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The Best Party Games
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Party Games are the black sheep of the geek. Yet this seems crazy - they are probably some of the biggest selling games worldwide. Maybe that is why. We are above them. This list tries to pick out the wheat from the chaff and select Party games that even the average BGGer might like.

This list contains the best Party games I could find on BGG. Some of these aren't considered Party games by some, Ca$h n Gun$ and Family Business being obvious examples. I have also included some of the most popular games that the average man in the street would think a party game to see how they fare. I've included Trivial Pursuit despite a severe allergy to it as this is a game that the mass public might call a party game. A lot of these games came from this previous list:
The Top 50 Party Games - As Voted for by BGGers
Feel free to add if you think I have missed a great party game

I've added some useful information on game: best number of players, how popular they are (number of plays) and whether they are Free (but am probably not aware of a lot of free versions - please correct me). I've also included a comment (or two) from a fan of the game.

I have sorted them based on a Combined rating. Points are awarded for 3 categories: Rating, Ranking and #Plays. Points are awarded based on where that game comes after sorting all the games on this list by each of those scores. Low points are good and the games were then be sorted by their TOTAL points. You'll get the idea.
Unlike other lists I've done I haven't given a bonus for games that have a Free version, this is primarily because I suspect that lots of these games have a free version that I am not aware of.

If any new games are added to the list I will score them relative to the other games on the list and sort them on that basis.

Other lists in this series:
The Best Space Games
The Best Co-operative Games
The Best Alternatives to "Risk"
The Best Dexterity Games (or 48 dexterity games that are better than Jenga)

And my full reference geeklist for choosing games:
The Which Game to Play/Buy Metalist
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1. Board Game: Time's Up! [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:245]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6 players
Recommended with 4, 6, 8, 10 players

Partnerships
Acting

Plays: 3188

Rating Points: 3
BGG Rank Points: 1
Plays Points: 8
TOTAL: 12

The FREE version of Times Up! is known as Celebrities and is also on this list.

Also: Time's Up! Title Recall!, Deluxe and Expansions

Dustin Martin
United States
Oconomowoc
Wisconsin
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This above all: To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
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: Fantastic party game. Does exactly what it is supposed to -- get your group to be laughing to tears by the end. I love the way the three rounds get progressively harder to give clues, yet the names of the people you're trying to guess get burned more into your memory. Fun!"
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2. Board Game: Wits & Wagers [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:367]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6, 7 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, 7, more than 7 players

Trivia
Betting/Wagering
Simultaneous Action Selection

Plays: 8881

Rating Points: 10
BGG Rank Points: 2
Plays Points: 2
TOTAL: 14

Kermit Rickenberg
United States
Kissimmee
Florida
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"What a party game! No knowledge needed! All questions are obscure number answers that no one really knows (like how many ridges on the edge of a dime). The better guessers are rewarded and the better better betters on the closest without going over answer reap an even greater reward. Non-gamers love this one too. Highly recommended!"
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3. Board Game: The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:445]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 players
Recommended with 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, more than 18 players

Bluffing
Deduction
Murder/Mystery
Co-operative Play
Role Playing
Voting

Plays: 4295

Rating Points: 5
BGG Rank Points: 3
Plays Points: 7
TOTAL: 15

Also Ultimate Werewolf and Werewolf and the New Moon expansion

Brad Metzler
United States
Athens
Ohio
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"Absolutely love this game. We play it in our weekly game group almost every chance we get and I tend to take it group events to help break the ice. I have even used it in staff training and manager meetings to create a fun atmosphere and to help introduce people to each other. In my opinion most fun for your buck you will find on the geek."
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4. Board Game: Liar's Dice [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:412]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5, 6, more than 6 players

Bluffing
Dice
Betting/Wagering

Plays: 16938

Rating Points: 11
BGG Rank Points: 4
Plays Points: 1
TOTAL: 16

Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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"Excellent GROUP game--any number can play (Just add more dice & another cup). This game gets a 10, not because I enjoy more than a lot of games I have rated 7+, because I don't. It gets a 10, because when in a group and we are looking for a filler game, it is chosen repeatedly, and rarely turned down. The rules are quickly explained and understood, and the game moves right along. Whether it be the first or last game in an evening, it has a solid place in our gaming group. Social & a classic."
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5. Board Game: Ca$h 'n Gun$ [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:615]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6 players
Expanded to 7, 8, 9 players by les Yakuzas

Negotiation
Fighting
Variable Player Powers
Simultaneous Action Selection
Role Playing

Plays: 8033

Rating Points: 19
BGG Rank Points: 5
Plays Points: 4
TOTAL: 28

Also les Yakuzas and Ca$h 'n Gun$ live amongst others

Michael Barnes
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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"A HELL of a lot better, more interesting, and fun than Bang, Werewolf, Shadows Over Camelot or any of those other horribly overrated "group plus a traitor" games and it's a nice punch in the face to the cliched glad-handing "everybody can win" nonsense that Eurogames tend to feature. This is a nasty game in the vein of Intrige so if you're not in for elimination, hurt feelings, having a foam gun pointed at your face, and torrential bad language then I'd advise you stay at the Elfenland table and move the l'il booties around with the magic clouds. There's definitely a game here, particularly if you play with the superpower rules and the cop, which adds a secret role and a great suspicion/deduction element. The game is very simple (taught in 5 minutes) and every game is filled with immediacy, drama, and lots of laughter. The French-style comic art is a little silly but it's appropriate and the foam guns are, well, easily replaced by 1:1 replica Airsoft pistols for maximum impact. Definitely the most FUN Euros I've played in a long while- it's not terribly original systematically, but the theme and concept are one-of-a-kind. I will say though, that the experience suffers when you play with people who are too timid to drop the F-bomb or engage in torrential sh*t-talking- I've played with groups that giggle sheepishly every time the guns are pointed and it's a sad, sad sight. One of my favorite games."
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6. Board Game: Jungle Speed [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:752]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 players

Action/Dexterity
Card Game
Pattern Recognition

Plays: 5937

Rating Points: 21
BGG Rank Points: 6
Plays Points: 6
TOTAL: 33

Chris Schreiber
United States
Waynesville
Ohio
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Reading overtext is a simple pleasure in life.
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"I liked this game enough at first because I like reaction time games and the production is excellent. But this holiday season my family could not get enough of this game. We were all jacked up on Jungle Speed and even though knuckles were almost broken and blood was drawn---everyone kept asking for this (it is quick to learn, quick to play)!
UPDATE: Just too damn fun! Everyone loves it. It has become a must play. I have to get a new set because the cards have become so worn.
UPDATE: I go through SEVERAL sets of cards a year; great for teenagers and silly, competitive adults.
UPDATE: 01/09
This game makes my life better. Even if the damn awesome kids I play with have now become better at it then me, I almost (ALMOST!) don't mind. So much joy and excitement and drama... and injuries! Watching the kids get such a gaming high from this actively makes my whole life better. I can't wait to run a large tournament for the school were I work.
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7. Board Game: The Red Dragon Inn [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:942] [Average Rating:6.57 Unranked]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 3, 4 players

Card Game
Betting/Wagering
Variable Player Powers

Plays: 1796

Rating Points: 16
BGG Rank Points: 7
Plays Points: 11
TOTAL: 34

June King
United States
Unspecified
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Bring me her heart in this box.
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"Rollicking fun. Got to playtest/demo this game at Ubercon VIII this past weekend. Fast and furious drinking and gambling game where each player has his or her own deck with special character traits, in addition to certain cards that everybody gets. I think Slugfest has really nailed this one."
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8. Board Game: Say Anything [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:544]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6, 7, 8 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 players

Betting/Wagering

Plays: 1168

Rating Points: 7
BGG Rank Points: 8
Plays Points: 23
TOTAL: 38

Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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It's a gift...
badge
...and a curse.
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"A really enjoyable party game that gets players talking about some of the strangest things. The strategic aspect of the game is very thin, and if you care too much about winning you will be disappointed. This works great with non-gamers and seems to be a wonderful family game. It will probably hit the table a lot when I have larger groups. Laughter and conversation...exactly what you want from a party game."
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9. Board Game: Apples to Apples [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:1814] [Average Rating:6.10 Unranked]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6, 7, 8 players
Recommended with 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, more than 10 players

Word
Card Game
Hand Management

Plays: 8771

Rating Points: 31
BGG Rank Points: 9
Plays Points: 3
TOTAL: 43

Also: Apples to Apples Junior & Apples to Apples Kids amongst others

The Fiend
United States
Avon Lake
Ohio
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: "This is the BEST non-gamers game blowing away all those BORING Trivia games that drag and drag. Anyone can play this game immediatelly with brief instruction and have a ball. Players alternate choosing which other players secret answer matches what they think is the closest answer. You can play repeatedly with the same set because you rarelly would ever have the answers match up again and it doesn't make a difference anyhow. For the exact opposite of this game see my review of CRANIUM."
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10. Board Game: Saboteur [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:633]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 7, 8 players
Recommended with 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 players

Card Game
Exploration
Bluffing
Tile Placement
Modular Board
Co-operative Play

Plays: 6159

Rating Points: 33
BGG Rank Points: 10
Plays Points: 5
TOTAL: 48

Mister Lookback
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
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"In this card game, players play gnomes digging in tunnels trying to reach the gold. However, hidden amongst the group are the saboteurs! Their goal is to stop the gnomes from getting the gold. An extremely fun game that has always been a big hit with all the people I’ve introduced it to. It's slightly dependent on your group as players must have good bluffing/negotiation skills and enjoy a little back-stabbing. This game gets a lot of table time with my groups and I've used it as a "gateway" to more complex fares. Highly recommended!"

Kevin Heckman
United States
California
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"What makes a man turn neutral? Lust for gold? Power? Or were you just born with a heart full of neutrality?"
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"Superb! A fantastic little game, very light and highly thematic. I always play with the advanced rules (loyal dwarves with broken tools get no gold), put the center goal card an extra space away (to prevent a single tunnel card revealing two goal cards) and the saboteurs-in-cahoots rule (like Werewolf -- everyone closes their eyes, then the saboteurs open their eyes and see who each other are).
A phenomenal gateway game, a great introduction to hidden role games, a great filler ... what's not to like? "
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11. Board Game: Smarty Party! [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1692]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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(Not best with any number)
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, more than 8 players

Trivia

Plays: 1367

Rating Points: 26
BGG Rank Points: 13
Plays Points: 17
TOTAL: 56

Bob
United States
Utah
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"Great Trivia-type game. Friends and relatives tired of the old Trivial Pursuit game format are back and asking to play this. Clever scoring mechanic adds strategy: Who should answer first? Which of the 2 answers that you know can you save for later use...or will someone else give that answer before it is your turn again. Fun!"
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12. Board Game: The Great Dalmuti [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:933]
Jordi
Spain
Castellon
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This it´s the best party game ever. It´s incredible nobody post it here!
 
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13. Board Game: Dancing Eggs [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1282]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 3, 4 players

Dice
Action/Dexterity

Plays: 1257

Rating Points: 25
BGG Rank Points: 14
Plays Points: 21
TOTAL: 60

Rob McFadden
United States
Cherry Hill
New Jersey
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"So good I had to get a second set to accommodate more players.
This is a unique game that plays well with a mix a kids and adults. An adequate, SAFE playing area is required! It is somewhat physically demanding - running around the table, grabbing the die, holding "eggs" for extended periods of time, scrambling after bouncing eggs, etc. The components are amazing and have a bid "wow" factor. This is always a hit!"
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14. Board Game: Beyond Balderdash [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:858]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6, more than 6 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, more than 6 players

Bluffing
Word

Plays: 551

Rating Points: 24
BGG Rank Points: 11
Plays Points: 29
TOTAL: 64

also Balderdash and Absolute Balderdash

Efrain Rivera Junior
United States
Irving
Texas
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"Balderdash might be the funest game my friends and I have ever played. It is basically a bluffing game gone wild. My friends and I have never laughed so hard playing any other game. And we have tried them all."

Joseph Betz
United States
Hamburg
Pennsylvania
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"Better than the regular balderdash.Laughed so hard i almost peed in my pants."
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15. Board Game: GiftTRAP [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:1217]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5, 6 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 players

Voting
Simultaneous Action Selection
Co-operative Play

Plays: 1207

Rating Points: 29
BGG Rank Points: 17
Plays Points: 22
TOTAL: 68

Get up, get up, get up, get down, fall over.
United Kingdom
Bolton
Lancashire
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"Absolutely bags of fun. The people playing need to know each other a little and the scoring (giver and receiver both score for the gift, but on different tracks) can confuse non-gamers. None the less, the game in its entirety is "choose which of these gifts to give to each person round the table, then decide which ones you want most yourself". Any game that can be completely described in one sentence is so simple that anyone can pick it up. Perfect for family occasions and dinner parties, but you must play this with a crowd who can laugh about it. If Auntie Mabel will take offence when you give her the face lift or the month at the fat camp, then play something else.
Personally, I still can not believe my wife and son thought I would prefer a leaf-blower to a baseball mitt or a 10-pin bowling party."
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16. Board Game: Attribute [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:1631]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5, 6, 7 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, more than 8 players

Word

Plays: 1457

Rating Points: 44
BGG Rank Points: 16
Plays Points: 16
TOTAL: 76

Rusty567: "Currently one of my favourite two party games (along with Taboo). A fun combination of word-matching and how-fast-can-you-grab that can play as dirty or as clean as the group would like. (I'm trying to think of a word to go with "horny"... a toad!) The scoring rules that come in the English rulebook are positively bizarre, so use the BSW scoring variant instead (i.e. the scoring method for the original German version). Comes in a tiny box, so eminently portable."
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17. Board Game: Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:929]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5, 6, more than 6 players

Card Game
Storytelling

Plays: 1494

Rating Points: 50
BGG Rank Points: 12
Plays Points: 15
TOTAL: 77

N/A "Tremendous fun for the right crowd. I have never laughed so hard as i have during this game. It does require a good sense of humour, a great deal of effort, and people with imagination. There is something so completely satisfying about creating a story with friends, even when after they realize who your main character is they kill him off in a tragic magic ring-rice paddy-loofa-monkey accident."
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18. Board Game: Pit [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1073]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 7, 8 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 players

Card Game
Set Collection
Trading

Plays: 2734

Rating Points: 55
BGG Rank Points: 15
Plays Points: 9
TOTAL: 79

J.D. Baker
United States
Lafayette
California
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"For causing an immediate descent into chaos, the opening bell of "Pit" has few rivals. The rules can be explained to even neophytes and children in less than a minute, and people with vastly different levels of gaming experience can play and enjoy it on essentially even levels. If you like it at all you'll probably like it forever (there is no curve to master and no "true solution." And the visual experience -- the gasps of frustration as people accidentally exchange identical cards, the bouncing and mad gesticulation as traders try to emphasize their offer over another's, the facial contortions as people run short of oxygen while repeatedly screaming "four, four, FOUR!!!" -- is a pearl beyond price."
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19. Board Game: 1000 Blank White Cards [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:1997]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5, 6, more than 6 players

Card Game
Line Drawing
Paper-and-Pencil

Plays: 325

Rating Points: 22
BGG Rank Points: 25
Plays Points: 36
TOTAL: 83

michael dorazio
United States
tyngsboro
Massachusetts
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"This is a super fun game that caters itself to any group of openminded players. Non-artists can still apply (therein lies most of the fun), but those who are not creative won't enjoy this one too much. This game is more of a structured social event than a "game", as its rules are almost transparent. And the ever-growing deck of cards is a huge plus. Oh, and this game is essentially free."

sisteray: "Holy Crap! This had me laughing so hard that I couldn't breathe. Don't look at this as a game, but rather an activity and you'll have a blast."
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20. Board Game: Wise and Otherwise [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:1461]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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(Not best with any number)
Recommended with 5, 6, more than 6 players

Bluffing
Voting
Simultaneous Action Selection

Plays: 250

Rating Points: 20
BGG Rank Points: 19
Plays Points: 44
TOTAL: 83

Boris Dvorkin
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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"A fantastic party game. Same mechanics as Balderdash, but the theme (proverbs instead of words) is an improvement in every way. Whereas in Baldurdash you can tack any definition onto any word, the different adages in Wise & Otherwise force the players to come up with something completely new every round. The made-up phrases are often very clever and entertaining."
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21. Board Game: What Were You Thinking? [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:2582]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4, 5, 6, 7 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, more than 10 players

Voting

Plays: 262

Rating Points: 15
BGG Rank Points: 30
Plays Points: 41
TOTAL: 86

Fred Shugars
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
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"One of the best party games ever. Any number, most any age can play, you don't have to be smart, in fact it helps to be average. When asked for your favorite food, don't answer "corn beef and cabbage", try something a little more normal."
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22. Board Game: Taboo [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:1354]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6, 8 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, more than 10 players

Word
Partnerships

Plays: 2226

Rating Points: 57
BGG Rank Points: 21
Plays Points: 10
TOTAL: 88

Stephan Ross
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
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"A really stellar party game. I find it most enjoyable when you pair up partners with a relationship (e.g. husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, siblings, etc.). Many times your personal in-jokes and experiences allow one person to infer a reference from something only they and their teammate would know. Very, very funny. Unfortunately it's also a good instrument for demonstrating which people don't know each other very well..."
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23. Board Game: The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:1822]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6 players
Recommended with 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 players

Adventure
Storytelling
Role Playing

Plays: 36

Rating Points: 2
BGG Rank Points: 18
Plays Points: 70
TOTAL: 90

True Blue Jon
United States
Vancouver
Washington
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"Tell a story. Then whe everyone has, everyone votes whose story was best. But wait, there's more! The # of votes you get depends on how many challenges you've taken while telling your story and on how many challenges you've given to others when they tell theirs. It's an extremely clever storytelling game."
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24. Board Game: Cluzzle [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:2147]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5, 6 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5, 6 players

Puzzle
Deduction

Plays: 876

Rating Points: 42
BGG Rank Points: 23
Plays Points: 25
TOTAL: 90

Danielle Anner
United States
Orchard Park
New York
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"Fabulous game. Requires playdough so can be a little intimidating. It's really alright to sculpt badly though- I thought I had (!) and people guessed right away anyway. You need to sculpt badly enough so that no one guesses right away but well enough so that at least one person guesses eventually. Great fun."
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25. Board Game: Bamboleo [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:1656]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User Suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)
# of Players: 2 - 7

Action/Dexterity

Plays: 963

Rating Points: 43
BGG Rank Points: 24
Plays Points: 24
TOTAL: 91

Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
Virginia
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Plate of Shrimp.
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Here we are folks, the dream we all dream of.
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"This is a great dexterity game where you must remove pieces rather than adding them (although, it does have a variant to add pieces). While great fun, especially when that board really starts to tip, I feel that as a game, only the last few pieces give a player any real decision (as no one is really going to weigh the pieces for scoring). Most of the time pulling pieces is a bit obvious, and the only choice you have is to make the board tip farther, thereby making it easier for people to take bottom pieces or balancing the board out making it easier to take center pieces. Still though, I'd be inclined (no pun intended) to play again at a moment's notice.
UPDATE: The game is vastly improved with the weighed scoring. You can look at the pictures here on the geek if you need help. This turns the game from a lively distraction to a great system with some real (although minor) strategy. It makes going for the big pieces early, getting small pieces to pass away and tallying rounds well worthwhile now. This game is downright addictive."
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