Fun Word Games for Adults
Thomas Barwick / Stone
Party Word Games for Adults
One of the best things about party word games for adults is that they can be easily adapted for small groups and larger gatherings alike.
Can you maintain a lie through an intense session of questioning? True Story is a great spoken word game for parties. Tell a story, true or not, and answer questions from other players. At the end, they have to guess whether you’re telling the truth or the story is a lie. Did you really scale Mount Everest?
If you’re already playing games like Wordscapes, you’ll excel at this party variant… except there’s no cheating allowed. Break out a pad of paper and give everyone a sheet. Start with a random word (ideally at least 6 or 7 letters long) and set the timer. Players try to rearrange the letters to form as many new words (at least 3 letters long) as they can. The player with the most words wins.
This game will require some sticky labels. Everyone sticks a label on their forehead with a mystery word on it. The goal is to get everyone to say their mystery word before the party ends. Alternatively, if you get someone to say their mystery word, you take their label. The person who collects the most labels wins.
Word Association Games
Language is all about connections. Some of the best word games for adults lean into this idea of word association. Better still, you usually don’t need anything but your creativity and vast vocabulary.
Perhaps you’ve played some word chain games on your smartphone already. Some of these are word association games that adults can play in pairs or small groups too. Each player adds a word to the previous word to form a two-word phrase. For example, “dance club” could become “dance club soda.” The next player can then follow with “dance club soda pop,” and so on. If a player forgets a word or can’t think of a word to add to the chain, they’re out. Keep the chain going as long as possible!
Bang, Clap, Snap
This is the game pictured above. Start by getting everyone to sit in a circle. Establish a four-beat rhythm by banging your lap (or table), clapping your hands, snapping with your left hand, then snapping with your right hand. Once you’ve got the rhythm going, say the line, “Give me a word to describe…” and name something. Each player in turn must then provide a suitable adjective within one bang, clap, snap cycle. For example, you may be asked to describe a dog. Suitable adjectives might include furry, companion, and playful.
The word association game for adults is best enjoyed if everyone has a whiteboard to write on. But, you can make do with pads of paper too. Each player gets a turn coming up with a “seed” word. For each seed word, every player writes down a word related to it. If you write down a word that no one else did, you get a point. Players can also challenge one another if they think the word their opponent writes down is not reasonably related to the “seed” word. That player must then defend their choice.
Board Games for Word Nerds
Tried and true board games are a great option for adults who want to play some familiar word games. There are even some great travel edition Scrabble games you can take on the go. But, what other word-centric board games might you want to play?
It’s like a fast-paced version of Scrabble without the board or any points. With Bananagrams, each player starts with 11 to 21 letter tiles, face down. When the game begins, they must build a personal crossword with these letters. They can keep rearranging the letters to make them work. Once one player is out of tiles, they call out, “Peel!” and everyone must draw one tile from the remaining pile. Play continues until there are no tiles left in the middle and the winner has used all their tiles.
How quickly can you think on your toes? Quickwits is a fast-paced social card game for adults. When you get two cards with matching symbols, players race to shout out an item or title that matches the category on their opponent’s card. This YouTube video provides a great overview of how to play Quickwits, including the specialty cards. The game features some risque topics and adult themes, so that’s why it’s meant for ages 17 and up. Depending on your level of comfort, you may not want to play with grandma either.
Words With Friends Board Game
At this point, some adults may be more familiar with Words With Friends than they are with the original Scrabble game. There are differences in board layout, letter values, and tile distribution. If you’d prefer to play in real life and not just on your device, grab a Words With Friends board game to play with your friends.
Word Guessing Games for Adults
You can be as obscure or as commonplace as you’d like with word guessing games for adults. If you’re among a particularly intellectual crowd, choose esoteric terms for a greater challenge.
In one version of this game, the selected player hosts a press conference as a celebrity, but they don’t know who they are pretending to be. Other players ask questions, like at a press conference, until the selected player can guess who they’re supposed to be. In a word game variant, the selected player can be an object, a place, or any other word or phrase.
Unlike regular charades, two people are up to play at the same time. The first player looks at the clue and goes behind everyone else. The second player stands in front of everyone, like in regular charades, but they don’t know what the clue is. The first player acts it out while the second player tries to copy them. This is much harder, because the second player doesn’t know what word or phrase they’re trying to convey.
Packing for Vacation
The first player starts the game by saying, “I’m packing for vacation and bringing (blank), but I’m not bringing (blank).” Subsequent players make the same statement, but with different objects. The first player tells them whether they’re correct or not. The secret is that the first player decided on a specific word rule. For example, the items you bring must have two vowels in a row. In this case, valid answers may include headphones and toenails, but not apples or pajamas.
Play Online or On the Go
You may not always be able to get together with friends, colleagues and loved ones to play word games in person. That’s okay. There are lots of fun multiplayer word games you can play online from the comfort of your web browser. Alternatively, if you’re looking for mobile games to play on the go, our list of multiplayer word games for Android and iOS is just what you need. You’ve always got an opportunity to play with words with friends!
Michael Kwan is a professional writer and editor with over 14 years of experience. Fueled by caffeine and WiFi, he's no stranger to word games and dad jokes.