One of the beauties of board games is that it brings out the social element of people. Those who like to act silly are invited to do so, those who know trivia will be quickly befriended, and those who like to think are welcome to.
The games in this list are not the common games one may find at a toy store (although some fantastic games are now being sold there) therefore games like Twister, Trivial pursuit, Scene it and other great classic games like those will not be on this list. These are the party board games that I like to play. Note some of these games I do not own but have played (or heard enough about to know that I would like them).
1. Say Anything
This game is Apples to Apples in which the players write their own cards. One person become the target person (this rotates after every round) and reads a question off of a card that starts with “In my opinion…” and then reads the question. The question could be about the best band of all time, the cheesiest movie of all time, favorite food, and so on. Then all the other players write on their own personal white boards what they think the answer will be. After that the target player chooses, not out loud but hidden. Then the players who wrote the answers put a chip of the white board that they think the target player chose (each player has two chips to place). Then the target player reveals what they chose and points are rewarded. That may sound complicated but it moves very fast. In fact here is a review from Board Games with Scott that explains it better than I: http://www.boardgameswithscott.com/?p=96
I had to group these different games together because they all have one thing in common: you don’t know who is on your team when you start. In each of these games roles are handed out, each of the roles has a certain victory condition (like destroy all of the other team) but you do not know who is who. The more people you have playing these the more complex but fun they get.
Bang is a card game that follows this idea. It is a more common game, but may take a while to explain what all the cards mean. If you want to find/buy this game get the bullet edition as that has all the expansions in it.
Shadow Hunters is a board game that follows this principle. It is my favorite so far and I own the expansion that adds more characters into the mix. Here is a review of it from the Dice Tower: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zce6z8K2pyE
Are you the Traitor? is a new game that is the essence of this type of mechanic. There are no cards to play against other people, no dice to roll, and no board to move around on. It is just trying to figure out what each person is. One difference of this game from the others is that after each round the roles change. Here is a strategy guide for the game: http://wunderland.com/LooneyLabs/Traitor/strategies.html and what a round would look like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoN48HmZyMs
This game is played by one person drawing 3 cards (2 from the noun stack, and one from the question stack) to create a joke. The cards on the question stack follow the form of: Why did the _______ cross the _______. Or why is the _____ jealous of the _______. The noun cards will be said in the place of the blank. Then the other players write a punchline for the joke (each player can submit more than one). After a certain amount of time has passed then the person who read the cards rewards the best jokes in their opinion with the noun cards. Whoever has won the most noun cards wins.
One flaw with this game is that it has to be played with witty people otherwise the time drags, and the person who reads the answers has to know about comedic timing. However with the right group of people this is a hilarious groaning game.
Here is a review by Board Games with Scott: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4–_nKZLyUM
This is a game I have not played but it sounds like fun. It is made by the same people who did Say Anything. Basically this is a trivia game combined with betting. After writing the answers (all the answers deal with numbers) each player bets on who had the closest one to the real answer. Then points are rewarded. I don’t have a lot to say about this due to not playing it yet but here is a review by The Dice Tower: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVmJhddoGYA
This is also a game I have not played but it sounds like fun as well. More of a debate game than a party game, but this has two people arguing over who would win in a given arena. The who they are arguing over is drawn and the arena is also drawn. Of course when playing this game make sure you have people who are willing to be friends after an argument. Here is another video review from The Dice Tower on this game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDIJr5DtNyo
What are your favorite party board games? Feel free to add them and a reason why in the comments.