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10 Fun Games to Play with Friends

Fun games to play with friends offer a means to socialize and bond as a group. These types of activities combine healthy competition with camaraderie, leisure, and hilarity. Some games challenge your tactics while others focus on silly, harmless conversation points. There is no one size fits all, as everyone has different preferences. Therefore, finding the right game to play is key to hosting a great get-together with your friends.

Best Social Games
Games are a fun way to socialize with friends and family.

Fun social games range from a night of cards to party activities. The inclusion of rules, risks, and rewards ups the ante for many, though these elements aren’t necessary. Some are best played to provoke a chuckle or as an excuse to exercise. Regardless of the type of game, the goal should be to have fun with people you care about.

Planning a day or evening of activities has various benefits. The foremost gain is building stronger connections and having an avenue to socialize. Finding a time to host is challenging, but with the right coordination and selection of activities, you and your friends are likely to enjoy yourselves.

In the article below, we explore the following ten games.

  • Never Have I Ever: A game revealing experiences you haven’t had, with others humorously or scandalously admitting if they have.
  • Board games: Diverse activities that use boards, pieces, and other items to obtain a goal.
  • Truth or Dare: A well-known game where you choose to take a risk by telling the truth or doing a dare.
  • Card games: Encompasses activities involving a deck of cards and rules, often with an element of strategy.
  • UNO: A card game where players match colors or numbers. The goal is to empty your hand first and use tactics to grow others’ decks.
  • Charades: Charades require you to act out words or phrases without speaking, while others guess what your prompt is.
  • Spikeball: Spikeball, derived from roundnet, is a sport where teams of two hit a ball off a small net, scoring points when the opposing team fails to return the ball or it hits the ground.
  • Frisbee: Frisbee is both a trademarked toy and different types of games involving a flying disc. Ultimate Frisbee is one of the most popular, with rules similar to football.
  • Two Truths and a Lie: Participants tell two truths and one lie about themselves. Others guess the lie. This activity has no formal rules, which leaves room for creative thinking.
  • Virtual game night: A method to play with friends online, using digital platforms to try out different activities.

1. Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever is a conversation game about an activity or event you’ve never experienced. You provide this statement and then those around must act depending on the rules. For example, Never Have I Ever is often a drinking game. If you have experienced the activity or event, you take a drink (such as a beer or tequila shot). You then explain why or when you had the experience, provoking scandalous or humorous responses. Alternatively, you raise your hands and put a finger down for every statement you don’t pass.

Never Have I Ever statements may range from generic to highly specific. The game sometimes begins with the phrase, “Put a finger down if…” when you play the alternative version. Some friends apply unique rules, such as breaking into teams or competing for awards to avoid harsher punishments. However, the end goal is harmless fun, and should never seriously ridicule a friend.

This game is typically played in a group of three or more friends, with players taking turns making the “never have I ever” statement. Some pull from dedicated cards rather than have players come up with statements. Duration depends on the variation you play. It may end with the first person with no fingers up, after a certain number of drinks, or when there are no more statements left.

2. Board games

Board games are a timeworn pastime for friends and encompass various activities. Board games employ a thematic board with movable tokens and a set of rules. Other elements such as prompt cards, mock currency, dice, or player sheets are commonplace. Themes and mechanics vary depending on the type of board game. Generally, players take turns moving or taking action to reach a certain goal.

These types of activities often apply penalties, rewards, and a degree of chance, provoking players to think about their moves. Communication is also key. Some games support collaboration in team-based set-ups or deception if you’re on your own. More niche board games employ complex dynamics, which is fun if you or your friends have specific interests.

Most board games support at least two or three players, so they’re ideal for most groups of friends. Meanwhile, duration varies broadly. Setups with a high level of chance or simple rules last as little as thirty minutes, while boards that encourage you to think about your moves often last between an hour and 90 minutes. Highly strategic board games last longer, nearing two or three hours or more.

3. Truth or Dare

Truth or Dare is a classic verbal game played by people of all ages. It’s an especially popular party game among children and adolescents as it taps into peer pressure. You begin by sitting in a circle with your friends. A bottle is often spun. Whomever it lands on takes a turn, urging a risky decision from other players. Alternatively, players may take turns in a specified order.

Truth or Dare questions range from innocent to dirty and risque. Players come up with their questions or read from a list of cards. This game intends to embarrass friends, but it’s important to never encourage others to do anything dangerous. Moreover, it’s best played among close friends where lighthearted fun is the goal and boundaries are understood.

Like Never Have I Ever, there’s no predetermined duration or number of players for Truth or Dare. For example, you could participate with two players and exchange questions and dares. We suggest playing with at least four friends to intensify the playful peer pressure. Expect a game to run from 10 to 20 minutes, ending when everyone’s had a turn or you’ve run out of ideas.

4. Card games

Card games encompass any kind of leisure activity with a deck of cards. This includes poker, bridge, solitaire, rummy, blackjack, Go Fish, war, and more. Goals and mechanics vary depending on the activity. Some encourage strategic thinking, while others test memory or luck. You may aim for the highest score or build a better hand to win.

Additionally, rules may be complex or simple. This sometimes means your friends require prior knowledge to play well. However, learning on the go has its appeal as card games challenge your strategic thinking. They’re an ideal activity for friends as their company minimizes the competitive edge many games capitalize on, making losing more enjoyable.

You’ll typically require at least two players to play, though more members heighten the stakes and increase the fun. Duration ranges anywhere from fifteen minutes for simple setups to hours for highly strategic activities.

5. UNO

UNO is a card game where you and your friends match cards by color or number. It’s one of the simpler setups we previously mentioned as the aim is to empty your hand first. You must call UNO when you have one card left or draw additional cards if another player catches you before you do. Special action cards, like Skip, Reverse, and Draw Two, disrupt strategies, adding excitement and unpredictability.

This game is popular among friends due to its simple rules and fast-paced rounds. It prompts a healthy sense of competition and strategy without requiring deep thought or tactics. Each round changes dynamics dramatically, making UNO an ideal party activity as well.

Official guidelines recommend 2 to 10 players. Standard decks provide 112 cards, though unique or special edition games may provide more. A typical match of UNO lasts about 30 minutes, but many players and a slow pace will length game time to an hour.

6. Charades

Charades are a popular party game that relies on physical gestures and guesswork. One player is given a word or phrase they must act out without speaking. Other players then make several guesses. The one with the prompt confirms how close they are to the word by nodding or shaking their heads. Obvious gestures, like lip reading, pointing, or humming, are often banned but rules vary.

Charades is a great game to play with friends because it encourages competition and hilarity. Players are additionally restricted to the types of words they’re able to act out. This prompts you to think outside the box, acting out parts of a word or an associated pun or phrase to get the idea across. There are many gestures commonly understood in charades, though you and your friends may modify these as you wish.

Party games like charades are typically team-based. You’ll acquire at least four friends to play, though six or eight is optimal to improve guesses. Add a timer to keep rounds short and competitive. Two to three minutes is suitable for most. Meanwhile, the overall length of the game depends on your friends, but 25 to 30 minutes work for a group of eight or 15 to 20 for a group of four.

7. Spikeball

Spikeball is a competitive, team-based game involving a small ball and a circular net. It derives from roundnet, which was re-popularized in 2008 by Chris Ruder. Official games and tournaments are administered through his company, Spikeball Inc. Mechanics are straightforward: Payers take turns hitting the ball off the net, which is set at ankle length. The opposite team must return it to the net within three hits, which calls for coordination and planning.

Spikeball is similar to volleyball or hacky sack tossing where you have to keep the ball off the ground. Furthermore, you must avoid carrying or holding the ball after serving. This makes for a fun game for friends as it’s simple yet competitive—urging teamwork, communication, and quick reflexes. It’s also an outdoor activity, providing a good excuse to spend time at the beach or park with friends.

Winning is straightforward as you gain points every time opposing players fail to return the ball. Note that the game requires a minimum of four players, divided into two teams of two. Matches typically last around 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the skill level of the players or how many rounds your friends decide on.

9. Frisbee

Frisbee refers to both a flying disc toy and various games. The branding of Frisbee is a distinct product made by Wham-O and thus a generic trademark. Meanwhile, the various games encompass activities like guts, kan jam, and the most popular Frisbee game, Ultimate. A match of Ultimate calls for two teams of seven. You pass to teammates until you catch it in the opposing team’s end zone and score a point, similar to football.

Defensive players try to intercept passes or force turnovers to regain possession. More formal matches have more complex rules, such as stall counts, foul calls, and specific boundary lines. However, this isn’t needed if you’re playing with friends. You may also play a simple game of toss, which doesn’t require rules, points, or techniques.

Both are great to play with friends as they’re outdoor, energetic activities. A game of toss is playable with any number of friends, whereas Ultimate Frisbee requires a minimum of fourteen players to form two full teams. Casual matches last an hour, though expect shorter if you play with fewer rules.

9. Two Truths and a Lie

Two Truths and a Lie is another social game where you and your friends take turns stating three facts about yourself. Two must be true while the other must be a believable lie. Other players guess which statement is the lie. Guessing correctly or incorrectly may involve punishments or rewards. For instance, you might turn it into a drinking game and prompt incorrect guessers to take a drink.

Two Truths and a Lie tests how well you and your friends know each other, offering glimpses into experiences or stories you’ve yet to hear. This in turn brings you closer, sparking conversations and laughter. Furthermore, there are no formal rules. You’re free to get creative and come up with new additions as you try to lie.

Playing the game requires a minimum of three players. However, it works better with larger groups as there’s a higher chance of believing a lie. Meanwhile, duration varies. Expect each round to last 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your group size and your chosen facts.

10. Virtual game night

Virtual game nights refer to any activity you and your friends play online. This ranges from cooperative video games to adaptations of conversation games like Truth or Dare. Rules depend on the chosen activity, but digital providers employ policies to keep online spaces safe. Virtual deviations sometimes have distinct premises compared to the real-life equivalent. However, the goal remains the same: to have fun.

Hosting a virtual game night is an ideal alternative if you or your friend group can’t meet up regularly. Many online communities even center on these kinds of activities, allowing you to make new connections. The variety of activities additionally makes selecting fun games easier and more convenient.

Virtual spaces accommodate small groups or large gatherings so the number of players needed to play varies widely. The average duration likewise depends on the games selected. You might play for a few minutes to several hours. If you do the latter, be sure to set a limit and take breaks for your health.

When is the best time to play games with friends?

The best time to play games with friends depends on the type of activity, as well as your schedule and social preferences. For example, games like Truth or Dare are usually spontaneous and require no prior planning. Other activities, like a session of Ultimate Frisbee or cards, usually need more than a handful of players. However, there’s rarely an ideal day, time, or even season for real-life or virtual friends to meet up. Schedules often don’t align so you’ll have to plan to find the best time.

Additionally, keep in mind that not everyone has the same social proclivities. People with highly extroverted personalities are quicker and more eager to plan, whereas friends with less extroverted tendencies may be less spontaneous or prefer more close-knit games. You know your friends best, so consider these aspects while you plot out time to spend together.

How to host a fun game night with friends?

Hosting a fun game night with friends requires forethought, particularly among adult friends. You’ll need to plan and check in on everyone’s schedules. This gets complicated if you’re planning on a large gathering, so try to aim for a cohesive time when most people are free such as the weekend.

Selecting good games to play with friends is also a challenge. People have different preferences, so a variety is ideal. Opt for video games if you can only meet up virtually. Select board games if you want to stay indoors, or a sport if you’d like to spend time outdoors. Set up a cozy space with plenty of food and drinks for your guests. If you plan to be outdoors, select somewhere with amenities and notify everyone about where to meet up. Make sure people understand the game’s rules (if there are any). Encourage them to join or mingle to help cultivate a more memorable night.

How long should playing games with friends last?

The exact duration of a game depends on the activity and your energy levels. Many real-life activities take no more than an hour or two. Meanwhile, virtual sessions often go on for hours and should be broken up with time to stretch, hydrate, and limit eye strain. These activities are for leisure and socializing, so play for as long as you and your friends want to. That said, acknowledge your limits. It’s not healthy to stay seated and play games for hours, nor is it fun to continue playing when others don’t want to. Set a cap for activities and take breaks if you plan for a long game night.

What are the benefits of playing friendly and fun games?

Playing friendly games has social, psychological, and physical benefits. Socially, they’re a means to bond and form stronger connections with your friends. They’re even a new avenue to make new friends. Whether it’s a party or virtual activity, games often encourage you to talk and collaborate. This helps you build up your communication skills and get to know people if you’re with new acquaintances.

Psychologically, friendly games help you develop a healthy sense of competition and sportsmanship. You may lose, but doing so in a safe, friendly, and fun space deepens your resilience to adversity. Furthermore, as a leisure activity, this even improves your mood. Many games promote relaxation as a scientifically-backed form of stress relief. Others tap into your cognitive skills, which improves problem-solving, strategy, and creative thinking. Meanwhile, games like Spikeball or Frisbee promote physical benefits. These activities turn exercising into a social event, which is crucial for your overall health.

What are some games to waste time on?

Below is a list of games to waste time on.

  • Tetris: Tetris is a popular tile-matching puzzle game. It’s available as a browser game and acts as a great time killer, demanding quick thinking and spatial awareness to fit the blocks together.
  • Solitaire: Solitaire (otherwise known as Patience) is a card and computer activity. It requires players to sort cards into sequential order and within designated piles. It calls for patience and strategy, which helps pass the time.
  • Sudoku: Sudoku is a number placement puzzle where you play on a 9×9 grid. The goal is to fill each row, column, and 3×3 section with numbers from 1 to 9 without repeating any numbers within those areas. These games require careful planning, wasting anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes if you’re a beginner, or 10 to 15 minutes if you’re experienced.
  • Crossword puzzles: Crossword puzzles are well-liked time-wasters. These games challenge your vocabulary and knowledge by providing word clues. You fill out a grid according to these clues, spending a few minutes on each puzzle.
  • Minesweeper: Minesweeper is a logic game where you must clear a grid without detonating hidden mines. It employs various strategies that test your problem-solving skills and attention to detail. It helps pass the time as each puzzle takes several minutes to complete.