I come from a family of playfully competitive jokesters. During my childhood, this usually meant that big gatherings would involve a game of some kind. When the parents were busy, that translated to Nintendo. When the parents were involved, this spelled out a talent show. And when the parents and the children were able to compete together, this included an hours-long, do-not-mess-up, yes-grandma-is-cheating game of charades. No one was allowed to pass up this particular tradition of family bonding.
And you better believe that we kept score.
That's why I love the idea of playing a game as a form of entertainment at a party. For one thing, it gets most guests included on a shared experience and allows people to climb out of their shells. For another, it switches up the predictable routine of small talk over generally pleasing music. And lastly, because I'm a product of my competitive upbringing—you're talking to the 2017 holiday champion, thank you—it's fun to win when the stakes aren't that high.
The next time you're hosting a party, take out one of these 11 games to play with either friends or family. To be honest, there are a number of risqué options included here that wouldn't exactly make you comfortable to play in front of, say, parents and extended relatives. But all of the picks will spark laughter as players strategize, collaborate, and go for the gold together. Whatever the circumstances may be, these adult games are sure to make memories whenever you decide to play.
On the outset, the "Speak Out" game is titled perfectly: Each player is tasked with saying a silly phrase pulled from a deck of 200 cards, and it's up to the other players to repeat it. But here's the laugh-out-loud twist. The players have to wear a mouthpiece as they declare these silly phrases, which make it almost impossible to know exactly what's being said at first. Think of it as a game of telephone that's mumbled on the first go.
If you have a close-knit group of friends—or you'd like to try your luck with some open-minded strangers—then this game could be exactly what you need during an entertaining night in. It all starts when a player pulls from a deck of 100 cards, which asks a question. Then the players anonymously vote on who in the group will answer the question, and the "winner" has to spill the beans. It all sounds like no big deal, but the questions are usually, well, scandalous.
Now, if you would rather see scandalous content rather than say it, then try your hand at this game. Once again, players choose from 375 different phrases and words to draw on a whiteboard, and correct guesses allow a team to move forward on the corresponding colored squares. Don't run out of time while drawing, and definitely don't get bashful as the game gets underway—because if you do, you'll be blushing the entire time.
Competitive friends might enjoy this game, which works like this: Players pull from a deck of cards, and each card has a category and symbol on it. When two symbols match, the players race to give as many examples of their opponent's category as they can without repeating a phrase. Categories include more innocent talking points like "lead singers," as well as other more eyebrow-raising subjects. You've been warned.
Remember how fun it was to play Taboo? Well the creators of that game are behind Midnight Outburst, which requires a handle on pop culture references and the ability to yell out answers in fewer than 45 seconds. Each card comes with a category, and players have to say as many examples of the category that are listed before time runs out. The categories aren't all naughty, so you can consider playing with people who won't make you feel embarrassed.
When you actually want to play a family-friendly game without resorting to the classics, this option allows for teenage and adult players to gather with one common goal: to beat other players at trivia questions. Questions need to be answered in under a minute, so the pressure is on to get it right as quickly as possible.
How well do you really know your friends? If the answer to that question is very well, then this game should prove it. The player in the "hot seat" selects the question they want everyone to answer. Then, the other players each write their answers down as if they were the person in the hot seat. Finally, everyone has to guess which answer was actually written by the "hot seat" player—and sometimes, it's not as easy as it seems.
If you haven't already played this classic I-just-spit-my-drink-out-laughing card game, then now is the time to see what all of the fuss is about. The game is broken up into rounds, where one player asks a question from a black card, and then all players answer with their most hilarious white card. The funniest card wins, so you're guaranteed to laugh a lot. This version has 100 black cards and 500 white cards, too, so there are numerous ways to come up with funny phrases.
Much like the other games on this list, this one requires a quick wit and fast reflexes in order to win. The game is broken into three rounds, and the first one requires that a player choose a card and describe the contents on that card—without saying the words on the card outright. For the second round, the player is allowed to use just one word to name what's on the card. And for the last round, the player can physically act out what's on the card. It's a twist between charades and Outburst that even younger adults can play, too.
The title of this game should clue you into what to do after your party guests have had a few cocktails. Whip out this game, and ask players to choose from 250 cards that'll have them either answering trivia questions, singing out loud, dancing as if nobody's watching, and other funny challenges. Make sure everyone is playing at a speed they're comfortable with, and then keep the drinks coming.
Let's say that you like the adrenaline of gambling but you're not too keen about the potential of losing money. Try this game with friends and family instead, which has you deciding the odds of whether or not your opponent will have to do a dare on a card—and if the odds don't go in your favor, the only thing you'll lose by doing the giggle-inducing dare is a bit of dignity.