The Best Party Games Are on Your Phone


And you can't play them in the corner by yourself.

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If You're Looking for a Crowd-Pleaser

The Game: Heads Up!

How It Works: Select a category (animals, celebrities, films, etc.), and hold your phone to your forehead. Your friends then feed you hints to help you guess the words that pop up on your screen.

Why It's a Hit: Consider Heads Up! a more accessible version of charades; you don't have to be a great actor to be good at it. Plus, the game feels exciting without actually pitting players against one another, making it a good compromise for hyper-competitive people and those who are a bit more chill.

If You Like to Be on Your Feet

The Game: Bounden

How It Works: With choreography by the Dutch National Ballet, Bounden challenges you to improve your dancing skills alongside a partner. You and a friend hold either end of your phone, and the app will guide you through moves that will have you twisting and turning in tandem.

Why It's a Hit: Put on some good music and divide your party into pairs. Open Bounden and your get-together will suddenly turn into a dance competition—no DJ necessary.

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If You Want to Do Karaoke Without Leaving the House

The Game: Sing! Karaoke by Smule

How It Works: This app has a huge catalog of karaoke songs, so you don't have to head over to a karaoke bar just to get your time in the spotlight. Pick a song, and, well, you know how the rest goes.

Why It's a Hit: Granted, Smule's karaoke app doesn't have to be a party game—you can use some of the app's social functions to connect with karaoke lovers around the world—but it can definitely liven up a group hangout sesh.

If You Like a Little Tension

The Game: Phrase Party

How It Works: If you like the idea of Heads Up! but need a game where there's a clear winner, give Phrase Party a try. The app lets you choose from 13 categories, like "Flashback: The '80s," "Literature," and "Sayings." You're then presented with phrases or words you have to get your teammates to correctly guess (for example, in the category Places, you might say "envelope" to get your teammate to say "Manila").

Why It's a Hit: The team nature of Phrase Party ups the ante for more competitive players, plus the app's many categories make gameplay pretty inexhaustible.

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If You Believe Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

The Game: Reverse Charades

How It Works: Instead of one person acting out words, names of celebrities, or movie and TV titles for their team to guess, teams playing Reverse Charades have to act as a group to get one person to guess the word in question.

Why It's a Hit: What's better than one person acting like a fool in front of a group of people? A group of people acting like fools in front of a single person.

If You Love Trivia Night

The Game: Jeopardy!

How It Works: Sure, the app version of Jeopardy! may not have the added tension of buzzers and millions of viewers, but it's still a fun way to show off your trivia smarts. Select a multi-player game and pass one phone among you and your friends as you compete to see who knows the most random facts.

Why It's a Hit: Who doesn't love yelling Jeopardy! answers at the TV? Now you can actually put that knowledge to use.

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If You Like a Good Dose of '80s Nostalgia

The Game: Spaceteam

How It Works: Connect with friends who have the app via Bluetooth, and prepare to race rocket-equipped spaceships, complete with vintage-inspired graphics.

Why It's a Hit: This app has all the excitement and friction of a full-on video game without requiring a gaming system.

If You Don't Feel Like Pulling Out the Twister Mat

The Game: Fingle

How It Works: Think of this iPad app as an update to classic Twister. The game will instruct you and a partner on where to place your fingers until they're more and more tangled. The first person to mess up loses—and trust us, it starts to get pretty complicated after a while.

Why It's a Hit: Hey, we're not saying that this is the best way to end up holding hands with someone cute, but we're also not not saying that this is the best way to end up holding hands with someone cute.

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