This is a selection of party games I've heard about. Most of them are for
smallish groups of 5-15 people in a living room sized area and don't require
much to play besides some chairs. The general idea of this page is to give
a group of bored people at someone's house something
entertaining to do. If you're with a bunch of friends and you're bored,
this page is for you. If you know of more games, please send them in.
Japanese writing - Place pens or pencils on a flat surface
as if you're creating a Japanese word. (It can be anything you want)
Ask whose name you wrote in Japanese Show the explanation »Direct link
Imitate the position of someone in the room and they are the name it spells
Mind reader - One person steps out of the room, while their
partner has the rest of the people think up a yes or no question and the
appropriate answer. The partner returns to the room, places their hands
on the partner's temples and reads his mind to get the correct answer. Show the explanation »Direct link
When he reads his partner's mind, the partner clenches their jaw which can
be felt in the temples but is not obvious to others. One clench means yes,
two clenches means no.
Black magic - One person leaves the room and the group picks
an item. The person returns to the room and their partner points to
different objects, asking each time if that one is it. They partner somehow
knows when the correct object is chosen. Show the explanation »Direct link
The partner knows the item is the one they chose by picking an object with
a similar color to the item. For example, after picking a few items that
don't have the same color, you pick a blue flower then a blue curtain and
the person knows the curtain is the object that was chosen.
Smell on a stick - One person leaves the room and the
group picks a spot on the stick. The person returns and smells along the
stick, then stops at the point the group chose. Show the explanation »Direct link
Of course they're not smelling the stick. Instead, they're looking at the
person's feet that is holding the stick (their accomplice). When the
nose reaches the right spot, the accomplice simply raise their foot a bit,
indicating the odorous spot has been reached.
Signs - All but one person in the group has to come up with
a sign of their own while the one person is not in the room. One person
is selected to begin the game. Once they have finished, they
invite the person back into the room with the goal of identifying the
person who is it by saying, "Do you have it?" The people in the group
have to do the sign of another person in the circle to pass the sign to
that person, and play continues until the person in the middle is able
to catch the person who currently has the sign. Show the explanation »Direct link
Mafia - One person is the narrator and runs through
day and night scenarios (at night everyone has to close their eyes).
During the night, members of the mafia kill off someone in the circle,
and detectives have a chance to identify a potential mafia member. Once
everyone awakes, the group is informed who died, and then the group
votes on who to kill in the hopes that they can kill off the mafia members
before the mafia kills them. Show the explanation »Direct link
There is a very complete wikipedia page on this game, so instead of trying to reproduce it here
I'll just point you that way. It's a great party game.
Spoons - A fast-paced card game of matching and bluffing played with an ordinary pack of playing cards and several ordinary kitchen spoons. Spoons is played in multiple rounds and each player's objective is to be the first in the round to have four of a kind, or to not be the last to grab a spoon. Spoons is most popular among children and teenagers, though many adults play it as well. Show the explanation »Direct link
Don't Smile - A person is in the middle of the circle and
goes around trying to make another person in the circle smile.
Anything goes Show the explanation »Direct link
Organize a group of chairs into a circle. One person is chosen to be the
one that's "it" first. Their sole responsibility is to do whatever
they can do make another person in the circle smile. The person who is
trying not to smile cannot cover their face or turn away, and whether
or not they smile is determined by a majority vote (if it's brought into
question). Once the person in the middle gets someone to smile, that
person is then designated as the one in the middle of the circle.
Wink'em - The group is in a circle, with people standing
behind chairs with all but one of the chairs occupied. The person
standing behind the empty chair winks at someone in a
chair and the person in the chair tries to run to the empty chair
before the person standing behind them can grab onto their shoulders. Show the explanation »Direct link
This works best with a large group, preferable with an even mix of girls
and guys. Create a circle of chairs for half the number of people in the
group. The group will have to be an odd number.
One group (usually all
of the same gender) stands behind the chairs and the other group sits
in the chairs, leaving one person standing behind an empty chair.
This person winks as subtly as possible to someone in a chair and that
person tries to run for it to get into the available chair.
If the person standing behind the chair isn't fast enough, they are
left with an empty chair, and have to wink at someone else sitting in
If they are fast enough however, they grab the person (as gently as
possible) and sit them back down in their seat. The winking person
must then wink at another person (or the same person if they so desire)
until they manage to get someone to sit in their empty seat.
I've seen people dive over the chair to catch the person trying to run
away, so some people can get pretty aggressive. Feel free to make up
your own rules about how to determine if they actually got away or not.
The Dictionary Game - Members of the group make up their
own definitions for obscure words in the dictionary and the other team
has to pick the correct definition from the bunch. Show the explanation »Direct link
The tower of flour - A tall cup of flour with a coin at the
bottom is packed tightly and flipped over onto a newspaper. Players go
around the circle using a knife to shave off portions of the flour.
Whoever makes the tower flour collapse has to find the coin with their
mouth. Show the explanation »Direct link
I learned about this game when I was in Spain. It's basically
a version of Jenga without the need for Jenga. The flour should pack
down to be surprisingly stable when it's turned upside down and it
may take far longer than you expect to crumble. Some players were known
to mash the loser's face in the flour as they searched for
the coin after making the tower crumble. All in good fun of course.
20 Questions - One person in the group thinks of an item
and the rest of the group tries to guess the item by asking 20 yes and
no questions Show the explanation »Direct link
This is fun for a short while, but not one of those games you're going
to play for hours on end. It's surprising how close people can get
in 20 questions.
Psychiatrist - The players sit in a circle, with one player sitting in the middle of the circle. The player in the middle is the psychiatrist, and the players in the circle are the patients. The patients all share a common affliction. The psychiatrist must ask three yes/no questions to each patient, going around the circle indefinitely, until he or she discovers the illness that affects all of the players. Show the explanation »Direct link
Who are you? - Before the game begins, suggest playing a
very interesting and funny game. Ask each person to write down a list of
10 animals in a column on a sheet of paper. Show the explanation »Direct link
Once everyone has completed their list, read the questions below
and have each person answer by reading the animal of the corresponding
number on their list. You can have everyone pass their list to the
right to make sure they don't change their answers, then have that person
read for the original person.
Who are you at home?
Who are you in private?
Who are you in public?
Who are you without clothes?
Who are you after dinner?
What do other people think of you?
Who are you at night?
What do you think about yourself?
Who are you with your friends?
Who are you in fact?
I created an online version of Who Are You? for
fun, so you can see it in action.
After the manner of the Adverb - One guy goes outside and
the rest of the group picks an adverb.
If I were the outsider I would come in and ask you to play golf after
the manner of the adverb. If the adverb were ferociously, you would
have to act like you're playing golf ferociously, and I would have to
guess what the adverb is by what you do. If the outsider doesn't get
the adverb after the first scenario is acted out, he/she can ask others
to act out different scenarios after the manner of the adverb.
There are a few variations of this game. You can do it by having each
person contribute a word to the story, or a sentence, or a variable
amount determined by the contributor. How to end the story is often
an issue, but I've found a time limit can be the best way. 10-15 minutes
is enough time to produce a pretty entertaining story. It can be fun
to force the next person into a tight spot by turning the story down
an odd road with random associations and unexpected diversions. The
game is as fun as the group makes it, and an energetic and imaginative
group can create stories that are pretty darn good.
Word Evolution - Write down a short word (4-5 letters works
well) on a piece of paper and pass it to the next person in the group.
Each person must create a new word by changing a single letter of the existing word. Play continues until a player is unable to create a new word. Show the explanation »Direct link
This is actually a modified game that I've played with two people.
To make it more group friendly and interactive, read the word aloud
so everyone knows what you came up with, or use a whiteboard or easel.
Eat Poop You Cat - This is a hilarious game that's like the game of telephone using drawings instead of speaking. The crazier the ideas the better. General game play is to write
down a sentence or phrase, then pass it to the next person, who
draws a visual depiction of the phrase, then folds the paper over so only the drawing is visible. The next person writes a caption for the picture they see, then folds the paper to make only the caption visible, and play continues until every member of the group has had a turn. Show the explanation »Direct link
The idea is similar to the telephone game and the ending phrase (you
should always end on a phrase) rarely resembles the original one, but
it's always amusing.
Teams take turns guessing whether or not the line was actually in a novel or if it was just made up. Hilarity ensues.
Can I Go Too? - There are several variations, but the basic premise is to say you're going somewhere and taking along an object. Then the other players suggest an object that they want to take and ask if they can go too. Show the explanation »Direct link
There is an unspoken rule that the players try to figure out through trial and error. For instance, you could require the word to have at least two consonants in a row (e.g. apples would work, but bananas wouldn't). Other variations are going under the umbrella, where the person must say "Uhm", or going to a picnic and the person needs to use the next letter in the word picnic (e.g. pears, ice, chips, etc). Feel free to make up your own rules too.