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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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26. Board Game: Coyote [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1435]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Suggested by Chemik

Best with 6 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, more than 6 players

Bluffing
Card Game
Deduction

Plays: 1151

Rating Points: 45
BGG Rank Points: 24
Plays Points: 23
TOTAL: 92

Larry Chong
United States
Kendall Park
New Jersey
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"Having played both Coyote and Pow Wow, I very much prefer the Pow Wow edition by Ravensburger. Also, Pow Wow plays up to eight players. This seems very silly and has some card luck to it, but it does have a good deal of bluffing skills to it. It reminds me a lot of Liars Dice/Perudo but with card randomness instead of dice, so you must deduce the probabilities of whether someone's best guess is on the spot with regards to knowing what the deck of cards consists of (and whether the card has been used or not). It's also possible to use two copies of the game for up to 12 players."

FREE, kind of, using a normal deck of cards
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27. Board Game: Kaleidos [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1713]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User Suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)
# of Players: 2 - 10

Words

Plays: 173

Rating Points: 9
BGG Rank Points: 27
Plays Points: 56
TOTAL: 92

John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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"The game is simple: stare for 45 seconds (?) at a painting and write down as many things that you can that begin with a particular letter. Everyone has a copy of the same painting which depicts hundredss of different objects. Score big points if you're the only one that came up with a word or if a majority of the players came up with that word. I'm probably always going to lose this game but there's something addictive about it that I enjoy. The trick is to be able to see an object and interpret it in many different ways. Wish the time was about 30 seconds longer."
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28. Board Game: Celebrities [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:2205]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6 players
Recommended with 4, 6, 8, 10, more than 10 players

Partnerships
Acting

Plays: 181

Rating Points: 1
BGG Rank Points: 37
Plays Points: 55
TOTAL: 93

FREE version of Time's Up (not the one pictured!)

Olli Mäkiketola
Finland
Tampere
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"Time's Up! is the commercial version of this game. Game is simple and lots of fun. Having 24-30 names tends to take close to an hour which seems to be quite an optimum amount of time. Hilarious to play & to watch. I actually prefer this version over Time's Up! since you can play it anywhere (paper, pens and timer/clock are only things needed) and the unpredictable nature the selfwritten names gives."
 
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29. Board Game: Barbarossa [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1540]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5, 6 players

Fantasy

Plays: 580

Rating Points: 48
BGG Rank Points: 22
Plays Points: 28
TOTAL: 98

Doug Adams
Australia
Oakleigh
Victoria
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"Very funny party game that does make you think a little bit. Players sculpt two "puzzles" from a hunk of modelling clay in their colour, and the other players must deduce what they are. Players earn points for successfully guessing sculptures. If your sculptures are guessed too early or too late in the game, you lost points. However, if your sculptures are guessed in the middle of the game, you gain points! Thus, the idea is to make your models suitably vague, but still guessable! Great game for when you've played too much Pictionary! You must use the "anti-blob" rule - at game end sculptures with no arrows are -5 points, and one arrow are -3 points."
 
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30. Board Game: Wie ich die Welt sehe... [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:2541]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6, 7, 8 players
Recommended with 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, more than 9 players

Card Game
Word

Plays: 187

Rating Points: 4
BGG Rank Points: 42
Plays Points: 53
TOTAL: 99

Mitsch Matsch
Germany
Erlangen
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"Great fun playing with a bunch of friends once the evening is drawing to an end. Find the missing word in a sentence. The sillier the better."

Now available in English as "The World As I See It"?
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31. Board Game: Anno Domini: Erfindungen [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:2124]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User Suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)
# of Players: 3 - 8

Bluffing
Trivia

Plays: 95

Rating Points: 6
BGG Rank Points: 31
Plays Points: 67
TOTAL: 104

Also: Anno Domini - Flopps, Anno Domini - Sex & Crime

Andy. D.
Canada
Unspecified
New Brunswick
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"Ideal filler or starter if you are waiting for players to arrive (easy to adjust the playing time). Great game, unique idea, rules explained in 1 minute. One of the best knowledge / guessing games. Great to mix several editions, e.g. Entdecker, Life Style, Natur."

Only available in German?
 
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32. Board Game: 25 Words or Less [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:2218]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 8 players
Recommended with 4, 6, 8 players

Words
Bidding
Acting

Plays: 219

Rating Points: 34
BGG Rank Points: 26
Plays Points: 48
TOTAL: 108

Dustin Martin
United States
Oconomowoc
Wisconsin
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"Great party game. It's basically Taboo, however the teams bid on how few words they can use to get their teammates to guess everything on the card. It makes for some tense clue giving as you often try to boil down the essence of the word in just one or two words."
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33. Board Game: Cranium Hoopla [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:2115]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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(Not best with any number)
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 players

Card Game
Word
Co-operative Play
Hand Management
Paper-and-Pencil
Acting

Plays: 627

Rating Points: 54
BGG Rank Points: 28
Plays Points: 26
TOTAL: 108

Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
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"What a great party game. Team vs. time instead of against each other. Working together against the clock works much better than I thought it would. Good mix of activities and cards (with nice photographs to provide visual cues and context) provide lots of variety to the game. An excellent game.
The game's only failing is the lack of more cards or an expansion... It is far too easy to run through all the cards! Thankfully you can make your own with some pre-perforated business card stock, clip art and some card sleeves."
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34. Board Game: Family Business [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:1900]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5, 6 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6 players

Card Game
Mafia

Plays: 1787

Rating Points: 64
BGG Rank Points: 32
Plays Points: 12
TOTAL: 108

Thomas Larsen
Denmark
Haslev
Unspecified
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"Great entertainment. Try wearing a gangster outfit, drinking bourbon, and talk like Mr. Capone. Sooo much fun in sooo little time. Played this over 100 times. "
 
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35. Board Game: Aye, Dark Overlord! [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:2594]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User Suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)
# of Players: 4 - 10

Card Game
Fantasy
Role Playing
Acting

Plays: 308

Rating Points: 32
BGG Rank Points: 39
Plays Points: 38
TOTAL: 109

Luis
Spain
Madrid
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His destructive programming is taking effect. He will be irresistibly drawn to large cities, where he will back up sewers, reverse street signs, and steal everyone's left shoe.
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626 was designed to be a monster, but now he has nothing to destroy. You see, I never gave him a greater purpose. What must it be like to have nothing, not even memories to look back on in the middle of the night?
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"Aye, Dark Overlord is one of those silly, goofy party games that are great if the only think you are looking for is behaving stupidly and burst in laughs.

The premise is very simple: one player is Rigor Mortis, the almighty powerful Dark Overlord, while each the rest of the players incarnate one of his stupid and not very reliable minions. And, as always happens, the minions have failed in accomplishing the evil guy's orders (which can go from doing the laundry to conquering the world, your imagination puts the limit); obviously, Rigor Mortis is a bit pissed, so he is going to punish someone... And you must make sure that it is one of your "pals", so that you can continue living your pitiful life.

Yes, that's the game. Not more, not less. You have to make up a story, based on the cards you have in your hand. And this is where the laughs start: obviously, most of the time your cards will have little or nothing to do with what's going on, so you have to appear as confident as you can while saying "It was his fault! He said that you where polymorphed into a cute and little bunny..." "Are you calling me a cute and little quadruped!?!?!? FEEL MY IRE!!!" Well, think that you got the point.

The worst part of the game is that depends completely in the crowd you are playing: if they don't want to behave foolishly, it will be utterly boring after five minutes. If they have little or poor imagination, it will become boring after two plays, when the creepy castle is use for the same lame excuse once again. I'm lucky at that point, but if you aren't... Well, it's a cheap game, so you won't be loosing much."
 
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36. Board Game: Identik [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:908]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, more than 10 players

Line Drawing

Plays: 198

Rating Points: 13
BGG Rank Points: 47
Plays Points: 51
TOTAL: 111

Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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"A surprisingly fun party game. There's drawing, but you're judged by the content rather than the quality of your pictures so most people should be able to play this.

One person looks at a picture and describes it in detail while everyone else is trying to draw what is being described (90 seconds). Then you pass your drawing to a neighbor and go down a checklist (10 items) of details. The artist earns 1VP for every correct item, with one bonus item (roll d10) worth 3. The describer earns 1VP for each item if any of the artists earned points. Play n rounds ... most points wins."
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37. Board Game: Things... [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:2434]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5, 6 players
Recommended with 5, 6, 7, 8 players

Memory
Paper-and-Pencil

Plays: 247

Rating Points: 28
BGG Rank Points: 40
Plays Points: 45
TOTAL: 113

Jason Smith
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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"Ridiculously/outrageously fun. How could this be rated so low when it's easily among the five best party games out there? Yes, the rules aren't perfect and sometimes you have a runaway kingmaker, but who cares? Meantime everyone is laughing their heads off. You'll be amazed at how clever your friends and family really are. Quite different from other party games. Insanely recommended."

Miguel
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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"The premise is simple (finish this sentence: "Things... you shouldn't do in church"). There's no point in playing to win (the scoring is pretty lame), but you'll never laugh as hard as you will hearing the answers to those questions, and trying to figure out who wrote what!"
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38. Board Game: Objets Trouvés [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:2577]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 9 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 players

Card Game
Word
Trivia
Action/Dexterity

Plays: 127

Rating Points: 12
BGG Rank Points: 41
Plays Points: 60
TOTAL: 113

Martin Villemaire
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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: "Probably my favourite party game so far. It doesn't require any special skills like signing or drawing (Cranium) or some sort of judge/vote/group think (like Apples to apples, big idea, etc.), just some cool imagination! Changing the objects in the middle of the game is also a neat idea, it guarantees that every game will always play very differently. Not such a big fan of the huge potential negative points for the first couple plays, it almost feels like the game is zero-sum and this could make it drag for a long time if players alternate between good deductions and bad ones."
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39. Board Game: Snorta! [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:2310]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6, 7 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 players

Animal Noises
Card Game

Plays: 1299

Rating Points: 61
BGG Rank Points: 36
Plays Points: 18
TOTAL: 115

Ron Hetrick
United States
Jacksonville
Florida
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"Fantastic party game. Should be played with as many people as possible. It is very diificult to remember everybody and just when you think you have someone throws a card down on you and you blank out. Highly recommended."
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40. Board Game: Haste Worte? [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:2800]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User Suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)
# of Players: 3 - 8

Word
Auction/Bidding
Simultaneous Action Selection

Plays: 105

Rating Points: 8
BGG Rank Points: 43
Plays Points: 65
TOTAL: 116

Alex Schönbohm
Germany
Bad Nauheim
Deutschland
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"Really nice word finding game and the betting how many different words you will be able to reveal can be quite tense - if you bet too high you might not have enough different words left, if you bet too low the others will get a hugh lead on you. The handicap can really bring the leading player to a grinding stop, but that's what it is supposed to do I guess :-) It is quite interesting to see how differently or how similarly the players assosiate with the given term."

Note: There does not seem to be an English version available. However there is an English translation of the rules on the game page, so you could make your own copy up for FREE if you made up a load of your own categories (or translated the German ones).
 
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41. Board Game: The Big Idea [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:2034]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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(Not best with any number)
Recommended with 3, 4, 5, 6, more than 6 players

Card Game
Stock Holding
Voting

Plays: 356

Rating Points: 58
BGG Rank Points: 29
Plays Points: 31
TOTAL: 118

Just call me Erik
United States
Waldorf
Maryland
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"Party game meets gamer's game. Wacky inventions keep the game fun and light. I will ALWAYS play this game, I love it. See my review.
The true brilliance of this design, really, is it's not just a party game or gamer's game. It's both. You have a party game of making wacky inventions tied to a little economic engine, and the two cannot be seperated. YOu can't play one game without playing the other. Brilliant."
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42. Board Game: Linq [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:1349]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6 players
Recommended with 6, 7, 8, more than 8 players

Partnerships
Pattern Recognition

Plays: 288

Rating Points: 30
BGG Rank Points: 48
Plays Points: 40
TOTAL: 118

Joshua Miller
United States
Holland
Michigan
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"What a surprise! This is a great social game for those who enjoy being creative within a framework of wordplay and puzzle-sleuthing. I particularly enjoy trying to set up a perfect bluff between two non-partners. We allow the ??? players an extra point if they correctly guess the word that was dealt to the partners. This adds to the fun, and aids those who aren't getting dealt the word cards; they have a much harder task than the active partners do. Also, don't allow partners to throw out nonsense clues in the second round if they're confident that they've already found one another. If you enjoy games like Thingamajig, Password or Montage, you should definitely give Linq a try."
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43. Board Game: Chronology [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:2129]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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(Not best with any number)
Recommended with 3, 4 players

Card Game
Trivia

Plays: 312

Rating Points: 49
BGG Rank Points: 34
Plays Points: 37
TOTAL: 120

Aaron Potter
United States
Riverside
California
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"This is excellent, probably one of the best adult 'filler' games for a light-weight crowd with broad interests. Play time is short and intense, setup is non-existant, material is accessible even to those without a degree in history, and everything in the game can be hand-held. Elegant party game (and who thought you'd ever see those two phrases together on the 'Geek?)."
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44. Board Game: Why Did the Chicken...? [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:3189]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, more than 8 players

Riddles/Jokes

Plays: 336

Rating Points: 52
BGG Rank Points: 35
Plays Points: 35
TOTAL: 122

Curt Collins
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
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"I found that this game needs to be played by people that are witty. The more of a smartass you are, the better you will play. Needless to say, I really enjoy this game, but for those who are not so good with top of the head funny remarks, it may be simply too difficult.
-Upgraded from 8 to 9. I just spent over an hour and a half laughing my ass off without stopping for a break. One of the best times I can remember playing games."
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45. Board Game: Word Blur [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:3447]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 players

Word

Plays: 289

Rating Points: 27
BGG Rank Points: 57
Plays Points: 39
TOTAL: 123

Mike Summers
United States
Ammon
Idaho
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"A really fun little "guess-the-word" party game. Very simple to get right into, and great for some good laughs. Absolutely no down-time as each person is either guessing or giving hints on every turn. Design was well thought-out. The "modifier" strips are fun to work with and help a lot with forming some good hints. The fact that the word tiles have the word on each side was a VERY good (and necessary) idea. Just dump them on the table, spread them out, and you're good to go. I'm impressed with the game and look forward to playing it more."
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46. Board Game: Rock the Beat [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1722]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 7, 8, 9, 10 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 players

Action/Dexterity
Card Drafting
Memory
Pattern Recognition
Acting

Plays: 204

Rating Points: 14
BGG Rank Points: 62
Plays Points: 49
TOTAL: 125

Walter Obert
Italy
Piossasco-Turin
Unspecified
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"Really a blast with non-gamers and open minded gamers.
Tom - tom - clap! rhythm of "We are the champions" by Queen lead a funny game based on quick reactions, keeping all players wired to the chain effects of the signs."
 
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47. Board Game: Compatibility [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1913]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6 players
Recommended with 4, 6 players

Partnerships
Simultaneous Action Selection
Co-operative Play

Plays: 240

Rating Points: 47
BGG Rank Points: 33
Plays Points: 46
TOTAL: 126

Zee Garcia
United States
Homestead
Florida
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"Makes you laugh, think, wonder, make tough decisions, and feel glad you have your friends and family around you (sometimes all at once)! Gotta love that."
 
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48. Board Game: Password [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:2655]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 4 players

Word
Partnerships

Plays: 581

Rating Points: 62
BGG Rank Points: 38
Plays Points: 27
TOTAL: 127

P.D. Magnus
United States
Albany
New York
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"Fun, provided that teams are comparable and that partners are on similar wavelengths as to clues. The matches doesn't have to be perfect, though, because the bonus questions allow for comebacks at the end and an occasional bungled clue is funny."
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49. Board Game: Oh, Really! [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:3186]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4, 6 players
Recommended with 4, 6 players

Voting
Partnerships

Plays: 260

Rating Points: 41
BGG Rank Points: 46
Plays Points: 42
TOTAL: 129

Larry Chong
United States
Kendall Park
New Jersey
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"This is a fabulously simple social game centered about people's personal preferences, values and views with life & the world/universe. It's a casual, light party-game where you learn about everyone's personal value system (makes for great conversations while still playing a game!). It's a "getting-to-know-you" game that's fun with partners. Heck, I think it will work great in teams of more than two. The great thing about it is that you can easily play this with strangers (serving as a great ice breaker). I do wish that the quantity of cards were greater (need more cards or more words to value! Did anyone say expansion?)."
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50. Board Game: Wat'n dat!? [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:3219]
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

Action/Dexterity
Pattern Building

Plays: 111

Rating Points: 18
BGG Rank Points: 49
Plays Points: 62
TOTAL: 129

Terry Egan
United States
Waltham
MA
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"A wonderful little draw-and-guess game where those constructing the images are limited by the materials at hand and must alternate placing those materials to create the picture, often without knowing what their partner has in mind. Several good mechanics combine to make for a very good game that hasn't garnered a lot of attention. "
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