Recently I visited a friends house for board games. I showed up for a game of six and discovered there were eight, which rendered most of my board games unusable. I decided then to make a post, more of a short list, of a few games we decided to pull out to make up for the excess of company, which isn’t always a bad thing!
A game for 5-10 players, The Resistance plays excellently with 6-8. This isn’t the first time we have busted this game out for a party, and it’s a great filler for an hour of your night. All players are dealt cards indicating which players are the Resistance and which players are the Spies. The whole team, spies and resistance alike, work to complete/fail missions; Resistance must pass missions, spies can pass or sabotage them, and no one knows who is who. Since everyone is oblivious, people vote each round on who should “do the mission”, if you can get all the resistance on a team, it will pass, but don’t forget the spies vote too, and they might pass a mission just to throw you off the trail. Whenever three missions fail or pass, the spies or resistance win respectively, and you all get to have a laugh at the ridiculous antics that just took place.
One of the strengths and weaknesses or The Resistance is how social this game is. With people in fighting and threatening each other, it becomes a blast and a half… but that double edge sword cuts deep against people who hate forced social interaction. Sure your brother might love yelling at strangers and calling them and their filthy mother a liar… your new girlfriend might not, so be aware who you are playing with before unboxing this game.
Bang! The Dice Game
Although not a game I’d highly recommend, Bang! isn’t a game I would never play again either. Bang! The Dice Game is a game of assumed characters and roles. Each player is a public character with a special skill (like bonus damage, longer range, extra healing) and a secret role: Sheriff, Deputy, Renegade, and Outlaw. The Sheriff is known by all, protected by the deputies and attacked by renegades and outlaws. Outlaws win the game if the Sheriff dies, the sheriff and deputies win if everyone else dies, and the renegades only win if EVERYONE dies but him. This is the largest problem in the game: Renegades win if they are the last man standing but outlaws win if ONLY the sheriff dies. This is hugely unbalanced; it’s easy to win with the outlaws, pretty easy with the good guys, and nearly impossible as a renegade.
Ignore these imbalances, take the game as a quick fix to some party fun, and the game isn’t half bad. People work together (sometimes with the wrong players) to take down other players, fight off Indian arrows, and drink beer. The game is cheap, and worth having around to kill some time.
Citadels is a game for up to 8 that is all about building a city worth various points. Players pass around multiple different characters and select one secretly. The first player will see all the choices, the last player will only see what’s left when it gets to him. Some characters have the power to raze buildings, some steal money, some choose a character first the next round. Buildings themselves give bonuses to make new buildings, score more points, etc. The strategy of the game is all about planning your next move and selecting the character to give you a leg up. You also have to play against anyone that can potentially win by teaming up to slow them down.
Citadels is a game of give and take with strong strategy elements. More complex than your average party game, this will lend a helping hand for when your group is a bit more hardcore into board games, but struggling to find a game to deal with the masses. I personally enjoy this game, and never mind when it’s suggested.
Up to 13 players can enjoy this fantastic game of deception. Mascarade is similar to some of the previous games, but I feel plays entirely different. Multiple roles, unknown characters given to each player, but one major twist. In Mascarade each player starts by knowing what their card is, but they can be “swapped”, and unless they spend their ONE action on their turn to look again, they might never know what it is again. Yup, in Mascarade players can pretend to swap, or actually swap, cards with another player, and neither player can look at the cards afterward. Each turn a player can choose to take the “action” associated with their card. This can be to earn coins, steal coins, swap other people’s cards, etc, and every time they claim these actions everyone else has a chance to claim them as well. If more than one person claims to be the same person, they reveal cards and lose coins if they aren’t the person the claim to be.
I think the reason this game works so well is how fast you can lose track of where cards are and we are. People will claim actions multiple times in a row without challenge, only to find out later that they weren’t who they thought the were the whole time. Pretending to swap cards and then claiming another character, or calling out the person you “swapped” with is only the start of the interactions this game literally brings to the table.
That’s Not All
This list is short, because it’s a taste. There are many great party games out there past the Apples to Apples and anti-humanity cards. A party doesn’t have to be limited to the ones everyone has heard of, and variety is the spice of life. Before your next group grows to unmanageable proportions, pick up a game that can satisfy even the largest group of nerds and nerdettes, and don’t be afraid to try something new.