With colder weather closing in, now's a good time to start breaking out the best party board games. These delightful distractions will charm friends or break the ice with colleagues, and most are aggressively affordable. They're quick to set up, too; there's no faff involved, so you can skip the hassle and get right into the good stuff.
Ranging from quick trivia battles to old-fashioned whodunits, the best party board games are perfect for any gathering or assorted social shenanigans you could name. You'll find plenty of options below to suit most occasions as a result, and they're all easy to learn. More importantly, anyone can join in with minimal effort - they aren't complicated and don't require a degree in rule-reading to understand.
To help you save a little money along the way, we've also roused our bargain-hunting software from its slumber to find discounts for you (we're nice like that). It seeks out the lowest available prices at all hours of the day, and because the Black Friday board game deals are now upon us, there should be plenty of offers to choose from. Indeed, they're usually some of the better Black Friday gaming deals...
Best party board games
The store may be long gone, but Blockbuster: The Game is keeping that legacy alive. In fact, it's probably the best party board game we've ever played. Easy to learn but endlessly replayable, this modern classic is a must-have purchase.
Despite being a quiz game, you don't have to know much about cinema to enjoy yourself here; it isn't about regurgitating factoids or random trivia. Instead, all you need to do is think on your feet. The head-to-head round is a good case in point. After dividing into teams, a player from each side draws a category card with topics like 'spy movies' or 'films set on a train'. They'll then take it in turns to yell out an example until one of them can't come up with anything else.
That's where the real fun begins. Whoever won the challenge draws six movie cards, at which point they choose three to act out, quote, or describe. The remaining three are left for the loser, and they're almost certainly going to be the hardest ones. This allows you to be deliciously evil, and both sides will really get into Blockbuster (and its expansion, Blockbuster Returns (opens in new tab)) as a result. If you ask us, it's a candidate for any best board games list.
You can't beat classics like Mafia, and One Night Ultimate Werewolf proves there's still plenty of gas left in the tank. A social deduction game that's essentially wink murder on a grand scale, this version deserves a place on everyone's shelf - particularly if you want suggestions for Halloween board games.
Much like other versions of Werewolf, it starts with the group being given secret roles and 'going to sleep'. However, there's a key difference - rather than villagers being picked off one by one over multiple in-game nights, they only have a single round to decide who the monster is. Meanwhile, the werewolf - if there is one, which isn't guaranteed - has to go undetected. Got a good poker face? You'll need it.
New roles have also been added to stir the pot. Along with Seers that are able to check one other person's identity during the night and Drunks who swap player cards at random, you might become an Insomniac who can check their card to see if it's been tampered with. There's also a hunter that can take another player down with them if they're accused of being a werewolf, a tanner who wants to get caught, and - well, plenty more. They make things far more interesting, particularly if there's a lot of you around the proverbial (or literal) table.
Want the best party board game for adults? Scrawl fits the bill - and then some. A dirty-minded road trip through the weirder parts of your brain, it's delightfully odd. Creating in-jokes is its speciality.
A NSFW blend of Telephone and Pictionary, Scrawl kicks off with a ridiculous prompt card that tells each player what to draw. Perhaps that's "photocopying your balls." Maybe it's "putting makeup on an owl." Either way, your doodle is passed along to the next player... but without context. They've then got to write down what they think is happening, at which point their neighbour has to draw what they've written, and so on.
As you can probably tell, things descend into pandemonium very quickly. The original idea becomes unrecognisable after a couple of rounds, and that usually results in something hilarious (this is definitely a board game for adults). The funniest response wins, but that doesn't mean Scrawl is a game about point-scoring. Not really. Instead, it thrives on simply having a laugh.
Many of the best party board games ask you to stand out from the crowd, but Herd Mentality isn't one of them. It's all about blending in. Want an icebreaker or a good board game for families? You couldn't ask for a better candidate. Gentle, light-hearted, and unassuming, this is something everyone can try their hand at.
It's a straightforward idea that's easy to teach, too. After drawing a card with questions covering everything from the 'best' sauce to the most useful app on your phone, you've got to scribble down what you think most players will say. If you end up in the majority, you earn a cow token. Collect eight in total and you win. Basically, it's a dream so far as rules go; you can give the elevator pitch and be playing in under a minute. That makes this a winner with folks that don't usually play board games.
Thanks to some downright weird questions, it kick-starts fun conversations (would you rather have toes for fingers or fingers for toes?) as well. This helps the group bond, bringing down walls and giving everyone something to smile about. Most importantly, each group's answer will be different. Herd Mentality has longevity on its side, in other words.
Pinch 'n' Pass may sound simple, but that’s no bad thing. In fact, it’s perfect for kicking off games night. Want to break the ice and give everyone something to focus on? This is it, chief.
It's also great for people who don't really like party board games. There aren't any complicated rules to get your head around, it's easy to understand, and there's no waiting for your go. That's because Pinch 'n' Pass is about quick wits and even quicker responses; it's a naming game where anyone is able to join in. The fastest answer wins.
The rules are equally simple. If you select a Pinch card, you’ll be given a category like 'Tom Cruise movies'. Players then call out something that fits the bill (e.g. Mission Impossible) and take the card for themselves. Don't get comfortable yet, though. Anyone who yells another suggestion from that category is able to steal it. Whoever's left holding the card when the timer runs out moves forward one space. Meanwhile, Pass cards have the opposite effect - it’s about getting rid of the card instead. End the round with one and you'll be forced back a space on the board. Brutal.
Oh, and let's not forget the final twist. The Pinch 'n' Pass timer is randomised, so you can't tell how long you have left on the clock. This results in a fast and furious game that can last anywhere between 10 and 40 minutes.
If you love all things sport, ESPN Trivia Night should be in your collection yesterday. Besides testing your team knowledge, you'll be showing off your dexterity skills as well. Unlike so many of the best party board games, this one is keen to get your body moving as much as your brain. That helps even the playing field for those of us who aren't walking encyclopaedias when it comes to the NBA, NFL, and beyond.
Even though you'll be answering questions on sporting trivia, getting one wrong allows you to tackle a mini-challenge that could still earn you a point nonetheless. The task is simple: flick a ball or puck into a themed scoring area. This means even non-ESPN buffs can have a good time.
Plus, it encourages a bit of healthy chaos - always a good thing at parties. With teammates screaming answers and arguing over whether someone's flick earned a point or not, it'll give you memories to spare and plenty to laugh about.
A wide variety of cards means that you won't find yourself repeating questions all that often, either. That gives ESPN Trivia Night longevity. It isn't just for the next season; this one's for keeps.
More board game recommendations
- Essential board games: Everyone should have these in their collection.
- Best card games: Must-have games that are perfect for travelling or parties.
- Best classic board games: Revisit old favorites like Monopoly or Clue.
- Board games for 2 players: Perfect for couples or quiet nights in.
- Board games for adults: Choose from a wealth of strategy adventures.
- Board gamers for kids: Get the little ones involved.
- Best cooperative board games: Why not play together?
- Family board games: Grab something you can all enjoy.
- Best tabletop RPGs: It's time to go on an adventure.
- Best Dungeons and Dragons books: Can we play D&D now?