5 Secrets to More Color at Home

My Absolute Favorite Games!


The Best Party Games Around |

I know this might not seem like a typical Studio DIY post, but what you may not know about me (and my family) is that we. LOVE. games. In fact, we’ve never had a family gathering/holiday/dinner without them. We are all very competitive (and stubborn) and it makes for some very loud and awesome game sessions.

We all rented a house once in San Diego, there were 18 of us, and it was the first time Jeff was really immersed in the entire Lanza clan. And he survived! He may have brought ear plugs, but he survived! AND he married me afterwards! Phew. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to round up the best games around, according to my family, myself and my BFF Lauren, too.

No. 1 Anomia
(There’s also a Party Edition, we play the regular one!)
This is a new-to-me game that my sister-in-law, Eileen, discovered. She has a knack for finding the best games. This game tests the plethora of random information your brain stores, under pressure. It’s a card-based game and when two people flip cards that match, it’s basically a race to who can name an item with the random category (like “types of bagels” or “horror movies”). It’s great for kids, too, as most of the categories are common knowledge!

No. 2 Ticket to Ride
This is a strategy game, and a favorite of my brother John. There’s a bunch of different versions but I’ve personally only played the Europe version. You collect cards and create train routes, trying to get to your destinations as well as getting the longest train and other bonuses. It’s all about your strategy, and if you play with people who play dirty (raises hand), you gotta step up your game and look out for yourself! Also great for older kids, as well!

No. 3 Pit
This is my personal favorite, and Jeff’s least favorite. (Ha! This is where his ear plugs come in.) In this game, it pays to be LOUD! Your goal is to try to corner a market by getting all the cards of a certain commodity. How do you do this? By yelling and screaming the cards you want to trade. Kind of like how you’d imagine the stock exchange to be! This game is best played with a rowdy group!

No. 4 Time’s Up
This is a favorite of my brother Brett. It’s a charades based game with different historical and fictional characters and the rules for for what kind of clues you can give to your teammates with each round.

No. 5 Catch Phrase
This is a true Lanza classic. We even have the old-school, non-electronic version! Which we all happen to think is the best version. This game is like hot potato, where you get the game console and have to get your teammates to guess the word your describing before passing it to the next person. You don’t want to get caught with it in your hand! We have a lot of hilarious rules, that my Dad often breaks, like no dinosaur arms (when being passed to) and NO acting things out or rhyming. Your hands must remain on the game at all times!

No. 6 Taboo
Another “guess the word” type game, Taboo is extra fun and challenging because the three obvious clues/words you’d use are forbidden!

No. 7 Guesstures
(There’s also an electronic version!)

A classic charades game, in Guesstures you have to try to act out four different words while the timer ticks away! It’s very fast paced and, again, fun for a rowdy group!

 No. 8 Catan
Catan is a favorite of my brother Mark, and it’s another strategy-heavy game. It’s all about resources, trading cards and building roads and settlements. Similar to Ticket to Ride, you have to watch out for yourself you don’t get sabotaged! This game is a bit longer, but really fun, and best for a smaller group.

No. 9 Scattergories
Scattergories is probably the game I’m strongest at! You get a list of categories and then roll a letter on a dice and have to list out items for reach of those categories that start with that letter! All while a timer is ticking, of course. The hitch is, if you write down the same answer as someone else, you both lose the point! So it’s all about having the most unique answers you can think of.

No. 10 Left Center Right
This game is all about luck, for you gamblers out there! (Raises hand again.) We play with quarters, but the game comes with chips too. Each turn, you roll three dice that tell you whether you’ll pass a chip/quarter to the left or right, or keep it yourself. However is the last one with chips left, wins! Super simple, perfect for all ages, but really fun.

No. 11 Balderdash
I. Am. TERRIBLE at this game! But Jeff is so good at it, and the rest of my family absolutely loves it. Essentially, one player calls out a crazy bizarre (but real!) word and the rest of the players have to write a definition for it. Then the first player collects them all and reads them aloud, along with the real definition, and everyone has to guess which one is the actual definition! It’s really fun if you’re a group of readers/writers and pretty hilarious, too.

No. 12 Mastermind
This is a strategy game, and a favorite of my friend Lauren, which makes sense because it is SO her. It’s face paced, logic-based game where you have to crack a code as quickly as possible. It’s simple and straightforward, so kids can play it too!

So tell me, what are your favorite games!? We’re always looking for new ones to test out at family gatherings! And if you’re looking for a new one… definitely check out one of the above! They’re all pretty darn fun.

p.s. DIY Donut Twister!


  • Elysia

    I’m not a huge into board games, but we’ve been playing Codenames, Sushi Go (seriously the cutest), and Hanabi lately!

    • Kelly

      Never played any of those!! Need to try them!

      • Ana

        I love board game! I highly recommend Hanabi. It’s a cooperative game where you get to see everyone’s card except yours. It’s a memory game, and can be a deductive game. SUPER fun.

        Code names is a team-based game, where a leader is giving his team one-word clues about words that belong to that team. Also VERY fun. I haven’t played Sushi Go yet.

  • Michelle

    I love Catan, we usually play it for hours!

  • Sarah

    I just played anomia for the first time this spring, it was a lot of fun! Also at that time, we played dixit, and quiddler which were pretty fun as well.

    I LOVE telestrations (though you have to have the right mix of people, because I’ve seen it fizzle before too — it’s a mix of the telephone game and pictionary the worse you are at drawing, the more hilarious it is!!

    Most of the kids we play with can’t read very well yet, so we’ve also found that slamwich is a super fun game.

    Recently I’ve had my eye on card n go seek, has anyone played that? I keep considering it for trips because it looks compact, but not sure if it requires a fully stocked house or not. . .

    • Kelly

      Telestrations sounds AMAZING! Need to try that one! Haven’t heard of Card n Go Seek either! Sounds fun!!

  • Helen

    Catchphrase is my favorite! Played it all the time when I was younger!

    XO Helen @

  • Heather B

    Oh my goodness I LOVE games! I’ve played quite a few of these, I’ll have to try out the rest of them. We tend to favor card games, I’ve been playing Rummy since I can remember. We also enjoy Phase 10 quite a bit, it requires a little bit of paying attention and there’s always a whole lot of yelling. We get a touch competitive when we play!

    • Kelly

      I used to play card games all the time as a kid, but haven’t played any recently!! But Phase 10 sounds like a WINNER! Gonna check that one out.

  • Paige

    I have played almost all of these games and they are really fun. I tend to love the strategy games the most. My favorite as of late is called Betrayal at House on the Hill. You explore and build a house using room tiles. Once a certain combination of rooms and items are discovered the haunt begins, where a traitor is revealed and the story is presented. All of the other players against the traitor and the house until the death. It’s heavy on the strategy side so play in a small group when you have a lot of time. The story is different every time we play so we never tire of playing it. Can’t wait to try some new ones from above.

    • Kelly

      OMG that game sounds RIGHT up my alley!!!!! We’re going on a weekend trip with some friends in the fall and I have a feeling this is gonna be our game of choice.

  • Chelsey

    Some of these are faves in our house too! We’re huuuge game fans as well! Love this post. As for our go-to’s at home, The Logo Game, Sounds Like a Plan, and Headbanz!

    • Kelly

      Samantha mentioned she loves Headbanz!! I played something similar once at a party and it was super fun!

  • Susan

    Balderdash is the best! Also gotta love Battleship. What a fun and nostalgic post!

  • Kristina B

    Fun fact: I. HATE. GAMES. The only ones I like are the really non-competitive ones like Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity. My husband always wants to play something though so it’s usually Yahtzee although we did play Monopoly a couple weeks ago and I wiped the floor with him. It was one of my finest adult moments.

    • Kelly

      Ha, you sound like that husband of mine! =) He’s not competitive AT ALL. You might like Balderdash, it’s not as competitive as it is being creative and just having fun! Also, I’m totally down with a classic Monopoly game, though I don’t think I’ve ever actually finished a full round…. haha!

  • Steph D

    My husband and I love throwing game nights. Our favorite party games are Avalon and Monikers. Avalon is similar to Mafia, you have to figure out who is bad and who is good, which makes for a lot of interaction and jokes during the game. Monikers is similar to the game fishbowl – there are three rounds where you have to have your team guess as many of the cards you have as possible. Round 1: You can say anything except what is on the card, Round 2: you can only use one word, Round 3: You have to act them out. Both are the best to play with larger groups. Definitely recommend.

    • Kelly

      We played a game similar to Monikers on my girl’s weekend and it was a BLAST!!

  • Ana

    Kelly, if Jeff is not competitive, you should try Pandemic. It’s a cooperative game where you and your team mates are scientists/operation managers/doctors/etc trying to fight diseases world wide. You all win if you get to cure all of the diseases. Beware, though, as fun as it is to win, it’s just as heart breaking to lose.

  • Bella

    I love Catan and Ticket to Ride!!

  • Paige

    I think you might LOVE King of Tokyo! I think its such a fun game, with a lot more chance + cool aspects to it than most games!

    x, Paige

  • Tricia

    Love games. Codenames and Wherewolf are fun group games. Guillitine is an easy to learn beginner game. the artwork on Sushi Go is so cute. Caton and Pandemic for serious game playing.

  • Erin Maree

    Most Saturday nights after church me and my friends play boardgames and hang out its always so fun 🙂 the criteria for the games we play are that we can play with a huge group of people if required, easy to pick up (as we often have new people joining us) and fun. The games we have been loving are:
    Codenames – so many people have mentioned it above and its one of the best games we have played. We find it actually works best with a lot of people as debating what the words could be is part of the fun. I actually bought it and then a friend bought it as he loved it so much and when some friends moved away (sob) I bought it as a going away gift for them.
    Exploding kittens – this is just cute fun, you pretty much don’t want to get a exploding kitten with a few twists and turns along the way.
    Coupe – you have to assinate people and everyone has 2 influence cards (with actions of what you can and can’t do) and you can bluff. If someone challenges you and you aren’t that influence then you loose a card (if you are, you get a new card and the other person looses a card) the aim is to be the last one standing with 1 influence.
    Ultimate Wherewolf – pretty much mafia but with a few twists and turns you can have from 6-66 players in it and its a great game to play in a group.
    Punderdome – I have this sitting in my car (you don’t keep games in your car weird?!) waiting to pulled out on at the next games night but it hasn’t. All I know is that its to do with puns and I have ALOT of friends who LOVE puns so I am interested to see how it goes.

  • Marta

    Love this post! We have 2 younger kiddos so most of our game play is based around what they can participate in… We love connect 4, hungry hungry hippos, Loopin’ Chewie, Operation (The Star Wars Ed.), and Go Fish! I can’t wait for our boys to get older so we can explore more games!

  • Kristina

    I love Ticket to Ride and Catan!! I was just on a family vacation where we were playing games every night, so fun!

    Kristina does the Internets

  • Moriah

    My family places Left Right Center using candy and it’s always a good time!

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  • Jhon Smith

    All your game which is listed is too good, My best game among them is Mastermind which is strategy game so i like to paly this types of game, Thanku for give me information about more games.

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