There’s nothing like a little healthy competition between spouses or friends. What better way to pit you against one another — and see who might lose their cool and sweep the pieces off in one angry gesture — than a board game. Yes, your days are likely spent playing some family board games. But, while we have no problem with a quality game of Monopoly, Mouse Trap, or Shoots and Ladders, that’s not what this assortment of board games is for — it’s for you to enjoy with other adults, with maybe a whiskey in hand. Some are trivia-based, some are, let’s face it, focused on seeing who can come up with the best swear word or sex reference, others are just a good time. All are a fun way to spend an evening after the kids have gone to bed.
Lots of Disney villains are way more interested than the heroes, so it's great that they're finally front and center in this strategy game. Beyond the beloved (or, depending on how you look at it, hated) characters, the game features pretty standard gameplay with pieces, a board, a few different kinds of cards, and tokens.
Pros: Most of the villains featured, including Captain Hook and Jafar, are from older Disney movies, so there’s also the nostalgic fun of reconnecting with characters that you met at an impressionable age but haven’t thought about in a while.
Cons: An adult board game night is a chance to escape children’s characters, and if that’s a chance you don’t want to miss this isn’t the game for you.
This game goes beyond simple trivia questions. Each card comes with four different questions: a brain teaser, Odd1Out (you pick the word in the list that doesn't belong, like an SAT question), a sequence that needs to be ordered, and a wild card.
Pros: It’s a game that appeals to trivia diehards but doesn’t require you to be one in order to be competitive.
Cons: Those used to the simplicity of Trivial Pursuit may not be crazy about the more complex gameplay and scoring system.
Trivial Pursuit is a classic, but it doesn't have to be the only trivia game in your collection. Try Wit's End, a game that goes beyond simple trivia questions. Each Wit's End card games with four different questions: a brain teaser, Odd1Out (you pick the word in the list that doesn't belong, like an SAT question), a sequence that needs to be ordered, and a wild card.
Pros: Codrenames is a social game that, thanks to the quick gameplay and complex, unique challenges of each round doesn’t get old quickly.
Cons: You need at least four people to play, so you can’t really kill time on a rainy afternoon with just one or two other people.
Not quite ready to say goodbye to Westeros? You don't have to with this game. Take control of one of the Great Houses of Westeros in the wake of King Robert's death and set out to dominate the most castles over the course of ten turns.
Pros: This updated edition is a great value, as it incorporates expansion packs that were previously sold separately.
Cons: This is a pretty technical game with a steep learning curve that’s even steeper if one of the people playing is unfamiliar with the world of Thrones.
There are 5,000 different words and phrases stored in the electronic Catch Phrase game. Gameplay is simple. One teammate provides clues while the others try to guess what's displayed on the screen. All clues that aren't given because they rhyme with the answer, having something to do with how to spell it, or contain all or part of the answer are OK.
Pros: It’s nice not having to set up or clean up any cards, boards, or pieces, and the sheer number of words means you can get a lot of use out of this game.
Cons: The audible timer on this electronic edition was too loud and annoying to some players who were used to analog Catch Phrase.
The word Catan is synonymous with the kind of highly intricate, highly strategic gameplay that's become popular in recent years. If you've never played a game like it before, it's a great place to start. If you have, it's an excellent example of the genre.
Pros: It’s popular enough that chances are good you have friends who already know how to play, which is super helpful to other people trying to pick up the game. And as for the gameplay itself, it’s easy to pick up but difficult to master, with ample opportunities for dealmaking and subterfuge.
Cons: Dice rolls can have a disproportionate effect on the outcome of the game, torpedoing even the best-laid plans. This is probably a good thing overall, but it can leave you feeling cheated if you’re stuck with a bad roll.
The Voting Game is a group card game that should only be played with a tight-knit group, for reasons that will become obvious. Each round of the game begins with one player reading a card with a question. Players vote for who they think the question best applies to and, afterwards, try to guess who voted for them.
Pros: The voting has a fun wrinkle. For every vote you receive you get to guess who voted for you. Guess right and it’s confirmed. Guess wrong and you’ll never know. This twist makes it a much more compelling game.
Cons: This game really only works with a tight-knit group of friends, so don’t play it when you’re getting to know new people.
This game is like a card game version of Family Feud for the Internet age. Instead of trying to guess how 100 people surveyed by game show producers answered a question, people playing Search History test their knowledge of the zeitgeist by guessing the most popular endings to the beginning of search engine queries.
Pros: Gameplay is easy and intuitive, so it’s a great game for those game nights when you just want to turn your brain off for a few hours.
Cons: This game doesn’t depend on strictly right or wrong answers, so if you’re used to the objective truth of trivia games you might find yourself frustrated guessing the opinions of the masses.
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