It’s Friday night and it’s your turn to host your friends and their kids for dinner and a hang out. Once the food is cleared away and the kids inevitably hurry away to play, why not have some fun of your own? Adults-only time is rare, so make the most of it (and make some drinks)! Prepare to get loud, inappropriate and laugh uncontrollably—basically all the things your kids are already doing. Now who’s having more fun?
Caveat: These games are adults-only for a reason—a few have explicit language and content, so make sure the kids are suitably occupied.
Quick, name an 80s TV show! Now a type of ball! Now an inventor! Your skills are put to the test in Anomia, where you need to yell out answers fast. The game is pretty simple: Each player pulls a card from the main deck. Each one has a symbol and category on it. Players begin with their card face up, with the remaining deck face down in the centre. The first player draws a card and reveals what they’ve pulled. Everyone’s eyes dart around to see if the symbol on their card matches the drawn card. The two players with matching cards have to shout out the answer to the category on their opponent’s card (Three’s Company! Football! Thomas Edison!). Whoever gets the words out first wins the drawn card as a point. There’s a lot of shouting, a lot of drawing blanks—you won’t believe how easily you’ll be stumped on breakfast foods when you’re under pressure!
The original game includes two decks and is for 3-6 players, but if you’re with a larger group, then Anomia Party Edition is for you.
$17, indigo.caPhoto: anomiapress.com
This classic Hasbro game is a twist on charades. The aim of the game is to try to get your teammate(s) to guess the word you’re trying to describe—without the help of the obvious key words listed on your card—before time runs out. Creativity and quick thinking are required. If you mistakenly use a forbidden or taboo word, you lose the point.
$22, amazon.caPhotos: hasbro.com
The After Dark version of this broken telephone-style game takes things up a notch. Everyone grabs a card, chooses one of the many words on it and writes it down in their mini dry-erase sketchbook. Then everyone passes their pad along to the person beside them, who then draws out the word. This is where it gets funny. The third person isn’t allowed to flip back and check the original word: He must guess what he’s looking at based on the drawing by the player before him, write it down and pass it along. The notebooks will go full circle–with people writing what they think they saw and then drawing what the people before them guessed–until they end up back at their original spot. The results are weird, hilarious and often oh so wrong!
$40, toysrus.caPhoto: usapoly.com
Depending on how many people you’re playing with, the object of this game is to score one to two sequences before your opponents. Everyone is dealt the same number of cards and players fall into red and blue teams with corresponding chips. The first player selects a card from their pile and turns it face up, then places a marker chip on the corresponding card on the game board—each card is shown twice on the board, and you’re allowed to use any space that isn’t already covered with a chip. Five chips in a row (up and down, sideways or vertical) and your team wins. Things that make this trickier: wild cards allow you to remove any chip or place one on any spot, and team members cannot strategize out loud. Be prepared to make eyes at your partner.
2-12 players (must be divisible by 2 or 3)
$40, amazon.caPhoto: Jax Games
You may have also seen the episode of Ellen where Khloe Kardashian and Kevin Hart play this game and fail miserably. It’s extremely similar to other versions (like Mouthguard Challenge) where players wear a plastic mouth guard that stretches their lips open, making them incomprehensible. As the timer counts down, your teammates have to decipher the phrase you’re trying to say. It could be “Slow down, you careless clown” or “Perfectly popped purple popcorn.” Word to the wise: Be sure to have napkins handy because the more you laugh, the more drool there will be! The team that collects the most cards wins.
$25, walmart.caPhoto: Hasbro
Feeling out of the loop? You will with this adults’ adaptation of “the game where everyone knows but you.” Each player takes a turn asking yes or no questions so they can guess what the card attached to their headband says. The timer’s running, so make your questions count!
$20, toysrus.caPhoto: spinmaster.com
X marks the loser! Get out of your comfort zone with an X-rated version of this friendly trivia game. Anyone who answers a question incorrectly has their forehead unceremoniously stamped with an X. The first person with five Xs on his forehead loses. You can decide on punishments afterwards, or just make the person go home without washing it off!
$30, indigo.caPhoto: Hasbro
This is Cards Against Humanity’s more appropriate/less offensive cousin. The Apple Picker reads off the brown “prompt” card that has a sentence like “I knew it would be a legendary night once ____ showed up.” The rest of the players choose a green card with the best answer to fill in the blank and the Apple Picker selects his favourite answer—if the answer was yours, you become the new Apple Picker. It’s one of those games that invariably brings out your friends’ rotten sense of humour.
$43, amazon.caPhoto: amazon.ca
No board game connoisseur will pass up a classic game of negotiation. Can you take over the island of Catan? Roll the dice to see which resources—sheep, stone, wood, etc—you will need to in order to build on your island. You accumulate points along the way by amassing an army, the longest roads, settlements or cities. Once you’ve gathered 10 victory points, you win!
$60, toysrus.caPhoto: catan.com
Two teams battle it out to see which one can contact all of its secret agents first. Two spymasters (one on each team) know the identities of the all agents—their job is to provide one-word clues to their teammates who only know the agents by their codenames. Bystander cards ultimately delay the process while the assassin card ends the game for the unlucky spymasters who draw it.
$30, indigo.caPhoto: czechgames.com
The object of this game (named after the Japanese word for “fireworks”) is to design the perfect fireworks show. You need to place the provided cards, all different colours and numbered one through five, in the right order. The trick to this game is that your cards are only visible to the other players, who must give you hints based on the number or colour of the card. The aim is to finish the fireworks display before running out of cards in the deck. Want more of a challenge? This game comes with rainbow-coloured cards, too.
$14, amazon.caPhoto: rnrgames.com
It’s a battle of wits in this simpler, more enjoyable version of the original. Each player writes out his best guess to the trivia question drawn and places it face-up on the “betting mat” for everyone to see. If you’re confident in your own answer, bet on it with your poker chips. Otherwise, bet on the guess you think is most accurate. The closest answer (without going over) is the one that “pays out” according to the odds. Make it interesting with real money if you dare!
Up to 20 players (in teams)
$30, toysrus.caPhoto: northstargames.com
In this Walking Dead-inspired game, four infectious diseases are spreading. Players are the disease-fighting specialists charged with researching cures and treating outbreaks before they wipe out humanity. Using the cards in the deck, take up to four actions per turn to travel between cities on the board, treat infected areas, work on a cure or build research stations. But be careful—Epidemic! cards speed up the spread and effects of the diseases. If they spread too fast or time runs out, everyone loses.
$50, indigo.caPhoto: zmangames.com
This card game has players creating crazy rules or curses—Bark like a dog!—for their opponents and then exacting punishments when they fail to obey. Once you’ve violated three curses, you’re out of the game. It may not be a game of swearing, but we can’t guarantee that the curses people place on you won’t have you cursing!
$55, amazon.caPhoto: amazon.ca
In this Q+A game, a player reads out the question from the card they draw and everyone writes down their answers. The responses are collected and read out loud and then everyone has to guess who gave each answer. The adult version is even funnier than the original, and with over 300 questions this board game is anything but boring. There’s even a Parenting 101 version.
$24, staples.caPhotos: loadedquestions.com
The same rules apply in this updated version of a classic: Roll the letter dice and flip the timer, then players start scribbling answers on their category list. The catch: Each answer has to begin with the letter on the dice and has to be creative enough that no other player duplicates it. When the timer goes, review your lists and score a point for every unique answer.
$25, toysrus.caPhotos: hasbro.com
This game stands out because it’s a tile-placement game. Every player takes turns choosing a tile, each with a piece of French landscape on it—cities, roads, grassland, etc. The aim is to join them with tiles that have already been played so that they connect all the elements together. After placing your tile, you have the option of playing one of your “meeples” on the appropriate landscape (city = knight, road = robber, grass = farmer, cloister = monk) to win points. In this game of fast-thinking and strategizing, you’ll watch the landscape of southern France come together, one tile at a time.
$46, amazon.caPhoto: zmangames.com
Sometimes parents just need to take a trip. The rules for this game are fairly simple. Each player collects train car cards that provide railway routes through North America—the longer your route, the more points you earn. You win bonus points for completing the goals on the Destination Tickets that connect you to cities further away.
$70, indigo.caPhoto: indigo.ca
Tell us what your favourite adults-only board games are!