Have you ever played a board game that ended in a shouting match? Of course, you have! We’ve all been there. Sometimes tempers get hot and you might be playing with sore losers. But, honestly, some board games just have a knack for pushing people’s buttons. Monopoly, of course, is notorious for making the whole family furious. No one had to tell you that. But, what about all the other games out there? We’re here to help you avoid some potential landmines, but also to inspire you to pick up a great new game. Just keep in mind it’ll probably end badly. So, get your game face on. Here are 25 Board Games That Will Totally Ruin Your Friendships.
In Scattergories, you’re given a list of categories, and you have to answer each with the letter rolled on the dice. Sounds easy, right? Except if you put down the same answer as someone else, you neither of you get any points. Combine that stress with the annoyingly loud clicking from the game’s timer, distracting you from thinking clearly, and you have the perfect setup to never see your friends again.
Risk is the classic board game you’ve probably never finished in your life. It was either too long and you and your friend got bored, or your friend, realizing he has been defeated, throws the board upside down and storms off. Add more players and you start to build alliances and peace treaties with each other, but once those are inevitably broken, the cracks in your friendship will only grow deeper and wider.
At first, Carcassonne plays out like a cute land-building game, placing tiles down one by one. But, before long, you’ll find yourself in a bitter dispute over castles, roads, and farms as you seek to get more points than your friend. Suddenly, you’re debating over the rules, claiming you can place your castle tile adjacent to their castle tile. Once you take that castle from them, garnering many points and putting you in the lead, your friendship may as well be over.
Battleship is the worst guessing game ever invented. Each time you make a guess and your friend says, “Miss,” you question his honesty, thinking he’s lying to you. As the game progresses, the paranoia builds until you finally grab your friends board and twist it around to prove he’s been lying this whole time. Turns out, he wasn’t; it’s just a really dumb board game.
With a slogan like, “The Sweet Game of Revenge,” you know Sorry! isn’t going to end well. And it doesn’t. It’s one mean-spirited and sarcastic race to the finish, educating children on the rat race of life and how to apologize without really meaning it.
Much like Chess, Scrabble is a litmus test for your intelligence. And whether you like it or not, your friends are constantly judging you, literally questioning your word choices. Of course, during the game, the pressure is on and you can only seem to put down three letter words like “Sit,” while they’re throwing down “Quartzy.”
Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is easy to learn, play, and infuriate your friends as you build your railway to victory. At first, it’s a simple game of laying down little train pieces. But, once you realize what destination your friend is working toward, you quickly act like you’re the heir to Rockefeller and work to supplant them at every turn.
Puzzle Strike is a board game with chips rather than cards and it simulates gameplay similar to Tetris. It also has components like Dominion, but unlike Dominion, you can stick it to your opponents and cause them to fall behind with attack chips. With sabotage being a key part of the game, things can get ugly quick.
Bananagrams is a cuddly spin on Scrabble, and other than the banana case that holds the pieces, doesn’t really involve bananas. Rather than having a board, you’re just given letter pieces that you have to make your own word grid out of. When you finish your grid, you keep taking pieces. Though, when you keep hearing your friend say, “Peel,” and you realize you haven’t said it once, there’s a high probability you’ll having a mental breakdown.
Exploding Kittens is all about not pulling an exploding kitten card, and doing everything you can, including stabbing the other players in the back, to survive. With the instant win or lose dynamic, the stakes become high quickly and might just translate to an exploding friendship.
The Voting Game
The Voting Game is an adult party game where you vote on which player is best described by the question. For instance, a question might ask, “Who gives the most awkward hugs?” And then you’d have to vote for April, because April definitely does, and you get to see who else voted. But, oh hey, looks like everyone voted you give the most awkward hugs. By the end of the game, no one is giving hugs because everyone hates each other.
In Munchkin, you play a hardy adventurer, traveling through a dungeon in hopes of achieving level 10 and acquire treasures and gear along the way. But, to get ahead, you’re going to have to backstab your friends and steal their stuff. For instance, if your friend faces off against a Level 11 Insurance Salesman, you can throw down a +10 for the Insurance Salesman, making him Level 21. If your friend can’t beat him, he loses all his gear. This game is serious business. Many friendships have died while playing this game.
Battlestar Galactica is a unique cooperative game where you’re all supposedly working together to reach a common objective, but there are saboteurs in your midst. Essentially, no one knows who is a Human or a Cylon and that paranoia plays out in screaming matches and perhaps the wrong people being accused and betrayed. Trying to determine who to trust is the hardest and most brutal part of the game.
The Oregon Trail
The beloved elementary school video game, The Oregon Trail, is now a card game. In it, all players are cooperating to get to the end alive but with limited resources. You’ll have to decide if you want to be a hoarding curmudgeon or give your friend medicine when they become ill. Which means you might have to make the brutal decision to let Peggy die rather than give up a valuable resource, and that might not sit too well with Peggy.
The Resistance is called a “social deduction” game, but it’s really a lying-through-your-teeth game. How well can you lie to your friends? Your answer to that question will likely determine your success in the game. While you’re part of the resistance trying to bring down the empire, you also can be a spy sabotaging their every move. So, it’s similar to mafia but much more intense and full of paranoid decision making and accusations.
Merchants & Marauders
Merchants & Marauders is a fun game of pretending to be a sailor or a pirate for a couple of hours. But, it goes from having a grand old time on the open seas to a high stakes bout when you decide to attack another player. Whoever wins the battle gets to plunder the other player for everything they have and pushes them back to the beginning. The winner will likely complain about not knowing what to keep due to capacity restrictions, making the loser red in the face, increasing the likelihood of a punch being thrown.
Settlers of Catan
Settlers of Catan is a friendly game of settling and gathering resources. However, when bricks are scarce and you’re desperate to build more roads, negotiations between players can become pretty brutal. Once you roll a 7 and decide to troll your neighbor with the thief and steal his brick cards, there might be full on tantrums.
Fog of Love
Fog of Love is a hot new game that might ruin your friendship in a totally different way – by making things really awkward. In it, two players role-play an unusual romantic relationship. They can either try to make it work or secretly make it fail miserably. Whichever you choose, your decisions might be interpreted as something you’d do in real life, which could raise tempers or make things super weird.
Space Alert is a fast-paced cooperative team survival game. With just 10 minutes of game time, you have to protect your ship from multiple hazards, including asteroids, interstellar monsters, and malfunctions. If everyone works together well, then things will run smoothly. But have a friend consistently ruin things for everyone, and it’s likely he’ll be the first to be fed to the space octopus.
Survive: Escape from Atlantis
Usually, family-fun and cutthroat don’t go hand-in-hand, but in this case, Survive: Escape from Atlantis fits the bill. With the island sinking, you control 10 pieces and must get them to safety while avoiding dangers at every turn. Fighting for survival means betraying the other players by pushing them into shark-infested waters. So, prepare for Little Johnny to have a major meltdown when Dad sacrifices him to the sea serpents.
Simply by reading the game’s name, you know little good will come from playing Coup, but it’ll likely be a lot of fun in the process. The object of the game is to obtain as much power as possible while eliminating other powerful families and forcing them into exile. To do that, you’ll have to manipulate, bribe, and lie your way to the top.
Caylus is a game of placing workers in buildings to gather resources. You can build or upgrade buildings and construct castles to achieve more points along the way. But the viciousness comes as the game encourages other players to do everything they can to block your efforts at every single turn, making it hard to move forward.
Dead Last is a social collusion game where players must decide who to kill in the game each turn. However, you can’t just overtly say who you want to kill, you have to use sly queues on who to go after whether its a wink or a flap of the card. If you tip someone off you’re after them, they could easily come after you next.
Intrigue is a game of negotiation set during the Renaissance era. Wanting to have positions in other family businesses, players must bribe their way in. But if another player agrees to the bribe, they don’t have to hold their end of the bargain. In other words, things can get pretty nasty, fast.
Diplomacy is both a work of art and a game of pure evil. In many ways, it’s the anti-Risk. There’s no dice, no massive armies, and there aren’t really any turns exactly. It’s all about negotiating with other players, promising alliances, but eventually lying to someone and stabbing them in the back. You won’t know who to trust until the inevitable happens. This game has been destroying friendships since the Cold War. Don’t underestimate its power.