No…not that kind of adult, you dirty minded minx.
It was inevitable, wasn’t it? Christmas is approaching, I’m a board game blogger, the two had to meet at some point or other. So, let’s do this. Let’s get the obligatory Christmas post done and drink some Baileys.
Playing family-friendly games and Christmas go hand in hand; however, as you grow older (and in between that gap where you are a kid and you have kids) you find that Monopoly just doesn’t cut it anymore. Instead, you want something a little bit fresher, quicker, and that is actually…you know…fun.
Thus here is a list of the best adult party games (this isn’t even opinion, it’s fact) you can play around Christmas.
Cards Against Humanity
“Look, you’ve got to talk about Cards – I know you don’t want to, but it’s important.”
Those are the exact words of my girlfriend when I mentioned I was writing this list to her and, I have to admit, she is completely wrong. It’s not that I don’t think Cards Against Humanity deserves a place on this list, it’s that it does and I do actually really want to talk about. The guys at Cards Against Humanity are awesome and deserve to have people play their game.
Cards Against Humanity is a fun, if not crude, easy to pick up game that is perfect for those who want a quick laugh. It has succeeded in becoming a mainstream card game that allows for players, drunk and sober, to swear, poke fun, and be generally disgusting humans with one another. Cards Against is one of those games that brings people together by making the taboo acceptable in a card game that can be played by anyone old enough (and worldly enough) to appreciate the jokes.
We once played it with my grandmother. I’m just going to leave that there. Take from that what you will.
Cards Against Humanity is a “party game for horrible people”, that can make Christmas both hilarious and awkward. It holds one of the many crowns there are for the best adult party games to play at Christmas.
“I’m so sorry for this,” is probably the most uttered phrase in Scrawl, closely followed by “what the hell…?”.
Scrawl is a sort of hybrid between Cards Against Humanity, Chinese Whispers, Sushi Go, and Telestrations. It is the love child of your dirty mind and Pictionary. On the first turn, players take a card with an item on it. They then draw said item on a tiny whiteboard, and cover it with another whiteboard. They then pass said contraption to the next player, who writes what they see. The next player has to draw the previous player’s description, and so on. Eventually, you end up with a really weird trail leading further and further away from the truth.
Scrawl is always a good laugh, with hilarity as either people end up drawing something completely inappropriate for polite company or something completely innocent that ends up looking filthier than a dustbin lid in a landfill.
Okay, so Spyfall is not really an adult party game, unless you want to ask some real freaky questions, but it is a really good one. Whether it is one of the best adult party games, of whether it is just an amazing party game is still up for debate; however, what isn’t up for debate is whether it is one of the best social deduction games on the market. It is.
In Spyfall, all of the players bar one have jobs and know a location. They find this out by randomly being dealt cards. One player, the final player, is dealt the Spy card, meaning they don’t know where they are. It is up to the players to figure out who the spy is, and it is up to the spy to figure out where they are.
With simple rules, Spyfall is a game about knowing what questions to ask who in a game of deductive reasoning and shouting: “Seriously, if you don’t give me more to go on, I will think you’re the Spy!”
The name is a pun on Skyfall, the James Bond movie, geddit? It’s because he’s a spy. This game is about spies. They’re doing a whole thing there.
It’s a great game. You’ll love it. Everybody does.
Mr Lister’s Quiz Shootout
Mr Lister’s Quiz Shootout is the only quiz to make this list, and that is for a very good reason. There aren’t a huge amount of quiz games on the market anymore – not within the serious gaming world at least. They are considered too bland, with Trivial Pursuit ranking a whopping #14,680 in the greatest board game list on BGG. Mr Lister’s Quiz Shootout is only #7,093 however, so, you know – win.
We’ve only played Mr Lister’s a few times however we are ready to recommend it. It is a fun quiz game, with a strong theme, and moustache props that help pull that theme across. The whole game revolves around lists in a Wild West saloon. Teams take it in turns listing things on the said list, and the team who gets three things first wins the card. If it is a tie, then the teams get asked an impossible question and the closest team wins.
On the back of the cards are bottles of booze. The first team to collect five different bottles wins the game.
Categories go from characters in the Lord of the Rings to supermarket chains to recipe ingredients. It is through this game that I actually learned the ingredients to a Bloody Mary. For the record, I have been making it wrong for years.
Bucket of Doom
Bucket of Doom was also created by Big Potato, who created Scrawl, and fits their pattern of just being freaking awesome. They are, in my opinion, becoming big players in the party game world, taking their quirky sense of humour and repackaging it into successful game after successful game.
Bucket of Doom follows the concept of “you are in a death-defying situation, how would you escape?” and is filled with as much hilarity as games like Scrawl and Cards Against Humanity. It is inappropriate at times; however, the real humour doesn’t come from where it comes from in games like Cards Against. Instead, it comes from the stories the players make up.
Bucket of Doom is a creative game that takes adult party games to the next level. It shows that it’s not just reading out random items that matters, but instead, whole stories can be put together about how those items are used to escape dangerous situations. You are Houdini, locked in a straight jacket and submerged in a tank of water when you accidentally swallow a key. How are you going to use a Leopard-Print Onesie to escape?
Secret Hitler probably has the strangest premise of all the games on this list, and is another social deduction game, only this one has been stooped in controversy over the past few months after they added a Donald Trump expansion to the game.
You see, Secret Hitler is a game about deception, blame, and trying to figure out who Hitler is. The goal of the Liberals is to expose Hitler for the evil that he is, and it is the goal of the Fascists to get Hitler elected chancellor. What follows is a lot of accusations, pointing and shouting, and it is amazing.
Controversial theme aside, hidden within Secret Hitler is a highly challenging social deduction game that pushes teams and trust to their absolute limits within a game format. It involves a lot of bluffing and political deduction, meaning it will turn friends against friends, brother against sister, mother against father, and dog against cat – all around the dining room table.
Exploding Kittens: NSFW Edition
Exploding Kittens is the highest funded Kickstarter, not just in the board game category, but in the whole of the history of Kickstarter. It raised an obscene amount of money and features players battling it out to survive. No one wants to draw the game-ending Exploding Kitten card. It is a tongue in cheek card game as it is, with players messing with each other from all angles; however, for those who want a little bit more toilet humour with their game, there is a Not Safe For Work edition.
Only designed for 2-5 players, Exploding Kittens is the least party friendly party game on this list; however, it is a quick sorbet game that requires very little brain power, making it perfect for Christmas day. It has some cheap laughs, a few toilet jokes, a Boob Wizards, and so is ideal for when everyone has had a few drinks and just wants some light fun.
The artwork is what really makes Exploding Kittens. It is fun, quirky, a little bit dirty, and really contrasts the nature of the game. This means it can get away with being really rude, even though some of the drawings are certainly NSFW, because the two types of humour work really well together.
No list of party games (adult or otherwise) would be complete without a mention to Codenames. Currently, Codenames and Codenames: Duet are listed #1 and #2 in Party Games on Board Game Geek, the big repository of board game knowledge that us nerds go to in order to find things out about cardboard. To be blunt, rightly so. The games are amazing.
So what makes Codenames so special? In a way, that is hard to pin down. The players are presented with two things. The first is a list of 25 random words. Where there is a Codenames: NSFW Edition, most of the time these are ordinary things ranging from vehicles to locations to things you eat for breakfast to whatever you can think of.
The second thing is only presented to one member of each team, the team captain, each game, and that is a map of the 25 words, expressing which words they need to get their team to guess. The team to guess all of their words right (in standard Codenames) wins. Be careful though (said he in an American TV announcer style) if you guess the wrong one then you may end up giving points to the opposing team or, if you guess it really wrong, you could pick the assassin and lose the game.
Codenames is fun, strategic, and a challenge, whilst also being incredibly light and easy to play. It is a contradiction in board game form.
Either way, it is incredibly fun and I would recommend it.
So there we go. Those are the games we’ll be playing this Christmas, and I hope you enjoy some of them as well. Whatever games you are playing though, if you are playing any games, I hope you have a great Christmas wherever you are.
Let me know in the comments below if you agree or disagree with anything on this list. What are your favourite games to play at Christmas?