For Your Next Game Night

Posted by Kathleen Alva

Whether you’re excited for gift-giving or scared of Santa, most college students must now begin facing the dreaded family Holiday Parties. (“No, Grandma, of course I’m not eating ramen and oatmeal for all my meals.” *sweats nervously* “Post-graduation plan? Uh, wow look at the time, I’ve got to go!”)

Fear not, my friends! Never again must you discuss bocce ball technique with your second cousin. For, today I give you the 7 best games I’ve played during game nights with McDermotts during the past month, which you can utilize when you find yourself bored at a party.

Caveats: This “survey of games” is not comprehensive. My list is biased and does not reflect the views of any other McDermotts. Invite me to a game night, and I may reconsider my selections.

Let’s begin:

Kathleen’s Great Game Survey of 2015


What? Free phone application, where up to four players have to fix their spaceship, but are given the directions to the buttons shown on other people’s screens.

For when: You have little space and little time.

My experience: I downloaded this on the spot last week and played with JoshAndrew, and Derrick. Spotty wifi can make connection frustrating, but once everyone is connected there’s nothing quite as satisfying as yelling at each other to empty the trash, fix the hyperdrive, and flush the toilet.


What? Not your Grandma’s game of charades (love you, Grandma!), but a free downloadable phone app that works like the game “heads up.” (Heads up = an individual has one minute to figure out as many words as possible while those words are acted out by her team.)

For when: There are lots of people of all ages.

My experience: I play this game everywhere – while waiting in line for the Vatican, with my third grade students, on long bus rides. Grandparents, college students, kids: everyone likes charades. The noise category is especially fun.

Settlers of Catan

What? A board game involving chance and strategy to “develop Catan” and win victory points.

For when: You have an hour and 4 friends who like strategy.

My experience: This entire post was inspired by our recent McDermott Catanpionship Night. Our 4 finalists (Samantha is repping the ladies woot) will be battling in the McDermott Catanpionship Final in the next few days. It’s safe to say we enjoy the game quite a bit.

Photo credit: Adam Mendonça

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

What? A computer game, where only the “Defuser” can see a bomb with parts that must be decoded, but only the “Experts” have access to the “Bomb Defusal Manual” which explains how to defuse each of the parts.

For when: You have a computer and 3-4 friends.

My experience: Andrew has this game on his computer, and it’s a great way to determine who you would want on your team during a high stress, real life situation, like, say, a zombie apocalypse. My literary heart was amused to find that using the wrong form of “your” can cause the bomb to blow up.

The Resistance (aka Avalon)

What? A board game where there are informed resistance members in your uninformed midst, but everyone is lying through their teeth. You try to figure out the identity of the resistance members before your government is overthrown.

For when: You’re prepared for trust-issues.

My experience: It’s always the quiet ones who successfully “resist” and destroy the missions. I have never attempted to psychoanalyze a group of people so entirely.

One Night

What? A board game which is a play on the card game “mafia.” “Villagers” are attempting to figure out who is the “werewolf,” but the cards designating characters are switched mid-game. Lying ensues as each person attempts to figure out their new identity, and that of the werewolf, since each player only knows one piece of the puzzle.

For when: Trust-issues created by playing “The Resistance” aren’t enough.

My experience: Apparently, I am a bad liar, and Scotty called my bluff every single time. It’s still fun to reason through what happened together, unless with 10 seconds left, Dhruv reveals that he lied about which cards he switched, and that I was actually the werewolf.

And finally…

Twilight Imperium

What? An intense and time intensive board game with lots of rules.

For when: You need an excuse to never speak to your friends ever again.

My experience: Members of my McDermott class played this game freshman year.


We’re still friends because nobody brings up what happened during that game.

Now, as a Literary Studies major, I feel that I should also encourage you to read a book; as an Arts and Performance major, I’d like to urge you to spend time creating something; as a member of Lauren’s Outdoor Adventure Club, you should definitely head outside for a bit.

…but until then, grab a few friends and happy gaming!

*UPDATE*: Last night was the McDermott Catanpionship Finals, and despite his nervous look look in this picture, Eric Chen reigned as the 2015 McDermott Catanpion!

Photo credit: Dhruv Narayanan

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