Parlour games in ye olde days were a fundamental part of the traditional party scene, with the likes of charades and twenty questions helping to break the ice among guests and providing respite from polite conversation about the challenges of finding suitable servants or tuberculosis, or whatever it was that passed for banter back then.
The components of a good party are still largely the same (although Victorian ladies were probably less likely to lose their shoes after throwing up tequila in the neighbour’s garden) – so whether you’re passing the time at a family function or getting hurricane drunk at a spontaneous post-pub gathering, having these apps to hand will make sure you’re the proverbial life and soul.
10) Heads Up
Created by talk show queen Ellen DeGeneres herself, Heads Up involves holding your phone against your forehead and trying to determine, as your friends mime and shout and wave their arms around, what word is on the screen before the timer runs out. Categories include celebrities (natch), animals, places and silly accents – which you might want to avoid if your less-than-PC grandparents are around.
9) Bluff Wars
This game may well masquerade behind the guise of fun and imagination, but since it basically hinges around your opponents’ ability to lie it has the potential to tear families apart. Connect up to six players per game and take turns deciding who’s got the right answer to a variety of baffling questions. What does CGA stand for? Chicken and Gravy Association? COULD BE. Don’t get bluffed out.
Available on Android
8) Reverse Charades
A techie take on a classic, Reverse Charades inverts the traditional game by having one person guess as many words as possible as acted out by the entire group, rather than the other way around. Imagine all your mates trying to act out ‘Godzilla’ at the same time in your tiny lounge and you can see why it guarantees genuine LOLs.
7) Sketch Party
Sure, you could get an easel, a large pad of paper, a box of pencils and a dictionary to play your own Pictionary-style game, or up to eight of you could slump on the sofa in a post-dinner/hangover haze playing Sketch Party instead. The app hooks up to your Apple TV, beaming your no doubt-seminal artworks straight onto the screen as your draw, keeping track of wins as you go.
Available on iOS – Apple TV required
6) Evil Apples
Basically Cards Against Humanity on your phone, Evil Apples is pure unadulterated filth and rudeness for up to four players – the first one to seven points wins (and should probably rethink their life choices). You can even play it remotely with friends (or terrified strangers!) if you can’t actually be bothered to socialise IRL.
Just in case you hadn’t had your fill of shouting and passive aggression from Monopoly, Bloop will make sure any remaining niceties between friends and family are thoroughly demolished. Designed for playing on a tablet, Bloop is a fast and frantic touch game for up to four players who must tap their coloured tiles as fast as possible – all at the same time. Fingers will cross, hands will collide and shoving is inevitable.
Available on Android
4) King of Opera
Remember the mini-games in Mario Party (ah, GameCube) that basically just involved smashing a single button as fast as possible? This is like that, kind of. Up to four players compete to get their bizarre-looking tenor to centre stage by tapping a corner button on a tablet (or phone if you can be trusted not to clunk heads), elbowing opponents as they go. Simple, but weirdly addictive.
3) What Would You Choose
Essentially a digital version of ‘Would you rather?’ without the mental challenge of thinking up questions yourself, What Would You Choose poses hundreds of impossible-to-answer questions that will help you get the true measure of your nearest and dearest.
2) Trivia Crack
Liven up a dull dinner party or prove just how much of a know-it-all you are with this smartly-designed quiz app that pits friend against friend to determine who really does retain the most useless information. There are six categories of questions, and players can win bonus cards to level up or infuriatingly scupper their opponents’ progress.
1) Bomba Drink
We couldn’t have a list of party apps without including a drinking game, could we? Bomba Drink remains one of the best and most straightforward – even the seriously sozzled can get to grips with its simple premise: the phone is a bomb which is passed from player to player after they’ve correctly answered a (relatively simple) question. Get it wrong or take too long and the bomb will go off, and you’ll have to take a drink as a punishment. A terrible, terrible punishment.
Available on Android.
Main image: iStock/Wendy Townrow