Discover our favourite party games for adults and some tips on how best to run them. These are games that you can play at any party, regardless of the size and the format.

Party Games for Adults

Let’s face it… adults are just a tall kid with responsibilities. We all love a good game and parties are the ideal time for them.

Note that these are party games but they aren’t necessarily drinking games… they just go well with a glass of wine.

Additionally, while some of these games can be played by kids,  they’re mostly for adults. You can view our favourite kid’s party games in our separate article.

1. Karaoke

Karaoke needs a bit of set-up and technically it’s not a game… but it’s still a huge amount of fun! Getting your guests to sing along to a famous song is sure to engage everyone.

To set up, all you need is a mic, a speaker and a projector. Depending on where you live, you might be able to rent the equipment. Alternatively, you can book an entertainer for the occasion.

Just make sure your guests are ready to show off their singing voices before you plan the activity. Push for groups if people are nervous.

Pro-tip: Use Youtube for the karaoke lyrics. Just search for [Song Name] + Karaoke.

  • Duration: 30 min+
  • Set-up: 20 min
  • Group size: Any

2. Guess the Song

Not everyone is comfortable singing but everyone loves the classics. Playing ‘Guess the Song’, also known as the jukebox game, is the happy middle. The set-up is a lot easier as all you need is a speaker.

There are endless variations of this game you can play, such as guess the Disney song. Choose (or create) your favourite variation and have fun!

If you have a competitive audience, ask for the album and the year… Don’t forget to find a silly prize for the winner (or a forfeit for the losers).

  • Duration: 20 min+
  • Set-up: 10 min
  • Group size: Any

3. Blind Tasting

If your guests are food epicureans or wine connoisseurs, blind tasting is a great game to play. You can also do a blindfolded smell test. You’ll be surprised at how wrong we all tend to be.

Depending on where you live, another fun variation is blind tasting craft beers. Try to guests the variety, the aromas and so on…. Extra points if you can guess the exact brand & name.

  • Duration: 20 min+
  • Set-up: 10 min
  • Group size: Any

4. Pass the Parcel

This kid’s game works surprisingly well for an adult audience. Especially between dishes if you’re having a seated meal.

The rules are the same; keep passing the parcel until the music stops. Then open a layer. Between each layer alternate between a silly prize and a forfeit. In the centre, have a slightly better prize (although there is no need to break the bank).

  • Duration: 10 min
  • Set-up: 10 min (depends on the number of layers)
  • Group size: Any

5. Card Games

There’s an infinite number of cards games you can play. Some require special cards while some require just a regular pack of 52 cards (and sometimes not even…).

For a party, you want to choose a game that most people already know or that’s easy to play. A few of our favourites are: 

  • Spades
  • Cards Against Humanity (definitely not PC but a modern classic)
  • Spoons (A personal favourite of mine)

Pro-tip: If you’re planning Cards Against Humanity in a small group (3 or 4ish) add a “random” card to the players’ selections. You’ll be surprised at how often the random card wins.

  • Duration: 30min+
  • Set-up: N/a
  • Group size: 3 to 10 players

6. Poker

Technically Poker is also a card game but, being so famous, we felt it deserved a mention of its own.

Just keep in mind that a proper game of poker can last for a very long time. If you want to keep it short, play for a set number of rounds (i.e the person with the most chips after 15 rounds wins). 

Pro-tip: Make sure everyone agrees on the same rules. Most people know how to play but disagree on the finer points.

  • Duration: 30min+
  • Set-up: N/a
  • Group size: 3 to 10 players

7. Yahtzee

Yahtzee is a great game that you can play with just 5 dice and a piece of paper. Different people have different rules and scoring methods but the core concept of the game is very simple.

In turn, each player tries to roll specific dice combinations. Each combination scores points. The player with the most points at the end wins. You can see a full breakdown of the rules in this video by Triple S Games.

  • Duration: 30min+
  • Set-up: N/a
  • Group size: 3  to 10 players

8. Word Tag

This is a game you can play throughout the evening. It’s identical to tag except with a word.

To play, just write down a secret word on a piece of paper. If someone says the word, they become “it”.  Whoever is “it” at the end of the night has a forfeit. For example, helping the host do the dishes…

If you want, you can change the word between each person by having the previous owner write a new word down. Just make sure the words are not too obscure or else it makes the game impossible. 

  • Duration: Ongoing
  • Set-up: N/a
  • Group size: Any

9. Mystery Word

This is the exact opposite of the word tag game. You need to say your word without being caught.

To play, simply write down random words on separate pieces of paper and get each player to draw some out at random. Everyone needs to say their word without being caught. This can be while having a casual conversation or by getting each player to tell a story.  

  • Duration: 20min+
  • Set-up: N/a
  • Group size: 4 to 8 players

10. Board Games

Board games are always popular. They’re a great way to end the evening. A few of our favourites are:

  • Dixit
  • Jungle Speed
  • Cluedo

Realistically, you’ll probably want to stick with the games you already have. Just try to choose one that’s simple to explain. You don’t want your players giving up before they even start playing.

  • Duration: 30 min+ (depends on the game)
  • Set-up: 5 min
  • Group size: 4 to 8 players

11. Time’s Up!

Time’s Up is probably one of the most popular party games out there. You can purchase the official game or can create a makeshift one on the night.

The concept is very simple. Two teams (or more) are formed. In turn, a player from each team picks out a random word (usually a name or an object). They then need to get their team to guess what the word is.

With each round, the complexity escalates. At first, the players can say anything, then they can only say a single word and lastly they can only mime.

You can see a full breakdown of the rules in this article by Ultra Board.

  • Duration: 20 min+
  • Set-up: 5 min
  • Group size: 4 to 10 players

12. Werewolf

Werewolf is one of the most famous role-playing card games. It’s easy to learn and can be played with people of all ages. It’s a great way to bring the energy down at the end of the night.

Once again, you can either buy the official game or create a makeshift version yourself. If you have a good narrator, you can play with the idea of alternate story lines for some more fun.

  • Duration: 20 min+
  • Set-up: 5 min
  • Group size: 7 to 16+ players

13. Casino Night

If your guests are up for some friendly gambling, casino games are a great option. This isn’t something you can set-up on the fly. It will require some planning.

As a rule of thumb, choose games that are simple and don’t require too much to learn. For example, blackjack and roulette.

If this is the core activity of the night, you might want to have designated “croupiers” who are in charge of their game.

  • Duration: 30 min+
  • Set-up: N/A
  • Group size: Any

14. Changing Chairs

Technically this isn’t a game but it’s a fun activity to do if you’re having a sit-down dinner.

Simply ask every other guest to move one chair to the right between courses (or by using any other shuffling system). This will automatically place them in contact with new neighbours which is an easy way to introduce people and break the ice.

  • Duration: Ongoing
  • Set-up: N/A
  • Group size: Any

15. Matchmaking Games

If you’re looking for a game to break the ice (get different guests’ groups to get to know each other) then, a matchmaking game is ideal.

There are many rules and many variations of this game but the basics are always the same. Allocate a random name, item or tag to every guest and task them to find their pair. For extra motivation, the winners should win a prize (even a silly one).

  • Duration: Ongoing
  • Set-up: 15 min+
  • Group size: Any

16. Lawn Games

Lawn games are very broad in nature. They vary from giant chess sets to croquet sets. They’re ideal for outdoor parties. Simply set them up ahead of time and leave them out for the guests to pick up and play with.

  • Duration: Ongoing
  • Set-up: 10 min+
  • Group size: Any

17. Pictionary

Once again, you can buy the official version or create a makeshift version of it for the occasion.

This game is similar to Time’s Up except with drawings. Split the players into 2 teams. A word is drawn out at random and at the same time, two players from opposing teams will try to draw the word for their team to guess.

  • Duration: 20min+
  • Set-up: N/a
  • Group size: 4 to 10 players

18. Bingo

Bingo is always extremely popular at parties. Especially if you have a slightly bigger crowd. It’s simple to plan and easy to play.

A different and really fun take on the classic bingo game is music bingo where a DJ will play songs and if you identify a song on your card you cross it off. It’s a great way to play music and play an interactive game at the same time.

  • Duration: 20 min+
  • Set-up: N/a
  • Group size: 20+

19. Football and/or Pool Tournament

If you have a Football or Pool table at your home or venue, you can organise a tournament for your guests.

If you’re a large group (more than 20 people), group everyone into teams and start off with the knockout rounds. Playing group stages tends to be tedious.

Pro-tip: After each round, ask the players to go and get the players due to play after the next. In the meantime, the next players can start their own game.

  • Duration: Ongoing
  • Set-up: N/a
  • Group size: 12+

20. Trivia Quiz

Another fun DIY activity to do at a party is a table trivia game or a ‘pub’ quiz. Simply plan a series of questions for the audience to answer.

To make the game fun, the questions should be silly. Combine personal questions/trivia with common knowledge questions. The winning group gets a silly prize.

Pro-tip: If you have a large audience, group them into teams and give them a bit of time to deliberate on each question. 

  • Duration: 20 min+
  • Set-up: N/a
  • Group size: 20+

21. Murder Mystery Games

The details vary but the concept is always the same: One of the guests is randomly selected to play the role of a murderer. The other attendees must determine who among them is the criminal.

  • Duration: Ongoing
  • Set-up: N/a
  • Group size: Any

22. The Post-it Note Game

These games go by many different names: The Name Game, Sticky Head, the Post-it Note game…  For some reason, I’ve always referred to this game as “Russian Poker”… but apparently that’s just me.

Regardless of the name, it’s an easy and hilarious game to play at a party.

You can also get an app for this (called Heads Up!). The benefit is that it makes the name truly random…. But we think Post-its look sillier and that’s part of the fun!

  • Duration: 20min+
  • Set-up: N/a
  • Group size: 4 to 8 players

23. Video Game Tournament

You can set up a video game tournament for your guests. Ideally, each game should be short and easy to learn. Think Mario Kart. Games like Fifa can be difficult to pick up instantly.

If you have a projector and multiple remotes it will make the activity way more fun. The golden rule is to keep each round short. If the games are too long your other guests will lose interest.

Pro-tip: After each round, ask the players to go and get those players due to play after the next ones. In the meantime, the next players can start their own game.

  • Duration: Ongoing
  • Set-up: N/a
  • Group size: 12+

Choosing the Perfect Party Game

As you’ve seen, the list of available party games goes on and on. However, selecting the right game is the key to its success. Different games require different settings to be enjoyable. 

What is the mood like?

When selecting a party game, the most important criteria is to understand what mood your guests are in (or what mood they will be in).

Are they up for learning a new game or should you stick to a classic? Do they want to play a silly short game or are they ready for a more immersive one?

Misjudging the mood will most likely kill the game.

Is the game central to the party?

Is the game central to the event or is it just a side activity? Do you want everyone at the party to play or just those who want to? For example, your guests who don’t want to dance.

Does the game need to be hosted?

Some games need to be planned ahead of time and hosted if they’re to be a success. For example, pass the parcel for adults we mentioned above. Someone needs to actively start the game and conduct it for it to be successful.

On the other hand, other games are a lot more casual and can just be left out for guests to start when they want. For example, lawn games or cards against humanity.  

How many people want to play?

You also want to consider the number of guests who will likely want to play.

Does it match your party theme?

If you’re hosting a themed party, try to choose a game that matches the theme. It’s not always possible but it’s definitely a plus.