Party board games have pretty tough boots to fill. They often need to accommodate large numbers of players, and this means they need to minimise how many boards and fiddly components they include. After all, not many parties take place around a four-person table. People want the flexibility to move around, chat, and maybe even have a drink. Can board games really succeed in the party environment? Of course they can.
As lovers of both parties and the tabletop hobby, we’ve gatecrashed your shindig to recommend some of the best party board games you can get your mitts on right now. You handle the invites, and we’ll offer some of the best board games to choose from. Whether you want easy card games, funny board games, or drinking board games, there’s a party game for you. We’ve got even more recommendations in our party card games guide, too.
These are the best party board games:
- One Night Ultimate Werewolf
- Blood on the Clocktower
- Don’t Get Got
Codenames makes James Bond’s job look easy. Your partygoers are now spies on two rival teams, trying to suss out intel and spot their allies in a crowd. A grid of word cards is laid out on the table, and one player on a team is appointed Spymaster. This individual gets special info; they can see which words represent a spy from their team, and which are rivals or innocent bystanders.
The Spymaster must give a single-word clue to their team to help them choose the word cards that represent friendly spies. They can also share a number that hints at how many word cards relate to this clue. At this point, half your party will be frantically debating, the other jeering and joking – with the two Spymasters waiting in agonising, titillating silence.
Codenames is simple, short, and scratches the puzzle itch everyone has in their brains. Check out our Codenames review if you want more details on this one.
If you want a party game that gets people talking, Wavelength is the perfect pick. In some ways, it’s barely a board game; all you’ll find in the box is a giant wheel with a dial, as well as cards with various phrases on.
The rules are simple: split into two teams and choose a Psychic. On your team’s turn, the Psychic spins the wheel, then secretly peeks behind its hidden door. This shows them a target to hit, and a randomly-chosen card gives the team two opposing concepts – think ‘hot and cold’ or ‘hard and soft’.
To convince their team to choose the right spot on the dial, the Psychic must think of a phrase that sits in the right place between the two given binaries. The team must then discuss and guess together. Where does Darth Vader sit on a scale of ‘smells bad’ to ‘smells good’? Does everyone agree that coffee is hot?
Wavelength is a laid-back, rules-light game that encourages players to get to know each other and work together. There are points to win for correct guesses, but most of the fun comes from (often very silly) debates.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
If you’ve ever come across our One Night Ultimate Werewolf review, you’ll know we think this is one of the best board games ever made, full stop. It’s by far one of our favourite games to pull out at parties. The pint-size box is low on components, but it’s high on chaos. Betrayal, suspicion, and confusion are perfect ice-breakers, and polite talking will quickly turn to frantic, joyful shouting.
The concept of One Night Ultimate Werewolf is simple: some players are villagers, and a remote few are werewolves. At first, each player’s role is secret. Everyone is commanded to close their eyes, and different players will wake in the night to perform special abilities – or, if they’re a werewolf, to kill someone.
Then, everyone awakens to find a corpse. Players have five minutes to investigate the murder, cast accusations, and hang someone for the crime. Werewolves want to stay undercover and get a villager killed in their place, while the villagers want to find and off a werewolf at all costs.
Blood on the Clocktower
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is the ideal social deduction game if you want a quick and simple game. If you want a deluxe game of deception, however, we can’t stress just how good Blood on the Clocktower is. This is the game to choose if you want your party board game to be an event. Our advice: set aside an entire evening and multiple rooms for the game, and maybe even set a fun dress code.
Blood on the Clocktower starts with the narrator’s murder. Everyone concludes the deed was did by a demon, and the village must promptly find and eliminate them. Players have a wide variety of secret roles they can perform in the night to investigate, protect, or sabotage their fellows. The demon will also be working with their minions to kill each night when everyone closes their eyes.
Blood on the Clocktower’s creative player roles generate complex and chaotic social situations. It also does one thing most social deduction games don’t; it gives dead players something to do that keeps them engaged. Everyone has an important role to play, making this one of the most satisfying social games out there.
Don’t Get Got
If partying comes first and games come second at your place, we’d recommend picking up Don’t Get Got. This is a social game with minimal rules that lets you continue drinking, chatting, and dancing – all without confining you to tables and chairs.
Every player begins with a secret list of objectives they must complete. These range from the simple (get a player to say ‘what’ when you call their name) to the slightly absurd (get players to make specific animal noises or wear their clothes wrong).
If you achieve a goal, you better shout ‘you got got!’ and do a little victory dance. However, if anyone asks you whether what you’re doing is part of the game, you’ve automatically failed. Don’t Get Got balances simplicity, subtlety, and silliness equally.