Sometimes a dinner party needs a bit of a kick start to get everyone chatting and having fun. Here’s a few suggestions – please feel free to email in your own ones to firstname.lastname@example.org so that others can benefit from them. Funny stories also gratefully received!
The Phrase Game
This is one of the easiest free party games to liven things up around the dinner table. All you need is a bit of imagination, a pen, and some small strips of paper. (Or, if you prefer more elegant dinner table games, some blank business cards or card stock and a printer– you can do this on the computer).
- Write or print a different phrase on several small pieces of paper. Place a piece under each of your dinner guests’ plates. Make the phrases usable but strange. Eg: “I wish I was a dog,” or “Have you tried scorpion?”
- Before dinner, ask everybody to read the card under their plate (to themselves, without sharing!). Instruct your guests to use their phrase or question as naturally as they can in conversation.
- You can decide to make this a race – whoever manages to use their phrase last loses. Or it can be a competition between guests. The goal is for each guest to figure out when another guest is using an assigned phrase. If they’re able to slip it into conversation naturally without anybody noticing, they win.
The ‘I didn’t know that!’ game
A good way to learn something new about you dinner guests – in-fact you’ll probably learn something new about even your own Mother in this game!
Get each person to write two things about themselves that nobody knows about e.g. ‘when I was younger I wanted to be a traffic warden!’
Everyone folds their pieces of paper and then pop them all into a bowl/hat
Pass the bowl/hat around the table with each person picking out a piece of paper and reading out the statement
The Famous person game
I first played this at a friends ‘Come Dine with Me’ evening, and it was hilarious. All that you need to play is some paper, a pen, a bowl and a stop watch.
1. Each person has to write down 10 names of famous people (or someone that you’d all know – i.e the people sat at the table, or your Mum etc). Each name is written onto a separate piece of paper, folded and put into a bowl.
2. Get into pairs and have someone as time keeper. Each pair takes it in turns for one to pick a name and describe who they are in one minute (without saying the name!) i.e. “he’s married to the one that was Posh in the Spice girls”. You are only allowed one pass and the pass name has to go back into the pot.
3. At the end of the minute, keep a total of how many the pair got right and then pass the bowl to the next pair to have their turn.
4. The bowl then gets passed back to the previous pair for them to switch roles (the other describes while the partner guesses).The bowl gets passed between teams until all names have run out
5. The winners are the team with the most names guessed correctly once all names have gone from the bowl
To make the game more entertaining, it’s good to put some random names that will be hard or embarrassing to describe.