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6 Parlour Games To Bring To The Table

parlour games - sounds fishy

Once upon a time, when I was young and used to ride a dinosaur to school, television and entertainment was rubbish – no Netflix, just chill, no Xbox, just egg boxes and certainly no Twilight Struggle, just the actual unsettling doom of the cold war (apologies, I appear to be channelling Frankie Boyle). For shame, we had to make our own entertainment! With parlour games!

(For the younger readers, parlour games were usually team based, used everyday objects and deployed mild humiliation for the purposes of amusement)

Not any more though! We are living in a golden age of entertainment and fun on tap – just look at what they made Matt Hancock eat on I’m a Celebrity! That said, certain old fogies like me and Favourite Foe (speak for yourself, grandad – FF) look back with fondness at the days of charades and pin the tail on the aging relative (not an actual game), so imagine our joy at realising that the old games never went away – they just got bigger, bolder and better…

Please note: this blog was written as a collab piece by both Rob and Favouritefoe.

Six games; first game:

Sounds Fishy

Now, I’m not going to say generations of old were a big bunch of fibbers. But a lot of traditional parlour games revolved around telling porkie pies! Sneaking untruths in, or catching others in the act of a wild yarn. Call my Bluff is a good example: 3 definitions peddled for a given word, and the listening team has to sniff out the correct one amongst the two bluffs. Sounds Fishy by Big Potato has taken that old two lies and a truth idea and jazzed it up in both style and substance! I mean just look at those glitzy guppies (the fish, not the players!). In the game, you are still sniffing out the red herrings. But this time, you want to avoid the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! Because friends, if you fish out the truth-teller as you go along the line of answers, you’ll lose points and your turn! You could stop before it, but you know you want to push your luck and fish for more fibs!

With 200 unique chances to lie through your teeth, this game will definitely keep up with hard-core party goers. Keep a glassy eye on the tale-tellers and bank some bluffs in this awesome parlour party game reloaded! Plus if you like this game, why not try Balderdash and The Chameleon too!

The Sock Game

Now this is a real seasonal favourite that is also an all season classic, as what could be more of the gifting season than a game involving oversize socks!

The Sock Game is a game that traces its roots to hunt the thimble, only scales things down from finding something small and easily lost in the many rooms of your country seat to finding something in a walking sock.

It can be played by two, but is better with two teams. On each turn, one team will spin the wheel of finding that will indicate the thing that each team needs to find and retrieve from inside the sock first. Finding the object first gains that team a point, and first to reach 11 points wins the game.

There are also special objects to be found in the sock like the Foot (not an actual foot) which gives double points, and the Lucky Clover, which allows the winner of that round to start with their hand inside the sock. There is also a Wrong Hand space, which means that both teams will need to use their ‘weak’ hands on that round.

For the modders out there, each dial also has three blank spaces to be filled with the objects of the players’ choice. So, if you ever wondered what you were going to do with all those plastic bookmarks and fortune telling fish that are found in quality crackers, now there’s an alternative fate for them rather than landfill…

Just One

Parlour games are (or so I am (un)reliably informed by the Google) usually indoor games (hence parlour!). They are of a word or quiz variety and generally require very little physical activity. Makes sense as they were designed for times when everyone was sitting around in their post feasting finery, waistcoated tummies too full to play musical carriages! Just One is a word game that indeed requires only the merest of exertions - to write a word on a piece of paper. It can definitely be played in your jimjams aka today’s going out-out wear!. As such, I think it would definitely fit within the parlour game parameters. In a twist on the usual part games, however, this one is co-operative!

With one player tasked with working out the correct word each round, they have only the hints from their teammates for help. And to do that, everyone needs to think outside the box! But not too far, mind! For, whilst clues must each be unique, they can’t be too obscure! They need to suggest and not stump the guesser! If any clues are duplicated, they get discounted – no copycats allowed here!

Just One is a brilliantly simple but really engaging game that reveals more about the inner workings of the minds of your party pals than expected. And whatever happens, your parlour will be the place everyone wants to party!


Is there anybody there? Sam, can you reach us from the spirit world?

It is hard to imagine that the Ouija Board, a mainstay now in every paranormal thriller/horror, used to be a parlour game and/or toy – Parker Brothers released a Ouija Board in 1972 only a year before the Exorcist – masterful marketing there.

I am not going to recommend tinkering with the unknown (see Linda Blair in the aforementioned film), but why not recreate that beyond-the-grave experience with Mysterium? This game is a cross between Cluedo and Dixit that sees a group of psychic investigators trying to solve a cold case murder at the old mansion, helped only by the victim of murder themselves.

One player takes on the role of the ghost who gives cards with images akin to Dixit to each investigator that gives them clues to their individual suspect, the location and the murder weapon akin to Cluedo. Investigators then place their pieces on the cards that they think the ghost is suggesting. After the time expires, the ‘ghost’ then indicates whether the investigators have got it right through knocks – one for no, two for yes (or vice versa).

There is only a limited amount of time to do this, and in the final round the ghost then gives a number of cards to all the players to help them decide which investigator has the actual culprit, crime scene and murder weapon. If the investigators get this right, then the ghost can finally rest. If not… well, there’s always next year.

Creepy, co-operative and perfect for a dark and stormy night. And there’s the added bonus that no-one’s mother will have to do anything to anyone, anywhere…


Are you old enough to remember Pictionary? Basically charades in artistic form? Well, things just got mixed up again in Telestrations. It’s essentially drawing based on gossip! And party people love nothing more than a bit of a rumour to go along with their revelling!

In the game, you and your fellow over-full feasters are still drawing, but this time everybody has a secret word to sketch. With the timer running, it’s all pencils to the pads! After 60 seconds, time’s up and the passing begins. Everybody looks at the sketches already in the book and makes an (educated?) pictorial guess of their own. When everybody has looked, guessed, added their own

sketch to all, and received their original pad back, it’s time for the grand reveal! And seeing what people thought the secret word was after looking at your sketch is hilarious!

Telestrations is such an easy game to learn and play. And you definitely don’t need to be Monet to score points (although most of my attempts do have a Dali-esque uniqueness about them!) It’s simple but brilliant fun in a group. And if you’re at that kind of party, there’s even an 18+ Telestrations After Dark version which contains some cheeky word choices indeed!


So we’ve covered many parlour favourites here, from the telephone game to summoning the dead, but there is one we haven’t covered – charades.


There is another game though, which features not only charades, but Pictionary, Name That Tune and Just a Minute. This game is HINT and not only is it a lot of fun, but it is a wonder of design too. #lifestylegaming

In HINT, two teams try to guess what things appear in various categories, ranging from the songs of Shania Twain to Bonnie Scotland (there are five things to guess, which each give a point, but there is one forbidden thing which, if someone in the team says, loses two point). To do this, they choose one of their team to be the hinter, who takes one card from the beautifully designed carousel of cards. This card will have the category and way in which the hints are to be given on the back of the card. The methods of hinting are Draw, Hum, Mime and Talk. The hinter then has ninety seconds to draw, hum, mime or talk about the things on the card. Correct guesses get points, but any not guessed can gain points for the opposing team and if they get the forbidden word they get two points.

So, it’s a lot of fun, but will also make you look very cool indeed. The rotating carousel makes the game look like a high spec turntable, whilst the score markers which clip to the side of the box complete that image. Even the most table-top game resistant hip-young-thing will be impressed by this game that looks like it’s fallen out of the pages of a Bang & Olufsen catalogue. Very en vogue.

And there you have it – six games that bring the parlour into the 21st century… or is it the 21st century into the parlour? Perfect for that post-Christmas-nap-pre-cold-turkey-sandwich lull and certainly a lot more family friendly than granny suggesting that you break out Cards Against Humanity. Again.

That concludes our list of Top 6 Parlour Games. Is there any we missed? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames.