As pandemic shutdown measures continue in many countries, we are all making efforts to reduce the spread of the virus; this year, many of us will forgo big New Year’s parties and celebrate at home. But we can still enjoy the New Year! The games listed below are perfect for small groups – and lots of fun! Consider stocking up on small prizes or gifts for the winners and get ready for some lighthearted – or intense – competition.
A New Year’s Eve tradition in some places, Bingo is usually played in large venues with dozens or even hundreds of participants. But Bingo can also be enjoyed with fewer players.
The Bingo concept is simple. It’s a game of chance where each player has a card with numbers printed in different arrangements. The ‘announcer’ draws numbers from a bag and players mark their cards. The first person to find the selected numbers arranged on their card in a row calls out “Bingo” – and is the winner.
At home, you can personalize your cards if you wish, using phrases or words – this can be quite entertaining! You can also play in rounds, using several different cards.
This classic board game can arouse heated discussions – there’s even an Official Scrabble Players Dictionary to help settle debates. Players obtain points, based on lettered tiles used to compose words. It helps to have a large vocabulary, but strategy is also important in Scrabble!
Scrabble can be played by up to four players at a time. Players draw seven lettered tiles and collect points by composing words on the board; it’s similar to a crossword puzzle in that the words must be connected. With a total of 100 lettered tiles and two blank tiles, options become limited and competition gets fierce! As well, certain squares on the board can double or triple the letter or total word score. Scrabble is great fun but, as we mentioned, it may spark some spirited discussions among players – a lively start to the new year!
This animated party game will light up New Year’s Day! The objective in Taboo – for a player to have their team guess the “secret” word on the player’s card without using the word itself or five additional “taboo” words listed on the card – can lead to some very funny dialogues.
In Taboo, two teams compete in turn, in timed intervals. The game is more challenging than it appears, as the player who is describing the word must avoid using the five words listed on the card – which are usually the most common descriptors. Listening and communicating, along with creativity, are key in this game!
There are many suggestions for Taboo cards on the Internet. If Taboo is on your New Year’s games list, we suggest checking these out for some tips!
Launched in 1935, more than 250 million Monopoly sets have been sold worldwide. This popular board game originated in 1903, in the United States, and was intended as a tool to illustrate the effects of monopolies on societies. Now offered in 47 languages and sold in 114 countries, Monopoly is an international phenomenon, with Monopoly World Championships held annually.
The game set includes a board, fake money, a six-sided die and tokens. Each player chooses a token and, using the die, moves the token along the spaces on the board. The objective is to accumulate income-generating properties, as designated by squares on the board. Other squares instruct the player to ‘pay income taxes’, ‘go to jail’ or ‘declare bankruptcy’. A game that incorporates both chance and strategy, Monopoly is highly competitive and can be played for hours.
This game tests both physical and mental skills. Played with two teams and 54 wooden blocks, Jenga is more complex than it seems: players are tasked with removing blocks from the bottom of a tower and replacing them at the top.
Jenga was created as a children’s educational game by Leslie Scott, a British woman raised in modern-day Tanzania; “jenga” comes from the Swahili word “kujenga”, which means “to build”. In the game, 54 wooden blocks are used to stack an 18-level tower, with three blocks on each level. The levels alternate – a stack of three is laid lengthwise and the following stack is laid opposite. Teams must remove one block from a lower level and replace it on the top, without touching the other blocks and without toppling the tower. The game becomes more complex as it proceeds.
Jenga draws on reasoning and decision-making skills as well as concentration! This challenging game is sure to be a great kick-off for 2021!
Charades! Requiring no equipment, this classic parlor game can be played with any number of people.
Players divide into teams and each team is tasked with guessing a word or phrase. A team representative must ‘act’ out the word or phrase, using only gestures and body language, within predetermined time limits. Charades has standard features, such as using a number of fingers to indicate the number of syllables in each word, but the variations in themes can be infinite. The relative simplicity or difficulty of acting out the phrase will definitely offer some hilarious moments!
We hope this list offers some inspiration for New Year’s Day activities. Here’s to happiness, health and peace for all in 2021!