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There are a few key components of hosting a successful indoor party. Aside from food, drinks, and a solid playlist, you might want to have an activity planned. Games are great for breaking the ice, getting your guests to engage with one another, and sharing a good laugh.
Whether you're hoping to connect with new friends, bond with coworkers, host a regular game night, or loosen up a big crowd, a good party game might be just the thing. But what type of game are we talking? From team-based, guessing, and drinking games to drawing, trivia, and board games, there's something for everyone.
Aside from the category, you'll want to consider the number of players needed, the playing time, and whether the game involves adult content—this might be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on who you're playing with! We caught up with three game experts who offered specific recommendations and insights into what to look for in a party game.
Here, the best party games for adults.
Best Overall: R & R Games Time's Up
Type: Charades | Number of Players: 3-10 | Age Range: 12 and up | Playing Time: 4 rounds
Good for larger groups
Takes an hour
Erik Arneson, a game expert and the author of How to Host a Game Night, is a huge fan of Time's Up, which is essentially a celebrity-themed guessing game. "The same set of celebrities are guessed in each of three rounds, but the restrictions get progressively more challenging," he tells The Spruce.
You only need three people to play this award-winning party game, but the starter set allows for up to 10 people—and you can get an expansion set to include even more. "I've never played a game of Time's Up that didn't end with uproarious laughter," Arneson adds. Plus, he notes that it can be played indoors or out.
Best Team-Based: Monikers Monikers: Classics Expandalone Party Game
Type: Charades | Number of Players: 4-12 | Age Range: 17 and up | Playing Time: 30 minutes
Easy to learn
Good for larger groups
"Monikers is my go-to party game," offers Cardner Clark of Guardian Games in Portland, Oregon. We like that this team-based game can be learned in under two minutes and can be played with 12 or more people. "Monikers is basically Taboo plus charades, and it gets silly very quickly," says Clark. Note that some of the cards' topics can be suggestive or mildly inappropriate for work or certain family situations, so keep that in mind before you bring it to a party!
"I love team-based party games because it's so easy for players to drop in and out."—Cardner Clark of Guardian Games in Portland, Oregon
Best for Small Groups: Repos Just One
Type: Cooperative | Number of Players: 3-7 | Age Range: 8 and up | Playing Time: 20 minutes
Easy to learn
Short playing time
Can be played with three people
Dry erase pens run out quickly
If you're entertaining a smaller crowd, your best bet is Just One, which calls for three to seven players. It's a fun mystery word game that combines deductive reasoning with sneaky strategy. Arneson and Greg May, founder of the Manhattan board game cafe, The Uncommons, are big fans. "[It's] a fantastic cooperative party game for people who like word games," says Arneson.
Best for Large Groups: What Do You Meme? What Do You Meme? Core Game
Type: Card | Number of Players: 3-20 | Age Range: 17 and up | Playing Time: 20-90 minutes
Easy to learn
Up to 20 players
Better for young adults
You only need three players for What Do You Meme?, but it can be played with as many as 20 people. It's similar to games like Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity, calling on players to create the funniest memes based on potential captions found on the cards. One thing to note, though, is that this modern party game may be best suited for millennials or those more acclimated with social media graphics.
"Most of the memes were hilarious and the crazy combinations had us laughing hysterically."—Sage McHuge, Product Tester
Best Virtual Play: Jackbox Games Jackbox Party Pack 3
It doesn't matter where you are, as long as you have your phones and a screen to view the game on, you're all set. This pack from JackBox comes with five seriously entertaining games, including the Trivia Murder Party quiz show, Quiplash, a say-anything battle that crowns players for having the wittiest answers, and Fakin' It, a game where one of the players has something to hide. All games allow up to eight players, so it's a great option for medium to larger parties.
Type: Variety | Number of Players: 1-8 | Age Range: Teen and up | Playing Time: Not listed
Can be played virtually anywhere
Gaming system not required
Not very intuitive with Fire TV
Best Drawing: Telestrations After Dark Adult Party Game
Type: Drawing | Number of Players: 4-8 | Age Range: 17 and up | Playing Time: 15 minutes
Easy to learn
Poor-quality drawing materials
A favorite of Arneson's, Telestrations is a hilarious mashup of telephone and pictionary. The drawing-based party game comes in a few different versions, but the After Dark set is perfect for adult get-togethers—it even comes with drink coasters. Plus, as Arneson notes, "No artistic skill is needed!" Equipped with eight dry erase markers, sketch books, and cleaning cloths, players can expect the weirdest, most hilarious drawings from their friends.
Best Escape Room: Thames & Kosmos Exit: The Game
Type: Interactive | Number of Players: 1-4 | Age Range: 10 and up | Playing Time: 1-2 hours
Can only be played once
Not suitable for large groups
Got a couple of hours to kill? Arneson recommends the Exit: The Game series, "which are like escape rooms you can play in your own living room." This award-winning interactive party game calls for two to four players and takes one to two hours to complete. We also like that it comes in several themes, like Abandoned Cabin, Secret Lab, Mysterious Museum, and Haunted Roller Coaster.
Best Board Game: Catan Strategy Board Game: 5th Edition
Type: Strategic | Number of Players: 3-6 | Age Range: 10 and up | Playing Time: 60-90 minutes
If you and your friends appreciate strategic gameplay, you'll enjoy nerding out on Catan. Requiring problem-solving skills and encouraging explorative tactics, there's a reason the addictingly compelling board game is a cult classic. While it can take a little while for beginners to pick up, May likes that this high-end pick teaches you something.
"The strategic thinking needed to decide when and what to buy is somewhat sophisticated, giving more mature players a leg up on younger ones."—Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester
Best Drinking: What Do You Meme? Buzzed
Type: Card | Number of Players: 3-20 | Age Range: 21 and up | Playing Time: Not listed
Up to 20 players
If you're hosting a 21-and-over party, you might reach for Buzzed to break the ice. This drinking card game is basically a prompted version of Never Have I Ever, with 250 cards that reveal quirks about each player. While you only need three people to play, we like that it works for groups as big as 20.
Best Outdoor: Giantville Giant Tumbling Timber Toy
Type: Physical | Number of Players: 4-8 | Age Range: 12 and up | Playing Time: Not listed
Made of solid pine
Storage cart included
Hosting a barbecue or lawn party? The Tumbling Timber Toy is sure to entertain your guests. Essentially a jumbo version of Jenga, this outdoor-friendly party game is engaging, interactive, and encourages friendly competition. You'll get 25 numbered blocks, each made of solid pine wood for long-lasting durability.
The best party game for adults is Time's Up (view at Amazon), a hilarious celebrity-themed guessing game that gets progressively more challenging with each round. While Time's Up can be played with up to 10 people, you might consider What Do You Meme? if you're entertaining a larger group, as the goofy interactive game can accommodate up to 20 players (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in a Party Game for Adults
When browsing options, you'll see there are various types of adult-oriented party games. This includes everything from team-based activities and guessing games to strategic board games, trivia, and drawing games, along with lawn games and other outdoor-friendly picks.
Number of Players
One of the most important considerations for a party game is the minimum and maximum number of players. While most games call for at least two players, some require three or more people to play. Also, some adult party games cap out at five or six players, while others can accommodate anywhere from eight to 20 or more people.
You should also check the playing time before buying a party game. Some options take one to two hours to play—sometimes even longer. Then there are adult party games that take as little as 15 minutes to complete, which might be better for holding a large group's attention span.
When shopping around for party games, you'll see that many boast adult-themed content. In some cases, this is ideal for getting adults engaged when other traditional games may feel too juvenile. On the other hand, if you're playing with coworkers or a more conservative crowd, you may want to avoid drinking games, "after dark" themes, or NSFW (not suitable for work) picks.
Why Trust The Spruce?
The Spruce contributor Theresa Holland is a freelance content creator specializing in parenting, lifestyle, and entertainment. Before writing this article, she interviewed three game experts who offered specific recommendations and insight into the most essential features of an adult party game. She combed through user reviews and considered factors like playing time, number of players, and adult content before making her final selections. With a love of hosting and friendly competition, Theresa has played her fair share of Telestrations, Time's Up, Monikers, Just One, and jumbo Jenga over the years. She covers recreation, home goods, and outdoor living at The Spruce.