Sunday, December 15, 2013

Party Games Suck

Image courtesy of Ambro
Here, for example, are some of the worst ideas ever:

This website suggests that for a fun Christmas party game, you wrap people in toilet paper and pretend they are snowmen.

And this blog suggests mixing a bunch of safety pins into a bowl of rice and making blindfolded guests see how many pins they can pick out in 30 seconds. (Hey, I know! Make it even more fun by opening the safety pins and letting them stick themselves.) The author enthuses, “This game is sure to get competitive as each player tries to outdo the others!”

Either that or they fight to get out the door the quickest.

And could someone please explain to me how 1,000 Blank White Cards is even a game?

I have been to parties where guests are forced to play games like these. I’ve even been to parties where the hosts insisted guests play but refused to play themselves. Wow. Just wow.

I suppose, though, that party games can serve a purpose. They might be useful at parties, like company parties, where people don’t know each other. If you really think your guests are going to be clods and just stare at each other, it might be good to come up with things they can interact over. I like the idea of letting people write down their guesses about the number of candies in a jar, with the winner getting the jar. I have also been to fun parties where guests trimmed the Christmas tree.

If you have to have a party game, I think the keys are not to force people to play, not to make the game embarrassing and not to make it something that demands everyone’s full attention.

Better yet, though, don’t do party games at all.


  1. The best party games are the ones where you make a complete fool of yourself, and then think about it for a whole week after

  2. The problem is that most people put no effort into it. There are talented game designers out there who can really make this sort of thing fun and interesting but it is such a niche market that most people would never suspect they exist. See here for some suggestions that will NOT torture the guests:

    1. No problem. I'm going to a party to play one Saturday night...and the host told us ahead of time that we were going to be playing it! It's a feature of the party, not a flaw!

    2. What game will you be playing?

      I know someone who gets together regularly with a group of friends to play Dungeons & Dragons. To me, that's a whole different kind of party.

      I was thinking of the parties where you don't really know anyone, but when you arrive, the hostess insists you -- and every other guest -- put a silly hat on so she can snap a picture of you and put it on display. Then you find out she has refused to have her own picture taken in the stupid hat. This has happened to me.