Oh, what fun we had!
August 19, 2014 9:15 AM   Subscribe

Looking for games and activities for a weekend away at a country house.

So this weekend I'm holding my birthday party at a (fairly large) country house. Attendees will be fifteen or so late 20s/early 30s, and we'll have the house from Friday night to monday morning. I'm looking for fun things to do

Things I've considered:

- card/board games like Dixit and Apples to Apples.
- Parlour games like mafia/celebrities
- active games like sardines, capture the flag (we should have a bit of outdoor space)

Very interested in your ideas about what could make this event super fun. As well as ideas of specific games, would be good to hear any general tips from people who have organised this sort of thing before.

Thanks in advance!
posted by greytape to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (21 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Cards Against Humanity is usually good fun.
Beer Pong
Washer Toss
Water fight

I'm a little curious why this has to be so structured and scheduled. Can you just have people, you know, show up and hang out? Do you and your friends drink? Whatever you do, don't have a set schedule/plan. If you force people in to some sort of schedule that has the high likelihood of sucking the fun right out of the weekend. Have some few activities at your disposal (like Cards Against Humanity) and offer them up as options if there is a lull, but keep it loosey goosey.

And bring Doritos. Everyone loves doritos.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:18 AM on August 19, 2014

The game Fishbowl is one to add to the list. It goes pretty fast and you don't need to buy anything or do any prep.
posted by maya at 9:22 AM on August 19, 2014

Get the biggest, most complex jigsaw puzzle you can find. Make sure there is a space it can be left out at all times.

Activity around this puzzle will range from one hungover person absentmindedly placing a piece or two while they chug a pint of water, to a frenzied rush along the home strait to be the person to put the final piece in place.
posted by greenish at 9:24 AM on August 19, 2014 [10 favorites]

One more thing re. not overplanning/overscheduling this...

I used to be friends with a girl who would invite people over for a party (or whatever) and then have everything all planned out TO THE LETTER and pretty much every time the parties never followed her meticulously made plan. People just sort of do what they feel like doing at parties, and make fun on their own terms. Normally you'd think that was a good thing, the people at your party having fun, but this girl would get upset and pouty every god damned time because she felt like her party was "ruined" because it didn't follow her schedule. Hell, sometimes she broke up games/activities that everyone was absolutely enjoying because on her schedule they were due to start some other activity or because some activity that she planned and prepared was going to go unplayed.

Don't be that girl. She sucked.

ps - Karaoke machines are fairly reasonably priced to rent and a shit ton of fun at parties, especially when there is liquor involved.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:28 AM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have never been to a party that was made worse by s'mores.
posted by sacrifix at 9:32 AM on August 19, 2014 [5 favorites]

Love Letter and Citadels are two fun, inexpensive games that work well for small groups (2-4 and 2-8, respectively).

A tip: Have plenty of chargers and cables around for times when people are hanging out in common areas but doing solo activities on tablets/phones. This tends to happen around breakfast time. :)
posted by neushoorn at 9:51 AM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Very interested in your ideas about what could make this event super fun."

Spontaneity? Most people have an overabundance of structure in their lives which it is fun to escape from. It's kind of the point of a weekend elsewhere. Bring a bunch of games and diversions I suppose but don't worry about organization. Let the fun evolve as it will.
posted by vapidave at 9:53 AM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by bottlebrushtree at 10:03 AM on August 19, 2014

Ghost stories for sure. I mean you're practically a horror movie as it is.

Cards Against Humanity is always a solid choice. So is poker.
posted by fshgrl at 10:14 AM on August 19, 2014

So far as activities, cooking is fun. I went to a bachelorette weekend once at a mountain house and we spent hours drinking wine and preparing meals, or drinking wine and watching other people prepare meals. Someone brought things to make cookies. We had chips and fruit and snacks out at all times.

We had a movie night in the great room with some of the honoree's favorite movies. People wandered in and out, or sat through the whole movie if they wanted.

We did an outing to the nearby town and split up to go peek in the shops. There was a hot tub at the house. Some people went hiking. People broke off into small groups to chat and go exploring, and others sat in a sunny window to read and drink coffee.

It was an awesome weekend -- just relaxing and fun and a good mix of folks, and no real agenda. The stack of board games went untouched.
posted by mochapickle at 10:23 AM on August 19, 2014

Cornhole boards.
posted by fontophilic at 10:37 AM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Something about your question make me think that you are, perhaps, aiming for the sort of classic "Weekend at The Country House" vibe that one might find in Jane Austin or an Agatha Christie novel of the 20's or 30's. If I'm way off base here, then feel free to skip the rest.

First, for amusement and edification, I offer you The Country House and Its Hospitality from the 1922 edition of Emily Post. Interestingly, if you scroll down to the section entitled 'KEEPING ONE’S GUESTS OCCUPIED' you'll note that it's basically what folks above are saying: know what there is to do (places to visit, local beaches, local attractions, a selection of nice books, a few board games, perhaps some outdoor games as well) but don't really try to plan for them -- let people fall into groups and organize themselves.

This article from the Jane Austin's World website lists the following 'entertainments' which might be offered to pass the time: walking, riding, shooting and huntin, card parties, musicales (like a sing along), indoor dances, billards, lawn tennis, croquet, cricket, golf (men only), reading in the private library, sewing, gossip (!), carrige rides, lawn bowling.

Everyone was expected to attend lunch and dinner, but were otherwise left to their own devices.

Translating this to people I know here in Maine who will invite people to "camp" (generally a summer house on the lake or ocean), it's actually sort of the same culture: the host provides a selection of do-it-yourself breakfast items and guests can rise early or sleep in, as they choose. Mornings are generally very relaxed; some people may choose to leave for a bit in the morning, but often there is a lot of lounging. Lunch is generally very casual. The host makes books and board games and the equipment for outdoor games available, but doesn't really plan any activities. Everyone is expected to be there for dinner, which is cooked and served as a group. After dinner there might be an outdoor campfire or indoor board games or even singing (particularly if there is a piano available -- I've spent many a lovely candlelit evening singing old songs at a friend's house by the lake as her husband played on their mostly-out-of-tune upright). A house party is a time for people to relax and connect.

Happy birthday!! In parting, I would say, were it my party, I would absolutely offer croquet and/or badminton and lemonade on the lawn.
posted by anastasiav at 10:42 AM on August 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

Nerf guns. All the nerf guns.
posted by punchtothehead at 11:20 AM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Telephone pictionary - best late at night when people are punchy
posted by marginaliana at 11:50 AM on August 19, 2014

Pack a Frisbee.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:50 AM on August 19, 2014

Fire is good.
posted by steinwald at 12:08 PM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Sock wrestling (if contact sports suit your group it is tremendous fun).

I'm not sure what it is called, but I highly recommend having everyone try to draw various cartoon characters from memory. Words cannot describe how entertaining this is.
posted by susanvance at 1:09 PM on August 19, 2014

Play Celebrity, but play it so that you can say anything, not just a celebrity (phrases, animals, concepts). For a fourth round, have the person who's acting things out act their things out underneath a sheet. Make sure that you've already had a charades round by this point, otherwise no one will guess the undersheet clues.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 2:42 PM on August 19, 2014

posted by mixedmetaphors at 3:32 PM on August 19, 2014

I believe the traditional answer is charades (preferably followed by a murder).
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 3:55 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Stump! Lots of fun, and mildly dangerous, to boot.
posted by Grither at 7:13 AM on August 20, 2014

« Older Practical books about making the leap to...   |   Can anyone tell me what type of chair this is? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.