Quick, Easy Group Games
March 7, 2022 11:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for quick, casual, party style games that people can pop in and out of, preferably with simple rules that don't need a huge amount of explaining. An ideal example of this is UNO, which people can join for a round or two and and leave without a big fuss. Most people know or can pick up the basic rules quickly. Another example would be Apples to Apples. Ages teen to adult.
posted by roaring beast to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (26 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Fluxx is good for this and comes in many themed flavors to suit your particular crowd!
posted by The otter lady at 11:37 AM on March 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

Pictionary, twenty questions, and charades may be obvious, but are worth considering. You can structure them without teams, or with fluid teams.
posted by eotvos at 11:38 AM on March 7, 2022

Rummikub works for this and is also underrated in general.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:40 AM on March 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

Codenames has two assigned judges, but the teams can add & drop players without impacting play.

Celebrity is a bit like charades with a similar fluid team size.
posted by migurski at 11:52 AM on March 7, 2022 [5 favorites]

Spot it has the simplest rules, can be played with fluctuating numbers of people of varying ages, and it doesn't even matter if you have a full set of cards.
posted by oxisos at 11:53 AM on March 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

Wits & Wagers is a great group game. It's not entirely luck-based, but no one really dominates the game, so it feels fairer than a lot of other group games.

Pit is fun to play with 5-9 people. It's easy to learn, and can get loud.

The good old game of Spoons can also be quite fun.
posted by hydra77 at 11:53 AM on March 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

We have this matching game, Happy Hour, that is fun and especially with four people, is pretty quick.
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:00 PM on March 7, 2022

If this is for an in-person party: Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza. It's a card game, kind of like Uno, super easy to learn, and lots of fun.
posted by kbar1 at 1:10 PM on March 7, 2022

2nding Rummikub and adding Qwirkle. Both (like Uno!) are great for folks with dyslexia, which is relevant to my family. A single round typically takes about as long as a round of dominoes (which would also work) or Uno.
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:39 PM on March 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

Hedbanz. It looks like a kid's game -- well, because it is one -- but it's fun for everyone, if they don't mind losing their dignity.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:14 PM on March 7, 2022

Try "We didn't playtest this at all" or "Superfight". Superfight has arguing which may be fun or unbearable depending on your group and personalities/age ranges. "We didn't playtest this" is fun for its randomness and sudden reversals of fortune.
posted by Lady Li at 2:23 PM on March 7, 2022

Our family loves speed scrabble. This is where you put all the scrabble tiles face down in the middle of the table, and take turns turning them over one at a time, going clockwise. When you see a word, you say it, take the letters, and then restart by turning over the next letter. You can steal other people's words by adding letters, but you have to use all of their letters (you saw S-T-E and made "set," then the next person turns over an A and I say "seat"). You can also defend by adding to your own words: then I notice that an L has been on the table the whole time and say "steal," for instance. The great thing is that games are quick and people can even come and go during a round of play. Plus at the end, when all the tiles are gone, you can count up who has the most points and who has the most words and who has the most points per word and have lots of winners. We play no -s or -ed, three letter minimum, and no blank tiles, but you can play however you want, it's a free country in that respect.
posted by sy at 2:34 PM on March 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

One we've played that doesn't really have a name but we can call Match goes as follows.

One person (who is "it") thinks of a secret word and says the first letter and number of letters, so if it was "circus" they'd say "six letter c word."

The others (any number but works best with 3-6) now must try to get that word. They do so by thinking of other six letter c words and trying to get everyone BUT the person who's "it" to guess what it is.

So if I was another player and thought of six letter c word "crouch," I'd say "I've got one." Then I can give any kind of hint except for hinting at the spelling. So I might say to a Harry Potter fan "wizarding leader" and they think ahh, Barty Crouch. Or maybe I say to a gamer "doing this in tactical games raises your accuracy." Or I can be obvious and say it's a word for a low physical stance. Basically I hint at whatever I can, including personal stuff ("person, you said you had to do this the other day"), trying to get people to understand what word I'm talking around. At any time whoever's "it" can try to guess the word and if they do we have to move on.

If others think they understand, they say "match." I can wait and see if more people get it but once someone does I can call it and say, "OK ten seconds!" Then the "it" has ten seconds left to guess what it is. If they don't get it, then the people who matched say the word on the count of three - if they all say the same word, it's a win for them and the "it" has to reveal another letter of the word (starting from the beginning) for every person who matched with me.

So if two Harry Potter fans matched with me for "crouch" the "it" person would have to reveal the next two letters: I and R. And now all guesses have to start with CIR!

If the word one of us thinks up is The Word then "it" doesn't have to admit it until the guessers match and get it, or make a limited "official" guess on what it is (we generally allow one per person).

It sounds complicated at first but once you get the rhythm it's hilarious because people will out of nowhere on a walk or hike or car ride say "got one," and suddenly you're playing again.

Maybe this game is described better or officially elsewhere but there you go!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 2:39 PM on March 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

Our family loves speed scrabble...

If that sounds like your cup of tea, I strongly recommend Bananagrams.
posted by The Bellman at 2:49 PM on March 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

The Bellman beat me by three minutes to suggest Bananagrams!

The only thing I'd add is that if you have people from different countries in your social circle that you agree on a set national spelling convention ahead of time, to avoid an argument about whether COLOUR is acceptable or not...
posted by andrewesque at 2:52 PM on March 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

Two of our go-tos:

Just One where one person is trying to guess a word. Everyone else can give a single-word clue, BUT any duplicate clues are eliminated before being shown to the guesser.

Concept which is...kind of like pictionary for people who can't draw? You give clues from a pre-set menu of characteristics. Clue-giving is done in pairs, so a new person gets some training wheels. Everyone else guesses.
posted by DebetEsse at 3:01 PM on March 7, 2022

Seconding DebetEsse. Just One is easily the best party/casual game that I, my gaming group, and my non-gaming partner and her friends have played in years.

Telestrations is another great recommendation. Easy to learn, fun to play.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:37 PM on March 7, 2022

The Mind

Not as much a game as an activity, but goes over well in your scenario.
posted by Windopaene at 5:21 PM on March 7, 2022

I can't recommend outburst enough. It's fun, loud, lively, and people can so easily drop in and out.
posted by bbqturtle at 6:07 PM on March 7, 2022

Snake Oil is my go-to here.
posted by brainwane at 6:09 PM on March 7, 2022

I suggest L.L.A.M.A.!

Probably easier than Uno? And more fun, according to me!
posted by middlethird at 10:19 PM on March 7, 2022

Cards Against Humanity is exactly for this, though it's obviously for adults who enjoy crude humor.
posted by Sublimity at 3:42 AM on March 8, 2022

Concept, mentioned by DebetEsse, has been a huge hit for this sort of thing with several of my friends groups. We throw out the actual rules and people just have a fun time drifting in and out of the game as both guessers and clue givers.

There's a game that I'm blanking on the name of at the moment that someone else might recognize - you are building a stack of colored balls with random rules that are drawn (orange balls cannot touch blue; there's at least two orange balls touching each other) that you have to figure out a design that fulfills them. Again, if you pitch the actual rules, it's easy for people to jump in and out.

There's a computer based word association game that dominated a week long party that I'm also blanking on the name of (I think it involved cows?). Basically you'd have already guessed phrases that would connect to new ones. So you might have an unknown phrase of ....... .... ..... connected to Switzerland, cow, and building and from that you'd have to guess Neutral Milk Hotel.

6 Nimmt is super easy to understand and is fast and light.
posted by Candleman at 6:49 AM on March 8, 2022

Dimension and Funny Farm were the games that I was forgetting the names of.
posted by Candleman at 2:24 PM on March 8, 2022

Superfight is great, you have a character and a superpower, and a second player has theirs, and you each have to convince everyone else that you would win a fight. The game is more about fast talking or bragging than about strategy.
posted by buildmyworld at 8:01 PM on March 8, 2022

fuji flush is my favorite casual game for larger groups. it’s like uno where folks are trying to get rid of their cards, playing one card at a time around the table. but it also has a group-ganging-up mechanism that ups the drama and intrigue. very simple and fun, but needs at least 5 to play.
posted by bruceo at 12:18 AM on March 9, 2022

« Older Have any scholars written about The Chosen?   |   Affordable vacuums that work for pet hair? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.