Article By Jillian Schmett
It's my favorite time of year!
love the Holidays. It's a time for gathering with family and friends and enjoying each others' company. Traditionally, many families have always brought board games to the table during these gatherings (after cleaning off the delicious turkey, ham, or my personal all time favorite side dish-mashed potatoes... Mmmm... but I digress... Never blog on an empty stomach, people!)
Luckily for us, the options for games to accommodate large groups have drastically increased over recent years. While I will never say no to a rousing round of Charades or Pictionary while enjoying our after-dinner cocktails, many games are taking the basic concepts of those classics and expanding on them, and they're doing it well!
This week I thought I'd talk about games that work well with large groups of people that often will include a wide range of interests, age, and in the case of that one uncle that every family has, levels of sobriety.
In no particular order, here are ten games that I hope to be getting to play during the next few weeks.
Combining mechanics from Pictionary and the old-school classic, Telephone, Telestrations is guaranteed to have players laughing out loud. This game requires at least 4 players, and can play up to 12 with the party pack, although there really is no reason that more couldn't be added with a simple notepad and pencil. Players are given a secret word and asked to draw it on their pad. When everyone has completed their drawings, the pads will be passed to the next player. Everyone will then look at the drawings they have been given, turn to the next page, and write what word they guess the drawing depicted. Pads will be passed again, and this time everyone will look at the word that had been written, turn the page, and attempt to draw it. This continues until all the pads have gone full circle and returned to this order. This is where things really get funny. Everyone will take turns showing each page and how the drawings/words have evolved throughout the cycle. Of all the times I have played this game, only once has the final guess matched the original word assigned, and that was only after veering far off course and somehow returning back. Telestrations has been a hit with everyone I've ever played with, and I enjoy it every time it comes out.
In this social deduction game for 5-10 people, players are taking on the role of a group of operatives trying to topple the evil Empire. Everyone will be assigned an identity, with the majority being Resistance Operatives. However, a small number of Imperial Spies have also infiltrated the group, and they must be stopped! Over the course of a set number of rounds, players will be sent on missions, and based on information gathered regarding the success or failure of these missions, an attempt to oust the spies will be made. This is a fun game with not a lot of mechanics or rules, that is sure to get everyone engaged and have accusations flying! It's another one that has been a hit with almost everyone I've ever played it with, the exception being people who either don't enjoy or are very bad at bluffing.
The Chameleon is another bluffing/deduction game for 4-8 players. Each round, everyone will be assigned a card delegating them as either the Chameleon, or hunting the Chameleon. A topic card in the middle of the table visible to everyone will have a list of words. A dice roll determines the "Secret Word", and based off the coordinates given by the dice, everyone except the Chameleon will be able to identify the word. Players now take turns saying on word related to the secret word, while the Chameleon must make an educated guess, trying to say something closely related enough so as not to reveal their identity. If the Chameleon can play it off well enough to not be identified, they win! If they are caught, the other players win. I've only played this game a few times so far but it has always gone over well and I look forward to playing it again.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf:
Yet another bluffing game on the list, One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a fast game for 3-10 players in which everyone will be assigned a role with a special ability. Players will spend a set amount of time in discussion trying to either identify the werewolf, or, if they themselves are the werewolf, hide their identity. At the end of the allotted time, players will choose who to kill, and hope that they have successfully rid their village of the werewolf! I have not personally played this game yet but am hoping to soon. It's been highly recommended to me by a number of my friends and I'm looking forward to playing.
Another in the Werewolf series, this is a quick and easy game for 4-10 people that anyone can play. Players try to guess a secret word by asking "yes" or "no" questions and are aided by a Seer, who cannot be too obvious when providing help. This is another game I have yet to try but has been praised a lot by my friends and I hope to get the chance soon!
Think "Cards Against Humanity" but with comic strips, and you have Joking Hazard. A light game for 3-10 players that is sure to provide lots of laughs, but is definitely NSFW, so probably best to leave until the younger guests go to bed. I've played this with quite a few different people and we have always had a lot of fun with it.
Codenames is a team-based party deduction games in which a grid of cards will be laid out on the table for everyone to see. A Spymaster from each team will look at a key together that will show them which words are assigned to their team, and which word is hidden in the mix as the assassin. Over rounds, spymasters will try to get their players to guess all their words before the other team finds all of theirs. But watch out! If at any time someone guesses the assassin they automatically lose. I've played this game countless times with varying group sizes and ages and everyone has always enjoyed it!
This game is under the radar, but one of my favorites. Rolling America can be played with any number of players. Each person is given a paper with a map of the United States that is divided into states and grouped into 6 different colored regions. Each turn, 2 dice will be rolled and the numbers and colors will be announced. Players will fill in the dice values in the appropriate colored regions while following certain criteria for placing them. The great thing about this game is that any number of people can play it and it's simple and relatively quick. We play this a lot at home with our son and it's a great little filler.
Kind of like a "gamers Guess Who", Unusual Suspects is a cooperative game for 3-16 players in which a grid of mug-shot style "Suspect" pictures will be laid out on the table in front of everyone. One person will be designated as "The Witness" and given a card that identifies the guilty suspect. Cards with pre-determined questions will be flipped and The Witness will answer each question with simply a "yes" or "no" and no more. Based on which suspects players think fit that description, they will eliminate a number of cards until they feel that they can no longer confidently eliminate any more. Scores are tallied in between each round and this continues until either the Guilty Suspect is wrongly eliminated, or correctly identified. This is a great game for large groups and is simple enough to play with people who don't often play games.
In my experience, dexterity games are usually a hit with everyone, and although this one takes up a lot of space, if you can set it up it's sure to provide entertainment for everyone attending. Wooden modular tracks can be placed in any variety of combinations to create your very own race track. Small wooden discs represent race cars, and players take turns flicking their car around the track in a race to finish first. This game is also great for adults and kids of all ages.
This is just a small sampling of the wide variety of great games out there available today! What do you plan on bringing to your family gathering? Leave me a comment and let me know!
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