Doesn’t it sometimes feel harder to organise birthdays for your friends each year? You’re constantly under pressure to find cool birthday party games for adults and other unique activities. After all, you want your friends to still have an amazing day.
I’ve found it challenging for birthdays that fall outside of the usual milestones, e.g. 25, 30, etc. The older people get, the more jaded they tend to become. So 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 Partycurrent list of unique birthday party games for adults. I’ve also 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
Just how well do you know your birthday star? This game is where the party guests are put under the spotlight and grilled by the guest of honor. Before you play this game, you should put together a list of at least 100 questions in advance, so players don’t run out of things to ask during the game.
Bring everyone together, then place a chair in front of them, and explain how this is the Birthday Hot Seat. Then nominate someone to sit in the chair. The other party guests are given 30 seconds to fire as many questions about the birthday guest of honour at the seated player, who must get as many of them as right as possible. When the 30 seconds are up, the next player takes over.
You will need someone to keep score; because whoever gets the most questions right will win a prize. This party game is fast-paced and a lot of fun, especially when the questions are funny.
You can of course reverse things, and have the birthday boy or gal having the questions fired at from people around the room.
This party game is part memory game, part physical, with you as the referee. You will need a large playing area so that there’s plenty of room for people to move around it. Get everyone sat or stood in a circle. Each person must make a hand motion (or leg motion, if you’re all standing). Go around the circle and have everyone present their move. Everyone needs to memorise these as best they can.
After this round is done, put on some music with a beat and get everyone on their feet, moving to that beat. Nominate someone to start. This person will dance their motion, then you call out someone’s name and that person must dance this person’s motion. When done, the person whose name was called out must dance their own motion and then the motion of another guest whose name you call out. Whoever messes up first is out of the game.
Keep going until the game exhausts itself.
Never Have I Ever
You can play this game while sat or standing in a circle or around the dinner table. Nominate someone to start the game, and when they do, they must say “Never have I ever…” and finish the sentence with something they have never done. Some good examples can be: travelled to South America, riding on a motorbike, used a typewriter. If someone has done it, they must hold up one finger; if no one in the group as done it, the question asker must hold up a finger. Keep the game going until one person has 3 fingers up; they’re out of the game.
There are many variations to this game. You can knock someone out at 5 fingers. Whoever gets to 5 fingers first has to do a crazy dare. You can also make the questions as daring as you like, depending on the type of friends you’re playing with.
If you do go the daring route, make sure all your friends are comfortable and onboard with it, you don’t want anyone to feel alienated or anxious during the game.
The Laughing Game
Love birthday party games for adults with no set up whatsoever? This game is for you. Even though the game is called the Laughing Game, laughing is actually how you lose.
Get everyone standing around a table or in a large room. Each person then takes it in turns to say “Ha”, “Ho” or “Hee”. The clinch is: anyone who starts laughing is kicked out of the game. Keep your game going until everyone’s virtually eliminated
The person who can keep the straightest face the longest wins.
You will need 6 or more players, each wearing 5 clothes pegs around their neck (e.g. collar, jumper v-neck, attached to a necklace). You need to set aside 1-2 hours to play, or just play the game during your party.
First of all, decide as a group 5 words to ban for the duration of the game. Think of commonly used ones, for example, “happy”, “birthday”, “presents”, “drink”, “cake”. Even the guest of honor’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.
Nominate 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 with 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’s been 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 (except touch them). Anyone who smiles is knocked out of the game. Last person sitting wins!
Birthday Post It Note Game
This is a really simple game, you 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 hold it to their forehead if the post isn’t sticky enough).
Now get everyone mingling around, or just sitting in a circle, taking turns asking the person they meet Yes or No questions around their secret identity. “Am I living? … Do I have two legs” are fun places to start. Keep playing the game until everyone has guessed their identity.
Unlikely Oranges is a racing game and is played with everyone split into even-sized teams.
Give each team 2 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 3-6 people to race in at once.
Stuff one of the oranges down the leg of the pantyhose, then tie the pantyhouse around the player’s waist. Ideally, the orange leg should dangle down towards the ground and be swingable between their legs.
If you’ve got players will 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 wins.
Musical Hula Hoops
You’ll need plenty of lively music as well as a bunch of average-sized hula hoops strewn on the floor. Ideally, the music you choose is filled with tunes you know your friend loves or is music all you have shared memories with.
Keep everyone dancing to the music. But as soon as it stops, players must jump into a hula hoop (one per person) and start to hula. Anyone not in a hula has to do 3 press ups. Then restart the music.
You can add more fun to the game as you wish. For instance, instead of needing to hula once in the hoop, you can instruct players to do a fun dance or weird movement.
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 2-3 slips of paper and 2 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 “What Sarah might move like if she were a lion”.
Once time’s up, collect up the papers and shuffle 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, 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 advised.
Everyone is given an inflatable balloon and a marker pen each, and one minute to draw a caricature face of their birthday friend on their balloon. They next apply shaving cream over their balloon and are given a plastic knife afterwards, which will be their razor.
Once all that’s done – and ‘Go’ announced – players all attempt to shave their balloon. Without popping it. The first person to finish wins. To add an extra risk to the game, you can fill the balloons with whipped cream or glitter.
Donut on a String
Here’s another potentially messy game. You need ring donuts for this game, as many donuts as you have players/guests. The game is simple enough to set up – just tie a clothesline between two tree branches (if playing outside) or at two highest points in your party room. You need your clothesline higher than the tallest person playing; alternatively, you can have players kneeing down to play, in which case the clothesline needs to be higher than the tallest person rising upwards.
Then tie ribbons to each ring donut which are then hung from the clothesline at equal distances from each other. Each player must stand (or squat) under their donut and on the count of 3 must 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 2 equal lines of 4-10 players, with each line queued up behind a designated leader. Each player then places their hands on either the hips or shoulders of their person in front.
Everyone then crouches down, by bending down into their heels, almost like they’re sitting on each other’s laps. Each team is now a “crocodile”. Then on ‘Go’, both crocodiles race against each other.
Both crocs can either run to a finish line, or run to the finish but then back to the start, in order to win. The leader also has to make sure his/her team stays intact, by not running too fast ahead of them. The first crocodile to cross the line – unbroken – wins!
Birthday Photo Scavenger Hunt
Of these birthday party games for adults, this one is to be played outdoors. Everyone needs a working camera on their phone, and the goal of the game is to take photos of objects you (the party organiser) has decided.
So to play: divide everyone into teams of 3. Everyone is given a list of things the teams need to photos of to win. The things in the list correspond to memories, thoughts and hobbies you know your guest of honour loves. These could include: a piggyback ride, something orange, his favourite emotion, something he does in his job. Let the teams use their imagination to come up with or find 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 with their guest of honour and explain their thoughts behind the photos they’ve taken. You can later get copies of all the photos and compile them into a Scavenger Hunt gallery for everyone to share.
To play this game, nominate 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, a tree.
When the person returns, they must go up to someone and ask “How’s yours?” That person must give a one-word adjective answer to describe the trait. For example, ‘long’, ‘tangly’ and ‘sweaty’ can be adjectives to describe hair. Keep the game going until the person guesses correctly what the trait is.
This party game is a classic, right? Get everyone together in a circle. Pick a phrase to whisper (not say it out loud) into the ear of the person standing to you right – say it once to them with no repeats. This person now 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 it and 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 2 ways to play this game. First version: Nominate 3 people to play. Each person must make 3 statements about themselves where 2 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 3 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’s less exhausting. 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 shot.
You can also play the game throughout the party, provided everyone is in the same party room so they can all see Mr. Freeze. In this latter variation, the last person to freeze must face a drinking penalty. You as the party host should act as a referee, keeping an eye on everyone to spot those who freeze too late.
So how well are your guests connected to your birthday guest of honour and to each other? This game tests both existing connections as well as surprising connections. 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 hold of a 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 3 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 dinner begins, have everyone put their own name into a bowel, and then a ridiculous word, phrase or sentence put into another bowl.
Each person around the table then pulls out a name and phrase from each bowel (putting back their own name if you’ve pulled it out) and must now 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 4 rounds, each consecutive round more difficult than the one before it. You will need to provide paper, pen and a a blanket or sheet (yes, you heard that right). Everyone whose taking part adds 3-4 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 must pull out a different word and act it out. In the third round, they must try to describe the word using only one word. And in the fourth round, each player must act out their word – from under the sheet 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 10 to 15 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 must help their team guess what the word on the piece of paper says, by drawing it with pen and paper. The phrases can be as ridiculous 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, right? Well, here’s a game to test that love. 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 all of these items in the centre of a circle and get everyone seated around it. Give your first player the dice. Players take it in turns to throw the dice. When someone gets a six, they put on the hat, scarf, and the oven gloves, and try to cut up the frozen chocolate using the knife and fork. They keep going until someone else throws a six; then this new person gets the clothing and cutlery. And so on.
The game finishes when the bar of chocolate has been eaten.
If you want more guessing birthday party games for adults, then this one 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 statemenet that contains a thing in the answer. For example: “things you shouldn’t do in the office”. Everyone writes down on a slip of paper each one thing 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 2 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 3 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.
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 seated in a circle and pass the sports bag round the group. The first player is allowed to put their hands into the bag for 10 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 game you will love, which again features 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 at any point, 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.