The Power of Game Night + 11 Fun Board Games for Adults

group of adults playing fun board games

Most people nowadays seem to be following an “all work and no play” lifestyle. With hectic schedules and endless commitments, it’s like there’s just no time left for fun. Whatever happened to those childhood days of playing for hours on end? Newsflash: grown-ups need to play, too. And one of the best ways to recapture that childlike excitement is to enjoy a fun evening playing board games. How about a little healthy competition between spouses or friends over a couple of drinks? Count us in.

Play Is Essential to Overall Well-Being

There’s a lot of evidence that confirms the importance of play for children. However, there are just as many health benefits for adults. A game night for adults helps improve brain function. It strengthens neural connections that lead to mental flexibility and creativity. Brain-teasing games can even slow cognitive decline and decrease the risk of certain mental disorders.

In addition, having fun relieves stress and tension, lowering the chances of heart disease, depression, and other health problems. Likewise, fun and play bring laughter, which can improve vascular health and further keep your mind sharp. Studies even suggest that positive emotions increase cognitive resources by expanding visual attention. If all these benefits sound good to you, forget binge-watching tv and invite your friends for an awesome adult game night instead.

Board Game Sessions Can Bring People Closer

This might be a no-brainer, but you can’t enjoy playing fun board games by yourself. It’s an activity for which the foundation is cooperation. Whether the participants are playing in teams or against each other, everyone follows the same set of rules. Therefore, it’s impossible not to socialize during board game sessions. They require players to sit down and interact with each other. They teach lessons about taking turns and facing defeat. A game night for adults can also serve as an outlet for tension and rivalry. All these ultimately lead to better, stronger relationships. Players plot against each other and share laughs. They roll the dice and move pieces around. They solve puzzles together. Bonding moments such as these are priceless.

Our Top 11 Fun Board Games for Adults

Finally convinced that an adult game night is a great idea? We’ve put together a list of some of the most popular, top-rated board games you can choose from for an evening of exciting play.

Splendor (2-4 players)

splendor box cover, a fun board games for adults

In this renaissance-themed resource-collecting game, players act as game merchants. Tokens are used to buy gem-mine cards and to attract the attention of nobles to gain more points. With eye-catching gem coins and cards, Splendor balances luck and intro-level strategy.

Catan (3-4 players)

catan game box, a fun board games for adults

In this civilization-building game, Catan requires players to collect resources for creating settlements, cities, and roads that correspond to points. Catan focuses more on strategy over luck, so it can lead to a highly interactive and very interesting game night. Be warned though, this game’s competitive play could get players pretty fired up.

Cards Against Humanity – Absurd Box (most fun with 6-8 players)

cards against humanity game box, a fun card games for adults

You can probably find Cards Against Humanity in most lists of fun board games for adults. It’s one of the most popular products on Amazon. Each round, a player asks a question from a Black Card, and everyone else answers with their funniest White Card. The combination possibilities are endless and the cards are ridiculous enough to get players reacting in the most unexpected ways.

Exploding Kittens: NSFW Edition (2-5 players)

exploding kittens game box, a fun board games for adults

A line-up of fun board games for adults wouldn’t be complete without the hilarious party game, Exploding Kittens (NSFW Edition). Players put cards on the table and take turns drawing from them. If you draw an Exploding Kitten, you explode and are out of the game. All of the other cards in the deck are used to move, mitigate, or avoid the Exploding Kittens. This NSFW version features great artwork that’s meant for adult eyes only.

Anti-Monopoly (2-6 players)

anti-monopoly game box, a fun board games for adults

It’s like the beloved real estate game but with a twist. Anti-Monopoly lets you play as a monopolist or a free-market competitor. These two types of players follow different rules in their quest for big bucks. You need a combination of luck and skill to win. There’s always a new challenge each time you play.

Codenames (2-8+ plus)

codenames game box, a fun board game for adults

Want an adult game night that improves your vocabulary? Try Codenames. It’s a word-guessing game where one player from each team acts as the spymaster and gives one-word clues to get their team to guess which word cards on the table conceal their team’s own agents. The first team to locate all of their agents wins.

Betrayal at House on the Hill (3-6 players)

betrayal at house on the hill game box, a fun board game for adults

Betrayal at House on the Hill is perfect for a spooky game night for adults. It lets players team up to explore haunted hallways over and over, with a new scary scenario for each round. It’s filled with suspense and you don’t have to compete with your friends.

Clue: Game of Thrones Edition (2-4 players)

clue game of thrones game box, a fun board game for adults

Are you and your friends fans of the Game of Thrones saga? Then the Clue: Game of Thrones mystery game should be at the top of your list of fun board games. Players have to find out who the murderer is by figuring out which one of the six collectible metal weapons was used for the crime. You get to enjoy playing a version of Clue that lets you live out your Game of Thrones fan-fiction fantasies.

What Do You Meme? (3+ players)

what do you meme game box, a fun card game for adults

What Do You Meme is a game for the social media generation. Players compete to see who can make the funniest meme. A rotating judge picks the best combination each round. Whoever has the funniest pairing and whoever played the winning Caption Card wins. The memes can get raunchy, so better save it for your next adult game night. 

Cranium Dark (3+ players)

cranium dark game box, a fun board game for adultsRemember the family game Cranium? It got an adults-only makeover called Cranium Dark. This board game is a little like Pictionary, Charades, and Name That Tune rolled into one. Players have to act, draw, sing, or sculpt out a huge array of clues that their teammates have to guess. It’s perfect for an adult game night that’s a little bit risqué.

Coup (2-6 players)

coup game box, a fun card game for adultsSecret identities. Deduction. Deception. Coup is a bluffing card game where only one survives and establishes power by outwitting the rest. In order to take command, you must destroy the influence of your rivals and drive them into exile. Although there is some strategy (or lying), the game is not overly complicated. And as a bonus, it is easily transferrable and can be played in approximately 15 minutes.

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Ellen Madden studied Communications and Women & Gender Studies at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. She is navigating motherhood while working and celebrating life in Tampa, FL where she grew up. Ellen is a food lover and is learning the art of writing as she goes along.

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