In case you needed another reason to have a party, here’s a list of five games that are worthy of a shindig right out of the box. They have that perfect combination of fun, challenge, and depth that’ll hold everyone’s attention for the evening. Plus they all have distinct visual themes that make it easy to decorate, accessorize, and set a menu around. “But wait,” you’re saying, “some of these games only have five players!?” That’s true but numbers do not a party make. Everyone knows that it’s party hats that make it a party, and you can just buy those.
Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game
This is probably one of the more well known entries on our list and for all the right reasons. It’s not just one of the best game adaptations of a TV series, it’s also just a really good game. If you’re not familiar, it works like this: players work together as the crew of the Galactica to escape the evil Cylons… except that one or two of the players are secretly Cylons and working against their friends. After it’s over, you’ll spend another few hours recapping the whole game with each other and trying to justify how you missed that the guy sitting next to you was a Cylon the whole time.
How to make it a party: Play the official soundtrack and grab some costumes, then spend the rest of the night playing a BSG drinking game and rewatching your favorite episodes. “Ha, he fell for that Cylon lie… just like you did, Kevin.”
Betrayal at House on the Hill
Betrayal is another classic, established tabletop game that starts with everyone on the same team exploring a haunted house until someone gets possessed, turns against the party and… well you can guess the rest. This game has been around for so long because it really is a very different experience each time you play. The random house tiles, multitude of haunting options, and plain old human nature make this game a party event none of your friends can turn down just because “they’ve played it before”.
How to make it a party: This seems like a good time to serve all the spooky party recipes you normally reserve for halloween. This “Goblin Dip” with “Bone Crackers” recipe might be worth it for the name alone. Follow up Betrayal with some rounds of another game, Werewolf, to continue the theme of your friends being untrustworthy but surprisingly fun to drink with. Ah-ooooooo!
Finally! A game where all the players can work together toward a common goal. That goal, of course, is helping a ghost with amnesia solve its own murder. Seriously. This exceptionally fun game could best be described as “collaborative vision interpretation.” It is also visually beautiful, with all the trappings from tiny crystal ball player markers to a little clock that counts down the rounds. This game is heavy on atmosphere, especially when the “ghost” player gets into his or her role.
How to make it a party: Ask guests to come dressed as psychics and mediums, which should make for some great Instagram photos. You could finish out the evening by giving each other card readings or breaking out the Ouija board. Alternately, take a more subtle approach and just watch 1988’s Vibes, the best movie about psychics ever. And if that weren’t enough, the movie co-stars Jeff Goldblum and Cyndi Lauper.
Descent: Journeys in the Dark
Descent: Journeys in the Dark is easy to learn and has just the right amount of challenge. It also scratches that RPG itch for folks who can’t maintain a weekly D&D group now that they’ve got distracting things like kids or jobs or AA meetings. Be careful though, because the game is addictive. While you can play it in party-worthy one-off sessions, it has a very engaging story campaign and it’s really hard not to start planning to get the gang back together for next week’s adventure.
How to make it a party: Each of the game’s dungeons has a boss monster which players have to defeat to win, so why not bake them a cake? That’s right, it’s not just a party, it’s a birthday party, for a monster… whom you will murder. Happy birthday, monster!
PS: Check out Star Wars: Imperial Assault for almost the same game but set in the Star Wars Universe.
This is another game that just might turn your impromptu party into a weekly game night. Risk Legacy is one of those evolving games that actually changes as you play it. Permanent stickers go on the board, cards are altered or ripped up, and included envelopes are opened at key times with new rules and surprises. Other than that, it’s essentially the same Risk game everyone knows how to play. You’ll probably have time to play it more than once in a night and after you start, you’ll want to keep going until you’ve finished (about 15 games).
How to make it a party: Take this already competitive game up a notch by grabbing a handful of poker chips and adding side bets to all the various battles. Think your buddy can take Peru with just three troops? Wager some chips on it. At the end of the night, the person with the most chips takes home a prize.
So that’s just five games we think are worth the trouble of building the Facebook invite and getting your friends to truck across town to play the night away. Of course you don’t need a game to have a party, but games make them so much better… games and party hats. So many party hats!
Leave us your suggestions for party-worthy games in the comments below and if anyone cooks up their own homemade Geek & Sundry party hats, send us picture for some serious props. Party on, readers. Party hard.. in party hats.
Featured Image Credit: Sax Carr (with permission)
Image Credits: Sax Carr (with permission), Mysterium Image from official site.