There’s nothing worse than inviting people around for a social gathering only to see them glued to their phones or stuck to the people they know, too uncomfortable to take the plunge and introduce themselves to someone new.
Whether you’re looking for a quick icebreaker game to get the night going, or fancy some friendly competition between mates, here are 5 quick-to-learn games that even the most mundane of your friends will love. Suitable for a small gathering to the larger shindig, whatever you choose, these games are surefire ways to keep the evening lively, full of laughs, and phone free!
Klask is a 2 player game, but don’t be fooled, this can be far more entertaining when played in teams! A cross between foosball and air hockey, Klask is a tabletop game consisting of 2 player pieces, a ball, and goals at either end. Gameplay is simple - score points by using your player to knock a ball into your opponent's goal. Winner is the first to score 6 points. Seems simple, right?
To add a level of difficulty, coordination, and amusement to the game, you control your player using a magnetic wand underneath the board. 3 magnetic pieces mark the centre line to prevent players from crossing into their opponents territory. If you get too close, they’ll magnetise to your player. Attract 2 of these markers and your opponent wins a point.
This is a great game to play in teams and is just as entertaining to watch as it is to play. Rounds are quick and you can choose to have the winner keep playing new opponents until their reign is over, or bring 2 new players to the table each time. Whatever you decide, Klask will have your party guests loudly cheering on their teammates or laughing hysterically at the lack of coordination while players chaotically flail their hands underneath the board.
Time: 5-10 minutes
You’d be hard pressed to find anyone these days who isn’t familiar with the NSFW party game Cards Against Humanity. Joking Hazard is a similar but wildly underrated game, made by the inappropriate brains behind the Cyanide & Happiness comics where players play cards to create a 3 card comic strip. Where this differs to CAH is in the comic-building storytelling and often horrendous, but equally hilarious imagery.
Joking Hazard can be played with as few as 3 people but is far more entertaining the more people there are. Players start with 7 cards, all depicting some random scene. Each round, the elected judge starts the comic by flipping over a card from the draw pile. They then choose a card from their hand and place it on either side of the starting card, to create a story. It is then up to the other players to each pick a card from their hand they believe best finishes that comic. Cards are handed to the judge face down which are shuffled and and turned over one at a time with each punchline read against the comic.
Both the individual cards and the final comics can range from hilarious to downright atrocious so it might be wise to judge your audience before pulling out this game, because if you think CAH was bad you have no idea what you’re in for with Joking Hazard. Mostly though, it’s an incredibly fun, quick and easy play game that will have your group erupting in either laughter or disgust at the combinations played.
If you’re looking to take the evening up a notch then the helpful people at Cyanide & Happiness have provided a variety of drinking games in the instructions.
Time: 30-90 minutes
You’ve got crabs!
The only situation where you want to hear that being yelled at you, You’ve Got Crabs is a fast-paced card game where players race to collect a set of 4 crabs first, and hear their teammate yell the words every person wants to hear, “You’ve got crabs!”
For this game you’ll need an even number of players to split into teams of two. Before beginning, each team will need to devise a visual signal, such as a wink, a scratch on the nose, or hopefully something less conspicuous. This will be used to signal your partner when you’ve collected a set of crabs, but be discreet, you don’t want the other team to notice it! Teams are then split up and placed opposite their mates, with one side playing at a time.
On starting, players are dealt 4 cards, with 4 cards placed face up on the table. The goal is simple: continue swapping out your cards with the face up cards until you have 4 matching crabs. To add some disorder and haste to the mix, all players are free to swap cards at any time, frequently replenishing the 4 face up cards on the table. Be quick to pick up any cards you want before someone else nabs them!
Once you have a full set, it’s time to play your signal and hope your partner notices. If your teammate yells “You’ve got Crabs!”, you collect a crab token which counts towards your total points. But be careful, if your signal is noticed by the other teams and they correctly shout “You’ve got Crabs”, they steal your point!
Scepticism and uncertainty are in full flourish with this game as players scrutinize every movement another player makes, wondering if that’s the signal and deciding whether to risk losing a point for the chance to gain one. Want to make things more difficult, use the wearable crab claws to score additional points!
Time: 15-20 minutes
What do you get when you cross chinese-whispers with pictionary? The answer is Scrawl, an adult party game that is sure to bring out the child in all of us, and where the worse you are at drawing, the funnier it gets.
In this quick-to-get-out-of-hand game, players are given a small drawing board, a pen, and a card depicting phrases like “bingo wings”, eye-wateringly strong pickles” and “shaving a llama”. Players draw out the phrase then pass the drawing to the next player, who translates the drawing back to words on a new card. They place their translation on top of the board before passing on yet again, where the next player works to decipher the latest card back into a drawing. And on and on it goes until the cards are returned back to the original drawer, where the cards are laid out in full to see the, often unfortunate, journey your card has taken.
Watch the hilarity unfold as you see how easily and absurdly interpretations stray from the original card. If scoring points is your thing, players vote on their favourite doodle journey and the original drawer gets a point. If, by some miracle, the last card matches the first, the player gets 3 points! First to reach the number of points that matches the total player count, wins.
Time: 20 minutes
It’s 1930’s Germany and the fascists are beginning to rise to power. Are you one of them, hell-bent on getting Hitler elected as leader, or are you a liberal, determined to put an end to the fascist movement?
Secret Hitler is a hidden identity game where players are secretly dealt one of 3 player cards: Liberal, Fascist, or Hitler himself. The catch? Only the fascists are known to each other. Each party has their own agenda - to impose their liberal or fascist policies. To win the game, fascists need to enact 6 policies, and liberals, 5. But be careful - each time a fascism policy is enacted, their side receives additional powers which can be used to wreak havoc and weaken the liberal party.
The game is played in rounds, where each turn, a president and chancellor are elected by majority vote and must impose either a fascist or liberal policy. Policy cards are pulled face-down from a deck. The president draws the top 3 cards discreetly, discards one, and hands the remaining 2 to the chancellor. The chancellor also discards one and flips over the final card, revealing the policy to be enacted.
If a fascist policy is imposed, expect accusations, paranoia and distrust start to spread between players as the president and chancellor are ‘questioned’ on why a fascist policy was enacted. But with 11 fascist cards and only 6 liberal cards was it just bad luck that only fascist cards were drawn? Or is there something more sinister brewing behind the president or chancellor’s agenda that lead to the fascist card being imposed? Whatever it is, it is the liberals job to decide who is spinning a web of lies and who is telling the truth, as they attempt to identify the fascists and put a stop to their rising power.
Gameplay for Secret Hitler can vary between 30-60 minutes so is great for a group that is prepared to sit down and try to decipher their allies from their enemies. Bad bluffing can be a surefire way to get caught and lose the game so make sure to practice your poker face and be prepared to defend your less-than admirable actions if you find yourself on the nefarious side!
Time: 30-60 minutes