Best Social Multiplayer Games to Play at a Party Android Central 2020
Party games provide a great way for friends, new and old, to come together, share a laugh, and just have a good time. With the new reality of many of us stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic, these games can be a distraction and a source of laughter at an otherwise-serious time. Here are our favorites!
- You don't know Jack!: The Jackbox Party Pack
- A pen and paper escape room: Escape Team
- First let me take a selfie: Selfie Games
- There are no wrong answers: Psych!
- No talent required: Who Can't Draw
- Family fun for all: Heads Up!
- All aboard!: Ticket to Ride
- Cooperative party game: Spaceteam
- What's everyone else talking about?: Out of the Loop
- A game of deception: Triple Agent!
- The best VR game for a party: Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes!
- A great app for all other games: Chwazi Finger CHOOSER
Since 2013, Jackbox Games has been developing outstanding social party games that are super intuitive to play and available across a wide variety of platforms. It gets people talking and laughing as any good party game should. These fun party games are available from Steam, most video game consoles, and Android TV devices (linked below) so you can play on your TV or computer. Best of all, there are no special controllers required — up to eight people can play using any smartphone, tablet, or laptop to connect. There are six Jackbox Party Packs available.
Escape Team lets you enjoy the fun of solving escape room-style puzzles with 2-4 people in the comfort of your home using pen and paper. You download and print off missions from the Escape Team website and then load up the matching mission in the Android app. The app gives you your countdown clock and delivers a fictional backstory for the missions via audio clips. You can also use the app to request hints if your group gets stuck on a puzzle.
Selfie Games is a casual party game that requires a Chromecast, Fire TV, or computer to play. It's designed to be played with groups of 3-10 players, and all each player needs to do is download the app on their phone and snap a few silly selfies. The selfies are then used as drawing prompts. Once everyone is done with their beautiful works of art, everyone writes a fake caption for each selfie sketch with the goal of tricking the other players to choose your caption. Players get points if their caption is chosen. The host will need to pay $7 to create games, but everyone else can connect and play for free.
Psych is a game of trivia and bluffing where everyone comes up with a fake answer to the question, and then tries to guess which is the real answer. You get points for picking the right answer or if someone picks your answer. It's similar to games like Balderdash or Fibbish. This game requires that all players have the app loaded onto their own phones, along with a solid internet or Wi-Fi connection. There are in-app purchases to unlock new categories, or decks, but there's enough variety in what's included for free for an evening's worth of fun.
Get your friends and family to flex their artistic skills (or lack of said skills) and find out Who Can't Draw. The first artist gets a word and does their best to draw a picture of that word. The phone is then passed around the room, with each person trying to do their best to copy the drawing they were passed in just 15 seconds. It's essentially a sketching version of the old schoolyard game of telephone. Once the phone reaches the last person in the game, they must try and guess what the original word. It's hilarious to see how the interpretation changes from person to person.
Love it or hate it, Charades is a classic party game that's perfect for all ages. Heads Up! is the popular mobile version of Charades that was made popular by Ellen DeGeneres. It updates the format by having you hold your phone up to your forehead and having your friends and family act out or try to give you clues for the word on the screen. There are over 40 different themed decks available, and you get eight decks for free. Additional decks are available via in-app purchases and start at $1.
The award-winning train-based board game is a household favorite around these parts, and it's also got an outstanding, fully-licensed app for Android. It's a great little game to play with up to four other friends, featuring pass-and-play for playing on a single device, or local area network options if everyone has the app on their own phone. Setup and play time is short and brisk thanks to all the card dealing and pieces being handled digitally, making a well-designed game even more fun to play.
Spaceteam is a cooperative game for 2-8 players where everyone plays the part of a crew member on a spaceship that's falling apart and trying to outrun an exploding star. Everyone is given a random control panel on their phone and have to work together to follow time-sensitive instructions. The twist is that instructions come from the other teammates so you'll need to communicate your instructions (yelling is effective) and listen for relevant instructions for your own control panel. It's a frantic time that requires all players to download the game on their phone and connect over the same Wi-Fi network.
Out of the Loop is a game of deduction that's perfect for casual play. It's designed to be played on one phone that's passed around a group of up to nine players. Pick a category and then pass the phone around so that everyone gets a chance to read the secret word — except the one player who "out of the loop" for the round. Players then take turns asking each other silly random questions about the secret word. Once the question round is over, everyone votes for who they think is the out-of-the-loop player based on how they answered the questions.
Triple Agent! is a great party game that's all about deception and espionage. Each player is secretly assigned a role as either a Service agent or a VIRUS double agent. Only the VIRUS agents know who is on each team. The goal for the Service agents is to discover and eliminate the VIRUS agents, while the VIRUS agents try and turn the Service agents against one another. The whole game is played on one phone and the rules are explained as you play. The base game supports 5-7 players with an expansion available to purchase in the app that offers more operations and customization along with support for up to nine players.
It's not too often we get to recommend a VR game for a social gathering given how isolating a typical VR experience is, but Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is far from your typical VR game. It's an intense game of bomb defusing that looks to recreate those movie moments where the main character gets defusing instructions over the walkie-talkie. Available for both Google's Daydream View (linked below) or Samsung's Gear VR (available from the Oculus Store), one person straps on the VR headset and gets to view and manipulate the bomb, while everyone else in the room consults the bomb manual, downloadable for free from BombManual.com.
Most of the entries on this list are great multiplayer games you and your friends can play, but Chwazi Finger Chooser is an awesome app to have on your phone for more traditional games. It's an app that's designed to quickly and randomly help groups decide who goes first or help you split into teams. Simply load up the app, choose the parameters, and then have each player place one finger on the screen. Once everyone is in, Chwazi takes a moment and then randomly selects one finger to go first or splits everyone into color-coded teams.
These games are sure to get the party started
Face the facts — people are going to be on their phones at holiday gatherings, so you might as well get a fun party game started!
My top pick is the Jackbox Party Pack, which is admittedly the most expensive option on the list, but is also the most polished and robust collection here. We've linked to the Android TV version that works best on something like the NVIDIA Shield TV, but it's also available on Steam, from the Microsoft Store for Xbox One, and for the Playstation 4. Get the version that makes the most sense for you.
My family is always down to play a few rounds of Heads Up, which is always a great time. There's also a ton of bundle deals currently available for the holidays that will add a good variety of decks to the game.
It's worth noting that while most of the games on our list can be played on one phone or with each person playing on their own phone, there are a couple of games that require extra equipment. Selfie Games requires a Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV TV. Another favorite game, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, is a tried and tested VR classic that requires a Google Daydream View to play the Google Play Store version of the game.
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