6 Dinner Party Games for Adults That Don’t Need a Board

Whether you’re catching up with your buddies for dinner, or just chatting with them online, a dinner party game is a great way to kick-start conversations and make sure that the LOLs are flowing. They also make sure that everyone is involved in the night too; from your ultra-competitive mate to the quieter friends who say they don’t like games (yeah, until one has started!).

To make sure your games night runs as smoothly as possible we’ve made it so you don’t need to rummage through your attic looking for a game. To get started you’ll only need a notepad, some scrap paper, a few pens and a timer for our ideas.

Here are 6 dinner party games that don’t require a board to get started:

1. Who Am I?

What do you need?

You need some pens and post-it notes.

How do you play?

To play this dinner party game you need to get everyone to write down on their post-it note the name of a person that everyone will know. Think of celebrities, historical figures, cartoon characters, movie names and so forth. Each person then has to stick their post-it on the forehead of the person directly to their right so that everyone in the room knows who they are except for them.

Then going around the room (tip #1: rock scissors paper is a quick way to choose a starting player for all games) the starter has to ask yes/no questions in order to work out who they are (e.g. ‘am I a singer?’). If they are correct they can ask another question. But, if they are incorrect then the next person in the circle can have a go.

Who is the winner?

The winner is the first person to correctly guess the name of the person on their head.

2. Charades

What do you need?

You need some pens, paper, containers and a timer.

How do you play?

I would say this the #1 go-to dinner party game.

To play you need to split everyone into even teams – around 3 players per team is perfect (tip #2: hilarious team names are encouraged). Each team then convenes in a different room to write down some common words or phrases that fall under the following categories:

  • Movies
  • Books
  • TV shows
  • Songs
  • Musicals, and
  • Quotes.

Once done, you can all reconvene in the same room to swap containers with the other teams.

Then each team will select an ‘actor’ for their round who will select a slip of paper from the bucket and attempt to pantomime (i.e. no speaking allowed) the phrase for the rest of their team to guess. You know the deal; common clues include cranking an old movie camera to show it is a movie or holding up three fingers to show the number of words in the title.

Once guessed correctly move quickly onto another slip of paper in the time allowed.

Who is the winner?

The winner is the team who successfully guesses the most words and phrases in the set time limit–and the number of rounds–that you’ve designated.

3. The Dictionary Game

What do you need?

You need some pens, paper and a dictionary (online is fine).

How do you play?

To play you will need to find a starting player (everyone gets a turn) who has to scour the old dictionary for an unknown word. The player then tells all of the said word (including spelling) and then they are all tasked with writing down their best-guess at the definition of the word. You won’t actually know what it means but you want to convince other players that yours is correct so go all out on the dictionary lingo.

All the slips of paper with the definitions, including the correct written down definition from the starting player, and are shuffled and read aloud (tip #3: try to keep giggling to a minimum) to the group. All players then must select the definition that they think is correct.

Who is the winner?

The winner is the player with the most points at the end of all rounds. Scoring works this way; if someone picks your incorrect definition you get a point. If no one picks the correct definition the starting player gets 3 points.

4. Pictionary

What do you need?

You need a marker, a sketch pad or whiteboard, containers and a timer.

How do you play?

To play you will need to split everyone into even teams. Each team will then need to brainstorm words for doodling and to keep your ideas at similar levels it’s best to assign categories such as:

  • Person, place or animal
  • Actions
  • Objects
  • Challenges, or
  • All play (i.e. from any of the above categories).

For example, a person, place or animal you might write for ‘person, place or animal’ could be ‘tiger king’.

Once done, swap buckets, find a starting team and they can select their first doodler (i.e. artist). The doodler selects a card from their team’s container and has to sketch the word on the pad for their team to guess. No words or letters or similar are allowed – only art.

Who is the winner?

The winner is the team that can correctly guess as many doodles as possible in the time allowed. You can select how many rounds you want to go through.

5. Great Minds Think Alike

What do you need?

You need some pens and pre-prepared categories.

How do you play?

To play it is best if this game is prepared by the night’s host. They should have thought of at least 10 categories for the group and they should be as creative as possible. I’m thinking of categories like ‘the best show on Netflix’ or ‘the worst toppings on a pizza’ or ‘best afternoon cocktail mix’. Really, it’s up to you and if your night has a theme you can use that for your categories too.

Everyone then has to split into teams and each round the host can call out the category before getting everyone to write down their first 3 thoughts. Personally, the worst three toppings on a pizza could be 1. pineapple (controversial), 2. anchovies (common) and 3. Nutella (outside-the-box).

Who is the winner?

After every category, count how many people on each team wrote a word that another of their team members wrote. The winner for this dinner party game is the team that scores the most points (feel free to adjust point values by team size) based on the number of members who wrote the same word.

6. Categories

What do you need?

You need some pens, a timer and pre-prepared templates (most info below).

How do you play?

To play–and stick with me here for a minute–you will need to prepare some 5-by-5 grids on pieces of paper. Down the left-hand side of each grid, you will write your categories (e.g. mammals, TV shows, fruit, actors etc.) and then across the top of the grid, you will assign a letter for each column.

You should end up with a template that looks like this:

Once the timer has started, each player will have to write down a word on their own grid that aligns with both the category and the letter. For example, a mammal that starts with the letter B could be a Banana Bat. Yes, it’s a thing and double letters score double points!

Who is the winner?

The winner is the player with the total number of correct and unique words. Scoring works this way; if someone else has the same word then no points are allowed. If a word is suspect then everyone takes a vote. You choose the number of rounds you’d like to play.

Every Group Has Their Favourite Dinner Party Game

Good party games for adults not only ensure your crowd loosens up shakes of the shackles but provide a jump-off point for sharing funny memories or recent stories. That and it’s great to leave a night having the gloating power of knowing that you are better than your friends.

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