Doesn’t it sometimes feel harder to organise birthdays for your friends each year? Each year, we get more selective about birthday party games for adults. After all, you want your friends to still have an amazing day.
The older people get, the more jaded they tend to become. There’s always the feeling of “we’ve seen it all before.” To sidestep that feeling, I’ve started to focus more on giving friends a good time and less on the newest year of their life.
That’s the focus of this list of unique birthday party games for adults. I’ve created games to help guests (old and new) bond with the birthday guest of honour. Let’s get started.
Your Birthday Party Games
The Birthday Hot Seat
So how well do you know your birthday guest of honour? This game test your party guests by putting them under the spotlight. Before you play this game, you should sit down with the friend having the birthday and put together a list of at least 100 questions, so people don’t run out of things to ask during the game.
Bring everyone together, then put a chair at the front of the room, and explain to them that this is the Birthday Hot Seat. Then nominate someone to sit in the chair. The other guests are then given 30 seconds to fire as many questions about the birthday friend as they can. When the 30 seconds are up, the next player takes the hot seat.
You will need someone to keep score, because the person with the most correct answers wins a prize
You can also reverse the game, by putting the guest of honour in the hot seat. If you’re playing this version, you need your guests time to brainstorm questions they can use rather than plan questions in advance.
This party game is part memory game, part physical, with you acting as the referee. You will need a large playing area so people have plenty of room to move around in. Ask everyone to stand in a circle and explain how the game works. Each person will be asked to make a hand or leg movement. Go around the circle and have everyone present their movement. Everyone needs to memorise what everyone else is doing as best they can.
After you’ve finished this round, put on some music with a beat and get everyone dancing. Then out someone’s name and as they dance, call out a second name, of somebody else in the room. The dancer must now do the dance of this second person. After they’ve done that well, call out a new person’s name, and continue going until everybody has had a go. Whoever messes up their dance is out of the round.
Never Have I Ever
You can play this game while sitting at the dinner table or standing around a circle. Pick someone to start the game by saying “Never have I ever…,” and then finish the sentence with something they have never done. Some examples could be: travelled to South America, ridden a motorbike, used a typewriter. If someone has done it, they need to hold up one finger; if no one has done it, keep asking until somebody has. The first person to reach three fingers is out of the game.
There are many variations to this game. You can knock someone out at five fingers. Whoever gets to five fingers first has to do a crazy dare. You can make the questions as daring as you like, depending on the type of friends you’re with.
If you do go the daring route, make sure your friends are onboard with the rules before you play.
The Laughing Game
Love birthday party games for adults with no set up whatsoever? This game is perfect for you. Even though this game is called the Laughing Game, laughing is actually how you lose the game.
Get everyone standing around a table or spaced out in a large room. Each person then takes it in turns to say “Ha,” “Ho,” or “Hee”. The clincher is: anyone who starts laughing for real is kicked out of the game. The person who can keep the straightest face the longest wins.
You will need six or more people to play, with each person wearing five clothes pegs hung their neck (as a necklace or clipped to their collar.) You also need to aside at least two hours to play this game.
Before the game starts, you need to decide as a group five words to ban for the duration of the game. Think of commonly used ones that suit your event, for example, “happy,” “birthday,” “presents,” “drink,” “cake”, even the guest of honour’s name. Players must now catch one another saying the forbidden word.
So if, say, James hears Ursula say “birthday,” he can ask her for one of her pegs. Players who lose all their pegs can say the banned words again; they can also rejoin the game, by trying to trick players with pegs into saying the words. The player with the most clothes pegs at the end of the game wins a prize.
You don’t have to use the words like happy or birthday. You might choose words around to a memory you all share or a favourite thing you like doing together, for example baking or hiking.
Pick one person to be your Sculptor, then get everyone up on their feet and standing completely 100% still. The Sculptor now moves around the players and places each person into a different pose. Players must try and maintain their poses as much as possible without laughing, smile, moving or breaking poses. Anyone who does is knocked out. Last player standing and maintaining their pose as well wins is the winner.
Honey, I Love You
Some birthday party games for adults can double up as an icebreaker and this one is no exception.
Assemble everyone in a circle and put one person in the middle. This person then gets to go up to anyone in the circle and say “Honey, I love you, won’t you give me a smile?” The person who is being asked the question must answer with “Honey, I love you, but I just can’t smile” – as well as making sure they aren’t smiling.
The person in the middle is allowed to do anything to the other person to encourage a smile as along as they don’t touch them. Anyone who smiles is knocked out of the game. Last person standing wins.
Birthday Post It Note Game
This is a really simple game, and you just need a stack of Post It notes and a pen. Write down the name of a well-known celebrity or fictional TV or movie character on each note, passing them around face down until all your guests have taken one. Without peering at their post, ask everyone to stick their note to their forehead (or held to their forehead if the post isn’t sticky enough).
Now get everyone mingling around, or sitting in a circle, taking turns asking the person they meet Yes or No questions around their secret identity. Keep playing the game until everyone has discovered their identity.
Unlikely Oranges is a racing party game and is played with everyone split into even-sized teams.
Give each team two oranges and one pair of old pantyhose, long stockings or tights (or just raid your friend’s wardrobe for something silly to wear). Then set up a race course that needs to be wide enough for three to six people to race in at once.
Stuff one of the oranges down the leg of the pantyhose, then tie the pantyhose around the player’s waist. Ideally you want the orange leg to dangle towards the ground and be swingable between their legs.
If you’ve got players with long legs, make sure you have different lengths of pantyhose available, just in case. On ‘Go,’ players must swing the orange leg against the second orange on the floor and race to the finish line. The first player and orange to do so is the winner.
Musical Hula Hoops
You’ll need plenty of lively music as well as a few average-sized hula hoops scattered around the floor.
Get everyone dancing to the music. As soon as the music stops, players must jump into the nearest hula hoop (one per person) and start to hula hoop. Anyone not in a hula has to do three press-ups. After the hulas are over, restart the music and resume the game.
You can also change up the game by asking players to do a weird dance instead of jumping into a hula hoop.
Funny Birthday Business
Looking for acting birthday party games for adults? Here’s one for you. For Funny Birthday Business, you will need a hat, slips of paper and pencils.
Give each player two to three slips of paper and two minutes to write down one funny memory or piece of trivia about their birthday friend they’d like one of the other guests to perform. Some examples: “Pretend to dance like Sarah does in the club” or “How Sarah might move like if she were a lion”.
When the time is up, collect up the papers and shuffle them in your hat. The hat is now placed on a table, next to a bottle of wine and empty glass.
The player who starts the game must take a sip of wine, pull a slip from the hat, and perform what they get. Everyone else is left to guess.
As the host, you can also secretly slip in a few tasks everyone as a group must perform together, e.g., Pretend to be cats licking themselves, or dance on one leg while flapping your arms and nodding. This is a great game to film.
There’s plenty of mess with this game, so playing outdoors or in a room with a lot of space is best advised.
Everyone is given an inflatable balloon and a marker pen each, and 60 seconds to draw a caricature face of their birthday friend on their balloon. Next they apply shaving cream over their balloon and are given a plastic knife afterwards, which will be their razor.
On Go!, players now try to shave their balloon without making it burst. The first person to succeed is the winner. To add an extra risk to the game, you can fill the balloons with whipped cream or glitter.
Donut on a String
Balloon Shaving isn’t the only messy party game on this list. For this game, you need to buy ring donuts, as well as a clothesline and ribbon. Hang your clothesline up between two trees, then tie your donuts to the line using the ribbon. You need your clothesline higher than the tallest person playing; alternatively, players can kneel down to play, in which case the clothesline needs to be higher than the tallest person rising upwards.
Each player needs to stand (or squat) under their donut and on the count of 3 eat all of their donut without using their hands. The first person to eat all their donut without falling over wins the game.
Like Balloon Shaving, you need plenty of space. Break everyone up into two equal lines of four to ten players, with each line queued up behind a designated leader. Each player places their hands on the hips of their person in front of them, before crouching down, so they’re sitting on each other’s laps. Each team is now a “crocodile”. Then on Go!, both crocodiles race against each other to reach a finish line.
As referee, you need to make sure both teams stay in formation. If any team starts to break apart, they need to stand still for five seconds before resuming their run. The first crocodile to cross the line unbroken wins!
Birthday Photo Scavenger Hunt
Unlike most birthday party games for adults here, this game is one you play in your local neighbourhood. Everyone needs a working camera on their phone, and the goal of the game is to take photos of objects according to a list you provide for each team.
Split everyone into teams of three or four players. Give each team a copy of the same list. The items in the list should correspond to memories, thoughts and hobbies you know your guest of honour loves, for example: something orange, their favourite emotion, something about their job. Let the teams use their imagination to come up with items that correspond with the list. Whichever team completes the list is the winner but really, everyone playing is the winner.
Have all the teams share their findings after the game with their guest of honour and explain their thoughts behind the photos they’ve taken. Make sure to get copies of all the photos and compile them into a Scavenger Hunt gallery for everyone to share.
To play this game, pick one person to be the ‘It’ and ask them to leave the room. With everyone else remaining, decide together a common characteristic or trait, e.g., Hair, body parts, clothing, or a tree.
When the person returns, they must go straight up to someone and ask “How’s yours?” This person needs to give a one-word adjective answer to describe the trait; with Hair, for example, ’long,’ ‘tangly’ and ‘sweaty’ are adjectives they might use. Keep the game going until the person guesses the trait.
This party game is a classic. Pick a phrase to whisper into the ear of the person standing to you right just once with no repeats. This person needs to whisper what they have heard to the person to their right, again with no repeats.
The game continues on until the phrase comes back to you and you reveal what’s been said as well as the original to the group. To make the game more difficult, have some music playing loud in the background.
Two Truths And A Lie
This is a wonderful game for helping your guests get to know each other better. There are two ways to play this game. First version: Nominate three people to play. Each person must make three statements about themselves where two of them are true and one of them is a lie. Everyone else must guess which ones are true and the one that is not.
The other version is nominating only one player to give the three statements. Once their round is over, the game continues around the group with the person to their left. This version gives all your guests the chance to play.
This is a fun game that is less energetic than some of the other games on the list. Nominate one person to be Mr. Freeze. Have everyone participating in the game move around the party as normal. When Mr. Freeze suddenly freezes, everyone else must freeze as well. Whoever freezes last is out. There are many variations to this game, for example: the last person to freeze must do a dare or take a tequila shot.
You can also play the game during the party, provided everyone is in the same room so they can all see Mr. Freeze. In this variation, the last person to freeze faces a drinking penalty. You as the host should act as a referee, keeping an eye on everyone to spot those who freeze too slowly.
How well are your guests connected to your birthday guest of honour and to each other? Find a ball of string, get everyone on their feet and hand the ball to the guest of honour.
This person now tells a short story describing their life. When they say something like “I like gardens,” for example, someone else in the circle will shout out “Connection!” The first person keeps ahold of the string of yarn before throwing the ball over to this person who then begins to tell their story.
Keep going until everyone has had their turn or play three rounds continuously, until a web of yarn has formed between you.
If you’re looking for birthday party games for adults you can play during dinner, here’s one. Before the meal begins, have everyone put their own name into a bowl, and then a ridiculous word, phrase or sentence into another bowl.
Each person around the table pulls out a name and phrase from each bowel (putting back their own name if they’ve pulled it out) and needs to work the phrase into conversation with their selected person, without being called out for it.
For example, if someone pulled out ‘I walk backwards to work sometimes’ and ‘Terrence,’ they have to find a way to tell Terrence about their method of going to work within him suspecting. Anyone who gets called out is either out of the game or has to complete a penalty or dare.
This party game is played in four rounds, each consecutive round more difficult than the one before it. You will need to provide paper, pen and a blanket or bedsheet. Everyone whose taking part adds three to four nouns on strips of paper to a bowl, the more ridiculous, personal, and hard those nouns are, the better.
In the first round, the player nominated to start pulls a word from the bowl and must explain what it is without saying the word, while everyone has to guess. In the second round, they need to pull out a different word and act out what they pick. In the third, they need to describe the word using only one word. And in the fourth round, each player must act out their word – from under the bedsheet or blanket!
This is a classic party game known for its game board although in this version, a board is not necessary. Get everyone playing to write out ten phrases, objects, nouns, people, etc and mix them in a large bowl. Break everyone into pairs or equal teams.
Playing against the clock, in the first round of just 30 seconds, one player from the first team needs to help their team guess the word by drawing it onto a sheet of piece of paper. The phrases can be as silly as you like, for example: ‘a bird with one leg,‘ ‘an upside down birthday cake’. The team who gets the most answers correct in the first round or total number of rounds wins.
The Frozen Chocolate Game
Who doesn’t love chocolate at a birthday party! You will need to provide a large bar of chocolate (frozen overnight), a hat, a scarf, a plate, a knife and fork and oven gloves or a pair of mittens, and also a single dice.
Place these items in the centre of a circle and get everyone seated around it. Players take it in turns to throw the dice. When someone gets a six, they move to the middle, put on the hat, scarf, and the oven gloves, and try to cut the frozen chocolate using the knife and fork. They keep going until someone else throws a six; then a new person succeeds, the player in the middle switches places. And so on.
The game ends when the bar of chocolate has been eaten.
If you want more guessing birthday party games for adults, then this game is for you. The rules are simple. In even-player teams, one person is nominated as the guesser and the other as the describer. The describer takes a card from the top of the pack and has to describe the word in relation to the category where the team’s counter has landed on the board, but without saying the word. This is another game played against the clock.
This is a variation of the well-known card game, The Game of Things, which you can play without needing it. One person is nominated as the ‘It’ and makes a statement that contains a thing in the answer. For example: “things you shouldn’t do in the office.” Everyone writes down something that shouldn’t be done in the car, such as jumping on an office chair.
The ‘It’ player collects up the slips and reads them out. Then, go around the room asking a person at time to guess what answer belongs to which person; they can guess up to two people before passing to the next person. If the guess is correct, the guesser gets a point. Keep the game going until this first round is over, then start again with a new round with new answers to a Thing.
Who Is It?
Get everyone standing in a circle. Blindfold one of your guests and place them in the middle of the circle and spin them three times on the spot. On Go!, this person must reach out to the circle, and asks “who is it?” to whoever they meet first. This person they nab must answer with any word and say it in a weird voice as well.
If the blindfolded guest guesses correctly who this person is, the players swap over for a new round. But if their guess is incorrect, the game resumes, until they’ve guessed correctly who they’ve caught.
Make Up A Story
This party game requires some pre-planning a few days before the birthday. You will need index cards and to bring pen and paper with you. This game is also known as Mad Libs, where players create a story based on words they are given. Although you can buy Mad Libs in stores, here’s how I’ve played it without needing to buy anything.
Find yourself any short story from the web, or from an article or well-known book. Then highlight all the nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in the story. Nouns are objects, e.g., cat, chair, street. Verbs describe actions, e.g., dance, walk, drink. Adjectives describe a noun, e.g., brave, bright, modern. Adverbs describe a verb, e.g., Slowly, calmly, blindly. Write each one onto an index card and sort into separate piles (nouns, verbs etc).
Give your players pen and paper and 3 nouns, 3 verbs, etc. Now get everyone to create a short story using these words – in the order they’ve been revealed – and once done, read them out.
Guess The Party Bag
You will need a large sports bag to play this game effectively. Fill the bag with a few items, making sure there’s plenty of space between them (you don’t want the items all crammed inside the bag together). Some example items could include a rubber ball, a plastic fork, ear buds, an apple, a small packet of potato chips, a pen, a tube of toothpaste.
Get your players in a circle and pass the sports bag round the group. The first player is allowed to put their hands into the bag for ten seconds to feel around the items. After everyone has done this, give them pen and paper to write down as many items as they felt inside the bag. Whoever has written down the maximum correct items is the winner.
Forehead Pass the Orange
And to round off this list of fun birthday games, here’s a silly party game you will love, which again uses oranges. You will need 2 oranges for this game and a large playing space that is free of obstacles. Divide everyone into 2 even teams, with each team needing pairs of similar height.
The first pair of each team must stand at the start line. Place an orange between each pair of players, gripped hard by just their foreheads. On Go!, both pairs must run together to the opposite wall, touch that wall, then return to the start line, all without dropping the orange. If successful, the orange is passed by hand to their next team pair for their turn.
Since both pairs will be running back and forth at the same time, you need check your room is wide enough before any game play begins. Players won’t be able to see where they’re going during the game, so this prevents them from colliding into each other.
If the orange is dropped, the pair must start over. The winning team is the one where all pairs have completed the course successfully.
If you’ve read all the way to the end of this list of birthday party games for adults, I’m happy that you have! Creating memorable games can get harder the older our friends get; they’ve seen it all, after all, they want something unique they’ve never experienced before. Hopefully there was something in this list for you to use at your next birthday event. I wish you every success with it.