Our top tips for family friendly party games this Christmas, the top 6!
This is it! Our top 6 Christmas Party Games for you to try this holiday season. We’ve played some pretty amazing games this year, and these are our absolute favourite ones to play at gatherings with friends and family. This year will be a strange one, but hopefully you can play some of these with those you are sharing Christmas with.
6. Colour Brain (2+ Players, Big Potato Games)
Note: We were gifted this game by Big Potato Games for an unbiased review
If you read our post about our numbers 12 – 7, you’ll know we love quiz games, and with Colour Brain, the twist is that all the answers are colours! The question master reads the question and everybody else (you can play in teams if there’s enough of you!) puts down the colour or colours they think represent the correct answer. Everyone who gets it right gets a point, and if you get it wrong your point is given to those who got it right. If nobody gets the answer right a bonus point rolls over to the next question. First to ten points wins! It’s really simple fun and anyone can join in (for those who are colour blind they have written the names of the colours on the cards too), so definitely recommended for Christmas festivities, particularly for larger groups. It looks really great too!
5. Team 3 (3 -6 Players, Brain Games Publishing)
Team 3 is one of the funniest games you’ll ever play! The only restriction here is you need at least 3 players in order to have a game, and if you have multiple copies of the game, two teams of three can compete against each other!
In Team 3, player one takes a pattern card and keeps it in front of them, without the other two players seeing. It is their job to get the player three to build the structure shown on the card in under 3 minutes using the blocks in front of them. However, player one cannot speak, and player three cannot see (hence the blindfold)! So player one must mime to player two what pieces are required and in what position, so that player two can instruct player three how to build it.
There are four difficulty levels including an incredibly tricky 3d version, which only the brave should tackle (we’ve never succeeded!).
I cannot recommend this game enough to you, it is hours of fun and its interesting seeing how players adapt to not being able to speak, often just frantically flailing arms hoping player two can translate that into words.
4. Codenames (2-8 players, Czech Games Edition)
I would say Codenames is among the more “mainstream” of party games (if there was such a thing as mainstream within board gaming), and that’s for one very good reason. It’s amazing!
Two teams go against each other compete to decode their clue givers hints and find their coloured squares in the 5×5 grid of words. Sounds complicated at first but really its all about how well the clue giver can link up 2, 3 or more of their seemingly unrelated words to get their teammates to select the correct words in the grid. For example the clue “wheels” was once used to connect the word “bus”, “cheese” and “cog”. The first team to select all of their words correctly wins the round.
You can play with teams as big as you like (ideal 3v3 but anything from 2v2 upwards works great), and there are so many word cards you would never ever get tired of playing it!
If you love Codenames already, there are various other editions you can try such as Codenames Pictures, Codenames Disney, or if you often only have two players there is the cooperative version Codenames Duet.
If you find Codenames too easy, first of all well done, second of all you may also want to try a game called Decrypto, which is a little more thinky, but is equally wonderful. So go check that out too!
3. One Night Ultimate Werewolf (3+ players, Bezier Games)
Into the top three, and we couldn’t not put in our most played game of all time, One Night Ultimate Werewolf! This game is driven by an app (free), and is all about social deduction. We usually play this in a group of four players, and it starts with everyone receiving a random (and secret) role card. Three more role cards are placed face down in between everyone, so that among the players there are either zero, one or two werewolves. Then during the “night phase” everyone closes their eyes and the app will tell various roles to “wake up” and perform their action. These actions vary from role to role, such as the Troublemaker who switches two players roles round secretly, or the Seer who can view another players role.
After the night phase, everyone wakes up and then has five minutes to discuss what went on. The werewolf players try to hide the fact they are werewolves, and the rest are trying to catch them. After five minutes of debating and arguing, everyone votes who to kill. If a werewolf has the most votes then they die and the werewolf team all loses. If no werewolf is killed then they win! Then, pick some new role cards and start again!
It is sooooo much fun! I really enjoy trying to deduce who the werewolves are by catching people out and also causing mischief as the bad guy. Try out this game if social deduction is your thing, it really is a winner.
2. Just One (3-7 players, REPOS Productions)
Just One is amazing. It’s a cooperative game, where the name of the game is to give meaningful clues to each other which aren’t too obvious! Each round, one player will take a word card and face it away from them so they can’t see. The other players then must think of a one word clue to describe the word on that card, so that the player can guess the clue. So if the word was “Elf”, you might say “Christmas”, “Buddy”, “helper”, etc. hoping that was enough of a hint to let the player who’s turn it is to guess correctly. However, the twist is, if any two players think of the same clue (as it is done in secret), then both clues are erased! So you can quite easily go from having 3 clues to having only 1!
You get 13 cards to try and guess correctly, we’ve never managed a full 13/13, 12 is our record!
It’s really great fun for all the family, and the bonus with Just One is it works really well over Zoom (other video conferencing services are available), so it really kept us going over lockdown. It plays up to seven players but works just as well with four (I personally wouldn’t play with three), so that’s why it’s made it up to number two in our list of best party games!
1. Scrawl (4-8 players, Big Potato Games)
So here it is, our number one party game! Scrawl is without doubt the most hilarious game we’ve ever played. I have literally had stomach pains each time I’ve played from laughing so much.
It works sort of like Chinese whispers. Each player has their own set of whiteboards, and at the start of the round everyone gets a card with a phrase, word, or amusing situation, which they then need to secretly draw on one of their whiteboards. Once finished, everyone passes their whiteboard to the person on their right, who must then try and guess what the picture represents. They write that guess on another whiteboard and clip it over the initial drawing. They then pass that whiteboard to the person on their right, who must draw that person’s guess on another whiteboard, clipping that over the top. Play goes on until you get your own one back, which will have gone absolutely wildly off track since you first drew it. The results are hilarious!
In the picture above, Sam got the card “Putting make-up on an owl”, and within three whiteboards it had turned into “Dusting off an emperor penguin in a bathroom”, much to his amusement and despair! Players take it in turns to critique the other players’ drawing and give out points to whoever they thought made the best attempt. If your clue makes it all the way around the table (it’s only happened twice to us ever!), the player whose card it was gets 3 points!
This game isn’t about points though, you really don’t care who wins, it’s all about the hilariously bad and unbelievably creative drawings and guesses that people come up with. It can also be played with up to 8 players so really works well with bigger and smaller families. There are two versions of Scrawl, we own the one labelled (17+) which has some slightly more risqué clues!
And that is why it is our number one recommendation for party games this Christmas!