8 Games You Need For A Killer Game Night Elizabeth Entenman

Step aside, charades.

For many, game night is something of a ritual. You gather your friends, break out the board games (and the pinot) and engage in some friendly competition. But which games? Do you switch throughout the night, or focus on just one? You can never go wrong with the classics you’ve been playing forever: Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue (it’s always Miss Scarlet, you know)… But sometimes, it’s fun to shake up game night and try something new.

Dice will be thrown. Gestures will be made. Cards will be dealt. Cards might even be thrown, but it will all be in good fun. Here are my favorite games that are guaranteed to make your next game night a success.

1. True American

Picture of New Girl True American Game

1, 2, 3, 4, JFK!

Thanks to a rousing episode of New Girl, I’d always wondered how to play True American. I finally found this article, and it’s all (kind of) becoming clearer. This game combines US history, physical fitness and a penchant for remembering/following rules. True American seems like the most fun I could ever, ever want to have in my entire life. Easy game night A+, once you figure out what’s going on. And of course, the drinking part is optional.

2. Balderdash

Word: Baronduki. Definition: Swedish rain boots. ... or is it?

Word: Baronduki.
Definition: Swedish rain boots.
… or is it?

Maybe I love Balderdash because I’m a writer and because I enjoy creating elaborate, unnecessary backstories for inanimate objects. But you don’t need to be a writer to enjoy Balderdash. In this game, you’re encouraged to create fake definitions of words. The more convincing, the better.

3. Cards Against Humanity

I really hope the answer is Grandma.

I really hope the answer is Grandma.

No surprise here. This modern day classic is a dark twist on Apples to Apples. My absolute favorite card in this game, hands down, is “Soup that is too hot.” It is my personal trump card, it makes me giggle incessantly, and if you play it, you will win.

4. Bunko

Come on, 21!

Come on, 21!

Bunko has something of a cult following, and I’m all about it. I’ve attended a few Bunko nights, and I’ve never seen my competitive side some out faster. If you’re not familiar, the game involves rolling three dice and hoping to roll certain numbers, depending on which round you’re in. There’s no skill involved, but there is a little math, which you can shamelessly perform on your phone calculator.

5. Cranium

Dear Cranium, will you send me replacement clay? Mine dried out in two hours.

Dear Cranium, will you send me replacement clay? Mine dried out in two hours.

This is a Lumosity-type brain game with small challenges, cleverly disguised as a board game that exercises all parts of your mind. It’s especially fun for couples. The last time I played Cranium, a fight broke out because somebody couldn’t think of the Chariots of Fire theme quick enough to hum it. Like, why are you in our friend group then?

6. Mexican Train Dominoes

Choo choo! The victory train is pulling into the station.

Choo choo! The victory train is pulling into the station.

I never played dominoes as a kid. I just stood them up in patterns on my kitchen floor and invited my parents to watch me knock them down. Mexican Train is a fun way to play dominoes in a big group. Plus, when you win a round, you get to push the button that plays the train sound. Win-win.

7. Kan Jam

The Kan Jam way.

The Kan Jam way.

Let’s take this game night outside, shall we? I can’t wait for winter to be over so I can hit the park and play Kan Jam. Kan Jam is a game with two buckets and a Frisbee. You score points depending on how you toss and “dunk” the Frisbee into the bucket. Of course, you don’t need an official Kan Jam to play—a makeshift set with trash barrels will do!

8. Pit

Do you have any wheat? Go fish.

Do you have any wheat?
-Go fish.

Wolf of Wall Street, now in card game version. This game is all about trading for commodities, and escalates quickly to shouting matches. It’s actually been around since 1904, but I played it for the first time over Thanksgiving. It’s perfect to play with groups and at big family gatherings, because you can deal people in and out quickly, like curious aunts and uncles.

Any Bunko players in NYC? Welcome me to your inner circle! I’ll bring baked goods and wine!

Featured image via Shutterstock, True American via, Balderdash via, Cards Against Humanity viaBunko via, Cranium via, Mexican Train via, Kan Jam via, Pit via

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  1. Telestrations!

  2. Things in a box is my fav

  3. Parcheesi has always been a favorite at my house. Always results in yelling when someone creates a blockade and doesn’t move it for several turns. Love Pit and can’t wait to try Cards Against Humanity!

  4. You can also include most games demo’d on tabletop via geek and sundry.