Most game nights consist of 3-6 hardcore gamers getting together to play strategic games like Tzolk’in. Not many games are designed for parties, and least of all, where there’s multiple levels of expertise and interest.
Below are some popular games that allow for 8 or more players and are enjoyable for regular gamers without alienating the rest.
1. Ultimate Werewolf/ Mafia
This is a great game to make any party animated. It requires at least 2 or 3 people who are outgoing to get the game going, but often draws out even the most silent players to participate. The key allure of the game is in waking up each morning to discover the dead and taking decisions without much rationale on who to kill off the next day.
The primary downside is that people that die early in the game will often get bored, and cannot really participate while the rest duke it out.The game takes just 5 minutes or less to explain, plays out fairly quickly, and has few rules, making it an ideal choice for groups larger than 8 people.
Along a similar vein as Werewolf and Mafia, Resistance requires players to interact heavily, argue, and vote. The added twist in Resistance is that rather than simply picking random people to eliminate, you select people to go on a mission, and based on the success of the mission, deduce who may be a spy or a true resistance operative and decide in subsequent rounds whether they should be part of a mission or not. The mechanic of having a fixed number of missions adds to the escalation towards the end, and allows for games to end quickly.
One big upside is that players are not eliminated, keeping everyone engaged till the end. The rounds also go by quickly, creating a sense of urgency. This game also takes only a few minutes to explain, but is constrained to a maximum of 10 players.
In Codenames, random words are laid out on the table, and two people are given a map to identify which words relate to which player (or team). Codenames requires one player from each team to act as the spymaster, providing one word clues to their team, and require the team to guess the set of words laid out on the table that match closest to the clue. A wrong guess ends the turn, or potentially even the game.
A major downside of codenames is the downtime for the rest of the team while the spymaster figures out the next clue to generate. The game takes about 5-10 minutes to explain, and cannot be played by more than 8 players.
Catchphrase is one of the most ideal games to play with larger groups of people, especially with newbies. It requires few rules, the built-in timer avoids long drawn out rounds, and at any time at least half the group is engaged.
The only downside is the repetitive nature of each round. However, that can be avoided by requiring fewer points to win. The major upside to catchphrase is the simplicity of the game and the fact that it can be played by up to 16 people.
5. Cards Against Humanity
If political correctness is not your strong suit, Cards Against Humanity is the game for you. The simplicity of picking a card to play from your hand in response to a black question card makes it an easily accessible game for any skill level.
One downside to this game is that some players can just be funnier than the others, creating the possibility of cringe worthy responses that just don’t merit even a chuckle.
The game can be played with up to 30 players, but the ideal size is more in the 8-10 range to keep the game interesting.
6. Cash n’ Guns (2nd edition)
If your group is a little more invested in playing games, Cash n’ Guns is a very engaging game to play. The premise of the game is that all the players are gangsters looking to split a loot. The last man standing with the most loot at the end of the game wins. This game has a small element of strategy, but that is masked by the fun of pointing foam guns at others and going around the table grabbing loot.
The game is quick to learn, but does result in player elimination, resulting in a few people sitting out a portion of the game. The game is suitable for up to 8 players and lasts just half an hour.
Can you think of other party games for groups of 8 or more people? What do you like or dislike about these games?