Party game

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Party guests play a fortune-telling game with cards Party game with cards.png
Party guests play a fortune-telling game with cards

Party games are games that are played at social gatherings to facilitate interaction and provide entertainment and recreation. Categories include (explicit) icebreaker, parlour (indoor), picnic (outdoor), and large group games. [1] [2] Other types include pairing off (partnered) games, and parlour races. [2] Different games will generate different atmospheres so the party game may merely be intended as an icebreakers, or the sole purpose for or structure of the party. As such, party games aim to include players of various skill levels and player-elimination is rare. [3] Party games are intended to be played socially, and are designed to be easy for new players to learn. [4]



The characteristics of party games tend to include:

Common party games

Musical Chairs Musical chairs Lawn Jam Our Community Place Harrisonburg VA June 2008.jpg
Musical Chairs

Children's party games

A nine-pointed star pinata PINATA.jpg
A nine-pointed star piñata

Traditional children's party games include:

Video games

Party video games are commonly designed as a collection of simple minigames, designed to be intuitive and easy to control, and allow for competition between many players. Some, like the Mario Party series and Sonic Shuffle , are played on simulated game boards.

BYTE in 1981 called the Olympic sports game Olympic Decathlon (1980) "the first true party game for microcomputers". [5] Another early example is Starpath's Party Mix .

Large group games

Large group games are played by many participants and are often used as planned activities in structured environments, especially as educational activities. They are similar to party games, except that large group games are typically planned for larger numbers (perhaps even hundreds) as part of an event.

Large group games can take a variety of forms and formats.

Some are physical games such as Buck buck.

Some are modeled on the TV game show format, offering points for teams who can answer questions the fastest. Trivia-type games might have questions posed from the stage and each tabletop writing their answers to be collected and scored. Others may take on some of the qualities of Open Space environments and allow participants to wander in a less structured way.

Some are modeled on TV reality shows such as The Amazing Race or Survivor . Participants compete as individuals or in teams to complete challenges that move them towards victory in a competition spanning the entire party. The TV shows on which such parties are based are normally competitions involving elimination, so such events require significant planning to avoid exclusion or boredom.

Group board games can take on the design of small groups of players, seated at tables of 4 to 6 people, who work together on a problem. There can be large numbers of people (and thus many tables). If properly designed, these scalable exercises can be used for small groups (12 to 20 people) as well as very large events (600 people or 100 tables).

Generally, for these larger exercises, multimedia projectors, large screens and microphones are required for instructions and communications.

A search for team building events can turn up millions of links to exercises, companies, and various offerings ranging from paintball competitions to fire walks to outdoor climbing or whitewater adventures. The impact on actual team building can vary widely - a golf outing for corporate executives does not generally accomplish much in the way of organizational improvement while a business simulation might be directly focused on linking the play of the game to issues for corporate improvement.

Holiday groups use a gift exchange party game such as white elephant gift exchange for socializing and sharing gifts. New online party games, based on these holiday games, allow larger groups to gather on the internet to save travel expenses.

See also

Related Research Articles

Fictionary, also known as The Dictionary Game or simply Dictionary, is a word game in which players guess the definition of an obscure word. Each round consists of one player selecting and announcing a word from the dictionary, and other players composing a fake definition for it. The definitions, as well as the correct definition, are collected blindly by the selector and read aloud, and players vote on which definition they believe to be correct. Points are awarded for correct guesses, and for having a fake definition guessed by another player.

Charades Word guessing game

Charades is a parlor or party word guessing game. Originally, the game was a dramatic form of literary charades: a single person would act out each syllable of a word or phrase in order, followed by the whole phrase together, while the rest of the group guessed. A variant was to have teams who acted scenes out together while the others guessed. Today, it is common to require the actors to mime their hints without using any spoken words, which requires some conventional gestures. Puns and visual puns were and remain common.

Balderdash is a board game variant of a classic parlor game known as Fictionary or "The Dictionary Game". It was created by Laura Robinson and Paul Toyne of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The game was first released in 1984 under Canada Games. It was later picked up by a U.S company, The Games Gang, and eventually became the property of Hasbro and finally Mattel. The game has sold over 15 million copies worldwide to date. It is aimed at fans of word games, such as Scrabble.


Pictionary is a charades-inspired word-guessing game invented by Robert Angel with graphic design by Gary Everson and first published in 1985 by Angel Games Inc. Angel Games licensed Pictionary to Western Publishing. Hasbro purchased the rights in 1994 after acquiring the games business of Western Publishing. Mattel acquired ownership of Pictionary in 2001. The game is played in teams with players trying to identify specific words from their teammates.

Panel show Radio and TV genre

A panel show or panel game is a radio or television game show in which a panel of celebrities participates. Celebrity panelists may compete with each other, such as on The News Quiz; facilitate play by non-celebrity contestants, such as on Match Game and Blankety Blank; or do both, such as on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. The genre can be traced to 1938, when Information Please debuted on U.S. radio. The earliest known television panel show is Play the Game, a charades show in 1946. The modern trend of comedy panel shows can find early roots with Stop Me If You've Heard This One in 1939 and Can You Top This? in 1940. While panel shows were more popular in the past in the U.S., they are still very common in the United Kingdom.

Yahtzee Dice game by Milton Bradley

Yahtzee is a dice game made by Milton Bradley, which was first marketed as Yatzie by the National Association Service of Toledo, Ohio, in the early 1940s. It was marketed under the name of Yahtzee by game entrepreneur Edwin S. Lowe in 1956. The game is a development of earlier dice games such as Poker Dice, Yacht and Generala. It is also similar to Yatzy, which is popular in Scandinavia.

Parlour game Group game played indoors

A parlour or parlor game is a group game played indoors using speech. They were often played in a parlour. These games were extremely popular among the upper and middle classes in Great Britain and in the United States during the Victorian era.

<i>Kismet</i> (dice game)

Kismet is a commercial dice game introduced in 1964. The game's name is the Turkish word for "fate". E.William DeLaittre holds the trademark on the game, which was originally published by Lakeside Games, and which is currently produced by Endless Games. Marketed as "The Modern Game of Yacht", the game play is similar to Yacht and Yahtzee, with a few variations. A primary distinction is that in Kismet, the sides of the dice have different colored pips.


Yatzy is a dice game similar to Yacht and Yahtzee. It is related to the Latin American game Generala and the English game of poker dice. Yatzy is most popular in the Scandinavian countries and Finland.

A number of related games under the Yahtzee brand have been produced. They all commonly use dice as the primary tool for game play, but all differ generally. As Yahtzee itself has been sold since 1954, the variants released over the years are more recent in comparison, with the oldest one, Triple Yahtzee, developed in 1972, eighteen years after the introduction of the parent game.

Game Structured form of play

A game is a structured form of play, usually undertaken for entertainment or fun, and sometimes used as an educational tool. Games are distinct from work, which is usually carried out for remuneration, and from art, which is more often an expression of aesthetic or ideological elements. However, the distinction is not clear-cut, and many games are also considered to be work or art.

The Big Taboo

The Big Taboo is a variation on the board game Taboo. It incorporates elements from games like Pictionary, Charades, and 25 Words or Less to create a party game with "a little bit of everything". The game was published in 2008 by Winning Moves Games USA and is no longer in production.

Power Yahtzee

Power Yahtzee is a variation on the classic dice game Yahtzee first published by Winning Moves Games USA in 2007. It includes a sixth multiplier die called a "Power die" and an expanded scoresheet. This game is no longer in production.

<i>UDraw Pictionary</i> 2010 video game

uDraw Pictionary is an art-based video game developed by Page 44 Studios and published by THQ Inc. that players can play on the uDraw GameTablet for the Nintendo Wii. The game is based on the popular board game Pictionary, in which players draw pictures based on clues from a subject and have their teammates guess what specific words the picture is supposed to represent. It was released on November 14, 2010 for the Nintendo Wii game system.

Yacht (dice game)

Yacht is a public domain dice game, similar to the Latin American game Generala, the English game of Poker Dice, the Scandinavian Yatzy, and Cheerio. Yacht dates back to at least 1938, and is a contemporary of the similar three-dice game Crag. Yahtzee is a later development, similar to Yacht in both name and content.

Game design Game development process of designing the content and rules of a game

Game design is the art of applying design and aesthetics to create a game for entertainment or for educational, exercise, or experimental purposes. Increasingly, elements and principles of game design are also applied to other interactions, in the form of gamification. Game designer and developer Robert Zubek defines game design by breaking it down to its elements, which he says are the following:

Time's Up is a charades-based party game designed by Peter Sarrett, and published by R&R Games, Inc., a Tampa, FL based manufacturer of tabletop games and party games. The first edition of the game was published in 1999, with the most recent edition, Time's Up! Deluxe, published in 2008. It is a game for teams of two or more players, and is played in three rounds. Time's Up! is based on the classic parlour game known as Celebrity.

Crag (dice game)

Crag is a dice game similar to Yacht and Yahtzee. It is played with three dice. The game is quicker to play than Yahtzee, and in Clement Wood and Gloria Goddard's 1940 Complete Book of Games, it is described as a game that "shares with Yacht the supremacy among sequence dice-casting games".

Yamb (game)

Yamb is a public domain dice game similar to Yacht and Yahtzee.


  1. Frankel, Lillian; Frankel, Godfrey; and Anderson, Doug (2007). Party Games for Adults, p.7. Sterling. ISBN   9781402746864.
  2. 1 2 Sheila Anne Barry (1987). The World's Best Party Games, p.3. Sterling. ISBN   9780806964843.
  3. Meyer, Ben (2009). "Fort Ancient: Ohio", Proceedings of the 3rd European Conference on Game Based Learning, p.259. Academic Conferences. ISBN   9781906638474.
  4. McGonigal, Jane (2011). Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, unpaginated. Penguin. ISBN   9781101475492.
  5. Williams, Gregg (December 1981). "New Games New Directions". BYTE. pp. 6–10. Retrieved 19 October 2016.