Gaming in a Big Group – Part 1

One topic that I wanted to cover is gaming, board gaming that is, in a large group. Why is this something to write about?

It’s something to write about because when people think of large group games they think of games like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity, with a few other party games thrown in. It’s fairly repetitive games that are either based around making a few jokes or trivia knowledge. I’m going to sound fairly negative about these games, but they do have their time and place. For me, however, these games have a limited shelf life. My wife and I are actually getting rid of our copy of Cards Against Humanity because once you’ve played it a handful of times, you know the general jokes.

The other reason I wanted to write about this topic is because people have trouble coming up with other larger group games. Now, not all of these games are going to be able to handle 20 people that I’m writing about, so I will write about what you can do with that size of a group as well. But, having games that will play 7-10 people are fairly difficult to come up with as well and often end up causing people to pull out party games again.

Before we talk specifics, let’s talk about what to do with that very large group of people. It’s tricky because part of playing board games is socializing, but sometimes you have a group that is just too large to play a single game. People don’t always want to split into smaller groups because people want to socialize with everyone. I would argue that this is something that you should push through as the host or as someone suggesting splitting into groups. When you have a large group everyone is not part of the same conversation anyways. As much as we want to think so, everyone is having their own little conversations. These can be done in smaller groups. Especially lean into splitting into smaller groups after you have played a larger game. Play a few hands of Cards Against Humanity first so that people are laughing and socializing and then before the game has gotten stale. People will likely be more up to splitting off into groups if they feel comfortable and having an ice breaker game is nice for that.

Also, adapt games as need be for larger groups. I’ve adapted Wits & Wagers for a larger group before because it’s not like there’s anything stopping you. Just add a few more ranges for betting and go from there. Or with a game like Scattergories, just have people share sheets.  You can also team people up for games that normally wouldn’t have teams. Balderdash can really handle any number, but if you think there will be too many things to read and remember, have people team up for that.

Image Source: Amazon

Now let’s get into some games. I’m going to start with some of my preferred party style games. While I have expressed some dislike for Cards Against Humanity, it is a game that a lot of people know how to play already, and when drinking, can be kind of funny even if you’ve played it a number of times before?

In it’s place, I would suggest Stipulations. This game might be harder to find, I got it from kickstarter, but I believe it is available. Stipulations is one of those write something down based off of what the person who is it says. However, as compared to trying to come up with a definition for a word or the meaning of an acronym, Stipulations has you writing a stipulation for a super power, dream job, lifetime supply of, or fulfilled dream. This doesn’t force you into anything dark and twisted, but if you wanted to go that way and that’s the type of group you have, you can. Unlike Cards Against Humanity, Stipulations is a game you could play with Grandma or at a college kegger.

A nerdier game than Stipulations that goes along with the same premise of writing down an answer and either picking a favorite or trying to guess the right answer is Liebrary. It’s a silly game where you roll and select and get a book title and try and write down what the first sentence is. The person who is it is hoping people will guess the right answer, but not everyone. It fits into the classic Balderdash style of game. This game suffers a little bit because of the categories of books. Romance novels are great to write a first line for because you can be as silly as possible, but other genres aren’t as entertaining.

Scattergories and Wits & Wagers are two that I put down as games that fit into that trivia category. Both of them are better than Cranium in my opinion. The reason that I like both of them is that you can have an arbitrary ending to either of them. In Scattergories you can play three lists or you can play ten, it’s up to you and the group, though, I’d never recommend playing ten in one sitting. With Wits and Wagers, you can just pull out a certain number of cards, and whomever has the most money at the end is the winner. Cranium has a board you have to get around, and if you get the wrong questions in trivia, there’s a chance the game will just stagnate. The same thing is the case with Trivial Pursuit, so pick trivia games that you can have an arbitrary ending to.

Finally, Moniker is a solid party game where you start out by describing someone to get people to guess them, then can only use a one word clue, and then can only charade it. It’s a team game, so only half the time are you really involved, but turns go fairly quickly. This game is on my list because it allows people to be active and moving. It helps build up the energy and is good for a laugh. It is a game that you don’t really need the actual game for though to make work. As long as people know the famous person you wrote down on a slip of paper it works. When they don’t, it kind of breaks the game anyways.

So this is part one of two, the conclusion will come up here shortly. It would have been a bit much to do in a single post, and this one has a nice breaking point because we’re at the point where I’m going to talk about things that aren’t just pure party games. There are a number of games, including a few different categories of games that work well with larger groups. And I’ll also talk about some pitfalls to avoid when looking at games that can have a larger player count.

To Be Continued….

What are your favorite party games?


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