The Perfect Party Game Collection
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As noted in my recent "Perfect & Efficient Collection" Geeklist, party games should be a key part of any well-rounded collection, but party games themselves can be a small collection unto themselves. This Geeklist provides the fewest games you'll need to have a collection that includes the most common properties found in party games. Need a trivia game? You've got it. Want a dexterity game? It's here. Etc.

I determined the top "essential properties" by looking at the Categories and Mechanics here on BGG that have at least 200 Party Games assigned to them. They are as follows, in descending order of prevalence in party games:

- Categories: Humor, Word, Action/Dexterity, Deduction, Bluffing, Movie/TV/Radio Theme
- Mechanics: Roll & Move, Acting, Partnerships, Dice Rolling, Role-Playing, Voting

I originally included Cooperative Play and Storytelling as essential Mechanics, but it quickly became clear that most of the party games labeled as such were not actually cooperative or weren't really for large groups, respectively. I welcome other properties, especially those outside the scope of BGG's Categories and Mechanics, from other users.
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1. Board Game: Wits & Wagers [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:506]
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A Trivia Game

Despite the plethora of Trivial Pursuit games out there, there are fortunately dozens and dozens of better trivia games available. Instead of getting the same old same old, fill this slot in your collection with a more fun and more unique alternative.

$20 on Amazon

Alternatives
- Smarty Party
- Anno Domini
- Chronology
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2. Board Game: Taboo [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:1625]
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A Word Game

Word games are a staple among mainstream party games. Make sure you have a good one.

$25 on Amazon

Alternatives
- Apples to Apples
- Beyond Balderdash
- Attribute
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3. Board Game: Celebrities [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:3170]
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An Acting Game

An Acting game belongs in any party game collection, unless you want to stick with Charades. Like Charades, these games aren't necessarily about acting out a specific role like an "actor" or "actress" and include miming, motioning, or otherwise using your whole body to communicate, frequently in lieu of talking.

Free

Alternatives
- Time's Up
- Aye, Dark Overlord
- Aargh!Tect
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4. Board Game: Jungle Speed [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1064]
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A Dexterity Game

Games that test players' agility and coordination make particularly good party games.

$16 on Amazon

Alternatives
- Bamboleo
- Attribute
- Rythme & Boulet
 
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5. Board Game: The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:736]
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A Role Playing or Storytelling Game with Bluffing & Deduction

It should be no surprise to see a version of the classic Werewolf on this list. Making players safeguard secrets and utilize deduction in an engaging, interactive way, it not only is a key component to any well-rounded game collection but also includes many of the properties you hope for in a party game. In addition to those mentioned above, Werewolf and its ilk also feature Voting and Partnerships.

$11 on Amazon

Alternatives
- Any variety of Werewolf, Mafia, Do You Worship Cthulhu, etc.
- Ca$h & Gun$
- Black Stories
- How to Host a Murder
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6. Board Game: Eat Poop You Cat [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:694]
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Humorous Game

Humor is so prevalent in party games that you'll have a hard time avoiding it in the other categories. However, if you happen to have gotten semi-serious games as your other entries in your collection, here are some funny games that don't quite fit any of those other categories.

Free

Alternatives
- Ca$h & Gun$
- GiftTRAP
 
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7. Board Game: Cranium Pop 5 [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:4964]
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A Variety Game

Cranium and games like it have a place in any party game collection because it offers a little bit of something for everyone. It provides some variety for the staples above (Trivia, Word, Acting, etc.) and covers the oh so essential mechanic Roll and Move.

$15 plus shipping on Amazon

Alternatives
- Other Cranium Variety (Hoopla, WOW, etc.)
- Quelf
- Curses
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8. Board Game: Saboteur [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:859] [Average Rating:6.62 Unranked]
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A Unique, Non-Standard Game

It's great when you can say, "So you like Trivial Pursuit? You should try..." but this final list item is for party games that defy standard categorization. You want a game that stands out from the crowd as being different--no trivia, pop culture, acting, etc. Saboteur is unique in that it's a cooperative game with a traitor element; the alternatives below offer additional styles of play.

Alternatives
- Liar's Dice
- Pit
- Barbarossa
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