With the cold weather upon us, it can be tempting to spend most nights indoors. Inviting friends over for movies and junk food starts to sound much better than going out to bars. But if you're sick of watching Netflix with your pals, there's another way to spend cold nights inside: tabletop games.
Game nights are by no means an original idea, but there are tons of new games on the market, most of which not many people have heard of. So if you're reluctant to have game night because you're tired of Monopoly or Cards Against Humanity, you can try these other options. You won't regret it.
1. "One Night Ultimate Werewolf"
A game of deceit and betrayal, "One Night Ultimate Werewolf" is a sure way to up the excitement during a night indoors. Players draw secret identities, placing them on one of two teams: the werewolves or the villagers. From there, it's the job of the villagers to find a werewolf and vote them out of the village. Likewise, the werewolves must lie to stay alive.
This game will have you screaming at your friends before the night is up. And that's the fun of game night, isn't it?
2. "The Resistance: Avalon"
"Avalon" has similar qualities to "One Night Werewolf," and things are likely to get equally as heated. Instead of villagers and werewolves, the secret identities drawn in this game stem from the roundtable. You can be a good guy, like Merlin or Percival. Or you might draw an evil card, like Mordred and Morgana.
Once everyone has chosen their identities, players will go on missions. These missions will be passed or failed by votes from those playing. If you're on the evil team, you want to find a way to fail the majority of the missions (preferably without giving yourself away in the process).
Some of the cards give players powers, allowing them information as to where their friends' loyalties lie. But at its core, this game is a jumbled mess of trying to determine who to trust before the time runs out. There's a lot of shouting with this one too.
3. "Castle Panic"
If you're looking for a more collaborative game, "Castle Panic" is a great choice. Players work together to prevent monsters from destroying their castle. Sound easy? It won't be once you start drawing multiple monsters per turn.
The monsters move through three rings before they begin tearing down your castle walls. Unfortunately, you'll need to use the power cards you draw each turn to knock down their life points before they reach the castle. And these cards don't always work in your favor.
This is one of those games where you get up to go to the bathroom and come back to find your walls on fire and monsters everywhere. But hey, at least you won't be frustrated with your friends!
In "Munchkin," each player builds their own character. They add traits, powers, weapons - anything to make themselves more powerful. Then, they use this strength to defeat the monster cards they draw each turn. The first player to reach the 10th level wins.
Again, this sounds easier than it is. Those you're competing against can use their cards to level up the monsters you fight. They can also use special abilities to curse you or knock you down a level.
While many of the original versions of "Munchkin" are fantasy themed, there seems to be a "Munchkin" for everyone nowadays. You can even grab a Marvel or Alice in Wonderland version of this game.
5. "Dead of Winter"
"Dead of Winter" is an apocalyptic zombie game, where players work together to collect supply cards while keeping the dead at bay. Using dice rolls for each turn, you'll need to draw cards to complete the objectives that pop up each turn. You'll also need to save cards for the overall objective and your own personal goal. Oh, and you need to make sure zombies don't overrun every location on the board and eat you.
No sweat, right? On the bright side, you get to draw characters with special abilities (some of which help you destroy the zombies). I'd definitely recommend playing this one on a night where you have a lot of time, though.
6. "Ghost Stories"
In "Ghost Stories," four players race to defeat various ghosts before they haunt multiple tiles on the board. Some ghosts are more powerful than others, requiring the use of special abilities or tokens to defeat. If you can make it through most of the deck without being overrun, your team will have the opportunity to fight the "boss." Beat that monster and you can claim victory.
This game can be overwhelming the first time you play it, but after a few tries, you'll be breaking out your Ghostbusters uniform. You know, unless the ghosts obliterate you first...
7. "The Big Book of Madness"
This cooperative deck builder consists of drawing cards of four different element types and using them to defeat the monsters that emerge from the "big book." Some of them will need water and air to be destroyed, while others require fire and grass. Some of them will also use their abilities to whittle down your hand.
Players only get five turns to fight each monster, and it definitely becomes a race to see how quickly you can trade and draw cards. "The Big Book of Madness" can take game nights to all new levels of frustration.
During "Mysterium," one player takes on the role of a ghost, while the others attempt to figure out how this ghost was murdered. Through a series of picture cards distributed by the ghost, players must guess the correct person, location and weapon involved to win.
Basically, it's "Clue" on crack.
Unfortunately, the ghost can't speak and the images on the cards aren't as straightforward as you'd like. But players only get seven tries to choose the correct constituents. Choose wisely.
9. "Betrayal at House on the Hill"
This game is broken up into two parts. The first involves laying down tiles, eventually creating the layout of a haunted house. The players acquire powers and items in the process of building the house, two things they undoubtedly need for the second portion of the game.
Eventually, one player is revealed to be a traitor. This player now turns on the others, using newfound abilities (depending on the card drawn) to track them down and kill them. The other players have to use teamwork and their own abilities to avoid the traitor and take him or her down. As you can imagine, this is more difficult if the traitor's new power is something like invisibility.
This is another game that will make you hate all your friends. You're welcome.
"Catan" lets players live off the land, collecting various resources to build houses and roads. While this may sound like a wholesome little game, it can get ugly real quick.
Numbered sections on the board are broken up into the resources available, and players must choose where to put their first two settlements. When those sections are rolled, the players there can collect those resources and use them to build towns and roads.
Each type of house is worth a certain number of points, and you can also collect points from roads and special cards in the deck. The first to 10 victory points is the winner.
Playing "Codenames," players spread word cards out on the table in front of them. Breaking into teams, the players will give their team members hints as to which words are "theirs." For example, your hint can be something like "fruit, two."
If there are two obvious words related to fruit on the table, your teammate will choose these and get you ahead of the game. But be careful. If your rivals also have fruit related words, you risk giving them the points instead...
"Codenames" is definitely one of those games you want to play with friends on the same wavelength as you.
This is a panda-themed board game, and what's better than pandas? The point of "Takenoko" is to draw cards with different objectives on them. For example, you might need to grow a bamboo stalk or eat a certain amount of bamboo.
Upon completing these objectives, you collect the points on the upper right-hand corner of the card. After one player has collected the maximum amount of objective cards, everyone tallies up their points. The highest gets to keep the panda - just kidding.
13. "Geek Out"
"Geek Out" is an intense game of trivia constructed specifically for nerds. Players must draw a card and list a certain number of answers in response to the question on the card. For example, your card might say, "List 10 characters from Harry Potter."
Their competitors can up the number to steal points from them, making it a betting style trivia. The one who is able to list the most items wins - but make sure you don't bluff! If you say you can name 25 settings from Star Wars, you'd better be able to. Otherwise, you'll find yourself with negative point values.
14. "Love Letter"
In a circle, competitors draw character cards with different numeric values and abilities. Upon drawing your second card, you must decide which one to keep and which to play at that moment. Your goal should be to hold onto the higher value cards while using the lower ones to knock your friends out of the game.
At the end, the player with the highest card value wins. "Love Letter" is particularly fun in the various pop culture versions it's been released in. "Adventure Time" themed cards, anyone?
15. "Chez Geek"
If college were a tabletop game, it'd be "Chez Geek." The objective? To collect as many "slack points" as possible - i.e. be the laziest player by the end of the game. Each player is dealt a job card, which determines how much they can purchase each round. The slack cards range from alcohol to nookie to recreational drugs - and the worse they are for you, the more points you get from buying them!
Are you reliving your dorm days yet?
16. "Shadows Over Camelot"
"Shadows Over Camelot" is made up of a series of quests that must be vanquished before players can declare a win. This is made difficult by the fact that each player must do something "bad" at the beginning of their turn - either drawing a card that counters the team's success or placing a siege engine on the board (enough of these loses you the game).
After that, they can travel to one of the quests and help complete it. But with only one action per turn, this can take quite a while.
It also doesn't help that one player could be a traitor. If that's the case, their objective will be to subtly steer the quests toward failure. Subtle is key here. If the other players catch onto the traitor, they can vote to reveal him. And if they're correct, that's more points for them.