The Top 10 Party Board and Card Games You Should Be Playing

This list looks at the 10 best party card and board games you can get your hands on. The games included offer a combination of bluffing, deduction and strategy and are sure to entertain every type of player. So without any further delays lets get started with the list.

1. Codenames

Players: 2 – 8

Playing Time: 15 Min

What’s it about?

Two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their CODENAMES.

In Codenames, two teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.

Buy Codenames now on Amazon.com

2.Time’s Up! Title Recall!

Players: 4 – 18

Playing Time: 60 Min

What’s it about?

 

Based on the popular game Time’s Up!, Time’s Up: Title Recall challenges players to guess the titles of books, films, songs, and more. Players try to get other players to guess the same set of titles over three rounds. In each round, one member of a team tries to get his teammates to guess as many titles as possible in 30 seconds. In round 1, almost any kind of clue is allowed. In round 2 no more than one word can be used in each clue (but unlimited sounds and gestures are permitted.) In round 3, no words are allowed at all.

Buy Time’s Up – Title Recall on Amazon.com

3.Captain Sonar

Players: 2 – 8

Playing Time: 45 – 60 Min

What’s it about?

 

At the bottom of the ocean, no one will hear you scream!

In Captain Sonar, you and your teammates control a state-of-the-art submarine and are trying to locate an enemy submarine in order to blow it out of the water before they can do the same to you. Every role is important, and the confrontation is merciless. Be organized and communicate because a captain is nothing without his crew: the Chief Mate, the Radio Operator, and the Engineer.

All the members of a team sit on one side of the table, and they each take a particular role on the submarine, with the division of labor for these roles being dependent on the number of players in the game: One player might be the captain, who is responsible for moving the submarine and announcing some details of this movement; another player is manning the sonar in order to listen to the opposing captain’s orders and try to decipher where that sub might be in the water; a third player might be working in the munitions room to prepare torpedoes, mines and other devices that will allow for combat.

Captain Sonar can be played in two modes: turn-by-turn or simultaneous. In the latter set-up, all the members of a team take their actions simultaneously while trying to track what the opponents are doing, too. When a captain is ready to launch an attack, the action pauses for a moment to see whether a hit has been recorded — then play resumes with the target having snuck away while the attacker paused or with bits of metal now scattered across the ocean floor.

Multiple maps are included with varying levels of difficulty.

Buy Captain Sonar on Amazon.com

4. One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak

Players: 3 – 10

Playing Time: 10 Min

What’s it about?

 

One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak is a fast game for 3-7 players in which everyone gets a hidden role, each with a special ability. (No plain “villagers” here!) In the course of a single morning, your village will decide who among them is a werewolf…because all it takes is finding one werewolf to win!

Daybreak includes eleven new roles, and it can be played on its own or combined with the original One Night Ultimate Werewolf game; when combined, you can have up to ten players in a single game.

Buy One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak on Amazon.com

5. Sheriff of Nottingham

Players: 3 – 5

Playing Time: 60 Min

What’s it about?

Prince John is coming to Nottingham! Players, in the role of merchants, see this as an opportunity to make quick profits by selling goods in the bustling city during the Prince’s visit. However, players must first get their goods through the city gate, which is under the watch of the Sheriff of Nottingham. Should you play it safe with legal goods and make a profit, or risk it all by sneaking in illicit goods? Be mindful, though, as the Sheriff always has his eyes out for liars and tricksters and if he catches one, he very well may confiscate those goods for himself!

In Sheriff of Nottingham, players will not only be able to experience Nottingham as a merchant of the city, but each turn one player will step into the shoes of the Sheriff himself. Players declare goods they wish to bring into the city, goods that are secretly stored in their burlap sack. The Sheriff must then determine who gets into the city with their goods, who gets inspected, and who may have their goods confiscated!

Do you have what it takes to be seen as an honest merchant? Will you make a deal with the Sheriff to let you in? Or will you persuade the Sheriff to target another player while you quietly slip by the gate? Declare your goods, negotiate deals, and be on the lookout for the Sheriff of Nottingham!

Sheriff of Nottingham is the first game in the Dice Tower Essentials Line from Arcane Wonders.

Buy Sheriff of Nottingham on Amazon.com

6. Secret Hitler

Players: 5 – 10

Playing Time: 45 Min

What’s it about?

Secret Hitler is a dramatic game of political intrigue and betrayal set in 1930s Germany. Each player is randomly and secretly assigned to be a liberal or a fascist, and one player is Secret Hitler. The fascists coordinate to sow distrust and install their cold-blooded leader; the liberals must find and stop the Secret Hitler before it’s too late. The liberal team always has a majority.

At the beginning of the game, players close their eyes, and the fascists reveal themselves to one another. Secret Hitler keeps his eyes closed, but puts his thumb up so the fascists can see who he is. The fascists learn who Hitler is, but Hitler doesn’t know who his fellow fascists are, and the liberals don’t know who anyone is.

Each round, players elect a President and a Chancellor who will work together to enact a law from a random deck. If the government passes a fascist law, players must try to figure out if they were betrayed or simply unlucky. Secret Hitler also features government powers that come into play as fascism advances. The fascists will use those powers to create chaos unless liberals can pull the nation back from the brink of war.

The objective of the liberal team is to pass five liberal policies or assassinate Secret Hitler. The objective of the fascist team is to pass six fascist policies or elect Secret Hitler chancellor after three fascist policies have passed.

Buy Secret Hitler on Amazon.com

7. Dixit: Journey

Players: 3 – 6

Playing Time: 30 Min

What’s it about?

Dixit: Journey features the same basic game play as Dixit: Each round one player takes on the role of Storyteller, choosing one card from his hand, then telling a story, singing a ditty or otherwise doing something that in his opinion is associated with the played card. Each other player then chooses one card in her own hand and gives it to the Storyteller in secret. These cards are shuffled and revealed, then players vote on which card was played by the Storyteller.

If no one or everyone votes for the Storyteller, then he receives no points; if he received some votes but not all the votes, he scores based on the number of votes received. Each player who submitted a correct vote or who received a vote on her card submission also scores. After a certain number of rounds, the player with the most points wins.

Dixit: Journey differs from Dixit in a number of ways, starting with a simplified scoring board that doesn’t have players moving around a track in the bottom of the game box. Instead the scoring track is on its own board, and this game board includes a summary of the rules as well as numbered places to put the cards each round to facilitate voting. The game rules have been revised to make the game easier to learn, while keeping game play the same.

Buy Dixit Journey on Amazon.com

8. Pictomania

Players: 3 – 6

Playing Time: 25 Min

What’s it about?

Pictomania is a drawing game in which everyone is both drawing and guessing at the same time, giving a chance for those who excel only at one or the other skill to crush the dreams of other players.

Pictomania lasts five rounds, and at the start of each round, you set up six randomly drawn cards on card racks visible to all players. Cards are double-sided, come in four levels of difficulty, and include seven related words on a single side. In addition to a set of guessing cards, scoring tokens, marker and drawing board, each player receives one symbol card and one number card, which together indicate which word or phrase on the revealed cards that player must draw. Bonus tokens equal to one less than the number of players are placed in the center of the table.

Players simultaneously look at their cards and start to draw. While drawing, they can also watch what others are doing and place a guess card on that player’s stack. Only one guess per player is allowed, and once you make a guess, you can’t change your mind. Other players will ideally be playing guess cards on your stack, too. Once you have finished drawing and guessing – and you’re not required to do either – take the highest-valued bonus token from the center of the table and take no other actions. Once the final bonus token is claimed, the round ends.

One by one, players reveal what they were drawing and the guesses that others made. Those who guess your word earn one of your scoring tokens, with early guessers earning more points, while those who guess incorrectly have their card placed in the center of the table. Once all the guesses are resolved, you determine the black sheep – the player who made the worst guesses. If a single player has more cards in the center of the table then anyone else, then his bonus token (if any) counts as negative points. What’s more, if no one guessed your word, then you throw away your bonus token, scoring nothing for it. You sum positive points for the round (a bonus token scored, and scoring tokens from the words you guessed correctly), then subtract points for the black sheep “bonus” and all the scoring tokens you didn’t give away to determine your final score for the round, which could be negative.

Reset the bonus and scoring tokens, set up six new cards, hand out the symbol and number cards and start another round. The player with the highest score after five rounds wins.

Buy Pictomania on Amazon.com

9. The Resistance: Avalon

Players: 5 – 10

Playing Time: 30 Min

What’s it about?

The Resistance: Avalon pits the forces of Good and Evil in a battle to control the future of civilization. Arthur represents the future of Britain, a promise of prosperity and honor, yet hidden among his brave warriors are Mordred’s unscrupulous minions. These forces of evil are few in number but have knowledge of each other and remain hidden from all but one of Arthur’s servants. Merlin alone knows the agents of evil, but he must speak of this only in riddles. If his true identity is discovered, all will be lost.

The Resistance: Avalon is a standalone game, and while The Resistance is not required to play, the games are compatible and can be combined.

Buy The Resistance: Avalon on Amazon.com

10. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

Players: 4 – 12

Playing Time: 20 Min

What’s it about?

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is a game of deduction and deception for 4-12 players that plays in about 20 minutes.

In the game, players take on the roles of investigators attempting to solve a murder case – but there’s a twist. The killer is one of the investigators! Each player’s role and team are randomly assigned at the start of play and include the unique roles of Forensic Scientist, Witness, Investigator, Murderer, and Accomplice. While the Investigators attempt to deduce the truth, the murderer’s team must deceive and mislead. This is a battle of wits!

The Forensic Scientist has the solution but can express the clues only using special scene tiles while the investigators (and the murderer) attempt to interpret the evidence. In order to succeed, the investigators must not only deduce the truth from the clues of the Forensic Scientist, they must also see through the misdirection being injected into the equation by the Murderer and Accomplice!

Find out who among you can cut through deception to find the truth and who is capable of getting away with murder!

Buy Deception: Murder in Hong Kong on Amazon.com

Honorable Mentions

These games just didn’t make the cut but are definitely worth a look and they are a regular appearance at board games nights.

King of Tokyo


Players: 2 -6

Playing Time: 30 Min

In King of Tokyo, you play mutant monsters, gigantic robots, and strange aliens—all of whom are destroying Tokyo and whacking each other in order to become the one and only King of Tokyo.

At the start of each turn, you roll six dice, which show the following six symbols: 1, 2, or 3 Victory Points, Energy, Heal, and Attack. Over three successive throws, choose whether to keep or discard each die in order to win victory points, gain energy, restore health, or attack other players into understanding that Tokyo is YOUR territory.

The fiercest player will occupy Tokyo, and earn extra victory points, but that player can’t heal and must face all the other monsters alone!

Top this off with special cards purchased with energy that have a permanent or temporary effect, such as the growing of a second head which grants you an additional die, body armor, nova death ray, and more…. and it’s one of the most explosive games of the year!

In order to win the game, one must either destroy Tokyo by accumulating 20 victory points, or be the only surviving monster once the fighting has ended.

Buy King of Tokyo on Amazon.com

Cards Against Humanity

Players: 3+

Playing Time: 30 – 45 Min

“A party game for horrible people.”

Play begins with a judge, known as the “Card Czar”, choosing a black question or fill-in-the-blank card from the top of the deck and showing it to all players. Each player holds a hand of ten white answer cards at the beginning of each round, and passes a card (sometimes two) to the Card Czar, face-down, representing their answer to the question on the card. The card czar determines which answer card(s) are funniest in the context of the question or fill-in-the-blank card. The player who submitted the chosen card(s) is given the question card to represent an “Awesome Point”, and then the player to the left of the new Card Czar becomes the new Czar for the next round. Play continues until the players agree to stop, at which point the player with the most Awesome Points is the winner.

This, so far, sounds like the popular and fairly inoffensive Apples to Apples. While the games are similar, the sense of humor required is very different. The game encourages players to poke fun at practically every awkward or taboo subject including race, religion, gender, poverty, torture, alcoholism, drugs, sex (oh yes), abortion, child abuse, celebrities, and those everyday little annoyances like “Expecting a burp and vomiting on the floor”.

In addition, there are a few extra rules. First, some question cards are “Pick 2” or cards, which require each participant to submit two cards in sequence to complete their answer. Second, a gambling component also exists. If a question is played which a player believes they have two possible winning answers for, they may bet an Awesome Point to play a single second answer. If the player who gambled wins, they retain the wagered point, but if they lose, the player who contributed the winning answer takes both points.

Buy Cards Against Humanity on Amazon.com

Exploding Kittens

Players: 2 – 5

Playing Time: 15 Min

Exploding Kittens is a kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette. Players take turns drawing cards until someone draws an exploding kitten and loses the game. The deck is made up of cards that let you avoid exploding by peeking at cards before you draw, forcing your opponent to draw multiple cards, or shuffling the deck.

The game gets more and more intense with each card you draw because fewer cards left in the deck means a greater chance of drawing the kitten and exploding in a fiery ball of feline hyperbole.

Buy Exploding Kittens on Amazon.com