How to Host a Grown-Up Game Night for the Books

Updated 06/07/19
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party games for adults
Heidi's Bridge

There are a million things to do with friends, but most of us opt for the same old, same old. While there’s nothing wrong with falling back on tried-and-true plans like grabbing drinks or catching a movie, we’re going to suggest planning a get-together that’ll break up your usual normal routine. The next time you’re scheduling quality time with your pals, why not shake things up and offer to host an at-home game night?

With these great adult game night ideas, the right mood, and a little bit of alcohol, you’d be surprised how fun and raucous playing good old-fashioned games with friends can get. At once intimate and interactive, staying in for a game night is going to be your new favorite way to spend a Saturday evening—trust us. The key is to invite the right number of guests, serve up some fun finger food, and create a fun space to play games by clearing off the coffee table and rounding up some extra seating options.

Keep reading for some of our go-to party games for adults. We guarantee playing them will quickly become a beloved tradition.

Charades

Paradiso Greetings Write On Pens, Set of 3
Ban.do Paradiso Greetings Write On Pens, Set of 3 $14
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All you need to get a lively game of charades going is a pen, paper, and hat or bowl. While you can use apps other methods to automatically come up with celebrity names, funny nouns, and verbs, nothing beats having all your friends contribute their own ideas to the pot. If you have enough people, split up into teams, set a timer, and keep track of who's the best at acting out silly phrases and words.

Scrabble

Giant Scrabble (Deluxe Wood Edition) Board Game
WS Game Company Giant Scrabble (Deluxe Wood Edition) Board Game $146
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Scrabble may sound like a boring game but with the right group, the witty challenge can be fun and competitive. It's perfect for small groups or you can split up into teams if you have more people.

Poker

Luxury Lacquer Poker & Dealer Chips
Aurosi Luxury Lacquer Poker & Dealer Chips $171 $127
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Stick to the classics and host a few rounds of poker at your next soirée. Just be sure that you and all of your guests know how the game is played and clearly define how seriously you plan on taking the card game. Bet with money for the real deal or keep things light and friendly and play for the title of winner, not for cash.

Jenga

Jenga
Jenga Jenga Classic Game $15 $7
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If you're not afraid of making a mess, pull out a set of Jenga to get any adult game night going. You'll be surprised how quickly you and your friends get into the seemingly simple game that involves carefully removing wooden blocks from a tower in an effort to not be the one who knocks it all down. For a fun twist, you can write playful dares on each of the blocks for those who pull them to accept.

The Game of Things

The Game of Things...
PlayMonster The Game of Things... $42 $23
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This adult-friendly game is perfect for larger groups and would work well as an icebreaker to get the night going if your gathering includes friends from different areas of your life who might not know each other yet. The rules are simple enough. Just pick a card that reads something like "Things...you shouldn't do in an elevator," and have everyone write down the first thing that comes to mind. The fun part is guessing who said what.

Bananagrams

Bananagrams Game
Bananagrams Bananagrams Game $15 $14
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Think of this silly game as a speedy version of Scrabble. Essentially, you and your friends will each create their own mini word cross using tiles from a shared pile. Every time someone uses all of their pieces, they yell "split" and everyone grabs another tile until there aren't any left.

Monopoly

Monopoly Luxury Edition
Hasbro Gaming Monopoly Luxury Edition $220
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Take a trip down memory lane with a game of Monopoly. Consider bringing out this game with a small group of close friends. It's perfect for an intimate night in and isn't so involved that you won't be able to chat and socialize throughout the game.

Balderdash

Balderdash Board Game
Mattel Games Balderdash Board Game $15
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A game of wits and bluffs, this quirky board game challenges you and your friends to make up definitions for real things in an attempt to trick your opponents into thinking you're telling the truth.

Cards Against Humanity

Cards Against Humanity
Cards Against Humanity LLC Cards Against Humanity $25
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For the uninitiated, this raunchy card game calls upon you and your friends to fill in the blank with your funniest responses based on the hand of cards you have. Think Apples to Apples but for adults. You'll be bending over laughing after the first round.

Catch Phrase

Catch Phrase Game
Hasbro Gaming Catch Phrase Game $20 $14
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The game that will get you completely tongue-tied, Catch Phrase is meant to be played in two evenly numbered teams. When it's your turn, it's your job to give your team clues about the word or phrase that appears on the electronic game before the timer buzzes. The game piece gets passed around until the time is up.

Buzzed
WHAT DO YOU MEME? Buzzed $20
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This game is sure to kick any night in up a notch. The sole purpose of Buzzed is, as the name suggests, to get you and your friends tipsy. Each card from deck prompts either you or the rest of the group to drink.

Dominoes

Travel Domino Set
Mark & Graham Travel Domino Set $49 $18
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A classic game of dominoes is just what any sophisticated night in with friends needs. Not for a rowdy bunch, this timeless game is relaxing but competitive.

Pictionary

Dry Erase Board Speech Bubble
Cloud Island Dry Erase Board Speech Bubble $20
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All you need to get a lively game of Pictionary going is a large whiteboard or pad of paper and a few markers. Have your guests toss some ideas in a hat and split up into teams to get the party started.

Buffalo

Buffalo: The Name Dropping Game
Resonym Buffalo: The Name Dropping Game $25 $15
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This fun game requires you to think fast and call upon random knowledge. You'll pick two cards with seemingly random adjectives on them and try to name a person who fits the description that both words create.

What Do You Meme?

WHAT DO YOU MEME? Party Game
WHAT DO YOU MEME? WHAT DO YOU MEME? Party Game $30
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If you and your friends love sending memes to one another, this is the party game for you. You'll be dealt cards with funny sayings on them and it's up to you to use them to caption each meme that's on display every round. Whoever plays the caption deemed the funniest wins.

Taboo

Taboo
Hasbro Gaming Taboo $20
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When in doubt, this classic game never ceases to entertain. Certain words are forbidden and if it's your turn and you accidentally let any slip, you'll be interrupted by a loud buzzer.

Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever
Never Have I Ever Never Have I Ever $25
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While you don't technically need a physical game to play this well-known drinking game, it never hurts to have some cards to get the revealing game going. It requires you and your friends to divulge scandalous things that you've never done. Anyone who has done something named by another player is rewarded with a drink.

Catan

Catan
Catan Studios Catan $49 $44
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If you're ready to bunker down for a game that takes a lot of thought, attention, and strategy, give Catan a try. The goal of the game is to settle the isle of Catan through trades, card, and lucky rolls.

For the Girls Party Game
Urban Outfitters For the Girls Party Game $25
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Although the name of this game suggests that it's just for girls, it's fun for everyone. Draw cards with different categories like "Most likely to..." and "Rapid fire."

After Dinner Quiz
Ridley's Games Room After Dinner Quiz $10 $6
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For a sophisticated night in, turn to this game of trivia designed to be played after dinner at a classy fête. Test your friends on their knowledge of everything from wine to literature.

This post was originally published in September 2016 and has since been updated.

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