When you have a big group of friends coming over, you have a few options. You can break into smaller groups and play games, you can forgo gaming altogether and just talk (but who would wanna do that?), or you can break out the party games.
For this week’s CMON Feature Friday, we decided to look at one of the most underrated genres in gaming; the party game!
If you are reading this article, chances are you consider yourself a bit of a gaming expert. You have your preferred styles of games, a favorite designer, and a whole collection of titles to choose from. There’s also a pretty good chance you’ve poo-pooed playing a party game at one time or another. Here are some points that might change your mind.
Games for Everyone
By their very nature, party games are meant to be played by anyone. This means that the rules are easier to teach and easier to grasp. You won’t have to spend 30-45 minutes explaining the mechanics and strategy, and that means people who would normally be intimidated or turned off by a deep strategy game might be willing to play. Party games allow for you to play a game with a family member you never thought you would, or include a significant other in your hobby when they would usually shy away from it. The best thing is that once you’ve shown them how cool the world of gaming can be, they may be much more interested in trying something else from your collection.
Timing is Everything
Party games tend to be a lot quicker than almost any other type of game out there. Their simple premises mean that rounds can fly by in 15-20 minutes. This allows for multiple plays, especially when the game has an addictive mechanic. The other benefit to short rounds is that players can join or drop out a lot easier. Jump in, play a round or two, then move on to other things. When new friends arrive, you don’t have to feel bad that they won’t be able to get playing for long periods. They can get in on the fun during the next round.
Often, party games will allow players to work in groups, or they’ll be fully cooperative. So much of the board gaming hobby is centered around competition, it’s nice when we get a chance to join forces with other players and work together with a common goal. When everyone is on the same team, as is the case with the upcoming CMON game Dream On, you win or lose together. In a sense, it takes some of the pressure away from the game, and you can just enjoy some time spent with friends. Speaking of which…
Because party games tend to be lighter in their approach, we usually take winning and losing a lot less seriously than we would an intense brain-burner. That’s not to say you can’t have a ton of fun trying to win against other teams or players, simply that with a thinner set of rules and a shorter play time, the investment we make in the outcome is a lot lower. With many party games, it can be easier to throw out the points altogether and just focus on the shared group experience of playing. Party games are useful tools to remind us that games are about having fun more than anything else.
You can’t always play a party game. More often than not, you won’t have enough players to have a ton of fun with them. When you do get the chance to play party games, embrace the opportunity to try something new. It may be a departure from the regular type of games that you play, but that’s a good thing. You may find that you enjoy the experience and will be left looking for the next opportunity to invite a crowd over to your house for a gaming session.
What’s your opinion of party games? Do you think they deserve their somewhat-negative reputation with hardcore gamers, or is there a lot of fun to be found on the party game scene? Which party games are your favorite? We want to hear from you, so reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #CMONFeatureFriday and let us know what you think.