The Best Games for Game Night with Friends

PS each of these games would be a great gift for a host or hostess
Scrabble is one of the best games for a game night with family

Thank you for all the love on my living room reveal post! Looks like I’m going to have to do an update in the next few month because OF COURSE it’s already outdated: I switched out the books and tajine on the bottom shelf for some boardgames that look like vintage books! Now the bottom shelf is entirely devoted to games for my next game night!

Which brings me to today’s post topic: the best games for game night with friends.

My favorite memories from business school are all game nights. Roughly once a month, my friends and I would all congregate at my friends’ house, make cocktails, and play rounds upon rounds of Cards Against Humanity and Exploding Kittens… Sometimes until the wee hours of the morning! One time, my mother even crashed the game night (and totally dominated everybody).

During lockdown, I hosted a virtual game break every Friday afternoon for my team at work. The games included Quiplash and Drawful (two of my favorite Jackbox Games) and even trivia (with the questions made by yours truly). These game breaks were the perfect way for my team to de-stress and blow off some steam during a really stressful time – if you haven’t yet had a game break with your team at work, I definitely recommend it!

Oh and PS I put the trivia questions on my Instagram Stories highlights so you can play during your own mini game break!

Rubbikub or "Tiles" is a great, fast-paced game to play with friends or family this winter
Letters on a Scrabble board - the best games to play during a game night with friends during lockdown

The Best Games for a Virtual Game Night

Before we dive into IRL play, my favorite games for virtual game nights with friends are:

  1. Quiplash – it’s like Cards Against Humanity but you get to make up your own answers to the question prompts!
  1. Drawful – like Pictionary but 10000x harder. I once had to draw “Millennials” – try doing that in under 60 seconds with only 2 colors!

Just download the app(s) to your Fire Stick, Apple TV, or even your laptop, tell everybody the web address and the code, and start playing! If you’re doing a virtual game night with your friends, I would recommend accessing the app via your laptop so you can share your screen while playing. Each participant will use their phones (or other devices) to enter their answers.

The Best Games for In-Person Game Nights with Family

Say instead that you want to have a small in-person game night with family (or friends): what games should you play?

If you want to go the classic route: I love this set of boardgames I bought – they look like vintage books! The set comes with Monopoly, Clue, and Scrabble… but they also have Candy Land, Boggle, and a few more! These games are so pretty – they would be a great gift.

If you have 2-4 people and you want to play something new: have you played Rummikube? My roommate introduced me to this game (also known as “Tiles“) this spring – we played it so much during lockdown! I became so addicted that I taught my parents how to play this summer in Colorado (and even bought them a set). This game would be the perfect game to play during a game night with family over the holidays… or even to gift to a host/hostess (or parents, in-laws, or grandparents!).

My Favorite Games for In-Person Game Nights with Friends

These are games that get. weird. And loud. Raucous might actually be the right word to use. If you don’t know a word, don’t Google it. Just ask the group instead and hilarity will definitely ensue.

  1. Cards Against Humanity: a classic. Get the extension packs. It’ll get weird. If you don’t know what a word means, just play it and do not Google it! Seriously. Trust me.
  1. Exploding Kittens: my friend once called this game “an extremely low-stakes version of Russian Roulette”. Pretty apt description, if you ask me. Exploding Kittens is such a fun game and it’ll have everybody shouting in no time. In case you need it, it also comes in an NSFW version. Oh and PS this game is also available online!

The best conversation-starting games:

These games are perfect for getting to know new friends or even just unwinding with old friends. They’re conversation-starting, so expect a long night with a lot of laughs.

  1. Truth or Dab: I played this game for the first time this fall. It’s basically Truth or Dare… but only the “Truth” part… and if you refuse to answer the question, you have to eat a dab of hot sauce. Questions will include trivia (ex: “which planet is closest to the sun?”), truth (ex: “who was your best kiss?”), and even roast cards where everybody gets to go around the table and roast you (ex: “your most annoying trait as a human.”). As long as you remember it’s all in good fun, this game can be absolutely hilarious. Remember: you can always go for the hot sauce!
  1. The Voting Game: if you have a tight-knit group of friends, play. this. game. Honestly. Question cards include everything from “Who would be the creepiest clown?” to “Who has played Twister naked?” Everybody anonymously votes on who they think the question card best describes. Whoever gets the most votes wins that round.
  1. Mind Crushers: this “game” (slash box of conversation starters) is the newest addition to my basket of games for game night… so I haven’t gotten to play it yet but it looks SUPER fun. Plus it was made by the co-creators of Cards Against Humanity, so you know it has to be wild. It’s advertised as a “big box of weird questions”. The questions range from “is a hot dog a sandwich or a taco?” to utterly bizarre would-you-rather’s. BTW you could definitely (and easily) play this over Zoom if you want to have a virtual game night!

What are your favorite games to play during game night? Let me know in the comments below!

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