Games are a fantastic way to add some personality and excitement to any party. These family-friendly party games will help your group expand your gaming horizons!
Word games and communication-based party games
Anomia & Anomia Party
“Anomia” is the term for when a word is juuuuust on the tip of your tongue - and it sets the tone for this snappy word game.
Anomia is played with a deck of cards, where each card has a symbol and a topic. Players take turns drawing cards from the deck until two symbols match - then it’s a race to call out a word matching your opponent’s topic before they do the same to you!
The base game of Anomia comes with 2 decks of cards and can be played with 2-6 people (the more, the merrier). It’s recommended for ages 10 and up, but you can modify the topics and rules for younger players. Anomia Party comes with 6 decks - or get both versions of the game for 8 unique decks of tripping over your own tongue!
So how good are you at reading your friends' minds?
With the aid of your team's Psychic (team captain), you want to find the invisible bullseye on a continuous spectrum between two words. So on a spectrum between HOT and COLD, your Psychic might offer the clue "tuna" and it's up to you to divine what that means - is it a tuna sandwich? A live tuna? Cooked tuna casserole? Why is this clue so terrible?
To answer that last question, Psychics are only allowed to give conceptual clues. So obviously there's a certain amount of overthinking, wild guesses, and heckling at play.
Wavelength is great for 2-12 responsibly distanced players.
Poetry for Neanderthals
New from guy who makes the game with small cat bombs: a game where you use words with just one sound each to make your team guess your clue. If you use word with more than one sound, you get hit with large club of air.
Clues are for big thoughts, so game is more hard than it looks!
Stay Cool is a fast-paced game of multitasking for 3+ players. If it's your turn to keep it cool, you'll need to verbally answer trivia questions while simultaneously using letter dice to spell out responses to a separate set of questions - all as fast as you can, before the timer runs out. It's intense!
It definitely shows you who the multitaskers are in your group!
Taboo first came out in 1989 and has since become a modern classic. In it, players take turns getting their teammates to guess as many words and phrases as possible before the timer runs out - without saying any of the taboo (forbidden) clues.
Taboo tends to be best for ages 12 and up, but that’s mostly because of the number of pop culture references - just remove those cards for younger players. It’s great for 4-10 players.
Remember the playground game Telephone, where a whispered phrase becomes weirder and weirder as it gets passed along a giggling chain of kids? Telestrations is what you get when you put your phrase to paper.
In Telestrations, the first player kicks things off by writing a phrase. The second player does their best to illustrate the phrase in a very limited amount of time. The third player must then describe Player 2’s masterpiece in writing - without looking at the original idea. Players continue to alternate between drawing and writing, and Player 1’s phrase devolves into weirdness.
Telestrations is awesome for parties of all ages, as it’ll scale to your group’s level of maturity (or lack thereof). Try it out with 4-8 players, ages 8 (or even younger) and up!
Codenames is the ultimate test of group communication - using as few words as possible.
The game is played with two teams, each led by a spymaster. The spymasters are the only ones who know which of the 25 cards laid before them represent their team’s field agents, agents from the other team, innocent bystanders, or the deadly assassin. The spymasters give their teammates single-word clues to identify their own field agents before the other team does the same.
The original Codenames, released in 2015, uses printed words to represent each field agent. Codenames: Pictures was released in 2016, and uses intricate illustrations instead. Both games are fantastic for 2-8 players. Codenames is great for ages 10 and up, while Codenames: Pictures can be played with ages 8 and up.
In Concept, you try to convey a, well, concept to other players without using words. Instead, you place pawns on different symbols on the game board and hope the other players catch your brainwave.
To help the other players guess “bumblebee,” for example, you might place pawns on the symbols for small, flying, animal, yellow, and black… and hope you’ve gotten the message across.
Concept comes with easy, medium, and hard concepts, so it’s great for groups of 4-12 players, ages 10 and up. It’s also a great choice for English language learners!
Hidden identity party games
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
So, bad news: one or two of your friends are killer werewolves. In One Night Ultimate Werewolf, it’s your job to figure out who they are.
Every player starts with a secret role with unique abilities. The game then begins, taking place in two phases. During the night phase, all players “go to sleep” (close their eyes) and briefly “awaken” to use their character’s abilities - switching roles and making secret alliances along the way.
In the daytime phase, everyone “wakes up” and lets the accusations fly. Before the timer expires, players must deduce who among them is a werewolf. If they’re correct, the villagers win. If they’re incorrect, the werewolves claim victory.
Sound complicated? Here’s the good news: One Night Ultimate Werewolf has an optional free app that can guide you through every step of the game.
A full game takes 10-15 minutes - just reset and go again (and again and again). One Night Ultimate Werewolf can be played with 3-10 players (5-8 is best), ages 10 and up.
In this Spaghetti Western-themed game, players take the roles of good guys and bad guys, then start to eliminate their opponents - if they can figure out who they are!
In Bang, only the Sheriff’s identity is known; other players could be fine, upstanding Deputies, scheming Outlaws, or lone wolf Renegades. Players collect guns, resources, and defensive cards, then have shootouts using the game’s infamous “Bang!” cards.
Bang! is best for 4-7 players (6-7 is ideal), ages 8 and up.
Just plain silly party games
Exploding Kittens is a homicidal cat-themed card game of hot potato, featuring The Oatmeal’s zany humour and illustrations.
Players collect defensive cards and prepare their arsenals for the arrival of the exploding kittens. If you draw one of the cuddly little bombs, you’d better have some way to defuse it or you’re out of the game. Last player standing is the winner!
The base game is great for 2-5 players, ages 7 and up. There’s also a NSFW (not safe for work) version that is decidedly adults-only - we’ll let you figure out your own age restrictions there.
Wits & Wagers: It's Vegas Baby
The classic trivia game is back!
Wits & Wagers SEEMS like it's testing players' knowledge of esoteric facts... but honestly you could answer every question with total hogwash and still come out ahead. The trick in this game is to identify which player's answer is closest to the truth and bet accordingly. Borrowing a bit from casino games, this Vegas version includes more ways to hedge your bets or risk it all.
Wits & Wagers: It's Vegas Baby is a family-friendly game for 5 or more players.
Sushi Go Party!
Sushi Go Party! pits players against each other in a head-to-head battle to devise... the most adorable sushi meal you ever did see!
Sushi Go Party! is a card drafting game. Each player begins with a hand of cards. They play one card, then pass the rest of the hand to the player on their left. The hands travel around and around as each player assembles their meal, earning points for different combinations of nigiri, onigiri, maki, edamame, and more.
The Sushi Go Party! pack gives players more sushi options than the original Sushi Go!, and accommodates more players, up to 8. Completely family-friendly, Sushi Go Party! is great for ages 8 and up.
Looking for something a little more risqué? Check out our list of favourite adult party games!