21 Best Adult Party Board Games (for 2021)

Hosting a party and want to ensure fun engagement? Play cards or board games to begin the merriment! The best adult party board games are covered in this post.

While you can have a lot of fun with dice games or a simple deck of cards, some of these games can take conversations to unexpected places, helping you forge closer bonds with your friends and family.

You’ll just want to keep in mind who might get offended by which games.

While this is mostly a list of the best party board games, a card game or two is thrown in. The intent is to find the best game for your occasion.

Why You Need to Invite Your Friends Over for Game Night

The Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 harmed us in many different ways. The isolated and sedentary lifestyles we were forced to live only made us more susceptible to the disease we were trying to avoid.[1]

Now that we feel safe congregating again, it’s time to get reacquainted with our friends and family. That time together, laughing, learning, listening, and empathizing will make all happier and healthier. Unless you have a reason to avoid close interactions with loved ones, it’s time to invite them over.

After so many months apart, it may be a little awkward getting back together. Since it’s been over a year, you likely made new friends you haven’t got to know yet.

A great way to break the ice, have a good time, and get to know one another better is to host a board game night!

21 List of the Best Adult Party Board Games

First is a list of the best adult party board games in alphabetical order. You can browse the best and see what you like. Then I’ll include the best for different ages, sizes of parties, and types of friends.

Apples to Apples

Tagline: The game of crazy combinations.

Best for: Medium-sized crowds who don’t appreciate risque humor.

Number of players: 4 – 10.

Ages: 12 and up.

Time to Play: 30 – 75 minutes.

Expansions?: Yes.

Goal: Win the appropriate number of green apple cards.

Apples to Apples used to top lists of best games. It still ranks high on most party game lists. Apples to Apples is a good way to have nice, clean fun.

How to Play Apples to Apples

  1. Choose the first judge. Apples to Apples features a rotating judge.
  2. The judge deals 7 red apple cards to each player, including themselves.
  3. The judge draws and places a green apple card face-up on the table.
  4. Each player except the judge chooses the red apple card from their hand that best describes the played green apple card.
  5. Each player gives their selected red apple card to the judge face-down.
  6. The judge shuffles the selected red apple cards, then reads them out loud.
  7. The judge selects the red apple card that best describes the green apple card.
    They can base their decision on anything they choose and players are allowed to try to influence the judge’s decision.
  8. The player who played the red apple card the judge deems best gets to keep the green apple card.
  9. For the next round, each player draws a replacement red apple card. The next player becomes the new judge.

Purchase Apples to Apples on Amazon.


Azul

Best for: Including a large number of people.

Number of players: 2 – 4.

Ages: 8 and up.

Time to Play: 30 – 45 minutes.

Expansions?: Yes.

Goal: Score the most points with tile arrangements.

Azul is a strategy puzzle game with tiles. Not only is Azul competitive, but fans claim that it’s also aesthetically pleasing to make the tiled designs. Although it looks boring to me, it earned a position on most lists of the best adult party board games.

How to Play Azul

Purchase Azul on Amazon.


Blokus

Tagline: The strategy game for the whole family

Best for: Fans of Tetris.

Number of players: 2 – 4.

Ages: 5 and up.

Time to Play: 30 minutes.

Expansions?: No expansions, but there are different versions.

Goal: Play more blocks than your opponents.

Blokus has shapes of blocks that look like Tetris pieces. Players place them on the board in hopes of playing the most blocks.

You can purchase a 2-player version of Blokus as well as a 3-dimensional version!

How to Play Blokus

  1. Each player selects a color.
  2. The first player plays their first piece on the grid. They have to use the corner square on the grid.
  3. Take turns placing your pieces on the board.
  4. You must lay each piece so that it touches only the corner of another one of your pieces. The sides of your pieces can’t touch. You can touch the sides or corners of opponents’ pieces.
  5. Each player plays as many pieces as possible.
  6. Take turns playing pieces until no player can lay any more pieces.
  7. Count the total number of blocks each player has left.
  8. The player with the fewest remaining blocks wins the game!

Purchase Blokus on Amazon.


Carcassonne

Best for: Including a large number of people.

Number of players: 2 – 5.

Ages: 7 and up.

Time to Play: 45 minutes.

Expansions?: Yes.

Goal: Score the most points by building and owning land features.

Another fun tile-laying strategy game for the whole family. The players draw tiles and use them to build medieval cities, roads, and monasteries.

How to Play Carcassonne

Purchase Carcassonne on Amazon.


Cards Against Humanity

Cards Against Humanity ranks as one of the best adult party board games.
Cards Against Humanity ranks as one of the Best Adult Party Board Games.

Tagline: A party game for horrible people.

Best for: Including more people in larger groups.

Number of players: 3 – 20.

Ages: 17 and up.

Time to Play: 30 -90 minutes.

Expansions?: Yes.

Goal: The goal of the game is to collect the most black cards or points.

The tagline says it all: “A party game for horrible people.” Cards Against Humanity is easily the most popular among lists of the best adult party board games.

Cards Against Humanity is similar to Apples to Apples, but with adult content.

It has black cards with fill-in-the-blank or open-ended statements and white cards with mostly inappropriate or offensive answers.

Due to some obscene content, you may not be comfortable playing this one around your kids.

Keep in mind that this game may offend some. However, if you have friends that you can enjoy such adult games with, cherish those friends and spend as much time with them as you can.

How to play Cards Against Humanity

  1. Choose a Card Czar and have everyone else each draw ten white cards. You can look at your cards, but don’t let other players see them.
  2. The Card Czar reads the first black card. Each player picks the best answer from their white cards and gives them to the Card Czar. The Czar shuffles the white cards, then reads back the black card, followed by each white card response. Everyone laughs.
  3. While reading through the cards, others can laugh, talk, and attempt to convince the Czar to pick their card. The Czar judges the best response and awards that card’s owner a point. Or they can get the black card.
  4. After all ten cards are played, reshuffle the white cards, select a new Czar and start the next round.
  5. The person with the most points (or black cards) at the end of the game wins.

Purchase Cards Against Humanity on Amazon.


Catan (Formerly Known as Settlers of Catan)

Catan ranks as one of the best adult party board games.
Image by dograapps from Pixabay

Tagline: Trade Build Settle.

Number of players: 3 – 4 players with the base game. (5 – 6 with 25th-anniversary edition or expansion pack).

Ages: 10 and up.

Time to Play: Short games can last 10 – 15 minutes. Long games can last a couple of hours.

Expansions?: Yes.

Goal: The first player to earn 10 Victory Points wins the game.

Due to dice rolls determining play, Catan requires a significant strategy. Each player controls a group of settlers settling on the island of Catan. You earn Victory Points by building structures (such as roads), building armies, buying cards, and earning other accomplishments.

While the game takes some time to set up, it offers a different scene for each game. That’s not easy to accomplish with a board game.

How to Play Catan

How to play Catan is easier seen than read. After viewing several, this video is by far the best description of how to play.

Purchase Catan on Amazon.


Clue

Tagline: The Classic Mystery Game.

Number of players: 3 – 6 players.

Ages: Ages 8 and up. (Although we played a modified version with my kid when she was younger.)

Time to Play: 10 to 60 minutes.

Expansions?: Yes.

Goal: Solve the murder mystery.

This classic game always shows up in the list of best board games. It’s a great family game because it’s mild and encourages thinking.

How to Play Clue

  1. Each player selects a character (Every dude wants to be Colonel Mustard and date Miss Scarlet.) and a notebook for writing clues.
  2. Separates and shuffles the three types of cards:
    Suspect
    Room
    Weapon
  3. Then place one of each card type into the secret envelope.
  4. Place a murder weapon in each room.
  5. Place the player pieces in their assigned starting square.
  6. Miss Scarlet goes first. Who made that rule?
  7. Roll the die to move.
  8. When you get to a room, make a logical suggestion of who committed the murder, the room they committed the murder, and the weapon they used. Essentially, you guess which three cards are in the secret envelope.
  9. After making your suggestion, the person to your left needs to disprove your theory. They do this by showing you one of the cards that matches your guess. Only one! Don’t get too many clues.
  10. If they have the card, then it can’t be in the secret envelope. Ergo you haven’t correctly guessed the contents of the envelope.
    It’s just fun to say, ergo.
  11. If the player to your left can’t disprove your theory, then it is up to the player on their left.
  12. When you think that your notes accurately identify the crime, then make an accusation. You win if you’re accusation is correct. You’re eliminated from the game if your accusation is wrong.

To be candid, when friends and family break out Clue, I make drinks or serve food. While I can’t come up with reasons why I don’t care for it, I’ve just never enjoyed Clue. Perhaps I just don’t have a motive.

Available Editions of Clue

You may be able to find an edition of Clue to match your favorite film or show.

  • The Office
  • Harry Potter
  • Firefly
  • Supernatural
  • Dungeons & Dragons
  • The Legend of Zelda

Purchase Clue on Amazon.


CodeNames

Best for: A small group.

Number of players: 4 – 8 players in 2 teams.

Ages: 10 and up.

Time to Play: 15 – 30 minutes.

Goal: Using word clues, guess all of your team’s secret identities.

Codenames is a fun game with simple rules. The quicker games maintain engagement and increase the fun for your party.

How to play Codenames

  1. Codename cards contain the secret identities of the players. Lay out the Codename cards in a five-by-five grid.
  2. A player from each team is the Spymaster. The Spymasters sit next to each other with their teammates on the other side of the Codename cards.
  3. The Spymasters have a key that shows them which team the codename cards are on. They take turns giving their teammates clues as to which secret identities are on their team. Pay attention to the other team’s clues to avoid helping them identify their spies.
    And stay cautious to avoid the assassin!
  4. The first team to correctly identify all of their secret identities wins.

Purchase CodeNames on Amazon.

Exploding Kittens

Tag Line: For people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats.

Best For: Including the Kids.

Number of players: 2 – 5 players.

Ages: 7 and up.

Time to Play: 15 minutes.

Goal: Be the last player in the game by avoiding an Exploding Kitten card.

Exploding Kittens is a great game for including the kids.

While fun for adults, too, Exploding Kittens is a great game if you want to include the kids.

Similar to Uno, you draw cards from a deck and use them to strategize against the other players. Many of the cards are funny and crude, but none are inappropriate for younger players.

It requires little setup time, and the play is simple to learn. It’s a great game if you want to get straight to the fun without spending too much time on setup or teaching newbies how to play it.

Lasting about 15 minutes, Exploding Kittens is a good game if you prefer a quicker game.

How to Play Exploding Kittens

Purchase Exploding Kittens on Amazon.


Joking Hazard

Tag Line: An offensive card game from Cyanide & Happiness.

Best For: When kids are nowhere near the game.

Number of players: 3 – 10 players.

Ages: 18 and up.

Time to Play: 30 -90 minutes.

Goal: Have the most cards at the end of the game by completing the funniest comic strips.

Joking Hazard is based on the online comic generator Cyanide & Happiness.

I’ve never played this game, so I watched several videos on YouTube. Maybe I’m too old. I’m not ashamed to admit that. But I don’t get the humor. Although I love the premise, none of the strips were funny to me.

Many of the strips are pretty offensive, so this game is definitely not for kids.

How to Play Joking Hazard

  1. Each player gets 7 cards to start.
  2. Select the 1st judge, who picks the top card from the draw pile and places it face up.
  3. The judge ads a card from their own hand, before or after the 1st card. This creates the first two panels of a comic strip.
  4. The other players pick the best card from their 7 cards to make the funniest comic strip.
  5. They place the selected card face down.
  6. The judge turns each card face up and reads the complete comic strip.
  7. The judge chooses their favorite.
  8. The person who placed the winning card gets all the cards and a point.

Purchase Joking Hazard on Amazon.


“There are only three forms of high art: the symphony, the illustrated children’s book and the board game.”

– Brian K. Vaughan

Monopoly

Image by mpmd2009 from Pixabay

Tag Line: Fast-dealing property trading game.

Best For: Teaching negotiation and bargaining.

Number of players: 2 – 8 players.

Ages: 8 and up.

Time to Play: 20 -180 minutes.

Goal: Be the last person in the game by bankrupting all your opponents.

Another classic remains on the list. Most people have played Monopoly. You can find several different editions, from Barbie to Star Wars. There are even Jr. versions of the game.

Personally, I could do without playing Monopoly again. It doesn’t top many lists of the best board games, but it shows up on most of them.

Purchase Monopoly on Amazon.


Pandemic

Tag Line: Can you save humanity?

Number of players: 2 – 4, more with expansion packs, and many play as teams.

Ages: 8 and up.

Time to Play: 45 minutes.

Goal: Find cures for four diseases and prevent them from spreading.

Pandemic was published in 2008, updated with a new edition in 2013, and for some reason, enjoyed a huge resurgence in 2020. It reigns near the top of almost every list of the most popular board games. What does that say about us humans?

I think it says that most of us have a great sense of humor and can take hardships in stride.

Many of the Amazon reviewers for this game say something along the lines of, “I bought this for my husband as a joke since we were literally in a pandemic.” I hope that’s evidence that many knew we needed a laugh and were willing to make one if they had to force it.

Or, perhaps, they thought playing such strategy games would improve their chances of domination if the world went all Stephen King’s The Stand on us.

An interesting feature of Pandemic makes it a great party game is that everyone wins or everyone loses. You’re not trying to beat one another. You’re trying to beat the diseases. After a year of such division, Pandemic might be the perfect game for 2021.

Pandemic is also interesting in how many ways the game ends. It ends when you run out of player cards or when you reach 8 on the Outbreak stage. And again, everyone loses.

How to play Pandemic

The map on the game board and the pieces remind me of Risk. Pandemic features a role-playing aspect in that each player’s color represents a character with different skills.

How to play Pandemic is easier to understand if you see it.

Purchase Pandemic on Amazon.


Risk

Tagline: The game of strategic conquest.

Best For: If you want to play for a long time.

Number of players: 2 – 5 players.

Ages: 10 and up.

Time to Play: 1 – 8 hours.

Goal: Earn the most points by spelling words.

I’ve always loved the game of Risk, but it has a couple of flaws.

First, the dice. The dice can kill a good strategy. Either that or I’m a sore loser. The second flaw is Australia. If you can take Australia earlier, especially with more players, you significantly increase your chance of winning.

Conquering South America can also increase your chances of winning, but not as much as Australia. And if you can’t conquer a continent early, you’ll soon be serving hors d’oeuvres.

How to Play Risk

Purchase Risk on Amazon.


Scrabble

Tagline: Every letter counts.

Best For: Spelling and vocabulary.

Number of players: 2 – 4 players.

Ages: 10 and up, although there are versions for younger players.

Time to Play: 30 -90 minutes.

Goal: Earn the most points by spelling words.

The classic game doesn’t top many lists, but it shows up on most of them. You can find Scrabble in many forms, from small, portable games to nicer, deluxe editions.

Purchase Scrabble on Amazon.

Scrabble is still one of the best adult party board games.
Scrabble is still one of the Best Adult Party Board Games.

Sushi Go Party

Tagline: The deluxe pick & pass party game.

Number of players: 2 – 8 players.

Ages: 8 and up.

Time to Play: 20 minutes.

Goal: Score the most points by making sushi!

Sushi Go Party is an updated version of the popular card drafting game Sushi Go. It must be fun because it shows up on a list of lists of best games.

How to Play Sushi Go Party

Purchase Sushi Go Party on Amazon.


Ticket to Ride

If you love maps or trains, Ticket to Ride may be the game for you!

strategy, expansions

Number of players: 2 – 5 players.

Ages: 8 and up.

Time to Play: 30 to 60 minutes.

Goal: Score the most points by completing train routes between various cities across the country.

The original game board uses a map of the United States. There are now several versions with other countries and regions in the United States.

How to play Ticket to Ride

Although Ticket to Ride has a lot of rules, it’s easy to master. Still, it is easy to watch the game played than to read. So enjoy my favorite gameplay descriptor.

Alternate Ticket to Ride Game Boards

Purchase Ticket to Ride on Amazon.


Trivial Pursuit

Tagline: Reveal your inner genius.

Best For: People who love trivia!

Number of players: 2 – 6 players, more if you play as teams.

Ages: 17 and up.

Time to Play: Around 80 minutes.

Goal: Be the first player to fill your pie with wedges by correctly answering trivia questions.

I remember when this game came out. Everyone loved Trivial Pursuit. Well, almost everyone. Even though I’ve always found it boring, Trivial Pursuit still shows up on many board game lists.

How to Play Trivial Pursuit

  1. Roll the die to see who goes first, usually the highest number.
  2. The first player rolls the die and moves their token that many spaces.
  3. Another player draws a card and reads a question from that card. The question category will match the color of the space the player landed on.
  4. If you give the correct answer, you get to go again. If you answer incorrectly, turn switches to the next player.
  5. Attempt to get to move your token to the headquarters squares for each color. If you answer the trivia question correctly while on the headquarter square, you get a wedge of that color to place in your game token.
  6. After you fill your token with a wedge of each color, roll the die until you land on the center space. The center space is called The Hub.
  7. In The Hub space, you get a question in the category chosen by the other players. If you answer correctly, you must leave The Hub and try again. If you answer correctly, you win the game.

Purchase Trivial Pursuit on Amazon.


The Voting Game

The tagline for The Voting Game is, “Find out who your friends are.” It’s a great choice for finding out what your friends think about you.

Tagline: Find out who your friends are.

Best For: Adults, but you can also remove the explicit cards to play with kids.

Number of players: 5 – 10 players.

Ages: 17 and up.

Time to Play: 30 -90 minutes.

Goal: Be the last player to win 6 rounds.

How to Play The Voting Game

There are many versions of this game. You can also make up your own rules, even making it into a drinking game. Here are the official rules.

  1. Assign each player a colored number card, which they place in front of them. That’s how we remember each player’s number for voting. Each player gets white number cards with each number but their own. These are the cards you use to vote. So you can’t vote for yourself.
  2. The first player draws a question card and reads it aloud.
  3. Players vote for the player they think best answers the question card by placing the number card of that player into a pile. Don’t let other players see who you vote for. Remember that the person who reads the question also votes.
  4. Count the votes.
  5. The player that gets the most votes gets the question card. If you receive a vote, you can try to guess who voted for you.
  6. The first person to collect 6 question cards wins the game.

Purchase The Voting Game on Amazon.


What Do You Meme?

Tagline: An adult party game for meme-lovers.

Best For: Teens.

Number of players: 3+ players.

Ages: 17 and up.

Time to Play: 30 -90 minutes.

Goal: Collect the most photo cards.

What Do You Meme? is similar to Cards Against Humanity. Instead of a card with an open-ended statement, you try to match the best caption with a meme on one of the game’s photo cards.

The photo cards depict popular memes pictures. The game also encourages you to use your photos in the game. Since there is a rotating judge, everybody gets to play favorites!

How to play What Do You Meme?

Select a first judge. Games rules suggest the person with the most Instagram followers.  Everyone else selects 7 caption cards from the deck.

The judge browses the photo cards, picks one, and places it on the game’s easel.

The players each pick the caption card that they think will make the funniest meme with the photo. Each passes their selection face-down to the judge.

The judge shuffles the captions cards, reads each one aloud, and selects the one they think is the funniest. The player who submitted the winning caption card wins the photo card.

The player to the judge’s left becomes the new judge for the next round.

Purchase What Do You Meme on Amazon.


Best Adult Games

Adults can play, have loads of fun, and build friendship bonds with any of the games listed above. However, I think you came here to find a truly adult party game for adult game night. While the content of these games doesn’t necessarily contribute to your adultness, they are not games you’ll want to play with your kids.

And probably not others’ kids.

Never Have I Ever

The tagline is rather descriptive: The game of poor life decisions. It is a card game rather than a board game and definitely one of the best games for getting to know your friends well. Maybe a little too well.

It gives you opportunities to admit to your friends all things you’ve done and that you don’t want non-friends knowing about.

Warning: Do not play this game if you ever want to run for public office.

Tagline: A Game of Poor Life Decisions.

Best For: Adults not ashamed of their checkered past and their nonjudgmental friends.

Number of players: 4 – 12+.

Ages: 17 and up.

Time to Play: 30 -90 minutes.

Expansions?: Yes.

Goal: Be the first player with ten “admissions.”

You better play this with friends you’re comfortable with, friends who won’t judge you for your past. Or for your present if that be the case. If you have close friends that you can be completely open and honest with, cherish those friends.

I really like the instructions that accompany the card game. It details the concise instructions for playing the game then lists:

One Rule: No judgment. The more one player is willing to share, the more another will be willing to share. You do have the option of admitting nothing and letting your friends win, but where’s the fun in that?

Never Have I Ever is a great icebreaker! However, if you want to get this game going, somebody will have to step up and start chipping away at that ice. Or at least applying a little heat.

How to play Never Have I Ever

Here are the rules that accompany the card set.[2]

  1. The game set contains Play Cards and Rule Cards. Deal each player ten Play Cards and place the Rule Cards in their box.
  2. The 1st player picks and plays a Rule Card. Each player follows the directions on the Rule Card, which will involve owning up to the statement on their Play Card.
  3. If you have not done what your Play Card says, you can place it into the discard pile. If you’re guilty, place the card in front of you where everyone can see the seedy things you’ve done. And you’re one step closer to winning!
  4. Draw another Play Card to get back to 10, then start the next round.

Never Have I Ever Alternate Rules

There are many ways to play this game. You can modify it to best suit you and your friends.  There is even a method to play it without purchasing the card set. Additionally, you can make it a drinking game![3]

Never Have I Ever also comes in various editions, including a family edition.

Purchase Never Have I Ever on Amazon.


Drink-a-Palooza

Tagline: It’s a party in a box!

Best For: Drinking a lot.

Number of players: 2 – 12.

Ages: 21 and up.

Time to Play: 30 minutes.

Expansions?: No, but you can make up your own rules.

Goal: Be the first player to fill your game piece with 6 bottles.

I’m hesitant to include this one because I know how dangerous alcohol abuse can be. Drink-a-Palooza combines Monopoly-style movement around a game board with popular drinking games: beer pong, flip cup, quarters, and kings cup.

It looks like the ultimate drinking game.

This games entry in Amazon has the following safety disclaimer:

“WARNING Keep away from all children! Do not put any game pieces in nose or mouth. Seek immediate medical attention if game pieces are swallowed or inhaled. DISCLAIMER: Drink-a-Palooza® is not intended for use with alcoholic beverages. However, if alcohol is used in the course of this game, Drink-a-Palooza is intended for responsible adults of legal drinking age. Drink-a-Palooza is intended for entertainment purposes only. In no way does Drink-a-Palooza condone or support the abuse of alcoholic beverages. We believe in moderation and caution when playing our game, which is in no way intended to promote binge-drinking, alcoholism, underage drinking, hazing, drunk driving, or any other form of alcohol abuse. If drinking alcoholic beverages, PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY.”

How many are going to do that? I hope everyone. I don’t want to encourage overconsumption, so I won’t include How to play this one. Just invite me if you do!

Purchase Drink-a-Palooza on Amazon.


The Best Board Games to Include The Kids

Out of all these games, which are the best games to include the kids.

Exploding Kittens

While many of the games are kid-friendly, I recommend thinking strategically.

What do the kids want to do at a party? Laugh.

What do you want the kids to do at a party? Get tired out and ready to move on to playing without adults.

Exploding kittens should give them a good laugh, which should tire them out a little quicker.  It should satiate their wanting to play games with the parents, allowing them to move on to adult games.

Ticket to Ride

What kid won’t enjoy trains? It’s good wholesome fun!

Question:

What is your favorite board or card game? Please tell me if I missed your favorite.

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Disclosure: Many of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make purchases via those links, I may get a small commission. I’m extremely grateful to you!

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