Stardock Game Night: Games for Big Groups
Article posted on 8/18/2022
One of the benefits of working with a bunch of people who love games as much as you do is that you’re never short on takers for a game night! We try to do these once a month or so here at the office as time permits, and it’s always a good excuse for us to unwind together after a long work day and just enjoy each other’s company.
The biggest challenge of game nights here is finding games that can accommodate larger groups of people. Our turnouts are so big that it’s inevitable that we split off into groups these days, but even those groups are sizeable and need a game that can handle more than 4 players.
I thought I would share a few of our favorite group games here at Stardock in case you find yourself bursting at the seams on game night. So, let’s get to it!
This one almost always makes an appearance at game night - especially if Derek (Kael) is in attendance! Avalon is a social deduction game for up to 10 players that pits the loyal servants of King Arthur against the evil underlings of the would-be usurper, Mordred.
Everyone’s roles are hidden from one another and only the player who draws the Merlin card gets to know who the enemies are. The trick is, they can’t just share this information out loud at the table - one of the bad guys is the assassin, and if they figure out who Merlin is at the end of the game, Mordred’s minions will win.
The game is played in a series of rounds where people go on quests together. If you’re a servant of Arthur, you want these quests to succeed - if you pass 3 of them, then the good guys win! If you’re evil, you want to convince the good guys to take you on quests so that you can fail them. Voting is anonymous, so no one is ever sure of exactly who they’re supposed to trust.
Avalon will tell you a lot about your friends, that’s for sure! Derek says this is team building, but given the amount of mistrust we have for each other every time we sit down to play, I’m beginning to wonder if that’s really the case.
This game is great for people who enjoy a light bit of acting and a whole lot of lying to each other. I wouldn’t recommend it for more reserved friends or people who struggle with fibs. Don’t worry, though - the next game I’m covering is much more of a catch-all!
I adore this game, and so do my coworkers. It’s become a new favorite around here! A friend of mine who is also a big game nut recommended it to me a few months ago, so I picked it up. A few of my coworkers and I were hanging around together after a party and I pulled it out to give it a try - we ended up playing until nearly 2 a.m.
The game is super simple in concept, but is definitely a creative thought challenge once you begin to play! Each player has a small white board easel and a dry-erase marker. The active player will flip up a card that has 5 words on it and pick a number. Whichever word is beside that number is the word that everyone is trying to get that player to guess.
Here’s the kicker: they get just one guess, and you can write just one word. If you write the same word as any of the other players, the words get erased and the guesser doesn’t get to see them. It can make what seems like an easy guess get really complicated really quickly!
There are some rules for what words are acceptable - no made up words, no words from the same word family (I couldn’t write “Prince” if the word was “Princess” for example), etc. But onomatopoetic words are allowed and so is writing inflection within the word (I could write “Aliiiiiiive!” for Frankenstein, for instance).
The best part is that this game takes about 2 minutes to teach and 15-20 minutes to play. It’s a great warm-up game and a perfect addition to family game night, as it’s great for all ages! I can’t recommend it enough.
This game is literally chaos incarnate - which pretty much explains why we all love it.
In Magic Maze, you are an adventuring party that’s gone shopping in a fantasy mall to pick up items for your next adventure. And when I say shopping, I really mean stealing - hey, mauls are expensive at the mall! - so the trick is to get in and out silently and quickly.
You accomplish this as a group by controlling all 4 adventurers…but, there’s a catch: each player can only move the pawns in a certain direction or take certain actions. And you can’t talk to each other. The only way you can communicate is with a big red marker that you can pick up and move in front of other players to get their attention.
So, if I have the token that only allows me to move pawns to the north, I have to pay attention to where pawns are going so that I can be ready to do this, since the other players at the table can’t. One player has a card that will let you use the escalator, for example, and they are the only one who can move a pawn up or down the escalator.
Did I mention this was all timed?
There are timer spots on the board that, when you land on them, will allow you to flip the sand timer to get a bit more time. When you flip the timer, you can talk to your teammates and strategize where you want to go from there, but once the first move is made the talking ceases again.
Magic Maze can be really challenging - especially if you’re trying to play with the maximum players, which is 8! - but it’s an insane amount of fun. We played several rounds at our last game night and there was a whole lot of laughing the entire time. This is a great game for families as much as it is for more experienced gamers. I definitely suggest you try it out!
If you enjoy Taboo but find it a little too easy sometimes, then you’re going to love this one. Trap Words takes the idea of Taboo and sets it in a fantasy world where you dive through a dungeon, dodge traps, and fight bosses - all while competing against the other team to guess hidden words.
Each team picks a clue-giver whose job it is to get their teammates to guess the mystery word. The kicker here is that the enemy team gets to see the word first and pick the “trap words” for it - words that, if the clue-giver utters at any point, immediately ends their turn and prohibits them from scoring any points.
What I love most about this is that the clue giver doesn’t get to know what the trap words are - they have to speak carefully and guess what pitfalls the other team might have laid out for them! For example, if my word is “moss” I might surmise that the enemy team chose the words “green” and “grow” and would try to avoid them as I get my team to guess.
As each team advances further into the dungeon, the number of trap words increases. The first team to reach the end and defeat the boss wins. It’s a lot of fun - if you like word games and chaos - and we always get a lot of laughs whenever it hits the table.
There are, frankly, tons more games (you can see a slightly outdated picture of half of my game room at home above), but this blog is already a small novel. I love board games, and the only thing I love more than that is being able to share them with my friends. I usually bring two giant tubs with me to game night, lay out everything I've brought, and let people pick and choose as they will.
What are some of your favorite games, group or otherwise? I am always looking to try and learn something new, so please share them with me!