One Night takes the classic party/convention game Werewolf (putting a group of villagers in a death struggle against hidden werewolves) and crunches it into a 10 minute experience. There is deception, accusation, and killing, as players are each assigned a secret role with a special ability which they perform while other players have their eyes closed. Once players wake up, they can lie and cheat their way into convincing other players they are NOT a werewolf. After 5 minutes players each cast a vote to kill one of the players. That player then reveals his hidden role. If he is a villager, the werewolves win, and vice versa. With extra roles and expansions, One Night Ultimate Werewolf can turn 10 minutes into several hours of fun.
2) BANG! The Dice Game – dV Giochi Games, 3-8 Players.
BANG! The Dice Game takes the pretty good card game BANG! and turns it into a quicker, tighter, experience for 3-8 players. Players are assigned roles, with one being the sheriff. The sheriff reveals herself, but the other players remain secret. There are bandits who are trying to kill the sheriff and her deputies; deputies, who are trying to protect the sheriff; and a renegade, who is trying to be the last person alive at the end. Players take turns rolling dice, Yahtzee style, and inflicting damage on their friends. Of course, since no one can be sure who they are shooting (we like to say “banging,” of course) hilarity and hurt feelings can ensue. Each game plays in about 20 minutes, even with 8 players. For quick, banging fun, this game is the best in the west.
3) Dread Curse – Smirk & Dagger, 3-8 Players.
You are a pirate, so this game is already cool. Your goal is simply to amass more gold than your fellow pirates. Each round players will choose a role ranging from Captain to Cabin Boy. Each role provides some special ability that may be more (or less) useful depending on the stage of the game. Players must draw gold pieces from a bag each round, trying to get the most money without drawing one of two dreaded Black Spots, which disqualify you from scoring at the end of the game no matter how much gold you earned. There are cards that players can obtain that provide mean spirited (pirate-like) “take that” elements to the game. The cutthroat nature of the game fits the theme perfectly, and I have had great experiences with Dread Curse over a diverse range of groups who played it. CAUTION: You will need a sense of humor and fairly thick skin to not get really upset at your friends while playing this game.
4) Time’s Up – R&R Games, 4-18 Players.
Time’s Up (Deluxe and Title Recall) are great party games in the vein of Charades. But they have one important twist. Instead of using different phrases to guess, players here will go through the same list of names/phrases three times during the game. Each time, though, they can give less and less clues. For instance, you might have the title “Dance, Dance, Revolution” as one of the cards. In round one, the giver can use any words not on the card to describe the card and his teammates can keep guessing or pass to their heart’s content. In round two, the person who gets that phrase can only use a single word, and then as many gestures as he likes, and the team gets only one guess. So maybe you say “Boogie” and dance around like you are playing the video game. In round three, no words can be spoken, so a giver might just use the goofy dance from rounds one and two, hoping her teammates might remember. Some of the funniest moments I have ever experienced have come from playing this rarely mentioned game. It has been a hit every single time.
5) Loot – Gamewright Games, 2-8 Players.
Loot makes this list because it provides rules for team vs. team play when playing 6-8 players that work extremely well. In Loot, again, you are pirates. You play in teams of 2 players, who sit next to each other. You each have a hand of cards containing pirate ships, merchant ships, pirate captains, or the single admiral in the deck. On a turn a player will either draw a card or play one card. When playing a card, if it is a merchant ship, you are hoping it remains unscathed until your next turn, because if it does, you bank its value into your score pile. If you have a hand full of pirate ships, however, you might want to attack another player by placing one of those ships next to one of his merchant ships, hoping that when your turn comes around next time, you have the most pirate power present, so that you can plunder it and place it in your own score pile. Captains act as trump cards for pirate ships, but they are rare since there is only one per each of the four colors of pirates. The single admiral card acts the same way, except it must be played on your own merchant ship. The game plays quickly, but there are enough decisions to provide strategic tension. Loot does a great job of forcing teammates to coordinate their turns and work together in order to have success. While the rules are simple, tension definitely ramps up (in a good way).
Well, there you go. Those are 5 excellent party games for your group. Thanks for reading, and keep nerding on. I know there are several others out there, like Codenames and Spyfall, that can play 8 players well. What are some you would add to the list?
For these and other “cool” games, check out www.dicedropgames.com.