Let the Games Begin!

5 No-prep Group Games for Parties

Looking for some crazy fun games to play when you’ve got a bunch of people over? Here are a few time-tested gems from our family’s game trove.

Occupation

One person in the group is designated the reader and will not participate in this round.

Everyone else in the group is given a blank slip of paper on which they write an occupation (barber, dog walker, seamstress, etc.). This job title does not have to reflect your own job title—in fact, the object of the game is not to have people associate you with the job title you’ve written. Once all the slips of paper are filled in and handed to the reader, the reader then reads all of the job titles out loud to the group twice (and only twice).

The youngest person in the group starts by choosing another player and trying to guess that person’s occupation. If the “accuser” guesses wrong, the “accused” now gets a chance to guess someone’s occupation.

If the accuser guesses right, he becomes a team captain and the accused joins his team. (Teams are allowed to confer and share information.) The accuser then gets another chance to guess someone else’s occupation. This will continue on until the accuser guesses incorrectly. If you accuse a team captain correctly, everyone on his team including the captain moves to yours.

The object of the game is to be the last team captain with everyone on your team.

Fishbowl

Everyone in the group gets 3 – 5 slips of paper on which they write the name of a person or character (Mickey Mouse, Ronald Reagan, MacGuyver, Joan of Arc, etc.). The person or character should be something that every player would recognize, so historical or popular figures are usually best (though we’ve used people in the room or shared friends and they’ve worked fine). All of the papers should be folded in half and mixed together in a large bowl.

Split the group in half: guys/girls, odds/evens, whatever works. The first team to go chooses one player from their team to go first, while a player from the second team uses a one-minute timer to time them. Once the timer starts, the chosen player grabs a slip of paper out of the bowl and tries to get her teammates to guess the name written on it. If her team guesses it, she can set the slip off to the side (not back in the bowl), take another and keep going until her time runs out. If her teammates can’t guess the name before the time is up, she puts the paper back into the bowl, being sure not to tell her team what the name was. A point is awarded for each name a team guesses correctly.

This game itself is made up of three rounds. Each round is played until all the slips are emptied from the bowl, at which point the bowl is refilled and the new round begins. During round one, you can say anything except the name on the slip of paper to help your teammates guess. During round two, you’re not allowed to say anything, but you can act out the name. Round three is similar to round one, except you are only allowed to say one word to help your team guess. If you say more than one word, the opposing team gains a point.

Whichever team has the most points at the end of three rounds is the winner.

Psychiatrist

One person is chosen to be the “psychiatrist” and leaves the room. The group then decides on a common “symptom” or pattern of behavior: for instance, everyone is afraid of water, everyone thinks they are cartoon characters or everyone is the person sitting to their left.

The “psychiatrist” is then called back into the room and has to guess the symptom by choosing players from the circle and asking them questions. If a player lies or answers a question incorrectly based on the pattern, anyone in the group can shout out “Psychiatrist” and the person who lied has to trade seats with the first person who called it out.

Two Truths and a Lie

Everyone in the group writes down three “facts” about themselves on a piece of paper. Two of them should be true; one of them should be a lie.

After everyone’s “fact sheet” is completed, each player takes turns reading them out loud. Every other player writes down on a piece of paper which “fact” they think is the lie. After all the sheets are read and the guesses are written down, each player should reveal which was their lie.

The player with the most correct guesses is the winner. This is an especially good icebreaker game.

Four on a Couch

The group should sit in a circle of chairs for this game. A couch isn’t required, but you will need four seats side-by-side designated as the “couch”. Split the group in half. Two people from team one and two people from team two should be sitting on the “couch” with everyone else in chairs. One chair should remain empty.

Everyone in the group should write down their name on a slip of paper and put it into a bowl. Each player should then take a slip of paper out of the bowl (they cannot pick their own name) and not let anyone see the name they picked out.

The person to the left of the empty seat starts by saying someone’s name. The person holding the paper with the name that was called then moves to the empty seat and trades papers with the person who called out the name. Now the turn goes to the person to the left of the newly emptied seat.

The object of the game is for each team to get all four “couch” seats filled up with their own players.