The Best Grown-Up PARTY GAMES

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The last time I played Salad Bowl was with this crazy bunch over the holidays, and I am still mortified by my incredibly embarrassing impression of Genghis Khan I had to do during the game.

My dear friend Erica recently told me that she had a grown-up dinner party and was looking for a game to play aprés the meal, but when she searched the internet for ideas, there were only lame suggestions to be found.

As an ex-camp counselor (well, once a camp counselor ALWAYS a camp counselor), I take games VERY seriously. I have a deep passion for charades, capture the flag, COLOUR WAR, and any form of group game that brings people together.

So if you find yourself this holiday season with a group of people looking to have some old-fashion fun (and it’s just not the right crowd or vibe for Cards Against Humanity or Bananagrams), here are 3 games that you can do on the fly that I guarantee will be a good time:

Participants: easy to play with even a small group of 4 people, can be played with as many as you like
Materials: Pieces of scrap paper, pencils or pens
Instructions: When it’s your turn, you get to ask ANY question you like! For example: “If you were a superhero, what would you be?”, “what was your favourite tv show as a child”, “what is the longest you’ve ever gone without showering?” (and obviously they can get as outrageous or inappropriate depending on how well you know the people). Everyone writes down their answers, and hands them all to the person to the LEFT of who ASKED the question. The person to the left then READS OUT the answers, and the person who asked the question has to guess who answered what. It’s a great game to get to know new, or old, friends!

Participants: As many as you like, but works best with a group of 6 or more people
Instructions: How to play this game will be highly contested I’m sure (especially depending on what camp you went to), but it was a classic as a kid, and as someone who recently played it in LA with friends for over 3 hours, it is equally as amazing as an adult. The basic premise is that someone plays “God” (or the director, or narrator), and gets everyone to close their eyes. God then chooses someone to be MAFIA BOSS, and that person gets to “kill” someone as everyone else (“the townspeople”) sleep. God then tells everyone to wake up, and informs everyone someone was killed. The floor then opens for everyone to just fight about who they think the mafia boss is! It is an amazing look into human nature, and is a surprisingly entertaining Lord of the Flies meets Survivor kind of game. The “townspeople” then get to vote to kill someone they think is the Mafia Boss, and then God tells them if they were right or not. If they were WRONG, everyone goes “back to sleep” (ie. closes their eyes), and the Mafia Boss gets to wake up and kill someone again! And the whole thing starts over, until either Mafia Boss is the only one left standing or they kill the Mafia. You can also play it with an Angel who saves people, and one of the best parts is that God gets to make up ridiculous stories of how the person died when killed by the Mafia. Also fun fact – this game was invented in Russia!

This game is like Charades, but on steroids.
Participants: As many as you like!
Materials: A bowl, pieces of paper to tear up, pens/pencils
1. Divide group into two teams
2. Everyone writes down at least 5 – 10 words onto separate tiny pieces of paper (you want a lot). Also you can choose to write down names of famous people, books, a theme, just ANY word – whatever you like! Then put all the words into the big bowl.
3. Then you will have 3 rounds, where each player from each team will have 1 minute to go through as many words in the bowl as possible (and when they get the word they don’t put the paper back into the bowl, and you go until you run out of words). Each turn you keep track of how many words each player successfully got (or if you aren’t interested in the teams competing just ignore that). They key is that for 1 round, you go through ALL THE WORDS, and then you put them BACK into the bowl for the next round, and do the next round with the same words. So you are familiar with the words, and hilarity ensues. Here are the 3 rounds:
Round 1: Catch Phrase (or Taboo) – you can describe the word saying anything you like, EXCEPT any part of the word itself.
Round 2: Charades – You have to act out the word, without saying ANYTHING.
Round 3: Password – You only get to say ONE WORD as the hint, so choose wisely!