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Small Party Games

Hullo everyone!

This is the most popular forum I inhabit, and so I was looking for a few opinions on a small-scale party game. Let me explain what I mean.

I haven’t mentioned it yet on here, but my girlfriend and I recently became engaged (yay!). In the last few months, I’ve been reconnecting with a near and dear friend I’ve known since I was 9. He’s also recently engaged, and it seems likely that the four of us will be spending some time together. To that end, I was thinking about investing in a small party game we all could enjoy.

To be clearer, what I mean is something along the lines of Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, or Superfight. Something that’s pretty relaxed and easy-going, and isn’t too detailed or complex. Pictionary would be another good example - relatively simple to play, and can be tons of fun, too. Being simpler and less of a “hardcore game” (I can’t think of a better way to say this) is pretty important since my fiancee is averse to anything more complex than Bubble Witch Saga or Candy Crush; but she hasn’t even touched a casual game for a few months at least.

I suppose another way to describe what I’m looking for is a “game for when couples hang out”. The only thing I know about this situation is what I’ve seen troped with on TV. Also, “troped” is a word, I don’t care what you say. :smile:

Cards Against Humanity currently has the nod from me, since I’ve seen it before (though never played it), my fiance has too, and we both thought it looked like fun (seen Youtube videos of others play it; namely Sourcefed if anyone watches that); my friend is the type to appreciate this sort of game too, and my little experience with his fiance suggests she would too. I’m not sure of her age, but the rest of us are 25 or 26 (I’m the old one).

So, I’m looking for opinions, and options I haven’t heard about before, if anyone knows of them. Just spitball if you’re not sure.

Thanks in advance for everyone’s time and effort.

the choice between Cards Against Humanity and Apples to Apples is how NSFW your group will be. also, the CAH stuff is not just more adult, but also more crude. if you’re into that, go nuts. if you worry someone might be offended by an off-colour joke, go with Apples to Apples instead.

for people who don’t play games, they’re good games. extremely easy to explain and play/score.

some other good ones:

Resistance (and/or Resistance: Avalon)
great talking/bluffing game that plays up to 10 (but needs 5 minimum to start). the game can be over quickly or can go on for a while. everyone is basically part of a resistance cell trying to overthrow the government (or loyal knights of Arthur). everyone gets a hidden identity card, and some people will end up being spies. the spies while know who each other and will have to work together to bluff their way onto going on missions and sabotaging them, and it’s everyone else’s job to figure out who’s bad and who’s on their side.
here’s a video link to better explain it: http://www.shutupandsitdown.com/videos/v/play-the-resistance-avalon/

my experience introducing it to newer players: they sometimes have trouble understanding whether or not they should vote against missions versus failing/succeeding missions. also, some people don’t like lying.

Sheriff of Nottingham: it’s a bit more complex, but your job is the bluff goods past the sheriff, take and pressure bribes, and get the most goods through customs checks. here’s another video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofZS29XArzM

some of the same problems as above with lying, also it’s a bit more complex than A2A/CAH

Love Letter: focuses more on deduction. there’s a little bit of bluffing, but no lying.
major problem: only plays up to 4. really simple and really fast to play. you can potentially run into problems where you have a bad hand at a bad time and lose, but you play over several rounds and get tokens.
here’s a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2YUYPDq7gQ

you place a card face down and say a clue. it can be a word, a gesture, poem, anything. every other player tries to match that clue. then, players vote for who they think was the active player’s card. the active player only gets points if at least one person guesses their card correctly, but doesn’t gain any points if no one guesses it or everyone guesses it.
problems: it’s a bit abstract, and some people can have trouble coming up with abstract clues.
here’s another video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6UlbxeDE0w


Smash Up can be pretty fun, light and easy to learn. It’s a simple card game where you choose two factions that’s your deck. The expansions get a little more tricky and I’ve found a lot of non-gamers get a little lost, so I’d recommend just sticking to the main box for starters. Congrats btw.

The party game I really like lately is Funemployed. I’d put it in the same category as CAH or Apples, roughly, but I think it’s funnier, more interesting to play, and especially more rewarding of creativity. It follows the typical format for this style of game, where each turn one player acts as judge on everyone else. In this case, there’s a card with an occupation, and each person builds a short list of attribute cards and then gives a pitch for why these qualify them for that occupation. It requires a bit more improvisation than similar games but when I’ve played it, even people I wouldn’t expect prove very capable of being hilarious.

I’ll also make a pitch for Drawful, a computer game in the “jackbox party pack.” You play using a PC hooked up to a monitor everyone can see, plus each person’s cell phone. Everyone gets a prompt to draw something on their phone, and then it shows you each drawing one by one, you come up with fake prompts, and everyone tries to identify the real prompt the drawer was given. It’s really really fun. That pack also includes You Don’t Know Jack which is good if you enjoy trivia, and some other games that might be fine but probably aren’t as good as Drawful.

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First off all, congrats on your engagement!

I can recommend Love Letters and Machi Kori.

I’m a big fan of hidden identity & bluffing mechanics. Here are 2 light party games that I’ve introduced to many, generally to very positive reactions.

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Apples and CAH will likely wear out their welcome quickly once you’re familiar with the cards. I would suggest something that gives players a bit more agency for better replayability.

Love Letter sounds perfect. I would also check out Pix, Coup, Concept, Telestrations, Dixit, Time’s Up, Wits and Wagers, Riff Raff, Snake Oil, and A La Carte. I think any of those will do well for you so I’d say just research them a bit and grab what sounds interesting.

Grats on the engagement.

I don’t know if their games has been translated in english or not but Repos Prod family games (Concept, Cash & Guns, Sandwich, Times Up) are some pretty great small party games.
Heck, even 7 wonders is easy enough to be played with non-gamers :slight_smile:


You should check out Spyfall, it’s a blast! We were 6 when I tried it, but I think 4 should be fine.

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I would second Smash Up in a heartbeat but, although it is simple, it might be a little more than you are looking for. It is pretty much a fun and unique CCG without having to take any time building decks, and with tons of variety.

Some games that have really worked in the board game club I moderate at school have been:
Dixit (like Cards and Apples with a much greater shelf-life, if you are into it. And not nearly as funny).

Fluxx: starts with a simple “play a card, draw a card,” but the objectives and rules constantly change with each card played. Fun and not at all as difficult as it sounds.

King of Tokyo: King of the Hill meets Yahtzee. Good quick fun if people are interested, though some will be discouraged that it has a "if your health drops to zero you are out of the game entirely."
Smash Up

Cooperative games like Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert (similar to the famous Pandemic, but just that more accessible) and
Sentinels of the Multiverse: each player takes control of a superhero via a deck and they team up to stop a variety of Supervillains and their automated decks.

4 is tough for Spyfall. I play it quite a bit via the web app and would suggest trying it out there before buying.

Seconding: Dixit, Spyfall, King of Tokyo, Fluxx (but not the original take zombies or monthy python), Cash n Guns, Avalon, Cards against humanity,…

All very good games that don’t take long and are fun to play with non-gamers.

Also Jungle Speed,

And Mindpower (from Jumbo), but I’m not sure they ever translated it. Nobody ever wants to play it. But when we do we have a blast.

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Love Letter definitely. Masquerade is fantastic, but four is the absolutely lower limit for the game to work IMO.

Braggart (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/72420/braggart) is silly but can be hilarious. Likewise Once Upon a Time (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1234/once-upon-time-storytelling-card-game).

(Personally I have big issues with Cards Against Humanity but don’t want to open that can of worms here. Suffice to say, not everyone finds it hilarious and some find it deeply offensive so approach with caution.)

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Yes, please, let’s avoid that if possible. I’m just looking for suggestions, so avoiding a debate of any kind is preferable. Other things like this -

-are relevant to the gameplay itself, so I am interested in hearing things like this.

I’ve played CAH a few times, and even ignoring the massive elephant in the room I don’t find it a particularly good game; first game pretty much always devolves into whoever has the most ‘offensive’ card in their hand rather than clever or witty uses of them. If you’ve got a hand full of bland cards there’s nothing you can do except hope you draw a ‘good’ (read: horrible) one that will shock the person judging into giving you a point.

Skull/Skull and Roses (same game by any other name…) is a good one, like poker boiled down to its very essence and nice and quick to play. You can even run this one with just a pack of cards as the rules are so simple.

I’ll second One Night Werewolf (get the app!) and Mascarade (note the misspelling, I think?). They’re a bit more involved but a lot of fun. Regular werewolf can be fun too, that’s pretty simple, but you have to deal with the issue of player elimination, which is pretty much always NOT FUN.

I enjoyed Dixit, but be aware it’s very… well, French. And I’m not using that in a pejorative sense at all!

And finally, there is the party game craze which is SWEEPING my home town, which is Dobble. Dobble just has to be played to be understood. Benefit is even very young children (5 or 6 I would guess?) can play and be just as good as an adult WITHOUT the game being completely random like Snakes and Ladders.

The maths of it make my head hurt, but you have 50-odd cards and a whole bunch of different little symbols 8 on each card; any two cards share exactly one symbol. You all start with one card, with the rest in the centre in a pile. You have to shout out which symbol matches, then you take the middle card to reveal the next one. It gets… frantic.

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Fibbage is in that pack, and it’s like drawful, except it deals with words instead of pictures. You get a question read to everyone, then everyone writes a lie to pose as the correct answer, then you get points by fooling people into picking your choice. It’s great fun, and it’s so much fun coming up with such a clever answer everybody picks it and you get a ton of points.

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I recently played ticket to ride with my partner and her parents. It’s not really a party game, but we all had fun and picked up the rules easily.

I think the good thing about it is while being very simple there are still meaningful decisions to make.

Probably not really considered a party game though.

I would recommend Pictomania. It’s probably the best drawing game out there.

Skull is pretty good too.

This may be a bit advanced for a party game but Hanabi is probably one of the better cooperative light card games out there. And it’s good for couples. But there isn’t any table talk so maybe try it out for you and your financé; however, if you guys break up because of communication issues due to Hanabi, please don’t blame me.


Hahaha. I’m relatively certain that if we were on “The Newlywed Game” together, we would be smacking each other with the big cards fairly often, so I’m not too worried. :smile:

EDIT: Maybe I’m misunderstanding you though, I’ve never heard of that game before. :confused:

Man, when we hang out with other couples is about the only time we play netrunner (the wife and I do not play 1v1 games together, full stop :smiley: )

Highly recommend both of these games - Love letter has a ton of re-skins (santa, batman, spies, samurai, etc…) that improve on the original (which is basically equal parts snooze-town, old-timey sexism, and “doesn’t make any sense”) but the game underneath is so fun that any version will be a hit. Dixit is like A2A or CAH but superior in every way to either game. It has this wierd, funny, abstract thing going on that makes it just so much less grating than either (and more actual fun imho)

Another game I’d recommend is Anomia makes for very fun and funny games and gets better with good conversation and a few drinks in you maybe.

Coup is also fantastic and may even serve as a “gateway” game to other deduction games. best thing about it is that you can play 1 game in 10 minutes and be done or play 15 rounds and still want to play one more.

second this, great game if you like bluffing mechanics

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