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Friday Favorites: 15 Fantastic Games for Game Nights with Friends and Young Adults

Do you love playing games with your older teens or young adult kids? Or maybe getting together with friends for fun game nights? We’re sharing 15 of our favorite games to play. Did your favorites make our list?

We love games.

A lot.

More often than not, when we get together with our friends we end up playing some kind of game.

And there’s a good chance we’ll be playing one or more when we hang out with our kids too!

Side note: out of curiosity, at what point do you stop referring to your young adult children as “kids”? And if you stop referring to them as kids, what do you call them?! We kind of think we’ll always end up calling them our kids, even when they’re 50… LOL

Anyway, getting back to playing games.

We love how they can make us laugh, and we love that sometimes they lead to some pretty amazing conversations.

Anne from Simply2Moms holding their favorite games for game night with friends and young adults.

And now that the kids are all technically adults, we love that the games are all actually fun!

Not that we didn’t enjoy playing Chutes and Ladders, Candyland, Old Maid, and Go Fish.

But sometimes those games got a little mind numbing…

Over the years we’ve picked up some games that turned out to be duds with our crew.

We’re not bothering to share those with you!

Today, we’re sharing the tried and true games we turn to again and again.

Our favorite game night games.

If you have a favorite that we’ve left out, please let us know about it in the comments below! Because we’re always on the hunt for another great game for our game nights.

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Games Guaranteed to Make You Laugh

1. Poetry for Neanderthals

Anne from Simply2Moms holding Poetry for Neanderthals game box plus the inflated No stick club.

Who doesn’t need a little more laughter in their life?

We can’t think of anyone!

Anne’s family has a tradition of getting a new game every Christmas.

A few years ago, her husband got Poetry for Neanderthals and it’s hilarious!

One person on the team has to get the other people to guess the word or phrase on a card.

The catch: they can only use one syllable words.

Did I mention the “NO Stick”?

Someone from the other team gets to hit them with the inflatable No Stick if they break any of the rules.

It’s so funny how some people instantly revert to talking with grunts and guttural voices!

This is definitely a family favorite.

2. Utter Nonsense

Anne from Simply2Moms holding original Utter Nonsense game box.

We’ve had Utter Nonsense for years!

In fact, Anne’s had it for so long that the game has been completely rebranded with different packaging.

Fortunately, the contents remained the same.

Each player has a variety of phrase cards that they’ll get to read.

The funny part?

Every round there’s a new Voice card.

What’s a Voice card, you ask?

It’s essentially instructions for how people need to talk when they read their phrases. Some of our funniest voice cards have been Robot, German Spy, Opera Singer, Toddler, and Rock Star.

So besides getting to use funny voices, the key is to choose a phrase that will be even funnier if said with that type of voice.

Some people always sound the same, no matter what voice they try to use. And other people really get into it.

No matter what, it always causes lots of laughs!

If your crew doesn’t mind things getting a little crass, you’ll probably enjoy Utter Nonsense for Ages 17+ too.

3. Happy Salmon

Anne from Simply2Moms holding Happy Salmon and Exploding Kittens game boxes.

Happy Salmon is a new game for us this year and it doesn’t disappoint!

You play the game standing up, and each round only takes about 90 seconds.

Each person has a stack of cards with phrases and actions.

You have to find someone else with the same card and then you can both discard it.

It gets noisy and rowdy and is lots of fun!

We’ve never only played one round.

Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens is actually a game you can play with younger kids.

The goal is to be the last player remaining.

Everyone else will ultimately get blown up by an exploding kitten card.

There are defuse cards, pass cards, shuffle cards, and all kinds of funny random cards that are played in different ways.

It’s super easy to learn and it’s just so absurd that you can’t help but laugh.

The makers of the game also release expansion packs with fresh new cards every so often, so the game doesn’t get old.

There’s also an NSFW version of the game for players 18 and older with some slightly inappropriate art on the cards.

Easy Card Games You Can Carry With You

Anne from Simply2Moms holding decks of cards to play Uno, Phase10, and Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza.

4. Classic Uno

Last year we went to a local brewery for a game night.

They had all kinds of board games and card games to play and it was so fun!

Eventually, we realized that their Uno deck was missing a lot of cards.

Like a lot, a lot.

Being a detail-oriented person, Anne started sorting and counting the cards to figure out what was missing.

A woman who was leaving noticed, and she gave us a fresh pack of Uno that she carries in her purse!

Turns out, Classic Uno has changed a little and has some great new wild card surprises.

Ever since, Anne has started carrying around a pack of Uno in her purse too.

It’s fun to pull out and play at breweries and someday she plans to pay it forward and give a deck to someone else.

5. Phase 10

Another fun game you can carry around in your purse, or leave in your car, is Phase 10.

It’s a lot like contract Rummy.

Each round you’re trying to complete a specific task (phase) like getting 2 3-of-a-kinds, or a 4-card run plus a 3-of-a-kind.

The trick is, you don’t get to move on to the next phase until you’ve completed the previous one.

If someone goes out before you, they get to move on and you’re stuck trying to complete that phase again.

There are 10 phases and the goal is to be the first person to complete all 10.

Keeping score is the biggest pain in this game because the game doesn’t come with scoring sheets.

Someone has created tablets of Phase 10 Score Sheets that make it much easier to see who wins.

If you’re competitive like that… 😉

6. Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza could easily fit under the “Games to Make You Laugh” category!

It’s so simple.

Each person has a stack of cards.

You go around the table turning over one card at a time.

While each person says either taco, cat, goat, cheese, or pizza (in that order).

It’s kind of hard to explain, but you can pick it up quickly!

If the card you flip matches the word you said, then there’s a race to slap the discard pile.

Last person to slap gets stuck with all the discarded cards.

The goal is to get rid of all the cards in your hand, so you really don’t want to be the last person!

There are also some special cards where you have to make hand motions.

It’s portable.

It’s funny.

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is a great game for any age.

Games to Get You Rolling Dice

Anne from Simply2Moms holding Yahtzee game box and Tenzi dice with deck of Tenzi game cards.

7. Tenzi

Last summer, we were introduced to a game called Tenzi by some friends.

Each player has a different colored set of 10 dice.

Each round, everyone is rolling their dice to meet a certain goal, for instance, roll until all 10 dice are threes.

First player to get to the goal shouts “Tenzi!”

This game gets loud and raucous and we love it!

Or at least most of us do.

If you want to play with more than six people, get this set of Tenzi for 8 with 77 Extra Game Cards.

The extra game cards have all sorts of goals for you to roll for.

8. Yahtzee

Another oldie but goodie is Yahtzee.

Like Tenzi, you’re rolling to get certain combinations, but there’s a whole list of combinations with different scores for each one.

The goal is to score the most points.

There’s definitely a lot of luck with this game, but there’s some strategy too as you decide how to score each of your rounds.

One thing we’ve learned, even though you can play Yahtzee with a large group, it gets pretty boring with groups larger than four while you wait for your turn to roll again.

If you’ve got a larger group, Tenzi is way more fun.

Games with Some Strategy

9. Sequence

Anne from Simply2Moms holding Sequence and Rummikub game boxes.

When Simply2Moms do a game night with the Simply2Dads, there’s about a 90% chance we’ll be playing Sequence..

It’s pretty much our favorite game.

We always play guys vs. girls because that way, there’s no bickering between couples.

It’s a card game that’s played on a board.

You’ve got two decks of cards and you put down chips on the board as you play a card.

The goal is to get two sequences (five cards in a row).

There are wild cards that let you remove the other team’s chips or play a chip wherever you want.

It’s one of those games that’s easy enough to play that you can also be listening to music and having conversations.

10. Rummikub

If you’ve ever played Rummy, then you know the basics of what you need to know to play Rummikub!

Instead of cards, you play with tiles.

The fun part is that once tiles get played on the table, you can use them to help you get rid of the tiles in your stand.

There’s definitely some strategy that goes with this game, and it’s one of Anne’s favorites!

11. Mexican Train Dominos

Anne from Simply2Moms holding Wooden Mexican Train Dominos Set.

Anne’s sister introduced her to Mexican Train Dominos about ten years ago.

Up to 8 players can play, but it’s most fun with 7 or less because then you can set up something called a “Mexican Train” that’s basically a row of dominos that anyone can play on at any time.

The goal is to get rid of all your dominos first.

This is where some strategies can come into play: when do you play on your own train vs. when do you play on the Mexican train (or other open rows)? Do you help players who couldn’t start their own train or hold those dominos back?

There’s no right answer because there are pros and cons about each decision.

When you’re down to one domino in your hand, you have to say “choo choo” and like Uno, if you forget you have to pick up another domino.

This is one of those games that can last for hours, but it’s so fun you don’t even notice.

12. Trash Pandas

Anne from Simply2Moms holding Trash Pandas game box.

Anne picked up this game before her family’s trip to the Dominican Republic.

One of the evenings was rainy so they stayed in and played games.

Trash Pandas requires some strategy as you roll dice, play, and collect cards. Namely: do you press your luck and keep rolling?!

It’s a really light-hearted game and it plays pretty quickly, so it’s a fun family game.

Games Where You Pass Something

Anne from Simply2Moms holding UMD game box.

13. LCR (Left Center Right)

We’ve played LCR at a PTSO party and the winners walked away with bottles of wine!

Anne’s also played the game in Virginia where play was with dollar bills instead of chips.

It’s a simple dice game with three dice. Depending on what you roll, you may get to keep your chips, or you pass them to the right, to the left, or they might get removed from play and sent to the center.

This is a fast-moving game and it’s definitely most fun when there’s a prize involved!

Anne from Simply2Moms holding Sushi Go Party box.

14. Sushi Go Party

Sushi Go Party is the newest game we’ve played and it’s so much fun!

Anne’s daughters discovered it from some of their friends.

At first, it feels a little confusing, but after a few rounds, you get the hang of how to score points.

This game moves fast, so you’ll get into the swing of it in no time!

You start out with a certain number of cards in your hand, then you choose which one you want to keep to build your hand then pass the rest to your right.

This goes on until all the cards are played, and then you count up your points.

The graphics are engaging, and there’s some strategy in choosing what to keep and what to pass.

It’s interesting to see how different players will work towards different point-building goals.

But watch out!

Just when you think you’ve got the hang of things, the game board flips, and there are all new cards to learn.

There are lots of laughs with this game, and it’s different from any others that we’ve played.

Which of these games have you played and loved?

Are there any new ones we need to try? Tell us about them in the comments below!

We’d love to hear about it….just leave a comment below!

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Collage of 15 favorite game boxes to play for family game nights.

Sources: Poetry for Neanderthals | Yahtzee | Phase 10 | Phase 10 Score Sheets | Sushi Go Party | Tenzi for 8 with 77 Extra Game Cards | Mexican Train Dominos | Sequence | Trash Pandas | Classic Uno | Exploding Kittens | Happy Salmon | Rummikub for Six | Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza | LCR | Utter Nonsense | (not pictured but still fun) Utter Nonsense for Ages 17+ | Cards Against Humanity

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