5 Fun, Cheap Party Games You Didn't Know About

Every holiday or dinner party in need of a boost leans on the same party games: Pictionary, Charades, 20 questions, blah blah blah... In need of a new conceit to spur on some social interaction? Try one of these fun and affordable party games you didn't know about:


Mafia is a group game designed in Russia during end of the Cold War, and it shows. I first heard of the game earlier this spring, when a friend hosted a party specifically to play Mafia. It's free to play, like Charades. We were confused at first but it quickly got weird and fun!

Players: At least 3

Basic Rules

There are two teams, the "Mafia" (who know each other in the group) and the "Innocents" (everyone else who have no idea who the "Mafia" are). One moderator leads the game.

The game occurs in two phases: Night and Day. During the "night" phase, the mafia members elect someone to "kill," while everyone's eyes are closed. During the "Day" phase, everyone opens their eyes, and the moderator declares who was "killed." Everyone discusses, and someone must accuse a player of being in the "Mafia". The most fun part is arguing over whether someone is in the "Mafia" and whether to kill them. The moderator will reveal whether or not the accused player was in fact a Mafioso. On it goes until everyone is figured out.

Why It's Fun

The game involves a lot of social strategy which is really funny in a group of close friends. Similar to other games like Werewolf, you get a lot of hilarious arguments about whether someone is guilty or innocent. The surprise of each player's role reveal is also really fun.

1,000 Blank White Cards

If you haven't played 1,000 Blank White Cards, you're missing out on not only a great party game, but a really fun game for passing the time. I first learned about this game while in line for a panel at San Diego Comic-Con, known for crazy long waits.

Players: At least 2

Basic Rules

Gather as many blank cards as you can find. These can be index cards or chopped pieces of paper. The game is defined by the cards everyone creates. A card usually consists of a drawing and a short description of its meaning and the action required upon pulling the card. For example, you can have a card with a picture of a cactus that reads, "You just got picked by a cactus! Lose 4,000 points," then if you pull it that's what happens! Destroying cards is discouraged; if a card is not good, you can nominate it to "The Suck Box."

Why It's Fun

It's limited only by your imagination! Creating the deck is arguably one of the best parts of the game, trying to come up with the silliest rules funniest drawings you can imagine. The gameplay is one surprise after another.

Cards Against Humanity

A game that is rapidly becoming mainstream, Cards Against Humanity first formed a rabid following online. It's free to print the cards at home, and costs around $20 for a deck. If you have not heard of it, chances are the next party you go to will break out in a game.

Players: At least 2

Basic Rules

It's similar to Apples to Apples (actually, it's exactly like Apples to Apples) with a crazy twist. Each player pulls 10 white "answer" cards with a hilarious nonsequitur on it. One player starts as the "Card Czar," pulling a black "question" card. Each player takes a moment to best answer the "Card Czar" with one of their randomly drawn white cards. The "Card Czar" reads each white card in a funny manner, and chooses their favorite. The player who drew their favorite white card gets one "Awesome Point" and keeps the black card. Whoever has the most "Awesome Points" at the end of the game wins.

Why It's Fun

The cards are really funny, and many are surprising, controversial, or gross, so there is a ton of shock value. It's a really enjoyable game to play casually with friends.

TV Show Drinking Games

Did you know that nearly every single TV show or movie has its own drinking game? When having a night in with friends or roommates, a simple drinking game is a great way to get a party going. The only cost is the booze.

Players: 2 or more (drinking alone is sad)

Basic Rules

Go to drinkingcinema.com or drunktvzone.com to find make your drinking game choice. I recommend 90s show like Family Matters or Ally McBeal or a schlocky horror movie like Halloween 3: Season of the Witch. Simply drink whenever a specific recurring action or visual element occurs as per each game's rules! For bonus points, everyone can dress up as a character from the show or movie of choice.

Why It's Fun

Drinking games are an easy way to get a party started and a fun way to appreciate a silly show or movie ironically, dress up, and drink with buddies.


Ok, full disclosure. While I did not create the game, ClueMates was created by a publishing company I own.

ClueMates: The Passive Aggressive Roommate Detective Game is a parody board game that comes inside of a book, based on the mystery engine of Clue. The game satirizes life with roommates and has a cult following among board game and humor nerds. The game and book cost only $10.

Players: 3-6

Basic Rules

The rules are just like Clue. Each person plays as a character who is a credible suspect. Only, instead of a murder mystery, it is much funnier — your least favorite roommate has locked himself in the bathroom.

The Archetypes are different from classic Clue as well, with a couch-surfing stoner, a 4chan troll, a yoga instructor, a type-A bossypants, and one normal person, Rachel Feinstein. You must figure out which roommate ruined his day, what they did, and in which room of the terrible apartment you share, because everyone needs to use the bathroom! One new element to gameplay is that each character has one "superpower" causing others to lose a turn and making the game move faster.

Why It's Fun

For board game lovers, this is a fun, simplified party game full of adult jokes and it plays as a really funny, high-speed version of Clue for adults.

What party games do you enjoy? Please share in comments!

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5 Fun, Cheap Party Games You Didn't Know About

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Guest's picture

I recommed Mafia. Very Good game :)