With the global COVID-19 pandemic still raging on, nights at home with friends have become an increasingly common feature of our social lives. And given that pubs, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs seem like they will be closed for some time yet, it looks likely that we are going to have to do most of our socializing at home for the foreseeable future.
While finding a game to play at home in a solo setting might be a relatively easy affair, things are quite a bit more complicated when it comes to choosing a game for a group. That is certainly true where the group you have to satisfy is large, as there will always be diverging views of what is ‘fun’. While some members of the group might be more than happy to get by with a simple board game, for others this would be their idea of hell! Managing the interests, preferences, and energy levels of the group can thus make choosing the right party game a difficult choice.
But what are some things you need to bear in mind when choosing a party game to play? Are all party games created equal, or are some completely unsuitable in certain settings?
Ease of play
Perhaps the most important choice when it comes to choosing a party game to play with friends, relates to how easy it is to play. Although there are certainly other important considerations, the ease of play is by far the most important factor in choosing a game as it will have a direct impact on how much fun you can have playing it.
Party games need to strike a perfect balance between having enough rules to prevent the game from becoming chaotic, while also not overburdening players with rules they need to follow. If the game you have chosen to play falls into the latter category, the sheer number of rules you need to follow can often prove a bit of a mood killer.
The ideal balance you want to strike is to find something that has just enough rules to keep the action fairly directed, without stifling the fun people are having. A good real-world example of this is casino games. By far the most popular games on the casino floor are those games that have surprisingly few rules. Even someone who’s never loaded up a gambling app before can easily play online slots and have fun for an evening. Alternatively, you could give something like blackjack a go with a group of friends, as it has far fewer rules than poker and can be picked up within a few minutes. In contrast, poker takes years to fully master, and is generally much less popular amongst casual players.
Group size and dynamics
Another incredibly important factor you need to keep in mind when trying to choose a party game to play, is how well it suits group play. Although it might sound like an obvious thing to say, a party game actually needs to be fun to play in a group setting. This means avoiding games where only one person is playing at a time, or which don’t really suit large groups. Generally speaking, the most fun group games to play are those where a large number of people can be actively involved at once.
When you are trying to decide if a game will work well as a group, you also need to keep in mind the size of the group that will be playing. There can be quite a difference between a game that works well when played between a group of three to five people, versus one that is enjoyable to play in a group of ten or more. In this sense, the size of the group that will be playing the game has a big impact on how much fun you can have.
What props do you need? How much space do you have?
A third thing to bear in mind relates to the physical requirements of the game. While some party games require a few props to be played, others can be quite elaborate in terms of their requirements. This is particularly important in the context of group games, as it can be difficult to scale-up the game if you don’t have enough props to hand. For this reason, it is often a good idea to choose games that don’t require much equipment to be played. The same is equally true of the space you need to play.
If it looks like you are going to be doing a lot of entertaining at home for the foreseeable future, the above tips should help you choose a game that will be the life of your holiday party!