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Why do we play party games?

A party can be a strange beast.  Sometimes they are a real success, with everyone talking, laughing and enjoying themselves, whilst at other times conversations may seem rather forced and people may start making excuses to leave early.  It’s difficult to define in advance whether a party will be a success or not, but it is perhaps easier to analyse some of the factors that contribute to a convivial evening.

How to identify a successful party

Whether the group is of six, ten or twenty people, a common feature is that there is always a buzz of conversation, with much laughter and, ideally, everyone involved.  This can be quite difficult to achieve, especially when there may be some newcomers to the group, who may be shy in the presence of strangers.  Not everyone is a “party animal” and, for some, being part of such a group can be quite an excruciating experience.

Enter the party game

One way of overcoming this kind of difficulty is to encourage the group to play a party game, such as “Funny Feeling” from You and Me Games. This is a game played best in teams and it is suitable for people from teenagers to adults.  As with all the best party games, the emphasis is on light-hearted fun. It is competitive, with points being awarded for correct guesses of which feeling is being acted out in a particular context, but it is not so serious that arguments arise in interpretation.

One of the reasons for introducing party games is that they can be an excellent way of including everyone in an activity in a natural way.  They should, of course, avoid embarrassing anyone or forcing them to undertake an activity which they dislike.

What makes a fun party game?

As this recent Guardian article shows, many types of traditional games, both board games and party games, have seen a resurgence in popularity. People have enjoyed playing games for thousands of years, whether these involve an element of skill, chance, general knowledge or acting ability.  Perhaps the modern resurgence is a reaction to the growth in computer games, which do not have the same degree of social interaction.  It has long been recognised that laughter is very good for people and the laughter that arises from a group of people enjoying themselves can be incredibly infectious.

Some games are based on answering questions and, whilst these can be very enjoyable for people with good memories, they can be a little frustrating for those of us whose general knowledge is not so good! Other board games have been around in one form or another for centuries, perhaps with the original “board” being drawn in the sand or mud and playing pieces being made of shaped sticks, bones or stones.  Dice first appeared on the scene around four thousand years ago, though the modern cube probably originated in China less than three thousand years ago.

Many popular games include a form of charades, where, for example, participants try to guess the title of a book, film or play through one member of the group miming it out, often with hilarious results.  As a party host, it can be very rewarding to see a group of people – perhaps strangers prior to the party – relax and enjoy themselves.  Party games are an excellent way of breaking the ice with a light-hearted, fun activity.