Published on December 10th, 2014 | by Nicole Jekich2
Office Approved Games for Holiday Parties
Even more difficult than choosing an ugly Christmas sweater to wear is deciding which game to bring to your office holiday party. If you’re like me, some of your games and their themes may not be loved by all cubicle mates. Convincing the more conservative coworker to play as Old God Slaanesh: The Prince of Pleasure might be a hard sell. Therefore, I have compiled a list of games that are with very generic, rooted in popular 52-card deck games and most importantly, are incapable of being offensive to coworkers sensibilities.
I worked for years in the medical field and each year at the annual holiday party an entire floor would be dedicated to poker and black jack. My coworkers loved the bluffing and luck that surround these card games (not to mention the gloating that follows a winning hand).I don’t mind classic card games but I prefer to have the math and mechanics woven into a thematic story or at least feature some cool art to look at.
With Pairs, you won’t have to break your friends away from the poker table and the art is very colorful. The gameplay was modeled after casino games so it is easy to learn, quick and still encourages card counting and luck. The deck consists of an ever increasing number of cards: there is one “1” card. Two “2” cards. Three “3” cards, and so on. A dealer will deal one card at a time around the table to each player. The round ends if at an time a player receives a duplicate card. That player then receives that card value in points. Points are bad and the first to gain 13 is the loser and the game ends.
There are always multiple winners and one loser, which makes for an interesting drinking game. Pairs is a recently fulfilled Kickstarter campaign from PAcific Northwest designers at CheapAss Games. Check with your game store to see if they carry Pairs or visit Amazon to purchase one of the popular deck varieties such as The Name of the Wind themed decks.
Fans of set collection games will enjoy the simplicity of Coloretto: a short card game for up to 5 players. Players are competing for the most points at the end of the game. Players gain points by scoring the top three most prominent like-colored cards in their hand at the end of the game. Every colored card leftover in a player’s hand will count as negative marks to their final score.
With 7 different colors of iguana colored cards in the deck, players can easily end up with a rainbow hand of cards without many points. Each turn players will be trying to efficiently collect like colors of cards in their hand while avoiding too much variety. If you want to give players a helpful tip to start: wild cards are rare and are a big advantage in the game.
Draw a card. Play a card. That is how a game of Fluxx begins. Players add to the rules and set the win condition of the game by playing cards. Rules and goals are constantly changing during the game as dictated by what cards players place. Winning a game of Fluxx can come swift or slow so long as one player meets the goal criteria which is usually a combination of different in-game items known as “Keepers”.
Gameplay isn’t very complicated, as the rules or restrictions a player must remember are all on cards played in a central area. Instead, Fluxx is unique for having a game where the rules for the game changes through player interaction. Fluxx is a card game that is easy to find in game and book stores and comes in many thematic varieties. There are versions like Monty Python Fluxx, which includes a card that gives players bonuses on their turn if they ‘speak in a ridiculous French accent’.
Fluxx is a gut-busting game that encourages the laughter and cheer this holiday season calls for. If you want to keep in the spirit of bells, holly and all that jazz, there is also a Holiday Fluxx.
If the last few card games were a little too competitive or thematically dry, then I’d like to introduce you to a colorful story game. Dixit is a board game which focuses on communication and word association kind of like playing the Telephone game.
A starting player or Storyteller picks a card in their hand and comes up with a descriptive word of phrase to describe the image on their card without revealing it. Other players submit a card from their hand and place it face down in the center. This group storytelling game is competitive without conflict. A great Storyteller in Dixit will be descriptive of their picture without stating a clue that is too obscure or too obvious.
Dixit is really fun to play with lots of creative minds and artsy people. I enjoy Dixit because it is a creative game that doesn’t rely on our artistic abilities like physically drawing in Pictionary or sculpting in Cranium. As a Spiel de Jahres winner in 2010, I highly recommend Dixit.
Let your older colleagues show off their (or your own!) knowledge of history and take a spin on the time traveling ride of Chrononauts. Each player is a time traveler with a secret identity who is going around and altering events in the timeline for their benefit and to ensure that they exist in the world.
Players can change key events on their turns and certain vital linchpin events may change a cascade of events in the timeline. Causing such mayhem is fine but be careful to not help your opponents nor create too many paradoxes or else everyone will lose!
If you’re looking for a more modern version of a game featuring important dates or if you would like a version that is more colorful and is a great educational game for kids, I recommend Timeline.
Do you have a favorite game that you like to play during office parties or during your lunch break? We’d love to hear what games you and your coworkers like to play!