Menu
Updated January 2023
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
USAOPOLY Telestrations
USAOPOLY
Telestrations
Check Price
Best for Kids
Bottom Line

Deciphering nonsensical drawings and surreal sentences never gets old in this low-stakes party game.

Pros

Easy to teach and enjoyable for all ages. Works well with children or adults. Up to eight players can play together. Though drawing is the focus, players don't need to draw well.

Cons

You can play with fewer players, but Telestrations is best with five or more.

Best Bang for the Buck
Czech Games Edition Codenames
Czech Games Edition
Codenames
Check Price
Customer Favorite
Bottom Line

A team-based word game that is tense until the final moment.

Pros

Good for large groups since people play as teams. Setup is quick, and you can flip the cards over to immediately play a second round. No two games are the same.

Cons

Can be more of a mental drain than most party games.

Palm Court Wavelength
Palm Court
Wavelength
Check Price
Best for Small Spaces
Bottom Line

Even if players don't know each other, they will quickly get talking during this game of quirky comparisons.

Pros

Makes everyone get inside each other's head as they try to interpret their teammates clues. The unique plastic meter device is both eye-catching and functional. Can easily be played on the couch or anywhere without a table.

Cons

Though it works well, the plastic device takes some getting used to.

Big Potato Herd Mentality
Big Potato
Herd Mentality
Check Price
Most Eco-friendly
Bottom Line

Write the most common answer to questions in this simple, silly party game.

Pros

A good balance between competitive and laid back. Unique gameplay rewards thinking alike rather than thinking outside the box. Playing for points is enjoyable, but they don't matter much in the end. Made with minimalist packaging and components.

Cons

Repeat cards between games can dampen the fun.

Repos Production Just One
Repos Production
Just One
Check Price
Simple Yet Solid
Bottom Line

The rules are simple enough to start playing in just a few minutes.

Pros

Players write clues to get another player to guess the mystery word — but duplicate clues are eliminated. Short, fast-paced rounds. Surprisingly challenging given the simple rules.

Cons

Works best with five or more players.

HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

30
Models
Considered
144
Consumers
Consulted
8
Hours
Researched
Category cover

Buying guide for best party games

Nothing gets people laughing quite like a party game. Whether you’re looking for a rowdy activity for a large group, a team-based trivia game, or a competitive dexterity challenge, you can find a party game that your friends and family will enjoy.

Some games test players’ drawing ability or knowledge of obscure facts, while others almost play themselves, entertaining the group with clever jokes or wacky challenges. There’s no set definition of a “party” game, but it usually focuses on testing how well you know your friends.

There are party games for small or large groups, and they vary greatly in style, theme, and gameplay. A good buying guide and recommendations can help you find the right one for your next get-together.

a group of friends playing games
Consider your environment. Some games (and groups of people) can be loud, and some games are too explicit for public places.

How to buy the best party game

It’s hard to say that any party game is “better” than another, but there are certain games that will and won’t work for your group.

Number of players

The size of your group is a big factor in finding a game that will work for your gathering. While you can sometimes tweak the rules to include more players, most rules have a firm limit for a reason. The more flexible the number of players in a game, the more often you’re likely to play the game.

A “party” doesn’t have to mean a large group, and you can play some party games with as few as two people. Many games with a maximum of four are cooperative puzzles or guessing games. Many games for six to eight players are team-based games or dexterity games. Games for more than eight players are mostly social deduction, guessing, or dexterity games.

Many team games, especially those based on guessing what one player is trying to communicate using clues, can accommodate any number of players, making one of these a good choice for a large group or a situation in which you don’t know exactly how many players you’ll have.

Age of players

Mature content is an obvious barrier for young players, but some party games are complex or require honesty, either of which can be challenging for children.

Children: These party games are almost always simple, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fun or interesting. They might require an adult to facilitate, but a few can be played by kids on their own.

Family: These party games are designed to work with players of all ages, often swapping out skills for random chance or entertainment. Dexterity games can work well for most children and adults, as can games that require players to come up with funny answers to questions or prompts.

Adult: These party games are not necessarily explicit, though many of them are. Some are quite complex, such as social deduction or word-based games. Others rely on players having comparable knowledge or skills in order to compete fairly.

Many of today’s party games do away with plastic whenever possible. Look for games that are sealed with stickers rather than plastic film.

STAFF
BestReviews

Features to look for in party games

Games with innovative designs are released every year, and many classic games stand apart for their unique concepts. There’s no limit to what a party game can be, which gives you plenty of options.

Party game types

Many different types of games fall under the umbrella of “party” games. There are many ways for friends or family members to laugh together and learn about each other.

Dexterity: Flicking, stacking, tossing, balancing, a dexterity game can be just about anything that involves fine motor skills or even a bit of physical activity. These games work well to get everyone moving, and they are often as much fun to watch as they are to play.

Social deduction: In these games, players are usually given a secret identity or split into teams without knowing who their allies are. Sure, it means you probably have to be a bit deceptive (or betrayed by close friends), but the players make the game in this genre. Playing the same game with different groups can produce astonishingly different experiences.

Puzzle: Quickly solving simple puzzles is an entertaining challenge even when things go terribly wrong. These aren’t usually overly complex, though they do require more thinking than most party games.

Trivia: Putting obscure knowledge to use (or finding out who has watched a popular TV show the most times) is a fun challenge. Some players might feel left out if they can’t keep up, but not all trivia games require deep knowledge of different subjects.

Guessing: Conveying a word or idea to your teammates through convoluted means is a lighthearted challenge that can usually be played with most people comfortably seated on a couch. Some games are like charades, while others require players to come up with clever clues to get their teammates to guess specific words. Though you might be competing for points, these are often low-stakes games that can be played again and again.

Creative and humorous: In these games, players submit answers to questions from zany cards or create miniature masterpieces of art. Often, one player is the “judge” who reads a question or prompt from a card and judges players’ submissions. These games might take some people out of their comfort zone, but they’re a favorite of many groups since they’re more of an activity than a competitive game.

Drinking: Drinking games can fall into any of the above categories but with the addition of alcohol. These games exclude anyone who doesn’t drink, so you should know your group before suggesting a drinking game. However, with responsible drinking, these can make for a hilarious evening.

Teams or individuals

Teams: When you have players of different ages or skill levels, playing in teams can equalize the sides. Team games are great when you have a group of people who don’t know each other well or at all. These can be perfect icebreakers, and winning or losing doesn’t matter too much, but that’s not to say they’re not competitive too.

Individuals: These games have players competing against one another. They can be anything from puzzle games to dexterity games to joke-based games, and most are lighthearted in nature. They usually have one winner and one loser, so they might not be for everyone or every gathering.

Duration

Are you looking for a quick game to play while waiting for all the guests to arrive at a dinner party or a main event game that takes an hour or more to play? There are party games to fit both scenarios.

Short games can be as brief as a single round that lasts minutes, or they can be played over the course of several rounds. You might not even feel the need to track points with some of these games and just play until everyone hits peak fun.

Long games tend to be more involved, requiring players to learn more complex rules and compete or cooperate over the course of an hour or so. A very long game might exceed the attention span of young (or tired or intoxicated) players.

Complex or simple

Some party games are so straightforward (such as many dexterity games) that you can learn the rules just by watching others play. Others take a few minutes to teach. If you’re unsure of the complexity of a game, length is a fairly accurate indicator. Long games are usually more complex.

a group of friends playing games
STAFF TIP
If your game has adult content, ask your guests if everyone is comfortable with it before starting.
STAFF
BestReviews

How much do party games cost?

Most party games are affordable and give you your money’s worth in a single evening. Others are more of an investment, but they can be worthwhile if you play games often.

Inexpensive

Simple games with basic pieces like a deck of cards or a few dexterity components cost $5 to $20.

Mid-range

More involved games can support larger groups or have enough content to keep the gameplay interesting for years. These cost between $20 to $40.

Expensive

These party games have high-quality components or many illustrated cards or other pieces. They are more likely to serve as the main event of an evening. These party games cost $40 to $60.

The suggested age range on a game can be misleading. In many cases, games have a higher age range because they didn’t undergo third-party safety testing.

STAFF
BestReviews

Tips

  • Choose game-friendly snacks. Opt for foods that won’t leave fingers sticky or dusty.
  • Plan your game space. Does the game require a large surface for laying down cards, or can people sit on the couch while they play? Pick a spot before the guests arrive, and make sure it has enough seats for everyone as well as places to put food and drinks.
  • Learn the rules beforehand. Looking through the rules, especially when you’re in a conversation-filled room, can take longer than you expect even for simple games. Know how to play before your game night.
  • Open the game before guests arrive. Open the game and make sure all the pieces are present and it’s ready to play. Decks of cards are usually wrapped in cellophane, and cardboard tokens might need to be punched out.
a group of friends playing games
There are many how-to videos available online if you don’t want to read a rule book. Many game publishers produce their own how-to videos.

FAQ

Q. What’s the best way to teach a game?

A. With most party games, people can dive in after a brief explanation of the rules. Open with the type of game it is and what you’ll be doing, then tell everyone how to score points and win. Getting people playing quickly keeps your guests from getting bored.

Q. How do I know when to end a game?

A. If the game doesn’t have an obvious endpoint (or if the end takes too long to reach), do your best to read the room. Ask everyone if they want to stop after the next round. They will let you know if they want to keep playing.

Q. How should I divide teams?

A. Always aim for balanced teams in terms of skill level. That usually means an equal mix of children and adults on each team. When you have a few newcomers who don’t know everyone, distribute them in groups rather than putting them all on the same team.

 

Our Top Picks