well.
posted by Grither at 11:25 AM on October 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

I dunno the official name of it; we just called it "murder". Slips of paper are folded up, one for each person present, and put in a hat or bowl. One of them says "Detective". One says "Murderer". The others are all blank. Everyone draws a slip and looks at it secretly.

The Detective announces herself. Then the lights are turned off and everyone mingles. At some point the murderer puts their hands lightly around someone's neck (and it can't be the detective) and the victim screams and falls to the floor. The lights are turned back on again -- and then the detective's job is to figure out who the murderer was, by questioning everyone. Obviously the murderer lies but everyone else is supposed to tell the truth. (Except the victim, who can't speak.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:36 AM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Apples to Apples would be my go to. Might want to split up int two groups, but I think 20 would be hilarious.
posted by bilabial at 11:36 AM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Celebrity is fun.

Everyone writes down the names of three celebrities (term used loosely--we've used cartoon characters, dictators, authors...) on slips of paper. Split into two teams.

Round one: all the celebrities are guessed like you do for Catchphrase or Taboo (i.e. you say a bunch of things to get the person to guess who it is.

Round two: same group of celebrities, but this time you can only give one word for the clue

Round three: no words, just charades
posted by phunniemee at 11:38 AM on October 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

Bucket of Nouns is great! It's like Charades but better. Each round the nouns stay the same (you're supposed to remember them) but the action you do to get people to yell out the nouns gets harder and funnier. So round 1: describe it with words (like in Taboo), round 2: just one word, round 3: gestures (like in Charades), round 4: sounds/noises only (but not words). You can make up other rounds too.

Relay Scattergories is another one of my favorites, although I haven't seen it described anywhere online. You play scattergories, except you write on a whiteboard (or big piece of paper taped to a wall) at the front of the room instead of individual pieces of paper. Each team gets a single colored marker (all the colors have to be different). Only 1 person from each team can write at a time; they get to write 3 words and then have to hand the marker to the next person in their team. After 3 minutes, everyone stops writing, you cross out all the doubles within a category, then count up by color how many words each team got. Often loud and raucous!
posted by danceswithlight at 11:42 AM on October 18, 2012 [5 favorites]

Looks like phunniemee's "Celebrity" is the same as my "Bucket of Nouns." I would say that having any noun possible makes it funnier, though! Especially when you get into really abstract nouns like "metaphysics"...
posted by danceswithlight at 11:46 AM on October 18, 2012

Werewolf or mafia, but you'd probably have to have some spectators. It's a fun game to watch, thoug, so I don't think that's a huge problem, and it's a little confusing to explain, so you'd probably have people wanting to sit out at first anyway.
posted by empath at 11:54 AM on October 18, 2012

Seconding Cards Against Humanity. It's one of the few games that I find is actually way more fun in a larger group. However, it does require purchasing the game or going through the trouble of printing and cutting out the cards if you download the free PDF version.

Another game I've played before, which I don't recall the name of, involves having everyone write down a few questions (funny, thoughtful, or whatever) on slips of paper. All of these go into a hat. People take turns drawing a question out of the hat. Everyone except the person who drew the question writes down an answer and then the person who pulled the question tries to guess who wrote which answers. I think we gave points for each correct guess, but we were never overly concerned about scoring during the few times that I've played this.
posted by asnider at 11:58 AM on October 18, 2012

And, as mentioned above, Cards Against Humanity may not be appropriate depending on who you're playing with. Apples to Apples is the PG version. (The two games are unrelated, but the rules are nearly identical.)
posted by asnider at 12:00 PM on October 18, 2012

We do a thing thats just called "The Name Game." Certainly there are regional names for this.

Everyone writes a celebrity name on a slip of paper. Put the paper in a hat. One person is the announcer. Announcer reads all the names aloud (multiple times—depending on whether there is booze at the party). The announcer doesn't actually play the game, but since each game goes pretty quickly, people can take turns being the announcer.

Then, you go around the room and each person tries to guess who is who. My Cousin Sal is really into music, so he's likely the one that wrote "Elvis Costello." You would actually execute your turn like this: "Cousin Sal, are you Elvis Costello?" He would then respond yes or no. If he says "yes", he's out of the game and you get to ask another person. If he says no, your turn is over and Cousin Sal gets to ask someone. You just keep going until there is just one person left standing.

The details in summary:
  • The announcer can announce the names a few times in the beginning, but once the actual game gets started, the names can never be re-announced. Part of the skill of winning is remembering all of the players in the game.
  • If the asker gets someone correct, you get to keep going.
  • If the asker asks and is incorrect, that person who was just asked gets to go
  • Asker can ask anyone in the room EXCEPT for the person who just went
The game is deceptively hard, and the rules are easy for anyone to remember. The more games you play, the more fun it gets. Has the added benefit of letting you get to know your party members a little better... you can draw conclusions about their personalities based on who they choose to "be."
posted by teriyaki_tornado at 12:03 PM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is something my community kids' theater did with us once; it's fairly easy to explain, and with people who are drunk enough has the potential for being a little naughty.

One person is "it" and one person is "the leader." The person who's it leaves the room for a moment, and everyone else sits in a circle. The leader starts making some simple gesture, and everyone has to copy them. Then you call "it" back into the room and they stand in the circle, watching everyone. Every couple minutes, the leader changes their gesture, and everyone else copies them when they do.

The person who is "it" has to figure out, just by watching everyone, who the leader is. When they do, you can either have the person who's the leader now be it, or have the person who's it be the leader (and then someone else gets a turn doing whatever).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:17 PM on October 18, 2012

Wait - I realized that my game has to end with the person who was the leader now being "it," because you need to keep "the leader's" identity secret from them. Sorry.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:19 PM on October 18, 2012

Exquisite corpse, and variations.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:51 PM on October 18, 2012

One of my college friend groups specialized in exactly this type of game. Chainlink murder is one of my favorites. Astonishingly I've never played it drunk, but that would only make it more hilarious.

Instructions: Four people are chosen and leave the room. Everyone remaining decides on an occupation (of the victim), a non-geographic location, and a method of murder. For example, an altar boy, in a blimp, by being baked into a pie. The first person is called back into the room and told these three things. Then person 2 is called back, and person 1 must charade the occupation, location, and method to them, one at a time. Neither person 1 nor 2 is allowed to say _anything_, except person 2 says “got it” when they think they understand what 1 is trying to charade. When 2 thinks they know each of the three things, 3 is called in and 2 must now charade to 3, just as 1 did to them. Finally 4 is called in, 3 charades to 4, and 4 gets to deliver the results of their investigation: “the victim was a blind cabdriver, in a submarine, killed by paper cut” (or whatever)
posted by ActionPopulated at 2:29 PM on October 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


This game is simple and suitable for all ages.
You need: Spoons (one less than the number of people playing) and a deck of playing cards.

Everyone sits in a circle. In the center of the circle is a pile of spoons. One person is the dealer, and deals each player one card face down. Each player looks at their card and then tucks it safely to the side. The object is to get a card that matches the face value of the card you were dealt.
The dealer rapidly picks up one card at a time and looks at it. If it doesn't match her card, she puts it face down in front of the the player on her right, and then grabs the next card. The player on her right checks the card, and if it doesn't match, passes it on in the same manner, and so on. As soon as someone gets a card that matches the face value of their original card, they quietly reach out and grab a spoon from the center. As soon as someone grabs a spoon, all the spoons are up for grabs.

Whoever ends up without a spoon gets an 'S'. As soon as someone spells out the word 'SPOONS', they are eliminated. If someone grabs the first spoon without having a match, then THEY get a letter instead of the person without a spoon.

This is a really fast-paced game that is meant to be played silently, but is guaranteed to end up making everyone laugh till they hurt. Alcohol only adds to the hilarity, but kids LOVE this game, too.
posted by Brody's chum at 3:08 PM on October 18, 2012

Best answer: The game of things. Lots of creativity. Hours of hilarity. Trust.
posted by murfed13 at 3:11 PM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Balderdash.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 4:10 PM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

We play a game we call "John Travolta". Sitting in a circle, one player (usually the winner of the last round) names either a movie or an actor/actress. If it's a movie, The next person (choose a direction, switch direction between games) must name an actor in that movie. If it's an actor, the next person must name a movie that actor was in. Continue alternating actor-movie-actor, etc.
- You can't name the same movie or actor that was just named. If "Taxi Driver" led to "Robert De Niro", the next player can not guess "Taxi Driver".
- If you guess a wrong answer, you're out for the rest of the round and will be skipped on subsequent laps.
- If player A names an obscure (or not) movie or actor and player B doesn't have an answer, player B can challenge by saying "John Travolta", which means player A must provide an answer. If they answer correctly then player B is out for the round and play continues with the named answer. If they can't answer then player A is out and play continues with player B making up a new starting clue for player C.
- Play continues, skipping players who are 'out', until one winner is determined.
posted by rocket88 at 8:56 PM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not sure what the noise tolerance level for your neighbors is, but if you can get away with it, then there a few fun games:

1. We call it CrossTalk - all the people are divided into pairs (by means of paper slips with the same number written on two of them, (1,1), (2,2)). One person from each pair is the "reader" and the other is the "writer". From a big list of random words, each reader is given 10-15 words which the writers don't know at this point in the game. All readers are made to stand in a line and facing them, about 10 feet are the writers. Blow and whistle and in 1 minute, the readers shout out the words in their list to their partners. The cacophony is the fun!

2. Limbo

3. Clean your room - needs lots of old socks/paper balls. People line up on either side of a rope and throw the "trash" on the other side, trying to clean their side of the line. Game never ends and is fun!
posted by theobserver at 11:59 PM on October 18, 2012

At work on retreats, we play the forehead game. One person doles out post or labels with a celebrity's name that is placed where the player can't see it (forehead or back), then they ask yes or no questions to others to try to guess who they are.

Another one we play is called Move Your Ass.

You put a chair for every participant in a circle, minus one. One person always ends up in the middle. That person must yell out the statement "Move your ass if you _________" and fill in the blank with a fact that says something about themselves. Seated participants must jump up and run around the circle looking for another vacated seat.

Example "Move your ass if you've ever been arrested" "Move your ass if you're wearing blue undies" can be a wide variety of things but gets people running around and screaming and laughing.

Sort of more of an ice breaker
posted by dottiechang at 10:52 PM on October 19, 2012

Response by poster: Lots of great suggestions here. I think for this particular gathering, Cards Against Humanity, The Game of Things, and Balderdash would be the most fun. But I could see the others being fun with a different crowd.

posted by Afroblanco at 3:42 PM on October 20, 2012

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