Games to play at dinner parties

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Great food and good company are certainly important elements of an enjoyable dinner party. However, you can throw a truly memorable dinner party by incorporating party games that liven the mood and increase guest interaction and entertainment. Break any uncomfortable pauses in conversation during a business dinner party with an icebreaker, and eliminate boring chitchat with a drinking game or playing a round of "never have I ever" at the dinner table.

The Lie Detector Game

The lie detector game is an icebreaker designed to help a diverse group of people get to know each other. Prior to the party, the host asks each guest to come to the party with three personal statements: two true statements and one statement that is a lie. During the party, guests take turns announcing their statements, presenting them all as true. After a person makes his statements, the group collectively decides which of the three statements is a lie. The personal statements, regardless of their factuality, tend to pique the interests of the other guests and generate questions and discussion.

Just Say No

Bring out the competitive spirit and inquisitive nature of your guests by playing the "just say no" game. To play, you need one necklace such as a lei or beads, or a decorative pin, broach or sticker for each guest; essentially, an item your guests can wear during the party. Give each guest his item upon arrival at the party and instruct him to wear it. The objective of the game is to collect as many items as possible by acquiring them from other guests. Players ask questions or make statements to solicit a negative response from other guests. If the answerer says the word "no," she must give her item to the guest who got her to say it. The person who collects the most items by the end of the evening wins the game. You can increase the level of competition by offering a prize to the winner, such as a bottle of wine or gift card.

Word Builder Drinking Game

Liven up your next dinner party with the "word builder drinking game," an activity that combines libations and linguistics. While seated at the dinner table, the host begins the game by saying a letter, such as "S." The second player thinks of a word that begins with the letter S, then says the second letter in the word he thought of without saying the word out loud. For instance, if the player thought of the word "serpent," he would say the letter "E." The third player selects a word that begins with "SE," and says the third letter; such as "A" for the word "seagull." A round ends when a player can no longer add a letter to a word. The person who finishes a word takes a drink from a shot glass, then a new round begins.

Never Have I Ever

Entice your guests to reveal details about their past with a game of "never have I ever." Before the party, create a deck containing 20 or more "never have I ever" cards. Write down a different "never have I ever" phrase on each card. For instance, "Never have I ever gone skinny dipping in a swimming pool," or "Never have I ever shot a hole-in-one while playing golf." Begin the game by selecting a card from the deck and reading it aloud. Guests listen to the statement, and must take a sip from their drink if they have performed the described activity. Players can probe other guests to elaborate if they spot them taking a sip of their drink. The game continues until everyone has pulled a "never have I ever" card.

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