A good party game can save a dull social event, but bogging everyone down with rules and equipment can stall the party further. These are some of the best party games that are easy to play and flexible enough to stay fun.
Most of the games on this list are aimed at adults, or at least work best when players don’t have to censor themselves. If you’re looking for something a little more family friendly for a game night, we recommend checking out our readers’ 21 favorite board games.
What Do You Meme? is a game that could only exist in the 21st century. Each turn, a Photo Card—probably one you recognize from Facebook memes a year ago—is placed in the middle. Players then choose from their hand of Caption Cards to find the funniest caption. The basic format is familiar to anyone who’s played Cards Against Humanity or any of the many, many games that it inspired, but the unique twist of using familiar meme templates keeps it somewhat fresh. Even if it takes expansion packs just to keep up to date on the latest ones.
Funemployed gets you in the party mood by asking you to pretent you’re applying to a job you’re barely qualified for. You know, fun. Each round, there’s a job that everyone is trying to land, like Bounty Hunter or Mad Scientist. Players then have to build their resume with Qualification Cards like “Russian Accent,” or “Sexting.” How, exactly, does being good at sexting help you get a job as a bounty hunter? That’s up to you to explain. If you can sell yourself as a job candidate with the qualifications you have, you win.
Based on the long-running webcomic Cyanide & Happiness, Joking Hazard is a create-your-own comic game where players are given a two-panel comic and have to complete it with a third from their hand. Creating the first part of the comic allows for enough combinations that the prompts don’t get stale like they can in other games. And like Funemployed, this game requires a little more creative thought than just throwing the cards with the most shocking words on the table, so it’s a great one to pull out with your clever friends.
Apparently people who write webcomics like releasing board games! Exploding Kittens, from the artist behind popular comic The Oatmeal, is a simple hot potato-esque card game that’s easy to set up. The game borrows a bit from Uno, with most cards allowing you to manipulate turn order, defuse cat-bombs, or screw over your opponents. Unlike most games on this list, Exploding Kittens is generally safe for all ages, though they do sell a NSFW version if you don’t mind a few crass jokes.
The one item on this list that’s not a tabletop game, almost any Jackbox Party Pack video game is worth having available on your console of choice. Each party pack comes with a collection of small games with high replay value. Fibbage lets players create fake answers to a trivia question and then try to guess the real one while fooling their friends. Quiplash lets players compete to create the funniest answer to prompts like “A better name for France.” There are currently five party packs, available on a ton of platforms from game consoles to streaming TV boxes. They’re especially great if you have a Switch so you can bring the party with you. Players compete using their phones through the Jackbox.tv website, so you don’t even need spare controllers to manage a large party.
Cards Against Humanity (If You Must)
We’ll be honest, Cards Against Humanity has gotten a little passé. It’s been almost eight years since the game first came out. It was so popular for a long hot minute that almost every adult you know from the age of 21 to 69 has played it at least a few times. It’s still a good party game, but it’s hard to keep it fresh after you’ve played it several times. If doesn’t hurt to have a copy on hand if you find the six to eight people left on the planet who haven’t played it to death, but otherwise we’d recommend something a little higher up the list. Or at least buy some expansion packs.