Looking for a great party game to take to a Thanksgiving get together or have other holiday plans where you need fun board games for a large gathering? Look no further than this list of crowd-pleasing games for multiple ages and skill levels!
Don’t miss out on trying our game box signing tradition: How to create board game traditions to enjoy the entire year
15 of the best games for large gatherings and holiday parties
We own a lot of games… and ultimately we are game people.
However, there are plenty of family members that self-proclaim they don’t enjoy board games or that they don’t want to participate in a round of cards. However, these are our favorite games for large gatherings that have been crowd-pleasers even for most game-haters.
As always, most links are affiliate (**) and we earn from qualifying purchases. We would never recommend anything that we didn’t find totally worth playing with family and friends to make your party or holiday gathering way more cheerful and fun.
Telestrations or Homemade Picture Phone
This has long been a favorite game for big groups. In fact, we’ve done this for a couple fo decades long before it was a commercial game. Simply grab some paper, scissors, and writing utensils. Plus a timer or stopwatch of some sort.
You will need to use notecards or cut paper into smaller pieces and include the same number of cards as there are people in your group and then in each stack of cards there are again the same number as there are playing.
If you have a really large party, you might want to number each of them so if someone drops a paper or the game gets out of order, they can be put back together.
Basically we like to choose a theme before the round starts. One of my favorites one time was “Song titles”. Everyone writes on their first card, in this instance, a song title. Then they pass to the next person when the leader says everyone simultaneously passes. The timer then starts for 30 or so seconds and everyone reads that card, moves it to the bottom of the stack, and then draws a picture to represent the song title. Then everyone passes after the timer is up and the timer starts again and the next person puts the drawing on bottom and then writes what song they think it is. So on and so forth.
The VERY BEST part of the game is then publicly going through the progression of pictures and phrases. (I did “Your body is a wonderland” one time and it was great).
If you have a smaller large group and/or not a lot of creative people thinking of themes like “vicious animals” or “things my mother law said when I got married” then you might actually buy the telestrations game. There are theme cards and a roll of the die will pick the theme for the round. Of course, it also comes with a timer. For the smaller crowds, it has small dry-erase pads and markers.
**Buy Telestrations here
This is another hit with groups of all sizes. We have had fun with just one other couple and at a full size Friendsgiving get together doing two very large teams.
The basis is you use a spy map, find connections between the words you’re assigned, and see if you can convey the right cards with a single word to your team.
Read more about how to play: Codenames – how to make this fun party game educational
**Buy Codenames Here
This game is a little different as it requires a TV, cell phones for each player, and buying the Fibbage game on Jackbox.
Basically the way the game goes is that you are given a quiz type question and then you input an “answer” on your phone that you think sounds like the right one. Then when everyone gets to the next page they choose what they think the answer is and you get points for stumping people with your fib.
Buy fibbage here based on your computer, TV, or gaming system.
This classic and fast-paced game can be expanded with another party deck allowing a lot more people to play. It’s very easy to learn and so adaptable say if only a few people want to play and then more people decide to join in or vice versa.
**Buy the Dutch Blitz Party Pack here
This is a fun game for parties, especially those with teens and tweens. It’s full of fun and bizarre actions to complete and just a really wild game.
** Buy quelf here
This game probably the most universal game in terms of the ages that can play, especially if you have a version with pictures for the pre-reader crowd. We have successfully played it with people 4-75+ and had a lot of fun.
One of the best parts of the game is that if everyone plays correctly they give only a yes or no answer. And sometimes two people may or may not agree. For example, one time a person had a chicken on their card. They knew it was an animal and they asked the next round if it was a carnivore. Some people said yes and some said no (while they don’t typically eat meat, they are omnivores and will eat meat). Similarly, when someone had “dragon” because they could be considered mythical or could be classified as a kimono dragon, there might be a question of if they are truly alive or not or real or not.
The ambiguity here makes it interesting.
Or there was the time that someone had “ladder” and had asked at one point if they had legs, thinking they were an animal, had a hard time figuring out they were inanimate object with legs!
** Buy Headbanz, Headbanz Act Up, or headbanz with pictures here
This is a family favorite. My dad, while he will play games with us, isn’t always excited to play. However, he truly enjoys this one! In fact my parents have bought it for several of their friends as well and brought it to large church functions.
What I like is that it can be played with children as young as 5 or so and that the more decks you add to it, the more people can play! And the more people that play, the more challenging it is to either keep track of cards you need or not get stuck with a boat load of points.
There are ten round to the game and you have to order cards together either in groups of 3+ of the same number and/or 3+ of a suited run. Each round there are both regular wild cards (jokers) and the number of cards in your hand for the round indicates the number that is also a wild card. So the first round has 3 cards so joker and 3 are wild. The last round has 13 cards and the King is wild.
** Buy a set or two or 3 of 5 crowns here
There are so many different ways to play dominoes. As a kid, I remember playing Mexican rain Dominoes with double 15s. The reason it makes the list is because of the general adaptability of using a single set of dominoes for multiple games and multiple ages.
I recommend getting a great domino game book as well as a high-count domino set!
I also remember as a kid taking great joy in being the “domino mixer upper” at an age before I actually understood how to play; so there are other ways to get young kids involved.
** Buy some double 15s dominoes and a free explanation of how to play Mexican Train Dominoes here
This game is all about adjectives. With a slated board, the player in charge of getting their team to guess the word they have has to use adjective tiles (and not their words) to place them on the board letting them know what describes their word, what it’s kind of, and what it is definitely not based on their team guessing to help them tell them what the word is and isn’t.
** Buy Funglish Here
Happy Little Accidents
Based off of Bob Ross’s phrase that there are no mistakes, just Happy Little Accidents, this game has people draw random squiggles on a set number of cards to begin with and then mix a big of them.
Each round, the timer starts and you have to flip over a squiggle and use it in a certain topic or theme. Then you get to explain how you used the squiggle and what your pictures really is and then everyone gets to gives out tokens of a certain value based on their 1st, 2nd, and so on places.
Buy Happy Little Accidents Here
One Night Ultimate Warewolf
Each person in this game gets to take on a different role and there can be up to ten players. And then you can also do a mini tournament style type of play so that if you have more people to accommodate, more can play. You basically trying to figure out and weed out the werewolf.
** Buy One Night Ultimate Werewolf Here
Apples to Apples
While most people are fully familiar with this popular party game, it’s definitely worth mentioning. I especially love the aspect of the game that helps you get to know someone’s personality based on the answers someone gives or trying to figure out someone’s personality to play a card you think they will think is funny.
** Buy Apples to Apples here
Dixit is similar to Apples to Apples but instead of words, it’s a lot of pictures. Some of the paintings are abstract, others are straight forward. There is a game scoring board as well and is an overall different but fun party game.
** Buy Dixit and expansions here
Like many of the other games mentioned, this one can be combined with multiple sets of bananagrams… which surprisingly a lot of people did not know. I do recommend that if you say buy 3 sets of a anagrams that you lay them all out upside-down in each of their own respective areas and paint the back so that when the party game is finished, it can be easily separated back into normal games sizes.
Related: How to use “My First Bananagrams” to help early readers
** Buy double banagrams for up to 16 people here
You will either need to get a set or two of tenzi or order bulk dice because every game participant needs a set of ten dice (hence Tenzi). You’re basically trying to roll and stack all your dice based on a number you decide to go for at the first roll. Pretty each for young kids to play because even if they don’t fully know their numbers, they can match the dot patterns.
** Buy Tenzi Party Pack or bulk sets of dice here