Alcohol and board games can be a match made in heaven – as long as you’ve got good friends on hand, and pick the right drinking board games to play. It doesn’t always have to be purpose-built booze themed games, either; some mainstream classics can be extra-fun with a few drinks in you! To get you started, here are our favorite board games to get tipsy to.
You could try cracking out any of the world’s best board games to play with drunken pals, sure – but most were, shall we say, built for the sober mind, and confusion or boredom will likely ensue. Much better to play one of these, where alcohol will boost the fun, rather than complicate things.
For the record, we’re also tracking the overall best drinking games you can play, as well as the entirely board-free options drinking card games – so if you fancy jettisoning the board and bits to go old-school, you’ll find our expert picks there.
The best drinking board games are:
- One More Drink
- Drunk Jenga
- Game of Thrones Risk
- Exploding Kittens
Of course, it goes without saying that you should drink (and game) responsibly. But if you’ve got your legal ID and your red solo cup at the ready, let’s take a look at some of the best drinking board games – to Drinkopoly and beyond.
1. One More Drink
One of the finest examples we’ve found of ‘that common kind of drinking game with dares or challenges on cards’, One More Drink manages to strike a delicate balance.
It isn’t so tame that you’d be happy to play it with your parents, but, at the same time, it’s not so ‘edgy’ that it actually becomes unpleasant or offensive. That already puts it above a vast number of titles in its genre – but One More Drink also scores points for variety.
There are some cards that ask questions; some that give straightforward instructions; and some that challenge you with tasks you would never perform sober, like “sing a song with a drink in your mouth, spit it back into your glass to save for later if no one can guess it”. Ew.
2. Spot It! / Dobble
Everyone knows that drunk people have the best reflexes, so a game like Spot It! (sold under the far superior title of ‘Dobble‘ outside the US), which requires sharp eyes and sharper reactions, is just the thing to bust out when you’re enjoying a beverage.
Each of Spot It’s 55 unique, circular cards shares one, but only one, symbol with every other card in the game. Don’t ask how this works; the answer, presumably, is witchcraft.
Five quick party games within the Spot It! tin all centre around spotting matching symbols – it’s a little like Snap, except fun. Each one a chaotic and noisy race, it’s not hard to think of ways to turn all of Spot It’s variants into a great drinking game.
Whether the sight of the word Monopoly makes you cheer or groan in despair, this wouldn’t be a complete list of drinking board games without an alternate edition of the world’s most famous board game. Drinkopoly calls itself ‘the blurriest game ever’, and it’s specifically designed for adult couples competing in teams.
Drinkopoly is slightly simpler than regular Monopoly (which is handy on nights where you’re too tipsy to remember lots of rules). You take turns moving your pieces around the board, performing the (often alcoholic) actions on the space you land on.
There are also plenty of cards to pick up, each with more rules or activities to follow. It’s all the fun of a drinking card game like Kings, but the board does the work of remembering what to do for you.
4. Drunk Jenga
Jenga is one of the most famous dexterity games around, and drinking dexterity games are a guaranteed recipe for hilarity. The original concept couldn’t be clearer – pull a block from the tower without toppling the whole thing, and you survive another round. The loser is the one who brings the whole thing crashing down.
There are a few ways to approach the drunk version of Jenga. You could buy a specially designed Jenga tower, but these are usually regular Jenga blocks with drinking ‘rules’ printed on them. Still, if you don’t want to dedicate the time to coming up with your own drinking game, these will do the work for you nicely. The other method, of course, is to use a plain old Jenga tower for a drinking game. This time, it’s up to you to make the rules and write them on the blocks.
If you need some inspiration, you could always use the rules from some of the best drinking games that already exist. A King’s Cup version of Drunk Jenga would have blocks saying ‘waterfall’ (everyone drinks until the player on their left stops), while other blocks might show a certain number of sips to take or command everyone of a specific gender to drink. You can get as creative as you want, but this is an easy starting point.
When your group can’t agree on what to play, Drink-A-Palooza is there to say ‘yes’ to everyone. An all-in-one drinking game kit, in Drink-A-Palooza players progress around a Monopoly-style board, playing different games based on where they land. You earn miniature beer bottles for each victory, and the first to fill their ‘six pack’ wins.
As for the games themselves, Drink-A-Palooza might not be breaking new ground, but it has all your old favourites. From King’s Cup (Ring of Fire) to Screw the Dealer, Quarters to Flip Cup, pretty much every drinking game you encountered at university is represented here.
The only downside is that the cups you need for a couple of the rounds aren’t included.
Other than that, this is the perfect facilitator for a night of drinking games, preventing any of them from getting stale too quickly. It’s a great solution to an age-old problem which can kill an evening before it truly gets going: choice.
This spectacularly simple bluffing game was originally played using beer mats, or so the story goes, so perhaps it’s no coincidence that Skull makes for the perfect bar or pub play experience.
It helps that it’s super easy to learn, and to teach. Players each have a set of four cards: one skull and three flowers. They take it in turns to place one of their cards face down in front of them, and, at any point, someone can start bidding, stating the number of flowers they think they can find before they uncover a skull.
Whoever wins the bid must then prove they can cash the cheque their mouth has written, beginning with their own cards. Succeed and you’re halfway to winning; fail and you lose a card permanently. And that’s basically all there is to it. It’s so straightforward that, at first, it can be hard to see the game in Skull at all, but give it a try and you’ll discover it’s subtly brilliant, full of canny bluffing and tense risk-taking.
It only gets better with a little Dutch courage, as players proceed to get drunker and their swaggering bravado increases. It’s also child’s play to turn Skull into a drinking game (though children, obviously, should not). Simply drink whenever you hit a Skull, and make everyone else drink when you successfully complete a round.
Drinking games are often funny (or at least many make that claim) but often they lean too heavily on shock value. Few are as packed with actual hilarity as Blau.
The concept is extremely straightforward: each card in this game’s 60-card deck contains a unique task or ruling which determines who has to drink. Some of these are one-time actions: “Prepare to take a selfie, count down from three, whoever isn’t in the picture must drink.”
Whereas others persist for a whole round and drinking is the penalty for forgetting: “Everyone must repeat the last word of every sentence twice twice.” All of them are unique, creative, and designed to produce silly situations.
Blau. is the perfect icebreaker game. Hot tip – it’s best experienced gradually, uncovering a new card every so often while you chat. That way the rules stick around for far longer, and you don’t blast through the deck too fast.
8. Game of Thrones Risk
It turns out a strategy board game can actually be just the thing to play when drinking. It just has to be simple, universally known, and not so expensive that you’re scared to bring it out when there’s an increased risk of spillage at the table.
Game of Thrones Risk is the answer on all counts. Do your best incompetent, drunken general impression as you nudge little plastic troops towards one another, get increasingly frustrated at dice rolls, and openly plot against your friends.
The Game of Thrones edition of Risk is particularly good for the purpose – based on the ill-fated HBO series, it gives the opportunity to invent your own ending. As well as lovely pieces sporting the symbols of five of the setting’s factions, this variant features ports, which open up the map, preventing bottlenecks and turtling.
We recommend the Skirmish edition, which sticks fairly close to the gameplay of the original. The Deluxe version adds castles, currency, and character cards, but that’ll seem far too much of a hassle after your second or third pint.
The creators of Precarious have found a clever way to add some additional excitement to a classic drinking game archetype – replacing the cards dictating who must drink with a teetering tower of terror.
Players can either accept a humiliating forfeit card or attempt to slide a block from the tower and place it on top. These blocks each have an instruction on them, designed to get everyone downing their drinks. You also get four shot glasses in the box, so that’s a nice little bonus.
Regular Jenga’s pretty tricky when you’re stone-cold sober, so it’s not likely to be long before someone sends the blocks crashing down. Better hope it’s not you, though – there’s a price to pay for toppling the Precarious tower.
10. Exploding Kittens
A light party game that mixes well with alcohol, Exploding Kittens is a variant of Russian roulette with fire-breathing felines.
Players each take turns drawing a single card from the central deck. If they uncover one of the titular exploding kittens they are out (and must drink, if you’re playing with drinking game rules).
However, there are plenty of ways to dodge a demise caused by combustible cat – such as the potent Defuse cards, which let you slip Exploding Kittens back into the deck anywhere you choose. Other special cards let players glimpse what’s coming up in the deck, skip their turn, force other players to draw multiple times, and all sorts of other shenanigans.
Exploding Kittens is great fun and super simple. The rules are all explained on the cards so, as long as you can see straight, you can’t go wrong. If that’s no longer the case, it’s probably high time you turned in for the night anyway. Wargamer says: please drink (and game) responsibly.
And, if you fancy sobering up and trying something a bit more thoughtful, check out our guides to the best historical board games, the best cooperative board games, or the best solo board games available.