Best board game for a group?
August 16, 2006 1:39 PM   Subscribe

What is the best board game for a group of tipsy 20-somethings to play?

I'm having a smallish party with drinks & snacks, and want to have a fun board game on hand in case people aren't mingling (there are a few people outside of my regular "group" coming). We're a bunch of mid-to-late 20-somethings, leaning towards the geeky side (mostly engineers with a few liberal artsy folks like myself).

I have found that Trivial Pursuit (regular & pop culture editions) seem to take too long, Cranium seems kind of played out, and no one likes Monopoly.

I'm more than happy to buy a new game - the only criteria are that it can't rely on a television as ours will not be working (I know some games have DVDs etc) and that it has to be fun.

So...what do you recommend, and why?
posted by tastybrains to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (66 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Apples to Apples. Fun for geeks and artsy types, can be played while drunk, and doesn't have a board that can be carelessly overturned.
posted by amber_dale at 1:41 PM on August 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

posted by baker dave at 1:41 PM on August 16, 2006

Scattergories. It's fairly easy (think of words that fit these categories that start with a certain letter), and it can get quite funny when creative types are involved. I imagine that alcohol would only enhance that.
posted by penchant at 1:41 PM on August 16, 2006

apples to apples, because it doesn't take a lot of explaining, or a lot of concentration, but it's really fun.
posted by unsigned at 1:42 PM on August 16, 2006

I'll second Apples to Apples.
posted by everichon at 1:43 PM on August 16, 2006

posted by milarepa at 1:45 PM on August 16, 2006

Scattergories, Apples to Apples, and Cranium. In that order.
posted by dead_ at 1:47 PM on August 16, 2006

As soon as I saw the question, I thought "Apples to Apples". But everyone has to be drunk. The one sober player will have no fun if everyone else is playing drunk.
posted by solid-one-love at 1:48 PM on August 16, 2006

posted by baker dave

Nekkid Twister is even more fun.
posted by buggzzee23 at 1:49 PM on August 16, 2006

How bout backgammon? It's only 2 at a time but the games are fast and it's easy to learn.
posted by Mister_A at 1:50 PM on August 16, 2006

Carom. Easy, interactive and great fun to play. The games are quick too so everybody gets to have a go.
posted by tnai at 1:50 PM on August 16, 2006

Apples to Apples, like, nthed. The other archaeology grad students and I would play this while drinking, with some hilarous results, especially when one starts trying to justify your rationale for putting down a card.
posted by cobaltnine at 1:51 PM on August 16, 2006

RISK is always fun. Especially for engineers. I work with a mob of programmers and they're all addicted to the online version at

Balderdash can also be very entertaining.
posted by mullingitover at 1:53 PM on August 16, 2006

Munchkin for the geeks among you.

Apples to Apples.



Settlers of Catan.
posted by canine epigram at 1:53 PM on August 16, 2006

carcassonne particularly if you enforce the "confer with the other players before placing your tile" rule. it's like settlers of cataan for children, or the drunken adult.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:54 PM on August 16, 2006

and Fluxx.
posted by canine epigram at 1:54 PM on August 16, 2006

If you and your friends can play without turning into its namesake, Asshole is actually a good trick-taking game.
posted by mkultra at 1:55 PM on August 16, 2006

posted by spilon at 1:55 PM on August 16, 2006

Third on Apples to Apples. I absolutely hate "adult board games" or whatver the genre is called, to the point I'd rather hang out with the lamers looking for tubgirl in the study, but I enjoy Apples to Apples.

It encourages conversation, provides a context for people to act a little feisty without throwing too many elbows, and it gives people who aren't playing something to talk about if they choose to watch from the sidelines.
posted by mph at 1:56 PM on August 16, 2006

Apples to Apples is really fun.

Also, if it's that kinda party, Candyland makes a great drinking game.
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:57 PM on August 16, 2006

Yup ... seconding and thirding Apples to Apples and Scattergories.
posted by TurkishGolds at 1:57 PM on August 16, 2006

we always had fun playing Sorry! while drinking
posted by blind.wombat at 1:58 PM on August 16, 2006

We usually rock Scattergories or Taboo. Catchphrase is pretty similar, and has the advantage of a disc you toss back and forth, which almost always results in fights over who was holding it when the buzzer went off.

Of course, more often than not we're playing Asshole or Quarters. Then again, we're a bunch of drunks.
posted by uncleozzy at 2:03 PM on August 16, 2006

There is no funner (is that a word?) game EVER, drunk or sober, for a group of adults than HILARIUM.

I don't even know if it's currently marketed. We got ours at a thrift store. But it is hands-down the most fun I have ever had playing a game at a party. VERY highly reccomended.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 2:09 PM on August 16, 2006

Exquisite corpse.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 2:10 PM on August 16, 2006

The Game of Life is a blast when drinking. Seriously.
posted by inigo2 at 2:12 PM on August 16, 2006

Pass the Pigs. It's like a dice game, but with two little plastic pigs. I think if you roll a leaning double jowler that gets you megapoints. Plus, it's just fun to say leaning double jowler.
posted by printchick at 2:13 PM on August 16, 2006

I'll eighth Apples to Apples and second Fluxx. Both are really easy to learn, and easy to teach.

Apples to Apples is the one game I have that always gets an immediate, "Again!" from new players, especially the non-gamers. Also, it's hard to find another game that supports ten (or more with expansions) players. (Unless it's Magic Realm. And if you're at a fun get-together with drinks and someone recommends that, run.)

With geeky types willing to sit through ten minutes of rules, and about 70 minutes of play, try Shadows Over Camelot. Everyone gets to play a Knight of Round Table, and all on the same team (the first time through). So no one feels left out, and you either win or lose all together. Also, if so inclined, it gives people a chance to speak in goofy accents and say things like "I need assistance with the Lady of the Lake, my Lord," and "Verily, my liege, I shall slay the dragon". Caveat: only goes up to seven players (eight with online content).

And don't forget to check out Board Game Geek, you're bound to find something there if these don't work out.
posted by The Mauve Frog at 2:13 PM on August 16, 2006

Pit. It's getting pretty rowdy and intense.
posted by yeti at 2:14 PM on August 16, 2006

I really like Settlers of Catan for a group of 3 or 4 players.
posted by PowerCat at 2:14 PM on August 16, 2006

If you're already totally smashed...Candyland. Add this rule:

If a player miscounts their move, they have to take a drink.
posted by ChazB at 2:26 PM on August 16, 2006

I enjoy Sorry. Especially if you are drunk and get into the strategy and revenge, then it becomes vicious.
posted by unknowncommand at 2:33 PM on August 16, 2006

At the start, Roborally. This one requires actual thought but the game can be pretty much as short or as long as you like, and involves destroying robots.

Carcassonne before you're too tipsy. As long as you don't get too super-competitive it's a great time. Even the rules say that helping others is encouraged.

Groo afterwards. Strictly it's a card game, but it has board-like elements and it can be quite Machiavellian.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 2:34 PM on August 16, 2006

If you play Apples to Apples, use the the two-green-apples variation from the side of the box. So instead of trying to play a card that matches RICH you have to play one that matches RICH and DIRTY.

To add something new, I've had a lot of luck with Give Me the Brain, the card game about zombies who work in a fast food joint and who share a single brain.

Time's Up is the most popular party game on BoardGameGeek. Never played it.
posted by Yogurt at 2:41 PM on August 16, 2006

Set, Scrabble, Sorry!, Carcassonne. All good choices, but definitely try Set if you haven't. It's easy and addicting and one's ability to play well will probably degrade in an amusing fashion with the addition of alcohol. :)
posted by limeonaire at 2:41 PM on August 16, 2006

Something Positive's author created a board game called Brandy Land. (some assembly required)

I can't believe anyone else has heard of pass the pigs - I'm seconding that one, if you can find it.
posted by chndrcks at 2:42 PM on August 16, 2006

Telephone Pictionary
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 2:47 PM on August 16, 2006 [2 favorites]

Speed Scrabble is great and is nothing like traditional Scrabble. It is played with out a board and can be played with anywhere from 2 to 10 people at once.

Every player starts with 7 tiles blank side up(the starting tile number can vary). On "go" each player overturns their tiles and has to arrange their tiles to form interconnecting word patterns just like on the regular Scrabble board. The first person to use all of their tiles shouts "go!" and everyone takes two more tiles. If everyone is stuck then two more tiles can be taken at that point. If there are not enough tiles so that everyone can take two one is taken. If there are not enough to go around then the person who said "go" has to take one as does anyone who said "go" during the game. The person who says "go" in the last round wins.

No need to keep score or have winners or losers. The games go quickly and last about 2-5 minutes.
posted by Alison at 2:53 PM on August 16, 2006

Lazlo Hollyfeld, I was going to suggest that! But I haven't seen the rules published anywhere; I just learned it word of mouth.

I love it!
posted by aubilenon at 2:53 PM on August 16, 2006

Articulate - only gets better the drunker you are.
posted by patricio at 3:31 PM on August 16, 2006

ticket to ride
posted by kooop at 3:44 PM on August 16, 2006

Umpteenth on Apples to Apples. Also Taboo.
posted by radioamy at 3:53 PM on August 16, 2006

Someone above suggested Cranium, which I would definitely recommend.

The best drunk party game I've ever seen isn't a board game, and may not even be in print anymore: The Great Dalmutti. It freaking rules. It's a card game from ... uh ... the dude who invented Magic (who's name I'm blanking on). I haven't seen it in stores in eons, but you may be able to get it from eBay or something.
posted by robhuddles at 4:01 PM on August 16, 2006

Time's Up.
posted by team lowkey at 4:09 PM on August 16, 2006

Settlers of Catan is what my group of 20-something-mostly-engineers plays. You build, you trade resources, and eventually one person wins. We also have done Rummoli with great success, but it's not for everyone.

Get a book of card games and flip it to a random page.

Cheap Ass Games range from cheap to free, you don't have to worry about losing pieces because you bring your own, and they're pretty different from what is concidered a "mainstream" game. I liked "Who Killed Dr. Lucky?"
posted by cathoo at 4:20 PM on August 16, 2006

Keep in mind that if peopel are tipsy you can use the questions that come with Trivial Pursuit to as a sort of aimless not super competitive trivia contest. I would never think of this while sober, but I've played it at meetups and at little teeny bars. It's fun because people can pitch in if they want or then wander away if they want and usually everyone has something to offer and it's a way to keep the loud drunken guy busy "hey why don't you use that loud voice of yours to holler out some of these questions?"
posted by jessamyn at 4:23 PM on August 16, 2006

Nthing Apples to Apples. If you like Munchkin, try Chez Geek. You can collect cards for booze, weed, books, video games, everything your well-equipped slacker needs.
posted by matildaben at 4:34 PM on August 16, 2006

i don't know the name of this game, but it's great. the gamerunner needs a dictionary. s/he looks up a weird word, and tells everyone else what it is. then everyone writes down what they think it means; the gamerunner writes down the real definition. the gamerunner reads everyone's answers aloud in no particular order, and the players need to guess what the real definition is.
posted by sdn at 4:34 PM on August 16, 2006

It's called Dictionary
posted by Etaoin Shrdlu at 5:29 PM on August 16, 2006

Risk. But only if you give everyone blunt objects for the inevitable moment when play war degenerates into drunken, real-room hatred.

It'll be just like drinking in Scotland. During a soccer match. With hooligans.
posted by rileyray3000 at 5:36 PM on August 16, 2006

It isn't a board game, but Mafia is really fun.
posted by introcosm at 6:02 PM on August 16, 2006

sdn, if you buy the game, it's called Balderdash and is a lot of fun. My suggestion is kinda along the same lines as Apples to Apples (which I also think rocks): Loaded Questions, in which everybody writes down their answer to a particular question and one person tries to guess who gave what response. It gets more fun as people start to give more bizarre, clever, and humorous answers (and get to know each other).
posted by PhatLobley at 6:15 PM on August 16, 2006

posted by andraste at 6:32 PM on August 16, 2006

I second Loaded Questions, which is probably the most fun I've ever had playing a game.

(Clearly I need to look into Apples to Apples.)
posted by anjamu at 7:27 PM on August 16, 2006

I second patrico with Articulate it can easily accomodate up to 20 people, can be relatively quick, and doesn't have many moving parts or pieces to get lost!
posted by mule at 9:12 PM on August 16, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I definitely am going to look into Apples to Apples, it looks great! I'm not really looking for drinking games per se...people will be drinking, but I doubt anyone will get past the tipsy stage and I'm happy to keep it that way. I just want to make sure I have a strategy to get people talking to each other if it doesn't happen naturally, and I've found games are a great way to do it.
posted by tastybrains at 9:50 PM on August 16, 2006

I second Set, especially if you're playing with engineers. It won't get people talking to each other (rather the silence in the room may be deafening) but it's still intense!
posted by DefendBrooklyn at 4:17 AM on August 17, 2006

I can't believe anyone else has heard of pass the pigs - I'm seconding that one, if you can find it.

posted by inigo2 at 5:51 AM on August 17, 2006

Apples to Apples for the win. Seriously—it's the best way to make tasteless jokes.
posted by oaf at 6:24 AM on August 17, 2006

I second Time's Up. The rules take a little getting used to, since there are three rounds and each has slightly different rules, but once everyone understands the rules, it's a great game, kind of a hybrid between Taboo and charades, and is always (in my experience) fun.
posted by jessicak at 6:44 AM on August 17, 2006

Apples to Apples if you're content just to sit around the table, talk and laugh.

Werewolf/Mafia is another sit-around-the-tabler if you have a sufficiently attuned crowd -- it's a group deduction game with fair amount of sitting and waiting, and it requires an MC/DM, but people love it.

Time's Up if you want to get some Charades on. In the first round, it's $10K Pyramid (say whatever you need to say to get someone to guess the answer) with celebrities and historical figures. You take a stack of 40 or so cards, do as many as you can with your partner in a minute, and then pass the remainder of the stack to the next team. When all 40 are gone, the cards are shuffled and the process begins again, only you are restricted to only one word per clue. So if Golda Meir is "the fourth Prime Minister of Israel -- she went to school in Milwaukee and appears in Munich" in the first round, then in the second round the clue might be "Israel," "prime," "minister," "milwaukee" or "munich." Then, in the third round, it's charades only.

Skribble if the party supports pairing off. (There's pairing off in Time's Up, but everyone has to watch everyone else's performance to learn who is in the deck.) Skribble is Pictionary, except Player A draws a card listing what needs to be drawn, but Player B draws it based on Player A's descriptions, and Player B must guess.

Apples to Apples is the only one that requires purchase, although it's worth buying Time's Up as well because it's not worth the effort to self-generate the 40 celeb cards. Skribble can be bought -- it comes with a dry erase easel and words whose point values are ranked by difficulty of explanation -- but it can also be self-generated. Werewolf is a classic no-purchase-required game.
posted by blueshammer at 7:07 AM on August 17, 2006

I thought about suggesting Werewolf/Mafia, which is a fun party game, but it gets exponentially harder to play as people drink more, as they forget which side they're on, cheat, and loudly recriminate.
posted by mkultra at 7:32 AM on August 17, 2006

Apples to Apples, Loaded Questions, Scattergories, Taboo, Chez Geek, and Falling are our party game defaults.
posted by Melinika at 8:49 PM on August 17, 2006

I cannot believe no one has mentionned

Another good one is Formula Dé, although I highly recommend playing with the house rules of no take-backs (you move your car and that's it, if you aren't where you wanted to be, tough) - this adds the necessary feel of speed and pressure, and keeps the game reasonably short.
posted by Vindaloo at 9:54 AM on August 28, 2006

UPDATE: I cruelly pointed out how Warfish was a great place without actually giving anyone a way to sign up. However, all is not lost. They've recently set up an invitiation system, and you can sign up at my invite page.
posted by mullingitover at 11:43 AM on October 4, 2006

Response by poster: Figured I'd update...

A friend brought Apples to Apples to said party and it was a *huge* hit. Even my fiance who *hates* "board" games thought it was awesome. I'm going to need to get it for myself for the next gathering.
posted by tastybrains at 8:26 AM on October 6, 2006

« Older There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in...   |   I need a good media player for handling streaming... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.