Looking for creative, collaborative games
December 4, 2013 5:19 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for games that have an element of creativity and can be just as fun played without a real winner. For example, games like Encore (a singing game), Telestrations (a drawing game), or Apples to Apples/Cards Against Humanity. All of those games can be played to win, but the real fun is in the game itself. While I'd definitely be interested in games that don't require any supplies (ie charades) I'm really looking for fun stuff to give as gifts.
posted by fermezporte to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:28 AM on December 4, 2013 [4 favorites]

Hanabi. It's a cooperative card game where everyone can see your cards but you. The idea is to "launch" a "fireworks show" by playing cards in the right order. But again, you can't see your own cards, so a huge part of the game is giving other people information about their cards. There are limits on the kind of information you can give. i.e., you can't say "Play that one," you can only say "These cards are green," or "Those cards are threes," etc., and there's a turn limit, so you can't just go around giving information until everyone knows exactly what they've got. You're also not really supposed to meta-game by talking about conventions. They emerge within every game and can change as the game progresses.

My family has really enjoyed it.
posted by valkyryn at 5:42 AM on December 4, 2013

Seconding Dixit. It's creative and fun, and while it has a winner, it's really not the point. You could leave the winning and losing out entirely. It also looks beautiful.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:56 AM on December 4, 2013

Forbidden Island.
posted by jbickers at 6:01 AM on December 4, 2013

Identik is a lot of fun. Each round there is a pre-made illustration that one player describes in words using as much detail as possible, while all of the other players try to recreate the illustration based on the description. Then the player drawings are scored based on a set of elements that are supposed to included in the drawing (the man is wearing a hat, no fingers are shown, etc.) but that none of the players (including the one describing it) knew about in advance. The scoring system is well thought out and even though there is a winner at the end, during any given round everyone is trying to do their best to describe or draw and it feels very collaborative.
posted by burnmp3s at 6:01 AM on December 4, 2013

Once Upon A Time is a perennial favorite in my circles. Some of these might be too wonky for your purposes, but here's a link to a BoardGameGeek search for "cooperative games".
posted by aparrish at 6:16 AM on December 4, 2013

Liebrary is a big hit at my boyfriend's family gatherings.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:29 AM on December 4, 2013

Forbidden Island.

I've not played it, but apparently Forbidden Desert (sequel/follow-up/reboot of Forbidden Island) is a better version of this, although Island is good too.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:50 AM on December 4, 2013

Yeah, I personally dislike Dixit (I can't get into people's heads), but that's the one that immediately came to mind. Once Upon a Time may also be what you're looking for.

There are a TON of cooperative games on the market right now. They are very "in" right now so you should be able to find what you like. I'd say go down to your local gaming store and asking the owner what their thoughts are. They've seen them all, and probably played most of them. You can also possibly see the bits and pieces - many stores have tons of demo games open and available for play. Bonus being you can support a local business!
posted by aggyface at 6:50 AM on December 4, 2013

Microscope. This is more of an RPG, but it's about constructing a fictional timeline/history. It also requires some counters (though you could use pennies) and a pack of index cards. (We like these half-sized cards for a more compact layout.)
posted by BrashTech at 7:26 AM on December 4, 2013

The Lego Creationary game is fun with small groups (I don't understand why it has the stupid name Creationary when it should so obviously be called Bricktionary)
posted by oulipian at 8:41 AM on December 4, 2013

This is a free one, but otherwise fits your description: Paper telephone.
posted by gnimmel at 9:59 AM on December 4, 2013

Jungle Speed is an excellent game. My friends and I play it all the time, and I don't think anyone has ever won. We just give more cards to the people who are starting to run out.

We also adjusted the rules though, and we play the game full-contact, such that when two people grab the totem at the same time they fight over it. It's led to more hilarity than I can describe, and only occasionally to injuries. I'm sure it's just as fun as a non-contact game though.
posted by Urban Winter at 11:59 AM on December 4, 2013

Fiasco is a GM-less, one-shot, role playing game for 3-5 people. Basically the idea is to have things end as badly as possible for your character. It's hilarious. All you need (besides the Fiasco book) are pens/paper and a bunch of regular (6-sided) dice.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 3:56 PM on December 4, 2013

Another free one, it's called "the game" in my circle. Paper, pencils and at at least 4 people needed to play. 5 or 6 people is better.
First person write just the subject of a sentence ("the cat" or "aging Elvis with a harelip") and folds paper to hide it. Pass to person two.
Person two writes the predicate of a sentence ("ran down the street" or "danced with 100 garden gnomes") and passes to person three.
Third person looks at entire sentence and draws it. Folds paper to hide sentence and pass to person four.
Fourth person looks at picture and writes sentence.
Hilarity ensues (really!) when the entire sequence is read/shown to group.
I love this game!
posted by natasha_k at 6:05 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

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