Top 8 Best Party Board Games for Adults [2020]

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If you’re looking for a board game to play at a party, there are many great choices. There is a whole world of games that fall between charades and drinking games. Party games are a great way to enjoy your time with your friends.

We have some great games on this list for you to explore, but our top pick is Codenames. It’s a team word game that is fast becoming a classic game to play at parties.

Our Top Picks
Best Overall
Czech Games Codenames
Best Game with Foam Gun
Cash n Guns, 2nd Edition
Budget Option
Funemployed Card Game
Name
Codenames
Cash and Guns
Funemployed
Features
This team word game relies on using one-word clues to correctly find the codenames of your friendly spies; just watch out for the assassin who's in the mix.
A fun bluffing game that lets you pretend to be in an old-timey Western standoff with up to 8 of your friends.
A fun interview game, where you have to sell the most ridiculous qualifications to land as many jobs as possible.
Best Overall
Our Top Picks
Czech Games Codenames
Name
Codenames
Features
This team word game relies on using one-word clues to correctly find the codenames of your friendly spies; just watch out for the assassin who's in the mix.
More Info
Best Game with Foam Gun
Our Top Picks
Cash n Guns, 2nd Edition
Name
Cash and Guns
Features
A fun bluffing game that lets you pretend to be in an old-timey Western standoff with up to 8 of your friends.
More Info
Budget Option
Our Top Picks
Funemployed Card Game
Name
Funemployed
Features
A fun interview game, where you have to sell the most ridiculous qualifications to land as many jobs as possible.
More Info

Related post: Best Science Board Games

Best Party Board Games for Adults

Best Overall – Codenames

Sale
Best Overall
Codenames
This team word game relies on using one-word clues to correctly find the codenames of your friendly spies; just watch out for the assassin who's in the mix.

Codenames pits two teams against each other. It works best with 6 players, but you can play in different combinations. It’s easy to learn but really makes you think as you play.

Each team nominates one player to be the spymaster, and the rest are the guessers. The board is made by laying out a grid of cards with words on them. The spymasters know which words are the code names for each team’s spies and the assassin. Using one-word clues, they need to guide their team to find their spies. The first team to locate all their spies wins. However, if you turn over the assassin, it’s game over.

Because it’s so simple to understand the rules, it has proved to be a top-rated party game. However, you should be aware that this is not a fast-paced game. There are periods of downtime while everyone thinks. This makes it a nice gentle game to play as a group. Every player doesn’t have to remain 100% focussed at all times. 

There are a few variations of the game which offer some different play experiences. There is a cooperative version where the players play against the game to get the highest score possible. There is also a picture version where the words on the cards are replaced with pictures and symbols.

Best Game with Foam Gun – Cash and Guns

Sale
Best Game with Foam Gun
Cash and Guns
A fun bluffing game that lets you pretend to be in an old-timey Western standoff with up to 8 of your friends.

Cash and Guns did so well the first time that it was released that this is now its second version. In this bluffing game, you and your friends point foam guns at each other as you fight to get the biggest share of the loot.

The game is played in 8 rounds. You and your ‘teammates’ have just completed a bank robbery, but now comes the hard part, dividing the loot. Each round, you have to point your gun at someone, only you know if you have a blank or one of your live rounds inside. So, the bluffing begins. If you’re worried about taking too much damage, you can back out. You won’t get a cut, but you can keep your bullet and not incur any wounds.

This is a very social game, but unlike in other social games, the mechanic ensures everyone gets involved. Because everyone has to point their gun at someone in every round, no one can take a back seat. This game will get intense fast.

You will make enemies as you play. It’s the nature of the game. It is fun, but you do need to play with the right group of people. If you have a friend who tends to hold a grudge, you might want to give it a miss. 

This is a great lightweight social game. It’s a whole lot of fun to play.

Budget Option – Funemployed

Budget Option
Funemployed
A fun interview game, where you have to sell the most ridiculous qualifications to land as many jobs as possible.

Funemployed is a great game for playing with groups. You can play with pretty much any number of people. Three is the minimum. Around 6 players are probably the optimal number.

In this game, you take turns as the employer. You draw a job from the deck, and the other players have to explain how their cards’ characteristics make them best suited for the job. For example, you might need to explain why owning a Delorian makes you the best candidate for a job as an astronaut.

If you have tried Cards Against Humanity and liked it then, this should be a good fit. The most significant difference is that you get a lot more freedom to find your own humor with Funemployed. Cards Against Humanity gives you punchlines, here you get to find your own.

This is a game that encourages you to talk and get creative. It’s a fun pick for a party game. Even if you aren’t playing, you can be part of the fun listening as the silliness and creativity unfold.

Best Game with Expansions – SpaceTeam

Best Game with Expansions
SpaceTeam
Race to repair your spaceship before the time runs out in this quick game that will have you shouting at your friend to decontaminate the chronal stabilizers.

SpaceTeam is a fun card game for 3 – 6 players. You are racing against time to repair your ship before you get sucked into a black hole. You fix your ship by collecting the cards from your teammates who are also trying to do the same thing simultaneously.

If you are playing with a bigger group, there are two expansion packs to choose from, which lets you add an extra three players each: Triangulum and NSFS.

Games take no more than 5 minutes, so they are quick and fun. The time pressure will get everyone’s blood pumping. It’s a great ice breaker for a party.

This easy to learn, quick to play board game is the perfect way to lift the mood at any party. To win, you all need to work together. The team play combined with silly words is just plain fun.

Best Fast Talking Game – Articulate 

Best Fast Talking Game
Articulate
This is a fast-talking guessing game for up to four teams.

Articulate is a great game for large groups. You can split into four teams of pretty much any size. The minimum number of players is four, although, for a fun game, 6 is a better number.

Each team member takes a turn to pull cards from the deck. Depending on their position on the board, they describe a word on the card. Their team has to guess the word from their description. The number of words they get right in 30 seconds is the number of spaces they move around the board.

It’s a fun game, and the descriptions can get a little desperate as the seconds tick away. Because of the time limit, the turns go quickly so the game keeps on moving. Even though teams take it in turns, it’s fun watching the other groups guess, so the downtime between your goes is entertaining.

Best Trivia Game – Wits and Wagers

Sale
Best Trivia Game
Wits and Wagers
A trivia game where you can win even if your answer was wrong, just make sure to bet on the right answer.

Wits and Wagers is a trivia game that anyone can play. The questions are fun and the kind anyone can have a guess. For example – “How many pizza slices does the average American eat in a day?”. 

Each player writes down their answers. But that’s not the end. You then use your poker chips to bet on the answer you think is the best. You’ll get points if your answer was right and even more if you bet on the correct answer. So you can win without getting a single answer right.

This is a fun game that’s easy to learn. It works with a minimum of 3 players. If you play in teams, it can easily support 20+ players while still being fun.

It’s the best board game for trivia lovers who don’t know any trivia!

Best Silly Acting Game – On A Scale Of One To T-Rex

On A Scale Of One To T-Rex is a charades-like game. The difference is that every player is acting out their activities simultaneously, so no-one feels put on the spot.

Each player takes two cards. One describes an action, and the other is an intensity level. Actions include drinking tea or acting like a T-rex. What matters is the intensity level. You need to find the other player who has the same intensity level as you.

This is a great board game for anyone who likes charades but is terrible at it. Everyone knows what you’re doing. You’re just guessing about the intensity. It is a simple, fun, and silly game.

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Up to 8 players can join in, and it takes no more than 15 minutes to play all the way through.

Best Song Game – Spontuneous

Best Song Game
Spontuneous
A game about remembering lyrics to songs, perfect for music lovers, no singing ability required.

Spontuneous is an excellent game for anyone who loves music. Each player picks a ‘trigger word.’ The aim is to be the first to call out at least five words from a song with the trigger word. You don’t need to know the song name or artist, and you don’t even have to sing it.

It’s a great game for people who get lyrics stuck in their head all the time. It doesn’t matter what the song is at all. You can use anything – nursery rhymes, jingles, carols, pop songs everything is fair game.

The first person to call out their lyrics gets to move forward. The aim is to be the first player around the board. Along the way, there are extra-musical challenges that can send you ahead or set you back.

With a timer involved, play never drags. You’ll be amazed to discover just how many songs you know.

What to Consider When Buying Party Board Games for Adults

Playtime

Unless your party is primarily focused on playing party board games, then it’s a good idea to opt for games that have shorter playtimes. I’m saying this not because long games are bad, but because there is often a ‘hump’ that people have to get over before they agree to play a game. A short playtime can make it easier to get people to yes.

The other bonus of a short playtime at a party is that you can play multiple rounds. This can allow more people to jump in and out of the game as they want.

Difficulty

Party games should be easy to learn. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to explain the rules. If, after 5 minutes, most of the players aren’t ready to give the game a go, then you’re going to be struggling to get the game off the ground.

Fear of not knowing what to do is one of the biggest obstacles for adults to get over when playing games in a social setting. If you can reassure them that the game is easy to learn, then you’ll have more people interested in playing.

Number of Players

People playing Codenames board game

JIP / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

You want to try and find a game that will match the number of players at your party. It doesn’t mean everyone has to be able to play, but a two-player game is not going to be a good fit. If you can try to find games that accommodate more players, you don’t have to exclude people from the game.

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Team vs Individual Play

If your party is quite large, you might be better looking for games that can be played in teams. These can be a good way to get more people involved and allow players to flow in and out a little during the game.

Playing in a team can also offer reassurance to anyone nervous about playing a party game. If your party is small and intimate, then the best party game might be based on individual play. Teams of two people can be unenjoyable for many team games. 

Entertainment Value

When some people at a party start to play a game, it will often attract attention. This can become a source of entertainment, not only for the folks playing the game but for everyone else. As a result, some of the best party games have high entertainment value for those watching, not just the players.

Comfort Level

When choosing a board game for adults, you need to think about the personalities of the players. You may want to play an energetic, silly game that involves being loud and acting things out. If you are in a room of introverts, no one will feel comfortable being the one player everyone is looking at.

Tundra board game

Photographed by ClaymoreEntertainment, INC. Artwork by Chad Carpenter / Copyrighted free use

You need to know your audience and find something that will work for them. You can always work up to more performative games or save them for when people are feeling safe and open.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a good party board game?

The best board games at parties are the ones that build a social and fun atmosphere. Games that encourage talking are great for a party. A good party game can be fun for people playing as well as people watching. It should make everyone feel welcome and included.

A fast-paced game can be a good party game. They can match the lively atmosphere of a party well. Any fun game can be a good party game.

Are party board games popular for adults?

Board games, in general, are becoming much more popular for adults. A party is an ideal situation to try out board games.

What is the best board game for adults to play at a party?

The best board game is going to depend on the situation. You want to find a game that suits the number of people at the party, their comfort level, and the type of party it is. 

If your friends are new to party board games, you might want to start with a short game that doesn’t put anyone on the spot and is easy to learn. Talkative and loud groups might enjoy fast-paced talking or shouting games. Quieter friends might enjoy playing a social deduction or strategy game instead. 

The best game is the one that fits your party’s dynamic the best.

Sandy Fargus

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API