This is day 8 in a series about simple hospitality. Click here to see more.
Board Games are a great excuse to have people over. Chatting and learning about a near stranger over a good board game can take some (but not all) of the awkwardness out of the evening. It can fill the occasional silence, give you something to bond over, and a chance to laugh together. The best board games to play with guests are fun even when you're losing and don't take a day and a half to play (so that rules out the boardgames of my youth: Risk and Monopoly.)
Here a 9 great boardgames to play with guests, tested countless times around our own kitchen table:
1. Settlers of Catan. There are several versions of this game, but the classic is still my favourite. With a modular board that is different each time, the game never gets old. (3-4 Player, more if you have the player expansion packs.)
2. Carcassonne. This tile laying game, although admittedly confusing at first, is quite easy once you've played it through a couple times. It's the kind of thing you stay up all night playing "just one more game"! (2-5 players)
3. Ticket to Ride. Each player is trying to build train routes to various destinations, and nobody knows what routes the other players are trying to accomplish! This game is easy to learn and easy to clean up. (2-5 players)
4. Killer Bunnies. You spend the whole game trying to collect as many carrots as you can in hopes that one of them will be the "magic" winning carrot revealed at the end of the game. Strangely not as silly as it sounds. Although still pretty silly. This game has lots of rules....I don't recommend trying to learn it with a squirmy toddler on your lap. Just sayin'. (2-8 players)
5. Apples to Apples. This is a great game to play when you need something relatively mindless. Unlike #4 above, this one can totally be played with a squirmy toddler on your lap. Often funny, and casual enough that you can carry unrelated conversation while you play, this is one of my favourite games for large groups. (4-10 players)
6. The Game of Things. In large groups this game is kind of a fail, because you have to remember a lot of answers and guess who said what. But with 4-6 players this game can be down right hilarious, especially if you don't know one another very well. Also, this game can be played lounging comfortably in the living room drinking coffee instead of around the kitchen table. (4+ players)
7. Quelf. If you have a large group of good sports, this is the game to play. With ridiculous trivia, clever lists, and cards telling you to stealthily keep your hand on the table for the entire game, to put a shoe on your head, or to sing a silly country song without bursting out in laughter, what's not to love? (3-8 players)
8. Bohnanza. This game makes me a little sad because it reminds me of great friends who moved away. It's a strategic trade-making game that never really seems to get old and doesn't have a ton of complicated rules. Highly recommended. (2-7 players)
9. Telephone pictionary. Technically not a board game, this is a fabulous party game and only requires scrap paper and some pens.
Here's how to play: Make as many stacks of small scrap papers as people playing, each stack having as many pieces of paper as there are players. So if there are five people playing, you have five stacks of five scraps of paper. Everyone writes a phrase on the top piece and passes the stack to the next player. Then each player reads the words they've just received, flips that page to the bottom of the stack, and draws a picture of it on the next page in the stack. They pass it along to the next person who sees only the picture that was just drawn, flips it to the bottom of the stack and writes a phrase that describes it. Keep going in this pattern of pictures and phrases until each stack of paper makes it's way back to it's original owner and the original phrase is back on top.... at which point each player has a hilarious story to tell of misinterpreted drawings! (Best for 5-15 people....and it's FREE!)
These are some of my favourite games to play with friends, old and new. What did I miss? What is your favourite?
***this post includes affiliate links, which means that if you click over to Amazon and buy pretty much anything, a small portion of your purchase supports this blog. Just sayin'. **