Board games for a wedding
March 30, 2013 10:29 AM   Subscribe

What board games should we get for guests to play at our wedding?

Mr. Just Ducky and I love board games, and are thinking about having lots of board games to play at our Sunday brunch wedding this July. What games would be wedding friendly? We are looking for games that don't have a big learning curve, can accommodate lots of players, and are fun! This probably isn't a crowd that will play one big game of Settlers.

So far, we can think of:

-Apples to Apples

We own a lot of board games already, but are reluctant to use our copy of, say, Dixit, since it is ridiculously expensive (we have the expansions), and we would secretly be obsessively checking on whether people were bending the cards or touching them with sticky fingers. So, games that are easily found at garage sales, or are relatively cheap to buy new are a bonus.

We aren't sure if we will put a game at each table, or have a pile of games in a corner somewhere for people to choose from. Any advice on that front is also appreciated! Our wedding will have about 70 people, so we're probably looking for 10 games or so.
posted by just_ducky to Grab Bag (44 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Well, Life would be appropriate and has a certain 1970s chic.
posted by workerant at 10:32 AM on March 30, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Not exactly a board game, but we had a very large Jenga type game at our wedding BBQ and it was a big hit!
posted by Swisstine at 10:37 AM on March 30, 2013 [6 favorites]

Blokus! Bonus that all the pieces and the board are plastic, so you can wash them if they get grubby!
posted by cooker girl at 10:40 AM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would put a game on each table, so that way even if people don't get around to playing, you still "used" the games as, like, an element of decor.

In fact, if you're having assigned seating, it might be fun if you picked a different classic/memorable board game for each table, and then made the name cards board game themed. So instead of sitting at Table 9, Aunt Sue is sitting at the Scrabble table. How fun is that? (Oh god my Pinterest just started showing)

I would pick familiar all-ages games that are cheap to buy at any local big box store's toy section:

Chess and/or Go
Sorry! and/or Trouble!
Candy Land
Chutes/Snakes And Ladders

Monopoly (Maybe too long to play at a wedding, though?)

Trivial Pursuit (Maybe just buy a bunch of replacement/expansion card sets -- I find that when you bust out Trivial Pursuit at a party people are mostly just into asking the questions. It's also fun if you can track down the old 80's editions at a garage sale; the pop culture questions are super nostalgic)

One of the games where it's more card-based and about word-play or guessing, like Scattergories, Apples to Apples, or Taboo.

You could probably also throw in an Uno table, even though Uno isn't a board game per se. A Werewolf/Mafia table would also be fun, if your guests are the sort of people who are familiar with it and can teach others easily
posted by Sara C. at 10:40 AM on March 30, 2013 [13 favorites]

They aren't board games, but neither are your examples, but maybe you want to do something more card oriented because those don't take up as much room. Maybe like Fluxx(no learning curve as there are no rules!), or Set, or something like Unexploded cow, or one of the Munchkin games? You can go for the cheapass games too, cheap fairly straightforward. And maybe just some regular playing cards for people who prefer that sort of games. The issue you run across is you don't want to tie up your guests playing a game like History of the World (in real time).
posted by katers890 at 10:43 AM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Catch Phrase would be perfect for this. It's like a combination of Taboo and Hot Potato, it's not too expensive, and there aren't pieces that will get lost. All you need is an even number of people and even that can be worked around. Very easy rules.
posted by Colonel_Chappy at 10:45 AM on March 30, 2013

Wits and Wagers is a ton of fun.
posted by backwards guitar at 10:50 AM on March 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Bananagrams is a great, fast table game that would be super fun to play at a wedding.

I love this idea!!
posted by k8lin at 10:51 AM on March 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

I like easy games that people can pop in and out of. Bananagrams and Monster Factory fit that bill.
posted by xingcat at 10:51 AM on March 30, 2013

Best answer: Scattergories
Cranium and other games made by the Cranium folks
Short versions of games like monopoly, clue, or trivial pursuit (or just the cards for that one)
Maybe regular playing cards and card games like UNO
Similarly, maybe dice games like dice 10000 / cosmic wimp out

Also you might come across fun games at garage sales and thrift stores that you wouldnt think of otherwise. We bought the game quiddler at a thrift store. It was fun enough for a couple bucks.
posted by wintrymix at 10:53 AM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I was recently at a board game wedding. They went with a pile of games in the corner, but at one point the bride went around and suggested games to tables of non-gamers (the tables full of her board gaming friends were assumed to be able to pick their own games). We played Apples to Apples at our table, and while it's not my favorite game, it does have the advantage of being easy to learn and low-key. The other advantage is that it works for a highly variable number of players -- having a Scrabble game is all well and good, but a 10 person table can't play a 4 person game.

Boxes of trivial pursuit cards can make great conversation openers for tables, and you can buy them used easily enough.

I'd also suggest games like Catch Phrase, Identity Crisis, etc that can be played in teams by dividing a table in half because they grow better with the table.

Some games, like Balderdash, can be readily played with more people than the box allows for just by adding extra tokens.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:58 AM on March 30, 2013

One good idea for longer games might be to invent or look up a quick version, and display the "quick" rules prominently with the game. If people are just fricken WILD to play out a whole game of Clue, they can I guess, but they can also play your 10 minute version and then get out on the dance floor.
posted by Sara C. at 10:58 AM on March 30, 2013

With Katers890's point about card games taking up less space at the table, you could consider Bang. It's a 4-7 player spaghetti-western themed game. The base game reasonably inexpensive, rounds don't take too long, and (especially without the expansions) the learning curve is fairly shallow.
posted by JiBB at 10:59 AM on March 30, 2013

Sorta like Apples to Apples, but for adults (or maybe you can remove cards you find distasteful): Cards Against Humanity
posted by Seboshin at 11:05 AM on March 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you want your wedding to be memorable to everybody involved, there's only one real answer.
posted by Sphinx at 11:05 AM on March 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

I might also put in some quick play games that everyone knows and has fond childhood memories of. Not all strictly board games, but something that everyone can get into. That way, even if they're not big "game" people, people can play something quickly and get out. I know I'd be reluctant to join a game that would take a long time, but I'd gladly play Hungry Hungry Hippos, Operation, jacks, checkers, Connect Four, Mousetrap, Candyland, etc.
posted by decathecting at 11:15 AM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Not exactly a board game, but we had a very large Jenga type game at our wedding BBQ and it was a big hit!

We had giant Jenga too, although it was a hit with kids who used the blocks like dominoes.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:16 AM on March 30, 2013

Our wedding was actually boardgame themed - the guests' favours at the reception where a little paper sweet bag with a few cards each from Pictionary, Dingbats, and Trivial Pursuit (you can buy just the cards from the games on eBay), plus we had custom dice made with our names and the wedding date on, and each table had some pencils and paper on for the Pictionary cards. They were a big hit, and wandering round you could see everyone drawing pictures or asking each other trivia questions.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:18 AM on March 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you're not familiar with Cards Against Humanity, I'll just warn you that it's extremely vile and offensive. Don't get me wrong, I love playing it with my friends, but it might make your wedding memorable for the wrong reasons.

As an example, here's three random response cards I just pulled out of our deck: "kids with ass cancer," "date rape," "black people."

You might try Malarkey or Tribond. Looks like both are inexpensive.
posted by Colonel_Chappy at 11:22 AM on March 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Don't play Sorry. It ruins friendships! Ok not really, but it's sortof competitive in a bad way. I would go with games that are short (so not Monopoly!).
posted by radioamy at 11:41 AM on March 30, 2013

I was going to say Cards Against Humanity, too. But that's very our personality. Your mileage may vary a LOT.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:42 AM on March 30, 2013

Super easy to understand and fun. The Parker Bros 1960's wood versions are best.
posted by artdrectr at 11:50 AM on March 30, 2013

We did this. We just went to a thrift store and picked up all the games we could find, and supplemented them with our own (Apples to Apples, Catan, Clue). Surprisingly, the old, obscure games were as much a hit as the young trendy ones.

Cards Against Humanity wouldn't bother me so much if it weren't hella racist.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:59 AM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

King of Tokyo is a fun, recent game. Apples to Apples works. Trivial Pursuit will end up with people just quizzing each other, which is fine. Balderdash and Beyond Balderdash are lots of fun, and will also end up with more quizzing than game playing. Killer Bunnies works for groups of people going in and out. Munchkin works.
posted by jeather at 12:06 PM on March 30, 2013

Definitely Bananagrams--each round goes by really fast, so it's easy for players to drop in and out. I absolutely love Wise and Otherwise (good for Balderdash fans), but it's on the pricier side. Cranium is fun.
posted by tan_coul at 12:16 PM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

People seem to either love it or hate it, but if a card game is OK, there's Fluxx.
posted by LionIndex at 12:25 PM on March 30, 2013

Set! That's a good one for a group, it's fast, and is fun.
posted by k8lin at 12:44 PM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

As an artsier card-based game, try Dixit.
posted by Wulfhere at 1:13 PM on March 30, 2013

The Resistance: Avalon!

Super easy to get into, both thought and skullduggery are involved, and every group I've introduced it to loves it.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 1:14 PM on March 30, 2013

I like Scrabble Slam which is a raucous card game and plays in short rounds so people can come and go. Fun for all ages, including people like me who aren't normally into board games or cards.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 1:54 PM on March 30, 2013

Not a board game:Mad Libs.
posted by brujita at 2:39 PM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Here are a bunch of thoughts in no particular order -

Dexterity games, party, and simple visual games are good for this. Nothing strategic like chess; nothing 2-player. Most people will not want to learn a new game on the fly, since they're mainly there to watch you and catch up with relatives/friends, so games need to be: immediately appealing and understandable, low-stakes (being "bad" at the game doesn't affect how much fun you have or how well anyone else does), easy to join or drop out of (ie, short rounds). It may also be best to avoid games where the board is important, depending on your table setup.

-Suspend (add pieces to a mobile and keep it balanced)
-Snap Trap by Schylling is *great* for this - older male relatives especially love it IME, it's easy to understand an fun to spectate, and cheap enough that you can get several sets - but it is hard to find these days, this link is one of the only ones I found.
-Bausack or Bamboleo or one of the other really nice ones (expensive, but it would be fun to have an excuse to pick up a set)
-Maybe Barrel of Monkeys or Gone Fishin', they each are cheap and have a nice "toy" aspect

Visual; these require table space:
-Set - thinky
-Tsuro or similar pipe/pathway tile games (I think Tsuro is the fastest. Others include Waterworks, Tantrix, Metro aka Cable Car, Ta-Yu, etc - but these take longer.)
-Aquarius- (Looney Labs game) - plays similarly to dominoes with colorful designs

Party games:
-Apples to apples. Go through the cards beforehand and weed out the too-serious ones, and maybe add some of your own?Also, Cards Against Humanity is really not great for a mixed crowd IMO.
-I like 25 Words or Less, it's great with two big teams
-Liar's dice?
-If you have the right very-specific crowd, a simplified version of Zendo could be great; but if you have the wrong crowd it would be turrible. (It's a little like Mastermind)
-A small stack of trivia cards at each tables is nice, some tables will be into it and some won't.

Simple card games:
-Uno is a good bet - everyone knows it, colorful, random enough, fast enough rounds.
-No Thanks
- Raj aka Stupide Vautour (love this game!)
-Quiddler is a quasi-scrabble-esque card game
-Blink might be good for kids or teens; it's sort of mindless and very fast
-Maybe Skip-bo

Maaaaybe: (easy rules, appealing pieces, but still may be too involved for this event)
-Bohnanza? again, longish
-Ticket to Ride

Someone above recommended the Cheapass Games, which if you're not familiar with them are cute, with an offbeat sense of humor, but they are uneven; some are great, some are not well-balanced and can really drag. Playtest with nongamers before deciding to use them for wedding.

Also, you may want to think about how to indicate to guests that the games are really for playing - eg have them already opened, maybe some pieces out? Bear in mind also that you won't be able to do any rule explanations yourselves, so think about how people will learn/be encouraged to try the games if not by you. Simplified rules explanations on cards?
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:06 PM on March 30, 2013

Oh - if you will have very mixed ages, Spot It is a great pure-visual game - young kids can play on equal footing with teens and adults, it's quick, it requires almost no table space.

Also, if you have the right crowd for it, Pitchcar would be great. (Again sort of expensive tho)
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:42 PM on March 30, 2013

You could also, space permitting, set up a jigsaw puzzle tale for folks who are not feeling the social nature of games to zone out for a minute or two. We have a big communal jigsaw in the break room at work, and people love spending a few minutes each day fitting a few pieces in.
posted by itsamermaid at 3:42 PM on March 30, 2013

Bubble Talk is similar to Apples to Apples. It's easy to learn, any age can play, and it's a great party game. We played this with a group of 8 teens and adults for Game Night at a local coffee shop. None of us had played it before but we all caught on instantly and had a blast playing it.
posted by kbar1 at 4:22 PM on March 30, 2013

Years ago I used to run games night at bar in a hotel here in Toronto. It was similar to what you are doing at your wedding: Around 70 people, around 10 tables.

Apples to Apples was a very big hit. It's easy, and people can get the hang of it, and it involves everyone.

On thing to consider is - there's a bit of a difference between what's a good game, and what sort of game makes for a good party. It might be fun for two people to sit and play chess, but a room full of people sitting in pairs, concentrating really hard, with furrowed brows, might not be the mood you are hoping for in a wedding.

I'd lean to games that are very easy to learn, that involve lots of people, that do not require super-deep uninterupted concentration.

Dexterity games are great for a party like this. I *loved* Jenga. It is a very fun social thing - everyone can see the tower getting precarious. Everyone can hear the tower collapse. People would sort of gather round at the end-game. This is what you want, I think!
posted by ManInSuit at 4:37 PM on March 30, 2013

No one has mentioned PIT yet? You people must not have been at my house circa 1987. Best game for 4-9 people.
posted by Liesl at 5:41 PM on March 30, 2013

First a tangential suggestion: for the worry about cards getting sticky or bent, use some plastic sleeves like people use for baseball or other tradable cards. I know a couple who uses those, and it seems to work brilliantly.

Now, for a great party game, and one that I've found tends to go well with crowds that like Apples to Apples, I give you: The Hat Game.

The group splits into two teams. Each person is given five slips of paper, on which they secretly write two things, two people, and a place. All the slips of paper go into a hat.

Round one is played like Taboo. Each turn is one minute long. On a given team's turn, one player draws a slip and can say anything (no gestures, though!) but the words on the slip itself to get their team to guess it. If they guess it, they keep the slip, and the player draws another and keeps going until the minute is up. Our house rules are that the player can also at their discretion decide that a slip won't work and simply throw it in and draw another. After their minute is up, the other team gets their turn of one minute. Play goes back and forth (rotating which player on a team is giving the hints) until all the slips are successfully guessed. The teams count up how many slips they have kept and record that number, then all the slips go back in the hat.

Round 2 is similar, but now that everyone has heard all of the slips, the player can only say ONE word per slip to get their team to guess what is on it. Again, no gestures. Also, we usually play that whatever the time left in the minute of the previous round was when a team got the last slip, that team starts off using the remaining time up, then play moves to the other team and proceeds again by one-minute intervals, and again once all the slips are guessed, each team counts how many they got, then throws them all back into the hat.

Round 3, everyone has heard the answers twice, so charades!
posted by solotoro at 5:42 PM on March 30, 2013

The reason I suggested a bunch of games that are for a limited number of players, in addition to some other games that are more open-ended, is that I imagine that not every table will want to play as a group for the whole reception.

I think it's a little short sighted to choose only games that are good for a big group, as it's unlikely that the whole table is going to want to play a game together for the whole time. Then you get the opposite of the chess problem, which I think is worse because most people go to a wedding to enjoy the party, not to play board games. If you were throwing a game night, this would be a different story.
posted by Sara C. at 7:17 PM on March 30, 2013

Fluxx is okay, but I prefer the variants - I've played Monty Python Fluxx and Zombie Fluxx, but there are also versions for Pirates, Cthulu, and Starships.

The official Fluxx website is here:

Other suggestions I didn't see mentioned: Uno, Scattergories, and Lego kits.
posted by rakaidan at 8:27 PM on March 30, 2013

The Great Dalmuti is a good group game, though cards rather than board. You can wear different hats for the different roles or have some other kind of token to denote rank, like nice glasses down to plastic cups or something.

The other thing that is fabulous to play in a group is kind of like a cross between Pictionary and Chinese whispers, with the advantage that lack of drawing ability is a plus. The people who taught it to me called it "Cricket, cricket, your house is on fire". You need paper and pencils/pens. Everyone thinks of a common phrase/aphorism/movie quote (eg "These are not the droids you're looking for"; "Too many cooks spoil the broth" etc) and writes at the top of the paper. Everyone then passes their sheet to the next person (decide which direction to go at the beginning). Then you draw an illustration of the words you see. It doesn't matter how good it is or if you're not sure how to draw it. Just try. Then fold the paper so the original words are hidden and pass to the next person. Then you write a caption for the drawing you've been handed, fold over so the picture is hidden and pass. Keep going until you run out of room on the paper. Then everyone unfolds the sheet they wind up with and reads the progression - share amongst the table. There will be people crying with laughter.

The worse the drawing ability, the easier to misinterpret and thus the more hilarious the outcome. I actually think it is a mistake to try to guess what the original was - it's more fun to have it misinterpreted - so I use the captioning turn to describe things excessively literally rather than trying to recreate the original words. One of my favourite examples (and you had to be there to see the pictures) was something like "Spinning around like a ninja turtle" which evolved out of "You spin me right round baby". Ok, it loses something in the anecdote, but this was probably 10 years ago and I still remember so it must have been hilarious!
posted by Athanassiel at 9:26 PM on March 30, 2013

In fact, if you're having assigned seating, it might be fun if you picked a different classic/memorable board game for each table, and then made the name cards board game themed. So instead of sitting at Table 9, Aunt Sue is sitting at the Scrabble table. How fun is that?

We went to a wedding that did exactly this. We were at the "Operation" table, though we stopped by the Connect Four, Candyland and Hungry Hungry Hippos tables (this was the rowdiest group) as well. They used all classic games, so no one had to worry about reading rules. It was a great time and loads of fun!
posted by platinum at 1:09 AM on March 31, 2013

nthing Balderdash, it's a great party game.
posted by vasi at 2:47 AM on March 31, 2013

posted by WeekendJen at 1:06 PM on March 31, 2013

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