With New Year's Eve approaching, you could be out, celebrating in your local, queueing with strangers sitting at your usual table and paying a fortune for the privilege or you could buy these great party games and get some mates round!
5. Say Anything
A great way to kick the evening off. Players take turns to pick a question from five on a card, all starting with “In my opinion.” Other players then write what they think will be the “best” answer on their board. The initial player secretly picks their favourite of those (which could be the funniest or most accurate), other players vote and then the answer is revealed and points totted up.
The beauty of this game is the phase before the initial player selects their favourite answer, where everyone gets a turn to convince them why they should pick their answer. Yes, selling chocolate teapots might be the “worst thing to sell door to door” at first glance, but actually is that worse than trying to sell a jumbo jet, which you'd presumably need to park and demonstrate to every house?
Questions range from the tame “favourite romantic couple” and “most fun superpower” to the more risqué, and almost any question will lend itself to an amusing answer in some way. Great ice-breaker, simple, short and incredible amusing.
Players are Knights of the Round Table, only some of them will be secret bad guys! Players take turns to pick who will go on each quest, with those questors then choosing to secretly pass or fail it. Simple set-up and concept, but an incredible game where the fun is in the debates and often heated accusations in between.
Being a bad guy, passing a quest to avoid suspicion, then failing next time to make the new questor appear bad and persuading everyone it really was him never fails to amuse.
The game can be made more interesting by adding additional roles. Merlin will know who the bad guys are, but can't make himself obvious. Percival will know Merlin so knows to listen to his subtle comments, although Morganna will appear to Percival as Merlin and Mordred can't be seen by Merlin.
If you want a loud party game of gut instinct, logic and debate – especially if you like hidden traitor games for you, this is one of the best and has huge replay-ability despite its simplicity.
Imagine a much improved Pictionary, and that game where everyone draws a little bit of a picture without seeing the rest, and you have Scrawl.
Each player draws a card with two phrases on it (or two rude ones on the back) and has to draw that picture on their card. They then pass the picture they drew, and the next player has to write what they think it is, before passing it to the next player who has to draw that new phrase, without seeing the first picture and so on.
Eventually the card gets returned to it's owner who will now have something completely different in their hand to the original phrase (usually).
Whilst there is a scoring system, the true fun in this game lies with showing everyone what the answer is, and watching how “throwing the baby out with the bath water” becomes “adult drowning furry animal” and seeing the evolution one step at a time!
This is the funniest game I've ever played, made even better if you are hopeless at drawing (like me) and never fails to result in huge laughs from everyone.
This game has beautiful art, is again simple to play and will appeal to games and non-gamers alike. Each player will have a collection of beautifully drawn, but strange, cards in their hard. On your turn, you play one of your cards face down and announce a word, phrase or even story which you hope will lead some players to pick your card, but not so obvious everyone does.
Other players then play one of their cards that they feel matches the closest as they will get points if players mistakenly choose their card. All these face down cards are then shuffled and laid out revealing their pictures, with players then guessing which card the original player played.
As well as the beauty of the game, it's always fun watching which players are on similar wavelengths or not, especially if playing with couples!
My favourite “party game.” Word cards are laid out in a 5x5 grid, and each of the two teams has a spymaster who has an overlay showing some words as blue, some red and some neutral (as well as one assassin that ends the game).
The spymaster has to announce one word and a number to link as many cards as possible. I.e. if they have to link “Bear,” “Chicken” and “pet” they may say “Animal, three”. The difficulty comes in make sure there isn't also anything else you could associate with animal amongst the remaining cards. The rest of the team then work together to guess which words their spymaster means.
An incredibly simple idea, which can accommodate any number of players as long as you can split into two teams. The guessers always blame the spymaster, as it looks so easy from that side. Then, suddenly once you become the spymaster you understand the hidden difficulty.
Codenames always becomes incredibly competitive, with whoops of joy when a team wins, and is incredibly satisfying if you somehow manage to link four or more words in a turn!