This past year, I have become pretty awful at small talk.
When I’m hanging out with friends, old and new, without a task or main topic of conversation, I start to feel awkward and uncomfortably socially aware. That’s why I am a big fan of party games.
Games can be a perfect way of breaking the ice, or something to discuss in that inevitable lull in conversation. Without further ado, here are five of my favourite game recommendations.
Boss Monster by Brotherwise Games (2-4 players, ages 13+)
Imagine you are in a Mario game, except you aren’t Mario you are Bowser, and your sole purpose is to make a powerful enough dungeon to kill Mario before he can come through and kill you. This is the super neat premise of the card game Boss Monster, except Mario and Bowser are replaced with other cool heroes and monsters, and Bowser’s castle consists of room cards.
This game can be quite complicated to learn, but once you get the handle of things it becomes really competitive and entertaining. Boss Monster is great for a smaller night in, allowing for 2-4 players, but can be extended to up to six players with the expansion.
Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Rumble at Castle Tentakill by Cryptozoic Entertainment (2-6 players, ages 17+)
Yes, the title is as ridiculously over-the-top as the game itself. Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards is a goofy card game with hilariously complicated illustrated spell names that you cast in three-part combinations to attack your opponents. You play as a wizard, with choices such as Cuddle Wizard Sir Kitty Purrington and Angelica Angel Face the Angelic Angel of Misery.
I would recommend playing this game with people you are a little more comfortable with, as it is literally a rule of the game to speak in a wizard voice, at risk of nullifying your spells if you don’t.
Loaded Questions by All Things Equal Inc. (3-6ish players, ages 10+)
The most ideal way to play this game is with people you at least sort of know, however, it can also be a fun way to get to know someone. This game is kind of similar to cards against humanity, in that you have to come up with the best response to a question and the player asking the question picks their favourite answer.
What makes Loaded Questions different is that players must come up with their own responses and the player asking the question must also guess who said what to earn points. I have received many amusing responses from seemingly ordinary questions and whether this game is family friendly depends on who is playing and writing.
The reason I add the “ish” to 3-6 players, is that if you ditch the board part of the game, you can still comfortably play with up to eight players. It does make it more challenging to guess, but you also get more options to choose from!
Telestrations After Dark by USAopoly (3-8 players, ages 17+)
In a nutshell, Telestrations After Dark is like playing a game of telephone, only with writing and drawing … and more lewd content. It is very similar to the original Telestrations, where a player draws their word, then the next player guesses what the drawing is, and the next player after draws that guess, and so on. However, with the after dark version, the word suggestions on the cards are more mature in nature.
Above all other games, Telestrations After Dark is my absolute favourite game. I have not had a night playing this game where I didn’t end up wheezy with laughter. It has a simple concept and the more players you have the better, but the mishap drawings and miscommunications make it the best game I have ever owned. It’s also the best icebreaker I own.
Werewolf by Stellar Factory (7+, ages 10+)
You are a villager and wake up one morning to discover your friend has died. You look to your left, and then to your right, trying to decipher which of your fellow players has the shiftiest eyes, which of your friends might be a WEREWOLF.
Each player is given a role, for example villager, seer, or werewolf. Everyone tries to guess who the werewolf’s identity is, and with each day that passes another player is eliminated. For the werewolf to win, they must try to keep their identity hidden.
Werewolf is a fun card game to play that allows for many players. This card game has a bit of a Dungeons and Dragons feel to it, as one player is the narrator who knows everyone’s identity and describes the gruesome deaths of the villagers. The more people you have, the more difficult the game becomes. You also don’t have to buy the cards for this game, there are a few different online versions of it that you can try!
I hope some of these games spiked your interest and that they bring you as much joy as they have brought me.
Sabrina is a fifth-year Psychology and Creative Writing student. Her poem "They Are Waiting" won last year's Portent Prize and was featured in Portal's 2021 Magazine. She loves exploring Vancouver Island, telling people about the UFO Landing Pad in her hometown, and is a wannabe free diver. In her last year of schooling she has realized just how much potential there is in being a student at VIU.View all articles