There’s never a bad time to buy a new board game, think about playing it, and then forget for a few months until the holidays come around. Wait though, it doesn’t have to be like this. You could get friends around yours (safely), and spend time together chilling outdoors while playing one of the best board games of all time. There are a lot of great games out there, but we’re going to help your find your next party game by bringing out the best board games right here.
Each of these is a little bit different, but all of them will help keep a large group entertained and the good times flowing. That’s really what the best board games are all about: fun. Well, unless you’re really competitive and all you want to do is win, but hey, we’ve got you covered too.
Best Social Deduction Board Game: Secret Hitler
The name may certainly gain the wrong kind of attention from your mom at first, but once she’s calling you out for literally being Hitler, her opinion will change. Roles are assigned at the beginning of the round—most are liberals with a handful of players secretly being fascists and one being Hitler himself. The crutch is the liberals are left in the dark, while the fascists all know each other’s roles except for Hitler. The liberals must sus out the bad guys and kill Hitler before the fascists can get everyone to gain Hitler’s trust and elect him into power. Secret Hitler supports up to 12 players and has an adaptable ruleset to balance for groups small and large.
Best Board Game for Quick Rounds: One Night Ultimate Werewolf
One Night fills a similar niche as Secret Hitler, but where it stands out is how quick it is to get started, finished, and right back into it. A lot of times, new players of games will request a “practice round” or some means of accommodating a slow start as they go through the motions for the first time. One Night has you doing all the deceiving and sleuthing of other social deduction games, but it’s over in five minutes. Do your practice round and then hop right back into it with a real round. Then another. Then another. What helps it become so replayable is that you can swap in and out the specific role assignments with each new round to shake things up. There are also countless expansions adding new roles and rules into the mix to keep the game going. This one is 10 players max.
Best Board Game for Laughs: Cards Against Humanity
At this point, we’ve probably all played Cards Against Humanity. And while I can definitely admit, it loses quite a bit of steam once you’re familiar with most of the cards as it relies on the shock of its content, there is something that will never stop being funny about getting grandma to say the word cum. The simple gameplay loop of a rotating judge allows Cards Against Humanity to support 20+ players, but be warned you’ll go through the good cards all the more quickly that way.
Best Board Game Overall: Left Center Right
LCR is the old tried-and-true of my family. The surefire way to get the whole family up and playing to put money on the line. I don’t know anyone who has ever played the game with the included chips, but I guess they are there for legal reasons so I’ll play along. Everyone starts with three “chips.” You roll dice to determine whether you keep them, they go right, they go left, or they go into the pot in the center. Next person rolls. Keep going in a circle moving “chips” around and growing the pot in the center. Whoever is the last one remaining to still have “chips” wins all the chips in the center. The game comes with 24 chips, which means it’s technically eight players max. However, when you’re playing with something other than chips, the game has no upper limit of players. I’ve played with two dozen folks and that only makes the experience more heated and fun.
Best Board Game That Isn’t A Board Game: Jackbox Party Pack 7
Okay, so I’m breaking my own rules here as this is technically not a board game, but I wanted to include it anyway because it fits a similar niche. The Jackbox games are all loads of fun, easy to learn, and easy to start playing. The genius of having players log in through a browser on their phone to engage with the game is something I’m surprised I haven’t seen copied yet to similar levels of success. There are eight different party packs in the Jackbox series, but the one I’m calling out is Jackbox Party Pack 7 because it’s got what I think is the best selection of games. Quiplash 3 is Jackbox at its core entertainment. “Come up with something funnier than the other fellow and have the rest of the group vote on it,” is simple and endlessly fun. Trivia Murder Party 2 is a great warmup as much as it is a great way to spend the whole night with a series of questions that alternate between humor and difficulty, with a slew of minigames to literally keep the game alive. And then, of course, is Talking Points, which gets you up in front of the room improvising a PowerPoint presentation on pure nonsense. The party pack supports up to eight players.
This story was originally published by Joe Tilleli on 01/07/2022 and was updated with new information by Jason Coles on 03/30/2022.