Big Potato’s Reading List: Top Ten Board Games for Students

You’ve just moved in with a bunch of new people. Maybe it’s awkward, maybe it’s not. Either way, throwing a couple of games into the mix can’t hurt. Here’s a list of ten easy to learn, quick to play party games to get the people talking and the drinks flowing.

Codenames

Too drunk to form full sentences? Well here’s a game where you’re limited to one word per round.

You’ll be spending a lot of time around these people, so why not start the relationship off by trying to form a private telepathic bond. In Codenames, players split into two teams and take turns trying to flip over their Secret Code Cards by creating one-word clues for each other. It’ll make you feel like Alan Turing 2.0 when you manage to solve a particularly tricky clue, plus you get to shout and heckle your opponent’s during their turn – which feels even better.

Perudo

Turns out those red plastic cups have more than one use… who knew?

Perudo, Cachito, Liar’s Dice. You can call it whatever you want, but at the end of the day it’s just rolling dice in a cup and taking turns to shout out numbers. Thankfully, that makes it very cheap, very simple and surprisingly fun to play. Perudo is a game that’s part strategy, part bluffing and part luck. Each player gets five dice, secretly rolls them under a cup and takes turns betting on how many of each number there are around the table. Just like poker, you wait until someone calls your bluff, then reveal all the dice on the table. The player who made the wrong call loses a dice, gets laughed at and moves one step closer to being eliminated from the game. The last player standing wins the game and gets to take everyone’s money. (Maybe warn everyone about that beforehand.)

Clickbait

Sell some of the strangest products on the internet, one trashy tagline at a time.

Biologists, geologists and zoologists unite! It’s time to forget about your degree, grab a pencil and take up your true calling in life: writing third-rate adverts for products that no one has ever heard of. In each round of Clickbait, a product card is revealed and five letter dice are rolled. Players must then use those five letters to write a short-but-sweet advert for the product in front of them (including things like a ‘3-Day Clown Course’ or ‘1-on-1 Lightsaber Training’). The tagline that gets the most votes wins the round and the writer gets a nice dose of creative validation. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Funemployed

Dip your toe into the harsh, unpredictable world of job interviews.

You might not know it, but all these years at university are just preparing you for one, crucial moment in your future – the dreaded job interview. After that, it’s all plain sailing (more or less). In Funemployed, players take it in turns to be the interviewer whilst everyone else tries to sell themselves as the perfect candidate for the job by listing their absolutely bizarre skill cards. Use your ‘Daddy Issues’ to apply to be a superhero or your ‘Cold Black Heart’ to try and become a dominatrix. The world’s your oyster.

Sushi Go

Break the ice by passing around big, steaming handfuls of raw fish.

You’ll probably have to wave goodbye to luxuries like sushi once that student loan runs out, but here’s one way to enjoy it all-semester round. With piles of mischievous maki and heaps of naughty nigiri, Sushi Go is a card-drafting game where players take one card from their hand, then pass the rest to the next player along. By the end of the round, you should each have a big pile of sushi in front of you. The player with the most impressive collection, wins!

Scrawl

Pens at the ready. No art students allowed.

Okay, so maybe you can invite a few art students, but the thing about Scrawl is that it’s an adult doodling game where the worse you are at drawing, the better. Players each start by secretly looking at a phrase (things like ‘Cat Orgy’ or ‘Sex Mittens’) and try their best to draw it. Each drawing then gets passed along to the next person, who tries to guess what it was. Then the next player draws that guess – and so on. By the time your original doodle makes it’s way back around to you, you’re guaranteed to have something pretty nasty (and hilarious) on your hands.

Portable cheetah butts, thousand-year back hair and bear-o-dactyls. What more could you want?

The aim of the game in Exploding Kittens is a pretty simple one: don’t explode. Easy enough, you manage to do that everyday. Problem is that in this game, you’re playing with a deck filled with kittens that are hell-bent on destruction. Your only option is to force them onto the other players instead and be the last one standing. Great if you feel like getting some passive aggressive revenge on someone for not doing the washing-up.

Jungle Speed

Move the speakers, move the drinks… just move everything off the table. The only thing that matters is the totem pole.

Playing Jungle Speed is like playing a game of Snap, but with the added element of danger thrown in. Flip over the cards, spot the matching patterns and grab the glorious totem pole to walk off with the points. It’s an absolutely gripping game (sorry) for two or more players and it’s so simple that absolutely anyone can understand the rules – even that guy on his fourth K Cider.

Billionaire Banshee

A big part of university is finding out who you are and what you like. Boys? Girls? People with fingers instead of teeth? It’s up to you.

Wave goodbye to the flatmates you thought you knew because you’re about to learn a lot of new things about them and their tastes. In Billionaire Banshee, players are given two cards: a ‘perk’ card and a ‘quirk’ card. These cards describe a potential partner which the player must choose to either date or deny (like “a kung-fu master who’s also a centaur” or “a catwalk model with the legs of a flamingo”) whilst the rest of the team place bets. It’s very easily turned into a drinking game, which might be a good idea given what you’re about to find out.

Secret Hitler

Your new friends all seem pretty nice, but wouldn’t it be great to have a way of knowing, for sure, that they aren’t secretly a lizard-nazi in disguise?

Take a seat, look at your secret identity card and get ready for 20 minutes of paranoia, followed by 10 minutes of frenzied pointing and shouting. Secret Hitler is a team game about facists vs liberals, except the liberals have no idea who they can and can’t trust. It’s been the number one go-to-game in the Big Potato office for years – maybe because we all want to vent our anger out on each other or maybe because it’s one of the best social deduction games ever created. Personally, we think it’s the second reason. (Mostly.)

Seriously though, buy this game.