Do you love a family game night but you’re sick of lugging out all the
board game boxes and checking for missing pieces? Or, maybe you’re hosting a little get-together and you’re not quite sure how to fill the time or awkward silences until everyone is comfortable. That’s where party game apps come in: whether they’re trivia-based, fast and simple, or super in-depth, they can bring everyone together with just a taps on their screens to download.
There’s so much planning that goes into a party, from the decorations and food to when and where it will be. But when it comes to how your guests interact with each other, well, it’s hard to have much control over that. Having a few party game apps in mind ahead of time can help you bring everyone together and get the party going if you’re sensing your guests need a little loosening up.
So, think about your crowd: Is it your family, including kids and grandparents, or all adults who wouldn’t mind a risqué trivia question or two? Would your kids prefer a teamwork-based game, or one where they can compete with each other for points? No matter who you’re playing along with, there’s a party game app out there that’s right for your night of fun.
Suited for kids ages 4 and up, and groups from three to 16 people, Gogogo! is appropriate for any party. It’s a tournament-style party game where players face a new challenge every round — sometimes they’re memory-related, sometimes they’re physical, and they’re always fun. As one reviewer writes, “I've got two girls (8 & 12) who absolutely love it, and playing as a family has filled up some long home schooling hours in an instant, easy and super fun way.”
2 Dirty Potato
Dirty Potato calls itself “a fast-paced party game for adults.” It’s loosely based on the age-old game, Hot Potato: a player will get a random, potentially very NSFW question or challenge, and have to quickly answer. Some examples include: name three famous robots, explain the Harry Potter series as fast as you can, and others that you should really read for yourself.
3 Evil Apples: Funny as ____
Keeping with the theme of adults-only, produce-related party game apps, here’s the gist of Evil Apples: it’s like Cards Against Humanity but in an app. A question or prompt is shown to the group, and everyone submits an answer they think is funniest so the judge can choose a winner from the pool. You can even play with friends from anywhere, so if your get-together is happening over Zoom, no worries there. (Remember, this one’s only for the 17 and older crowd.)
4 Heads Up
Heads Up is the king of all party game apps, and for good reason: It’s an updated twist on classic guessing party games. You put your iPhone or other mobile device screen-forward on your forehead (so your friends can see but you’re clueless about what’s written there), and they clue you in either by giving you hints or acting it out. You only need one phone to play, it’s intuitive and easy to learn, encourages social interaction, and gives everyone an excuse to get silly.
5 What Would You Choose?
What Would You Choose? is an update on the classic “would you rather” game (one of the best ways of passing the time on road trips). If you tend to run out of ideas for questions quickly, this app solves the problem with tons of randomly selected, pre-written prompts of an almost unending variety. It's also family-friendly, so there won't be any awkwardness with the kids or grandparents around.
6 Truth or Dare
If you run out of truth or dare ideas even faster than “would you rather” questions, the Truth or Dare app has you covered by choosing prompts for you. It makes the game a lot more fun and judgement-free, and the app gives you the option of either going for more risqué topics, or something a bit less naughty. It's got a 4.5-star rating, and a cute, simple interface.
Bravo! has a simple premise: You have to name a list of things that fall within a category, in just five seconds. The short time frame almost ensures you'll say something weird or embarrassing, and therein lies all the fun. The game gets a good rating on the App Store, but there's a caveat: while they offer a free version, they'll try to get you to buy an ad-free version for a $5 weekly subscription (or $15 monthly subscription). And while it may seem like signing up for the "3-day free trial" is the only way to proceed with the app, you can actually play the game with ads without signing up.
The concept of this game is a sort of fast-paced, automated
Family Feud: players are given a question and try to shout out what responses they think are on the answers list, while a scorekeeper marks off their correct answers on the phone. It even has an audio playback feature to settle any arguments with the referee. 9 Out Of The Loop
This is a deviously fun game that forces you to practice the art of deception (and it may not be for those with a serious case of FOMO). The phone is passed around, and each player is given the same simple prompt (like “hamburgers”), except one unlucky soul who is out of the loop, but must keep up the guise of being “in the loop.” Then the game prompts players to ask each other questions to try and find out who’s faking.
10 Reverse Charades
Like its name suggests, this is a game of reverse charades: the entire team acts out the word, while only one person tries to guess it. It’s highly customizable, allowing you to choose the number of rounds, teams, and seconds per turn. The game is free, but offers in-app purchases for more card-packs.
11 5 Second Guess
This game puts five seconds on the clock and asks each player to name three things that fit a category (think countries in Africa). After the time is up, the rest of the group decides if the player is right or wrong, and whoever has the most points at the end, wins. It’s suited for all ages, so this can be played with kids, although you can create custom questions if you want to add some funny ones for your friends.
12 Triple Agent!
This game follows a similar premise as “mafia,” but with spy-thriller twists and turns. You're either working as an agent or a double-agent, or, well, it gets more complicated. It's a great way to get into (fun) arguments with your friends as you try to defend yourself and implicate others.
13 The 7 Second Challenge
Want a family-friendly party game app? In 7 Second Challenge, each player gets, well, seven seconds to complete a task (like, touch the head of every person in the room). The game is updated with new prompts constantly so you’ll never have the same experience twice, and you’re sure to end the night with some new inside jokes.
From the creators of Heads Up, Psych! is a guessing game developed with Ellen DeGeneres that’s like a hybrid of trivia and Cards Against Humanity. You and your fellow players will answer hilarious questions about one another, like “What’s the last thing David googled?” Or, you can play trivia-style games where players add fake answers to the pool, and you all earn points by choosing the right answer.
15 Keep Talking & Nobody Explodes
Suitable for ages 9 and up, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a teamwork-based party game where one person with the phone or tablet has a simulated bomb, and everyone else has the instructions for defusing it, but can’t see it. It has a 4.6-star rating on the Apple app store, so it seems like a crowd-pleaser and one you’ll return to again and again.
So, pick a few game options and text your friends to download these party game apps before game night. Who knows? You may just find a new group favorite.
This article was originally published on
July 24, 2019