Help us figure out some games to play with 40+ people!
March 11, 2008 6:26 PM   Subscribe

The Mrs. and I are hosting "game night" for our Church group Friday. We need help figuring out what to play.

Our group will be about 40 people

It would be awesome to come up with a game we could all play together. If not, some cool games we could move the participants through at set intervals.

I've searched and find some variants, personally I really like the Werewolf game but think the pattern killings may be a bit strong for the group.

Any ideas would be great!

posted by jseven to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Bingo is popular and seats 40.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:32 PM on March 11, 2008

I second item's suggestion.

You could do four tables of ten each and have a poker tournament, combining tables when they get to five players each. Downsides: You have to get chips and cards and people who get eliminated early will probably get bored sitting around waiting for the others to finish.

Hide and seek? Kick the can? Man, I can't think of any 40 player games.

Bingo is popular and seats 40.

Ah, Bingo. How did I not think of that?
posted by jeffamaphone at 6:35 PM on March 11, 2008

Pictionary can scale to large groups pretty easily. You can do 5 people on each team, so you'd have 4 games going at once.

Also, Cranium is an awesome game that combines trivial pursuit, name that tune, charades, pictionary, etc.

Never underestimate paintball either.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:42 PM on March 11, 2008

I second paintball!
posted by WalterMitty at 6:44 PM on March 11, 2008

I used to play a lot of Bunco/Bunko in my high school youth group. The wiki article has plenty of info on the rules, etc. I found it worked really well for our large group because the people at the tables constantly shifted, and I got to meet and interact a lot more with people than I might have otherwise.

We'd compete for stickers and stick them on a 3x5 card we wore on a string on our necks (very stylish), and there were small prizes for most bunco's thrown, most enthusiasm, etc... I enjoyed it.
posted by snowleopard at 6:46 PM on March 11, 2008

2nd Bunko. Can be adapted to any size group and is SOO much fun!!
posted by pearlybob at 6:49 PM on March 11, 2008

I was going to suggest a tamer variant of Mafia, but then I realized that that's the Werewolf game you're talking about. Oops! But how about using the "wolves vs. sheep" variant? Maybe that would make the killing less creepy for people.

Personally, I think a 40 person game of Duck, duck, goose or Telephone (aka Chinese Whispers) would be hysterical. 100 Blank White Cards is fun, and Charades is a classic. As a break from large groups, you could break up into smaller sections and play Eat Poop You Cat, which is almost always comedy gold - and you can take home souvenirs!

Those are some of my favorites, but here's Wikipedia's party games section for more inspiration.
posted by bettafish at 6:52 PM on March 11, 2008

Eat Poop You Cat, ah! We call it Telephone Pictionary, and fuck if it's not the funnies thing you've ever played when you're wasted.

Just don't look at the pictures the next day. You'll feel incredibly stupid.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:57 PM on March 11, 2008

On preview spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints go my first suggestion of Telephone Pictionary. I have done it with large groups using the variation described in the article where each person has a piece of paper and you pass it to your neighbor. The first round can be awkward as people "get it," but after the reveals and seeing how things get translated people are often eager to do it again. Good for about three rounds and it can be a nice icebreaker to start things off.

The other game I've had a lot of fun with that scales well is the The Celebrity Game.

It gets hectic so we always tried to keep organized to be fair. A big bowl for the names, then one for each teams correct guesses and a last bowl to collect the names people pass on or give illegal clues for. Then we always have a judge from the other team stand up with the clue-giver. The clue-giver hands the name off to the judge so they can "buzz" them if they give an illegal clue. A really obnoxious buzzer is of course amusing for the judge to really jar people when they slip up. The judge is also responsible to sort out the slips into the appropriate bowls as they are played. Before the next team goes any passed or "buzzed" names are put back into the big bowl.

Everyone is always involved because to win you have to pay attention to every teams clues and what the names were. So in the next round you can use that to your advantage to get as many names as possible. The wackier the clues and pantomimes are the the more memorable it is when you get to round three so people start getting quite creative. A big group makes the game even better because more names make it harder just to memorize the whole list.

Hope that helps and you all have a great time!
posted by Animus at 7:25 PM on March 11, 2008

Are the games for Adults or Youth?

Ping Pong
Air Hockey
Wa Hoo
posted by Snoogylips at 7:25 PM on March 11, 2008

Seconding Pictionary and Cranium, also Speed Scrabble (see below). We play these regularly at our once-a-week mostly-church-folks game night. We generally have 5-10 people, though, so you'd have to break into smaller groups. Other favorites include Apples to Apples, Imaginiff, and Battle of the Sexes (for which we usually ignore the board and just play for the fun of it). A game my previous church-group game night used to play a lot was Fast Uno (also see below).

Speed Scrabble: Gather together several sets of Scrabble tiles (no boards needed), roughly one set for every two people. Dump all the tiles together in the middle of the table, face down. Everyone takes 7 (or whatever number) and begins together. Regular Scrabble rules apply; real words only, must read left to right or top to bottom - but since there's no board, there's no limit on the size or shape of your particular mess/crossword/playing space. The first to use their initial tiles slaps the table, and everyone takes 2 (or 1) more. The first person to use (all their initial tiles plus) the new ones slaps the table, and everyone takes more. Once a word is built, it by no means has to stay - players have been known to completely start over in the middle of a game. The winner is usually whoever finishes first after all the tiles have been taken from the middle. The point value for each tile is not used, because they are not on a Scrabble board where you'd get multiple letter and word scores - though if you really wanted to, you could spend 5 minutes at the end of each game tallying up letter values and declare the winner that way - but which letters you get depends on chance, so this scoring would not reflect one's speed at building words (which after all is the point of Speed Scrabble). Use a sturdy table so the slaps don't jumble everyone's tiles.

Fast Uno: Use one or more Uno decks, roughly one deck per 2-3 people. Deal out all the cards evenly. Someone starts, and lays down any card. Next person (to the left, or right) goes - unless someone else goes first! ANYONE who has the same color or the same number (or letter or a wild card) can go if they beat the person whose turn it is. Then it is the turn of the person after them (left, right, whichever way you're going) - unless someone can beat them to it. Continue this way. Wilds, skips, reverses, etc all function as normal. (For instance: Abby lays a red 1, next it's Bob's turn, but Dave beats him to it and plays a red Skip. It would be Ellie's turn, but she gets skipped and it's Frank's turn. But if anyone beats him to it...) You can also play multiples - in the above example, After Abby's red 1, Bob (or anyone who's faster) can play three red fours, or six yellow ones. If multiple skips are played, that many people are skipped. If multiple Reverses are played, reverse that many times (an even number and they all cancel out, an odd number and it nets one reverse). Multiple Wilds work the same as a single Wild, they just help you get rid of your cards faster. When you get down to one card, shout "Uno!" The first one out of cards wins. Try to watch for cheating - at a fast pace, it's easy to slip more cards in than you actually should be playing, or to just slip random cards into the pile in the confusion.
posted by attercoppe at 7:45 PM on March 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

It would be pretty easy to repurpose the scenario of Werewolves to make it less violent. For example, it could be something like alien pod people - during the night the pods choose someone to assimilate - taking them out of commission to transform into an alien in their pod - during the day, the frightened townspeople choose a suspect to put in jail. Instead of a seer you could have the town mad scientist, who uses his crazy contraption to try to detect aliens. You could also speed up the end this way, using the premise that if pods have assimilated half the townspeople before all the original aliens are detected, they win (because the pods will outnumber the townspeople and can take over openly). This website has a bunch of thoughts one werewolf variations.
posted by nanojath at 7:53 PM on March 11, 2008

When my church does game night, people bring their favorites from home -- I like that, because I get to find out about games I hadn't played before. Can you get people to BYOG?

I bring Max, which is so Unitarian of me it's ridiculous. We usually have Uno, checkers, puzzles, cards, blocks for the littlest kids, and then the cool stuff people bring themselves.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:07 PM on March 11, 2008

We used to play The Chair Game in college. It's far more fun than it sounds with the right group of people.
posted by chrisamiller at 8:32 PM on March 11, 2008

Create a trivia game. You could have an overall theme or theme rounds, images, sound rounds... Good for large groups and has a nice competitive spirit.
posted by LiveToEat at 8:45 PM on March 11, 2008

We played a game called Celebrity that is different from the one mentioned above. In this version, everyone gets a celebrity or generally well known person's names pinned to the back of their shirts so that they do not know which celebrity they are. All at the same time, everyone goes around asking yes or no questions about who they are until they guess correctly. It's a fun way of getting everyone up and moving and laughing.

I also like Cranium and Outburst. If you do Bingo, it's always nice to have something for them to actually win. You can do this fairly cheaply by going to the dollar store and just getting little things.
posted by sapphirebbw at 8:50 PM on March 11, 2008

Apples to Apples. I've never played with a group bigger than 10 or 12, but you could divide people up or give a 40-person game a try. It's really great for getting people to laugh and talk.
posted by easy_being_green at 11:42 PM on March 11, 2008

Murder Mystery parties are fun and can accommodate 40 people
posted by tiburon at 5:31 AM on March 12, 2008

We tend to play liars poker with dice when we have happy fun time at work. 40 is probably too many, but two tables of twenty would be fun. Need 5 dice and a non see through cup per person. Pretty fun.
posted by domino at 7:39 AM on March 12, 2008

There is no better resource for board games, than This page is the search form; this page is the ratings ranking, ie what the users think are the best games.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:36 PM on March 12, 2008

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